Christians arrested in Iran

Sunday, July 12, 2020

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent (Worthy News) - At least 12 Christians are understood to have been arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRG) in what is believed to have been a coordinated round-up last week, the Christian Post reports. Announced by Article 18, a UK-based human rights non-profit organization, the arrests were said to have taken place in the cities of Tehran, Karaj and Malayer on June 30 and July 1. 

According to Article 18, the first arrests were made on the evening of June 30, when IRG intelligence officers raided a home in which 30 Christians were gathered, the Christian Post reports. The officers had a list of names on an arrest warrant, including Joseph Shahbazian, an Armenian-Iranian Christian, and five Christians named Reza, Salar, Sonya, Mina, and Maryam. All were present at the gathering. The six Christians were reportedly handcuffed, blindfolded. Their homes were then searched for Bibles, Christian Literature, and communication devices. A witness told Article 18 that some of the Christians and their family members were beaten.

Three further arrests took place in Malayer the following morning. The Christians were subsequently released after posting bail of around $1,500, the Christian Post reported.

Concerning the remaining Christians, Article 18 said in a statement: “All that is known about the fate of the other arrested Christians is that two of them had their bail set at 50 million tomans (around $2,500), and are currently seeking to raise the amount to secure their temporary release.” It is believed the IRG was assisted by an informant who had infiltrated the Christian community and had gained their trust.

Iran is ranked 9th on the Open Doors USA 2020 World Watch List of countries which persecute Christians: In the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is illegal for a Muslim to become a Christian.  Believers are often persecuted by the government and the Church is forced underground.