Mike Pence Demands Iran Release Christian
Recently, Vice President Mike Pence took to Twitter to defend an Iranian woman named Mahrokh Kanbari who has been thrown into prison by authorities of the Islamic Republican of Iran for being a Christian. The move has been seen as an example of the theocratic regime’s savage persecution of religious minorities.
Pence tweeted, “Iran must free Mahrokh Kanbari today. Whether Sunni, Sufi, Baha’i, Jewish or Christian, America will stand up for people of faith in Iran like Mahrokh and Pastor Bet Tamraz whose persecutions are an affront to religious freedom.
“I am appalled to hear reports that Iran’s despotic rulers have punished yet another Christian woman for exercising her freedom to worship.”
The Christian Post noted:
“An Iranian Christian convert was sentenced to one year in prison on charges of “acting against national security” and engaging in “propaganda against the system” as crackdowns against Christians continue, the aid group International Christian Response reports.
“The sentence was handed down to 65-year-old Mahrokh Kanbari on Monday (July 29), two days after she appeared before the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Karaj. Friends of Kanbari told the nonprofit group that the judge was rude to the defendant and tried to humiliate her when she disagreed with him.
“Kanbari was arrested by three Iranian intelligence agents at her home last Christmas Eve. Authorities were said to have confiscated mobile phones, Bibles and other Christian-related materials.”
Kanbari has subjected to ten days of “intensive interrogation” before being released last January. She was instructed to seek out an Iman to facilitate her “return to Islam.” Since she has refused to do so, the Islamic Revolutionary Court has thrown her back into prison.
In a way, despite the probable torture that Kanbari underwent and her imprisonment, Jihad Watch notes that she is, at least for now, getting off easy. While the Koran teaches tolerance for Christians and Jews, since they too believe in the one God, that tolerance does not extend to Muslims who convert to other religions. The penalty for apostasy is death.
The Vice President’s expression of concern over the persecution of Iranian Christians such as Mahrokh Kanbari constitutes a policy change by the Trump administration as opposed to the neglect of human rights abuses by the previous Obama administration. President Barack Obama took a blind eye to the persecution of religious and political dissenters in Iran, so eager he was of establishing a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.
The Trump Administration, on the other hand, has reversed the Obama era policy of appeasement and has mounted a campaign to oppose Iran on many fronts, including economic sanction, military, and diplomatic pressure, and rhetorical support of persecuted dissidents such as Mahrokh Kanbari.
In return, President Trump has received support from the evangelical community not seen by an American chief executive since President Ronald Reagan. Despite the president’s spotty record in the area of personal minority, religious Christians have found a friend in the Oval Office.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has been driving to suppress religious minorities to establish Shia Islam as the supreme religious faith of the land. The repression has fallen on not only Christians, Jews, and Bahais, but also Sunni Muslims, who adhere to the form of Islam that predominates in much of the Arab world.
The solution to the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Iran, absent regime change, will be difficult. Dr. Yossi Mansharof, an expert on Iran, its politics and religion notes, according to Fox News, “The possible means to decrease these persecutions is to make a significant improvement in the freedom of the religious minorities a condition for any engagement and talks with the Iranian regime. Unfortunately, in light of the concentration on other crises related to Iran, especially its nuclear ambitions and expansionist drive, which is boosted by terrorism, the important topic of human rights in Iran does not get its proper place in the engagement of the international community with the Islamic regime of Iran.”
However, President Trump has given his assurances to an Assyrian Christian named Dabrina Bet Tamraz, whose family has been imprisoned by Iran for running home-based churches, that he would raise the plight of Iranian Christians in future negotiations with the Islamic Republic, according to the Christian Post.
In the meantime the Christian community of Iran requests prayers for the deliverance of Mahrokh Kanbari and other Christians suffering for their faith in prison.