London, 8 Jul – The Bishop of Gloucester is one of 80 church leaders who signed a public statement calling on governments to condition any relations with Iran with an end to the persecution of Christians and religious minorities, according to the Church of England Newspaper.
The report said that in a statement released by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on July 4, the leaders said: “The time has come for us to listen to the wishes of the Iranian people for freedom, including religious freedom. Iran’s ruling theocracy is rightly a source of grave concern for human rights organizations and institutions with a particular interest in the protection of the rights of Christians.”
It called on Western governments to take into account the human rights situation in Iran when contemplating further relations with Iran.
The statement continued: “We call upon them to precondition improvement of those relations on the cessation of oppression of Christians and on a halt in executions.”
Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, and John Prichard, the former Bishop of Oxford, have endorsed the Free Iran gathering on Saturday, July 9. This summit, organised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), seeks to not only promote human rights in Iran but also put pressure on the West to not give in to Iran’s demands on nuclear weapons. The leader of the NCRI, Maryam Rajavi, has laid out a ten-point plan for a free and democratic Iran.
Later this summer, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States will meet, along with Germany and a European Union representative, Iranian diplomats to review the 2015 deal.