London, 1 Aug – A British Parliamentarian has said that supporting the democratic plan of the Iranian Resistance is the only way to protect Christians in Iran.
Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool, a cross-bench member of the House of Lords and member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, states that the plight of religious minorities in Iran has been a major concern of his which is why the latest Human Rights Priority Country report on Iran has caused him to write a piece on religious and democratic freedom for Independent Catholic News.
Iran’s constitution only recognises three religions other than Islam: Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism; minority religions and even non-Shi’a Muslims are persecuted for their beliefs.
Lord Alton wrote: “Christians in Iran are prevented from openly exercising their belief or promoting their religion. Any efforts to that end is interpreted by the theocratic regime as an ‘illegal’ act aimed at undermining the security of ‘the Islamic Republic’ and ‘spreading propaganda against the system’. This leads to the Christian community being systematically harassed and intimidated by the repressive security organs, including the Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
Iran is one of the 10 most unwelcoming countries for Christians imprisoning Christian leaders on bogus charges, which violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article on freedom of religion and belief.
He also highlights the plight of Iranian Christians like Maryam Naghash Zargaran, currently on hunger strike. She is serving a four-year prison sentence on national security charges. Her crime? Volunteering at an orphanage with the Christian pastor, Saeed Abedini.
Abedini, who was released in a US-Iran prisoner exchange revealed the horrors experienced by Iranian prisoners; solitary confinement, the murder of fellow prisoners and torture.
Lord Alton highlights the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s 10-point plan to a free and democratic Iran as the path to freedom.
He said: “A country’s greatness can be measured by the way it treats its minorities, upholds diversity and cherishes plurality. In place of a toxic theocratic ideology which spawns hatred and which murders, imprisons, tortures, and oppresses those who dissent, a free and democratic Iran can be a beacon to the rest of the world.”
This echoes the statement of Rt Revd. John Pritchard, the former Bishop of Oxford, at the Free Iran rally in Paris last month.
Pritchard said: “The maltreatment of religious minorities is what the regime is known for. In clear opposition to the Iranian regime we have Maryam Rajavi who symbolises interfaith harmony between Christians and Muslims I am absolutely with you and wish you every success”.