The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, yesterday lamented the “intense” persecution of Christians in Iran, during a speech in Washington, DC.
“Persecution of the faithful is especially intense inside the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he told the audience at a CUFl event. “The regime’s militant adherence to the noxious tenets of the Islamic Revolution dictates all elements of life – and especially the suppression of other faiths.
“In Iran, if Muslims try to convert [to become] non-Muslims, the penal code calls for the death sentence. The government does not recognise converts to Christianity. It levies beatings and solitary confident on Christians caught worshipping in volition of government dictates.”
Mr. Pompeo highlighted the case of Yousef Nadarkhani and his three fellow “Church of Iran” members, who he noted are currently serving ten-year prison sentences for “promoting Zionist Christianity and running house churches”.
“Instead of following the normal summons procedure, the authorities raided the Christians’ homes, beat them, and used electroshock weapons on them, then threw them into Evin Prison, a regime dungeon inside of Tehran,” Mr. Pompeo said.
“The Iranian ayatollahs have grievously deprived the Iranian people of their most basic, simple, fundamental human right – their right to worship,” he added.
In May, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, openly admitted to summoning Christian converts for questioning, saying mass conversions were “happening right before our eyes”.
The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rahman, last week called the treatment of converts in Iran “very disturbing”, and pledged to “look into the issue very seriously”.
At least 37 converts have been arrested in Iran so far this year, including eight in Bushehr last week.
Meanwhile on Sunday five “Church of Iran” members from Karaj submitted themselves to the city’s central detention centre to begin their jail sentences for “propaganda against the state”.