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Christian women sentenced to death in Iran plead with US to accept more refugees

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Two Christian women who were sentenced to death for their faith in Iran are pleading with the US to raise its cap on the number of refugees being allowed into the country.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that the maximum number of refugees allowed into the US next year would be cut from 45,000 to 30,000 – the lowest cap since the refugee programme was launched in 1980.

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, who fled to the US after suffering persecution in Iran, have appealed to the US not to close its ‘golden door’ to persecuted Christians and people of other faiths.

The two Christian women were granted refuge in the US after being acquitted of charges of blasphemy, apostasy and anti-government activity in their native Iran. They spent 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and were sentenced to death by hanging before being released and acquitted of all charges in 2010.

Writing for Fox News, they voiced concern over the low numbers of persecuted Christians being allowed into the US, with only five admitted from Iran so far this year. 

‘The new US policy, though, is keeping the victims  of a corrupt and abusive government from coming to America, even while some government officials and their families are among the very few able to obtain visas,’ they said.

‘The US should be proud of its history as a beacon of safety, compassion and freedom. But if it wants to retain that history, it needs to change course to admit more refugees.’Instead, things are moving in the opposite direction.’

The Trump administration has taken a harder stance on immigration than previous administrations. In the summer, the Trump administration’s travel ban on people from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Venezuela was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Its position on refugees has been to seek solutions closer to the countries they come from and continue advocating for religious freedom worldwide.

Speaking earlier this year, Pompeo said he wanted refugees ‘to experience religious freedom in their own countries, such that there will be fewer that have to travel to the United States to practice their faith.’

Rostampour and Amirizadeh welcomed continued efforts to champion religious freedom and hold countries like Iran accountable for human rights abuses. However, they pleaded with the US not to close its doors to in need of refuge in the meantime.

‘We thank God for all the ways America’s leaders are seeking to advance religious freedom throughout the globe, affirming that no one should be forced to choose between practicing their faith and living safely in their country,’ they said.

‘Until Iran and other repressive regimes respect religious freedom, though, we pray that persecuted Christians and other religious minorities will continue to have access to the US refugee resettlement program.’

Source: Christian Today

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