Iran releases Christian convert from Islam, from prison
Tehran (AsiaNews) - The Iranian authorities today released a Christian convert from Islam, Alireza Seyyedian, arrested in 2012 on charges of "propaganda against the government" and "actions against national security". The basis of the charges, according to the organization Open Doors, a video of his baptism which took place in Turkey.
The man was detained in the notorious Evin prison. There he was also subjected to 90 lashes as part of his punishment. A member of the Christian community of Iran, he spent three and a half years in jail. According to his lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, his baptism on Turkish soil "was interpreted as a provocation, intended to demonstrate that there is no religious freedom in Iran".
However, his release has been welcomed by the international community. It is also seen as a further effort by the government to reopen diplomatic channels, after the historic signing on the agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. To demonstrate its good faith, the government headed by President Rouhani announced that it will present a peace plan for Syria to the United Nations.
The Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said that the plan was drafted "after detailed consultations with Damascus" and that it is "one of the most effective projects and demands the serious attention of the UN and other International actors”.