On 23rd October 2014 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt rev Alan Smith, received two written answers from Government to questions he had raised about freedom of religion and belief in Iran.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had through the chargé d’affaires of the recently reopened Iranian embassy regarding the imprisonment of Pastor Behnam Irani.[HL2154]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We are aware of the imprisonment of Pastor Behnam Irani. We remain deeply concerned about the detention of and discrimination against members of minority religious groups in Iran. We have called on the Iranian government to protect the rights of all minority groups in Iran. The Iranian Embassy in the UK is yet to reopen, but the UK’s non-resident Chargé d’Affaires raised the issue of freedom of religion with the Iranian authorities during his visit to Iran earlier this year.
Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions the Prime Minister had with President Rouhani regarding freedom of religion and belief in Iran during their meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.[HL2155]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Both the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), raised a high profile human rights case in their meetings with President Rouhani and the Foreign Minister respectively. The UK’s non-resident Chargé d’Affaires raised the issue of freedom of religion and belief with the Iranian authorities during his visit to Iran earlier this year. The British Government urges the Iranian government to respect the rights of all minority religious groups.