The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has cited Iran among the main contributing countries towards an “ongoing downward trend” in religious liberty worldwide and asked the State Department to re-designate Iran as a “country of particular concern”, or CPC, for “egregious” religious-freedom violations.
The report noted: “In the past year, religious freedom in Iran continued to deteriorate for both recognised and unrecognised religious groups, with the government targeting Baha’is and Christian converts in particular.”
It also reiterated that “evangelical Christians and Christian converts, however, are particularly targeted for repression because many conduct services in Persian and proselytise to those outside their community. Pastors of ‘house churches’ are commonly charged with unfounded national security-related crimes, as well as apostasy and illegal ‘house-church’ activities”.
According to the report, violations of religious freedom included a range of severe abuses – from surveillance and legal restrictions, to arbitrary arrest, detention of Christians and the proliferation of anti-Christian publications in Iran.