01/31/2021 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Pro-regime news outlet Fars News Agency released a report that a “Zionist” network was “dismantled” for “creating moral deviations” and “promoting conversions”.
Iran recognizes, at least theoretically, Christianity as one of the three minority religions. However, in practice, the country often deems house churches and other Christians as Zionist cults and falsifies terrorism charges against them. Iran’s legal code forbids the changing of one’s religion, punishable by death. There are currently 24 Christians who are either in prison or facing charges according to the recent UN report.
Yet, despite the heavy persecution and charges brought against Iranian Christians, and particularly those of Muslim faith background, Christianity is not suppressed to the point of extinction. The state’s official numbers claim that the country is 99.5% Muslim. Unofficial, yet widely acknowledged, surveys report that the actual percentage of Christians in the country may be closer to 1.5%. House churches are the driving force behind this increase. Though the vast majority of the country remains Shia, the Iranian government appears to be on high alert against this growing number of Christians in its country.