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June 15, 2011

Iran: Cleric Admits Failures

Screen shot 2011-06-15 at 10.28.53 AM Iran’s religious leaders continue to denounce Christianity in their speeches and meetings. In an April 2011 speech, Islamist hardliner Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who is known as a mastermind of the government’s strategy against Christians, called for greater government action against Christians in Iran. Yazdi admitted that government actions aimed at destroying Christianity have thus far failed.

“In connection with the growth of Christianity in some of the provinces, the actions taken by the government and the judicial authorities and the massive funding of such programs have not achieved the desired results,” Yazdi said during a meeting with the heads of the Islamic Propagation Center of Qum. Yazdi, who is famous for his extremist Shiite beliefs, blamed an undisciplined attitude and lack of proper supervision for the government’s failure to contain Christianity. “Today there are many websites that are fighting against Islamic ideology, and one must consider that responding to these sites is a very valuable thing,” Yazdi said.

In a speech last year, one year after the tumultuous presidential election in Iran, Yazdi called the widespread protests in response to the election a “menace.” According to Mohabat News, Yazdi demanded that “this country-wide menace must be controlled like a virus.” He then accused the republic’s enemies — those protesting the elections — of anarchy and of allowing “false religions” like house-church Christianity to spread.

Another religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, has also warned against the ever-increasing activities of Christians, according to Mohabat News. Sobhani lamented the fact that 600 people have converted to Christianity in one city.

Mohabat News reports that Christian persecution has subsided in Iran as infighting continues between the religious elite and government officials. However, the ayatollahs’ recent warnings have increased public indignation and hatred against Christians and other religious minorities.

Source: Mohabat News