..The situation for Christians of any denomination in Iran is “very dramatic,” according to Markus Rode from Open Doors. In particular, individuals who have converted from Islam to Christianity are subjected to “extreme persecution.”
Many have been imprisoned, tortured, or threatened with death. Armenian and Chaldean churches are allowed to hold services, as long as they are not conducted in Persian, and they are observed by the police. Distributing Christian literature in Farsi is strictly forbidden, in order to prevent evangelization.
“The traditional churches are being strangled,” Rode told DW. “Those involved have no other choice but to go underground.” Many Christians form small house churches and meet in private homes.
Feigned public execution for Christian
Rode told the story of one particular Iranian Christian. In Tehran, the man “was yanked from the street into a taxi” and told, “You will give up your faith, you will return to Islam, or you will die.” A gun was pointed to his head and the trigger was pulled. However, it wasn’t loaded.
After the “feigned public execution,” the man was thrown into a prison in Tehran where his keepers extinguished their cigarettes on his bare skin.
Relatives of the man were able to buy his freedom. Today, he lives in Germany, but still fears the Iranian secret service, which even has influence abroad, according to Rode.