The support was seen from a variety of personalities, including Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, the Church of England’s first Diocesan Bishop, as well as John Pritchard, former Bishop of Oxford. Pritchard and Treweek are only two of the nearly 80 leaders which have pointed out the conditions of Christians in Iran under president Hassan Rouhani has egregiously worsened.
They have outlined that, “Iran’s ruling theocracy is rightly a source of grave concern for human rights organizations and institutions with a particular interest in the protection of the rights of Christians… Reports by the UN Secretary General, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, and the US State Department all indicate that the repression of Christians has not only continued but intensified during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani.”
Furthermore, the leadership claimed that, “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.”
Understanding the importance of the Iranian opposition in these matters, the bishops and priests have thrown their support behind the “Free Iran” gathering that is to take place on the heels of the P5+1 nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime, asking world leaders to maintain caution in dealing with the oppressive regime.
In final, the religious leadership claimed “the time has come for us to listen to the wishes of the Iranian people for freedom, including religious freedoms, and to add our voices to the grand international gathering known as “Free Iran”, to be held on July 9, 2016, in Paris to promote freedom and human rights in Iran.”