Iranian Christians in Urumiyeh were told they were not allowed to hold Easter celebrations after state security forces sent threatening letters to state-recognised churches in the north-western city on 4 April.
The letters ordered that Christians were permitted only to celebrate Easter in their own homes. According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), “Barring Iranian Christians from holding Easter celebrations is considered unprecedented in Iran - even under the mullahs’ rule which has been ranked one of the world’s worst nations for the persecution of Christians”.
Only recognised Christian minorities are allowed to meet together to worship in church buildings in Iran. The recognised groups are the Armenian and Assyrian Christians who have long been present in the country after they fled the genocide sanctioned against them by the Ottoman Empire. Christian converts from Islam are fiercely persecuted and often imprisoned.