In a speech before the United Nations on September 20, 2017, presumably as a way to support his claim that Israel is “a rogue and racist regime [that] trample[s] upon the most basic rights of the Palestinians,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly portrayed his government as dedicated to “moderation and respect for human rights,” adding:
“We in Iran strive to build peace and promote the human rights of peoples and nations. We never condone tyranny and we always defend the voiceless. We never threaten anyone…”
One need only look to Iran’s Christians — who form 1% of its entire population — to test these claims. Unlike the persecution other Christian minorities experience in Muslim majority nations — which often comes at the hands of Muslim individuals, mobs, or professional terrorists — the primary driver of Christian persecution in Iran is the government itself.
The 2018 World Watch List, compiled by Open Doors — a human rights organization that highlights the global persecution of Christians — makes this clear. Iran is among the top ten worst nations where Christians experience “extreme persecution”: