IRAN – Church of England bishops join in condemnation of Tehran

The Tablet | 062218

‘The regime has been..criticised by international human rights organisations for its appalling human rights record’

In an initiative promoted by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord (Rowan) Williams of Oystermouth, more than 50 bishops of the Church of England have signed a statement condemning the human rights abuses perpetrated by the regime in Tehran and its treatment of Iran’s religious minorities.

Releasing the declaration yesterday the former Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard said: “We announce the initiative by Dr Rowan Williams and supported by more than 50 bishops in UK along with 78 US church leaders which highlights the plight of the Iranian people and the religious minorities in Iran, particularly the Christians, calling on the international community to act to defend their rights in face of government harassment and persecution.”

The statement signed by the 50 bishops said: “The regime has been condemned no less than 64 times by various United Nations bodies and criticised by international human rights organisations for its appalling human rights record. While the majority of the victims of the regime’s abuses are Shia Muslims, members of religious minorities, including Christians, Jews, members of the Sunni branch of Islam, and people of other faiths, have been targeted over their personal religious beliefs.”

Of Iran’s 78 million population more than 90 per cent are Shia Muslim, between 5 and 10 per cent Sunni Muslim, and the country has a Christian minority of around 300,000.