At a time when the Christians of Iran are focus of government repression, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, Maryam Rajavi, released a Christmas message in solidarity with Iranian Christians.
"I wish that 2016 would be a year of unity and victory over Islamic extremism and especially the religious fascism ruling Iran and its evil allies in the Middle East who sow the seeds of enmity in the world," she declared.
Addressing the perversion of both Islam and Christianity by radical ideologies, Rajavi said that stressing a common set of values between world religions would help to undermine extremism: "When our world is under the attack of terror and extremism, we can find the light of freedom and tolerance and perseverance against fundamentalism and extremism," she remarked.
Rajavi's address comes within just one week of the news, reported by the American Center for Law and Justice, of the imprisonment of 92 Christians in Iran. Many detainees have had their personal possessions confiscated and bank accounts frozen, so are unable to contact family. Evidence has emerged that at least two of the prisoners detained this past summer have suffered brutal beatings during interrogations.
"Let us hope for end to displacement and homelessness of Christians throughout the Middle East," Rajavi said. "And let us hope for the relief of converted Christians in Iran from the oppression of ruling mullahs and for freedom of the whole Iranian nation from this religious dictatorship."
Contrary to the freedom of religious worship stipulation in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, persecution against the Iranian Christian minority is at its most intense during the Christmas period. In November, the American Center for Law and Justice reports, at least 16 arrests were made in Iran of Christians who were gathering for communal worship.
Specific cases highlight the daily reality of prison life; American Pastor, Saeed Abedini, arrested in 2012 and currently housed in the infamous Rajai Shahr prison, stated in a letter released last year that conditions inside the prison were unbearable. Moreover, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati has been imprisoned for over 1,500 days and is currently awaiting re-trial after the overturning of his death sentence. Arrested in house and church raids, and charged with promoting anti-state propaganda, Iranian Christians are under siege by the Rouhani regime.
Despite the international community's general silence over the human rights abuses in Iran, and their tacit condoning of Rouhani's brutal dictatorship in the July 2015 nuclear deal, Rajavi highlighted the grave situation faced by Iran's religious minorities.
She stated: "On this occasion, I call on the world community to form an international front against the religious dictatorship in Iran and its proxies and militia in Syria and Iraq and to fight Islamic extremism, the enemy of true Muslims, Christians and all followers of other divine religions"
As the Iranian Resistance moves into a new year, promoting the voices of Iran's oppressed Christian minority remains a key priority. The Christmas period allows a for a brief time of reflection before the fight against Iran's human rights abuses continues into 2016.