The Christian community in Iran continues to suffer widespread violations of their rights under national and international law, though Iran continues to deny this. In an official response to senior UN experts in January 2021, Iran’s judiciary claimed “nobody is prosecuted on religious grounds”. However, in the same response, it admitted to taking legal action against members of “enemy groups” and “private churches” (house-churches), which it accused of belonging to a “Zionist Christian cult” with “anti-security purposes”.
Persian-speaking Christians are penalised for the peaceful practice of their faith. They are exposed to harassment, arrest, interrogation, and pressure to recant or to commit to refrain from meeting other Christians or engaging in Christian activity.
These Christians, denied access to “recognised” church buildings by the state authorities, can be charged with “anti-security activities” if they gather in informal private meetings for worship, prayer, and Bible study. The constraint on such Christians, refusing them collective worship, has led to an impassioned plea from Christian converts for a place to worship and an international appeal: the #place2worship campaign.