every 2932 Christians).6 Insufficient quantities of places of worship results in religious
minorities gathering via informal assemblies inside their own home, frequently termed “house
churches”,7 or in underground prayer halls (namaz khane).8 House churches are often raided by
the government on the basis that they do not hold necessary permits from the authorities. 9
Attendees are arrested and imprisoned on charges of “acting against national security by
organizing and conducting house-churches” or “propaganda against the state and insulting the
sacred Iranian establishment”.10 2018 and 2019, in particular, saw an unprecedented wave of
raids on private house gatherings related to religion or belief, leading to a large number of
arrests, detention and imprisonment.11 Related charges include “breaching national security” or
“propaganda against the holy regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.12
The Baha’i faith, with members numbering an estimated 350,00013 in Iran, is not recognized
under Iranian law and does not have any official place of worship. Since August 2005, more than
1,253 Baha’ís have been arrested in Iran solely on the basis of their religious beliefs.14
The lack of places of worship and the regular dismantling of religious informal meetings
frustrates the rights of religious minorities to manifest their religion or belief. The threat of raids,
arrests, detention and imprisonment for those identified as belonging to certain religious
minorities disincentivizes community and public manifestation.
The Iranian legal framework does not adequately protect the right to have or to adopt a religion
or belief of one’s choice and effectively imposes restrictions on the rights of individuals
belonging to religious minorities in Iran. The lack of legal safeguards under Iran law enables
Iranian authorities to resort to practices that may well amount to coercion impairs the freedom to
have, or to adopt, a religion of one’s choice.

6

Based on Province annual data reports, as of 2018.
Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from The World Evangelical Alliance, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity
Worldwide, Middle East Concern, Article 18, 29 May 2020 , https://articleeighteen.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/F3430b2020-JointReport_Iran_HRCttee_ListOfIssues-dragged-1.pdf
8
2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Iran, U.S. Department of State, https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-report-oninternational-religious-freedom/iran/
9
Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from The World Evangelical Alliance, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity
Worldwide, Middle East Concern, Article 18, 29 May 2020 , https://articleeighteen.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/F3430b2020-JointReport_Iran_HRCttee_ListOfIssues-dragged-1.pdf
10
Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from The World Evangelical Alliance, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity
Worldwide, Middle East Concern, Article 18, 29 May 2020 , https://articleeighteen.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/F3430b2020-JointReport_Iran_HRCttee_ListOfIssues-dragged-1.pdf
11
Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from The World Evangelical Alliance, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity
Worldwide, Middle East Concern, Article 18, 29 May 2020 , https://articleeighteen.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/F3430b2020-JointReport_Iran_HRCttee_ListOfIssues-dragged-1.pdf
12
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 18 July 2019
https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N19/222/62/PDF/N1922262.pdf?OpenElement
13
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 18 July https://documentsdds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N19/222/62/PDF/N1922262.pdf?OpenElement
14
Baha’i International Community, https://www.bic.org/sites/default/files/pdf/iran/the_bahais_of_iran__a_persecuted_community.pdf
7

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