Iranian Christians barred from attending Churches on Easter

The Iranian regime is notorious for its harsh and uncompromising stance on religion, rivaling perhaps even Saudi Arabia. But much more so than Saudi Arabia, the Islamist regime of Iran has shown a taste of religious repression.

Iran’s religious minorities have historically faced repression in all forms of life; from restrictive laws that deprive them of rights, powers and freedoms as other citizens have, to heavy interference and oversight by government authorities in everyday matters – all of which effectively relegates them to second class citizens in the country of their own birth.

This practice of unrelenting repression recently soared to new heights; on Saturday, while the rest of the world celebrated the Christian holiday of Easter, Iranian Christians in the northwestern city of Urumiyeh were barred from holding the event in churches.

The Iranian regime’s State Security Forces (SSF), who have been at the forefront of the state’s brutality and have acted as their prime weapon, sent letter threatening churches with serious consequences if they held gatherings for Easter at their premises. According to the directive issued by the force’s Office of Public building, Christians have only been allowed to observe the religious holiday within their home, citing vague and unarticulated “security concerns”  

Barring Iranian Christians from holding Easter celebrations is considered unprecedented in Iran – even under the mullahs’ rule which has been ranked one of the world’s worst nations for the persecution of Christians. Iranian Christians, as well as Jews, Baha’is and Sunni Muslims, are being deprived from their most fundamental rights under the tyrannical  rule of this regime and have constantly been discriminated against. This fact is attested to by all global Human Right Groups.

In February the UN released a highly critical 79-page assessment:  “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”  The Special Rapporteur, Ahmed Shaheed, concluded “that there continues to be widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 Reports communicated by nongovernmental organizations, human rights defenders, and individuals concerning violations of their human rights or the rights of others continue to present a situation in which civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights are undermined and violated in law and practice.”

 It was hoped that after the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government the plight of the religious minorities will get better, yet the persecution of Christians in Iran is getting worse under Hassan Rouhani and many now face ‘severe physical and psychological torture’.

he minorities are forced to live under constant threat of state oppression and are forced to live a life of stress and persecution. The change does not seem to be coming from the regime; only overthrowing this tyrannical regime will put Iran on the path of religious tolerance and modernity