Human rights groups beg UN to address Iran's house churches

Human rights groups beg UN to address Iran's house churches

Human rights groups beg UN to address Iran's house churches

Iran’s totalitarian leaders are well-known for punishing Christian believers, who languish in squalid prison cells for their faith, but several human-rights groups are demanding the United Nations address the crackdown on house churches where the native Persian language is spoken.

In a joint letter, 10 international organizations are asking the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights to demand answers on behalf of Iranians who have witnessed the brutal government forcibly put a stop their worship services.

According to the letter, Iran’s government has closed so many Persian-speaking churches in recent years that only four remain open. Those congregations are small, endure strict surveillance, and are not allowed to let new members join, the letter states.

Andrew Crane of International Christian Concern, one of the letter signatories, says Christian converts in Iran are struggling to find a congregation to join under a cloud of suspicion and discrimination.   

“There are churches in Iran, but the only recognized churches are Armenian churches and Assyrian churches, which are not in Persian,” he explains. “So when Muslims in Tehran convert to Christianity, and they don't go to either churches, they have nowhere to go.”

The letter reminds the UN that the Iranian government keeps Muslim converts from attending the Armenian and Assyrian worship services, which means a “house church” is the only option but is also a crime according to the regime.

The letter names one church pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, who is serving six years in prison for overseeing a house church.

According to Crane, human-rights groups were eyewitness to a hacked video feed from inside one of the prisons.

“It's truly gruesome what these prison officials are doing to the inmates," he tells American Family News. "It violates countless international obligations, countless international laws, and it's just horrible what they're doing to these prisoners of conscience and Christians inside these prisons.”