The advent of the New Year is a great opportunity for the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran to congratulate our fellow Christian women and compatriots in Iran. It is also an opportunity to express our solidarity with Christians in Iran by a brief review of their difficult circumstances and the discriminations against them.
According to Article 13 of the mullahs’ constitution, “Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians are considered the only recognized religious minorities. They may observe their religious ceremonies within the limits of the law. They are free to exercise matters of personal status and religious education and they exercize their own rituals.”
However, followers of Christianity are not allowed to proselytize.
On the other hand, the Iranian regime suppresses women under the name of Islam and has imposed the compulsory hijab on them, so the freedom-loving Christian women and other non-Muslims are no exception.
Fatemeh Mohammadi (Mary), a Christian convert and student at North Tehran Azad University, was banned from attending school on December 21, 2019. The Christian compatriot was previously beaten by the guidance patrol in Tehran on July 9, 2019 and sentenced to six months in prison on charges of Christian activity.
On July 1, 2019, four Christian women, along with their spouses, were arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. The Ministry of Intelligence agents inspected all the houses of these four Christian women. They confiscated Christian books and pamphlets, Christian symbols including wooden crosses, drawings and signs, several laptops, mobiles and identification cards and bank credit cards. Maryam Fallahi, 35, Marjan Fallahi, 33, Khatoun Fathollahzadeh, 61, and Fatemeh Talebi, 27, were arrested along with their husbands.
Also, on January 6, 2019, a court in Tehran issued a five-year prison sentence for Ms. Shamiram Essavi on charges of acting against national security for launching home churches.
Two Christian women, Shima and Shokufeh Zanganeh, were both arrested at their homes by the Ministry of Intelligence agents on December 2, 2018. Thirteen plainclothes agents raided and inspected the homes of these two Christian women and seized some of their personal documents and transferred them to an unknown location.
Sara Nemati and Mehrdad Houshmand, a Christian couple, were arrested for participating in a funeral in Behesht-e Zahra, in which they practiced Christian rituals.
The Iranian regime in no way respects the rights of religious minorities, which has been repeatedly criticized by international organizations and governments.
In the latest example, on December 19, 2019, the New Julfa Armenian Cemetery in Isfahan Province was attacked, and graves and crosses installed on the tombs of the deceased were broken.
Iranian Christians have rightfully protested side by side the Iranian people against the repression of the religious dictatorship. During the uprising in November, more than 1500 people who were martyred during the bloody crackdown included Christians who were among over 600 martyrs identified by name.
Hopefully in the New Year, with the establishment of democracy bound by the separation of religion and state, Christian compatriots will enjoy freedom and human rights as citizens of a free Iran.