Just one year after economic sanctions were lifted on the Islamic state, persecution of Christians has gone from bad to worse, according to the bishops’ new protest. “Repression of Christians has not only continued but intensified during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani.”

They’ve urged their governments to demand improvements in the treatment of Christians and other persecuted minorities.  “In such circumstances, we call on all Western countries to consider the deplorable situation of human rights in Iran, particularly the painful situation of Christians and the intensification of their oppression, in navigating their relations with Iran.  We call upon them to precondition improvement of those relations on the cessation of oppression of Christians and on a halt in executions.”

They’ve pledged their support to the international protest in Paris on Saturday “to promote freedom and human rights in Iran.”  More than 100,000 people are expected to join the event, including church leaders and a number of politicians from all over the world. “Free Iran”, a gathering of exiled Iranians and their supporters, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who are the largest organised opposition to the regime. The People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) is at the centre of the NCRI.  The demonstration comes in the same week as a barrage of more than 50 missiles hit Camp Liberty, the home of PMOI in Iraq. The former US military base in Iraq now houses members of the Iranian resistance in exile. At least 40 residents have been injured in the attack and a number of buildings destroyed.