U.S. Sanctions against Iran have unintentionally led to the crackdown on their persecuted Christian community as the ayatollahs consolidate their power in the face of growing unrest across the country.
The US reintroduced a wave of sanctions against Islamists on Tuesday The Republic's auto industry, precious metal trading and the ban on buying US dollars.
Meanwhile, the situation of the persecuted Christian community has worsened significantly in recent weeks, while the Islamic Republic is tightening jail sentences and other legal action
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Jeff King President of the International Christian Corporation Washington DC told FoxNews.com: "The Iranian regime is under great pressure right now."
"Poor economic conditions, combined with the severity of their Islamic rule, have led to massive unrest in the country "There have been many reports that this has contributed to the government's growing dependence on hard-line Islamic ayatollahs, who naturally regard Christianity as a threat to their power, so it is not surprising that the persecution of Christians is increasing . "
Article 18, an organization ion, which promotes religious freedom and supports the oppressed Christians in Iran, tweeted on Thursday: "A Christian couple has reported that a court in Boushehr has sentenced them and ten other Iranian Christians to one year in prison for" propaganda against the Islamic Republic in favor of Christianity ". This group of Christian converts was arrested on April 7, 2015.
Christian website Mohabat News also reported that the Iranian couple, who belonged to a group of converts, was charged with "orientation to the land of Christianity."
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"Given the censored nature of Iran, it is extremely difficult to get information about the arrest of Christians. But based on the cases we've persecuted, this is the case. For the first time this year, we've seen a prison sentence imposed for "leaning toward the land of Christianity," King said.
"This could be interpreted as a reference to Israel, the birthplace of Christianity, and also to a country where Iran has taken a very aggressive stance."
Peter Kohanloo, President of the United States The Iranian-American majority organization told FoxNews.com: "The regime's most brutal persecution of Christians in Iran is perpetrated today.
" The new round of sanctions is bringing down the ruling mullahs Pressure from the arrest of evangelical converts. "
In 2010, Iran condemned Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to death for apostasy, but a global campaign secured a reversal of his sentence, and instead the pastor was incarcerated for Christian evangelization for three years.
In June, the Iranian opaque judicial system sentenced him to ten years in prison and two years in exile with gratuitous charges, including "collusion against national security" and promotion of "Zionist Christianity," according to the US Commission on International Freedom of Religion
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The Washington-DC Center for Law and Justice has launched a petition campaign to secure his release. More than 71,000 people had signed the petition on Friday.
The ACLJ wrote that "Iran's actions violate its own constitution, guaranteeing religious freedom and several international human rights treaties."
The United States Commission on International Religious Affairs Freedom (USCIRF) also condemned the detention of Pastor Nadarkhani and parishes by Iran on 1 August.
While Christianity is legal in Iran, the US State Department has classified the Islamic Republic under the International Religious Freedom as a "Worrying Land" Act of 1998 "committed or tolerated particularly serious violations of religious freedom".
Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed, "Christians have the same rights as others."
Iran's constitution anchored in Turkey Fundamentalist Islamic Sharia states that Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians, with the exception of converts from Islam, can worship "Within the limits of the law."
According to the World Christian Database, Iran has an estimated 350,000 Christians, while the Iranian Statistical Center lists 117,700 Christians in a country of just over 82 million . But the harsh conditions have led many observers to believe that that there are more than 350,000 Christians in Iran.
Alireza Miryousefi, press officer of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations, told FoxNews.com: "Iran does not discriminate against any recognized religious minority, including the great Christian community in Iran, in the many churches that exist throughout Iran are free to pray.
"In fact, Iranian Christians, like Iranian Jews, are constitutionally guaranteed parliamentary representation. Large cities like Tehran and Isfahan have large Christian communities with centuries-old churches. "