Are Christian Converts Really Persecuted in Iran?

People are offered a warm drink.
Why Refugees?
September 7, 2018
Outreach with the German Church
July 17, 2019
Police are gathered in a blue mosque in Iran.

OpenDoors, the Christian agency that tracks persecution around the globe, ranks Islam as one of the top ten countries where Christians are persecuted. The most recent country report from the Austrian intelligence service seems to question that, however, and implies that Christian converts are not really in danger. They acknowledge that leaving Islam is illegal in Iran, and it is considered a crime against the state, punishable by lengthy imprisonment and even death. But they claim that Christians are rarely prosecuted. And that no Christians have been executed in the last ten years. However, active converts often get arrested and charged on false grounds. These cases therefore don't get any international attention.

There are an estimated 100,000-200,000 Christian converts in Iran. This alone leads the country report to conclude that regardless of the illegal status, it is possible for the house church movement to be active in the country. They also claim that the vast majority of these Christians will not be discovered since they meet secretly, they are not in danger unless neighbors or family betray them.

International organizations know of about 250 Christians who were arrested for their faith last year. Of these, 75% were released within a few days. So the Austrian authorities conclude only a few Christians are really in danger. Of course, the truth is that if a person continues to meet with other Christians after being arrested, they will be charged and imprisoned. Only if they deny their faith will they be ignored. Surely the answer can’t be that converts are not in danger because all they have to do is deny their faith!