Iran, a country notorious for its persecution of religious minorities, has recently taken another step in its campaign against Christians. According to CNS News, the Iranian government is attempting to curb religious freedom by cracking down on minority groups. Iranian Christians, already a minority in the Muslim dominated country, is composed mostly of Armenians and Assyrians who attend a mixture of Catholic and Protestant denominations. Most of the churches attended by these ethnic groups have been closed, while others have others have announced they will no longer allow them on the premises. According to CNS News’ interview with the Mohabat News,
“Since 2011, pressure and restrictions on Iranian churches have increased dramatically,” it said. “Many Christians, especially newly converted Christians, have faced imprisonment, pressure and harassment in the past few years. Iranian intelligence and security forces have recently focused their efforts to close down more churches around the country.”
Though Iran claims to support religious freedom for Christianity, its leaders see conversion from Islam as an act of apostasy against the national religion. In some cases it is punishable by death. In 2013 alone, more than 40 Christians have been arrested for their faith.