IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Autor)
The secretary general of the Chicago-based Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation (AUA) stated in a 3 January 2001 telephone interview that the number of Assyrians in the cities of Tehran and Urmia is approximately 40,000 and that 25 to 30 per cent of the members of this community are Presbyterians converted by foreign missionaries in the 19th century. The secretary general was unable to provide information on the status of Assyrian Presbyterians in Tehran.
A History professor at Pace University, Pleasantville, New York, who specializes in history and human rights in Iran, stated in a 3 January 2001 telephone interview that the Iranian authorities associate Assyrian Presbyterians with Iranian Muslims, Jews and Bahai's who have converted to western Protestant denominations considered to be "alien" and subject to foreign influences, and who have no legal status in Iran. The professor also stated that Assyrian Christian churches have deeper roots in Iranian history, have legal recognition, and their members can go to church without being subjected to surveillance. Furthermore, according to the professor, members of Protestant denominations, in which the Assyrian Presbyterians are included, rank second, after the Bahai's, among groups being mistreated by the Iranian authorities (ibid.). However, the professor was unable to provide specific cases of Assyrian Presbyterians being mistreated by the Iranian authorities in Tehran or anywhere else in Iran.
No further information on the status of Assyrian Presbyterians in Tehran could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Professor of History, Pace University.
Plesantville, N.Y. 3 January 2001. Telephone interview.
Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation
(AUA). 3 January 2001. Telephone interview with secretary
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sources including:
Annual Report on International
Religious Freedom 1999. United States Department of State.
Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices 1999. United States Department of State.
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
World News Connection (WNC)
Unsuccessful attempts to contact one