Does Iran Allow Christianity

Background Information

Iran is an Islamic Republic which has a long history of religious intolerance towards minorities, particularly non-Muslims such as Shia Muslims, Jews, and Christians. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran establishes Islam as the official religion of the country and also recognizes Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity as “recognized religious minorities” with limited rights of worship and expression.
Although Iran has a mostly Muslim population, Christians have been worshipping in the country for centuries. The presence of Iranian Christians dates back to the early days of Christianity, but Christianity was suppressed during the Safavid Dynasty (1501-1736) and many Christians fled or were forced to convert to Islam. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the rights of minority religions including Christianity have been limited.

Christianity in Iran Today

At present, Article 13 of Iran’s Constitution recognizes Christianity as a protected religious minority along with Judaism and Zoroastrianism. This was a major change from the prior policy of the Pahlavi Dynasty which declared Zoroastrianism to be the official religion and actively suppressed the practice of Christianity.
The government does allow Christians to gather in recognized places of worship, but there are certain restrictions on religious activity. For example, proselytizing and evangelism are strictly prohibited. Christians are also not allowed to lead public prayers or services which, for example, would place Christian clergy in a position of having to read from the Koran. Additionally, all public displays of Christianity and private worship outside of recognized churches are banned.
It is estimated that there are approximately 300,000 to 370,000 Christians living in Iran. Most are members of the Armenian Apostolic (Orthodox) Church, while a smaller number belong to the Catholic or Protestant churches. There is a small community of Assyrian Christians who primarily inhabit the four Iranian provinces of Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Western Azerbaijan.

Persecution of Christians

Despite the government’s acknowledgment of Christianity as a protected religious minority, Christians in Iran continue to face persecution and discrimination. The authorities have shut down churches, and have arrested and expelled Christian converts from their homes and school. There have been reports of torture and inhumane treatment of detainees.
In recent years, the pressure on Christians in Iran has increased significantly. The authorities have targeted Christian converts in particular, and those suspected of proselytizing are often arrested and jailed without due process. Christians in Iran are also subject to discrimination in employment and educational opportunities, and generally have limited rights to practice their religion or to express their views publicly.

Iranian Christians and their struggle

As a result of the pressure and discrimination, many Iranian Christians have been forced to flee the country. However, some remain and continue to practice their faith despite threats and persecution. Christianity has been an important part of Iranian culture for centuries and its adherents are determined to maintain their religious and cultural heritage in the face of growing pressure from the authorities.
The Iranian Christian community has also been working to ensure that their rights are respected and protected. Christian groups in Iran and abroad have been working to draw attention to the plight of Iranian Christians and to advocate for their rights. Many Iranian Christians residing in other countries have also been involved in providing support and assistance to the Christian community in Iran. Their efforts have contributed to the growth of the Christian population in the country in recent years.

International Community

The international community, particularly the United Nations and the European Union, have been vocal in condemning the ongoing human rights abuses in Iran, including the repression of religious minorities such as Christians. The United Nations has called on Iran to lift restrictions on religious freedom and to allow members of minority religions to exercise their right to worship freely. The European Union has also raised concerns about the ongoing human rights violations and the discrimination against religious minorities in Iran.
The Iranian government has been urged to put an end to the persecution of Christians in the country and to allow them to practice their faith without fear of persecution and discrimination. Despite the pressure from the international community, there has been no significant improvement in the situation of Christians in Iran.


Although the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran grants limited rights of worship and expression to minority religions such as Christianity, in practice the government continues to restrict their activities and harass and persecute members of the Christian community. Despite the pressure from the international community, the situation for Christians in Iran remains difficult and the prospect of real religious freedom remains distant.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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