U.S. sanctions on Iran have inadvertently led to a crackdown on its persecuted Christian community as the ayatollahs move to consolidate their power in the face of growing unrest across the country, Fox News reported.
The U.S. on Tuesday re-imposed a wave of robust sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s automobile industry, precious metal trade, and a ban on purchasing U.S. dollars.
Meanwhile, the plight of Iran’s persecuted Christian community has become significantly worse over the past few weeks, with the Islamic Republic ramping up prison terms and other judicial actions.
Jeff King, president of the Washington D.C.-based International Christian Concern, told FoxNews.com: “Iran’s regime is under a great amount of pressure right now.
“Poor economic conditions combined with the harshness of their Islamic rule has led to massive unrest that has defined the country for months.
“There are many reports that this has contributed to the government’s ever-increasing dependence on hardline Islamic ayatollahs, who naturally see Christianity as a threat to their power. For this reason, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing an increase in Christian persecution.”
Article18, an organization that promotes religious freedom and supports Iran’s repressed Christians, tweeted on Thursday: “A Christian couple have reported that a court in Boushehr has just sentenced them & 10 other Iranian Christians to one year in prison each for ‘Propagating against the Islamic Republic in favor of Christianity.’ This group of Christian converts were arrested on April 7th, 2015.”
Christian website Mohabat News also reported that the Iranian couple, who were part of a group of converts, were charged with “orientation toward the land of Christianity.”