Concern Over Whereabouts Iranian Christians

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

TEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)-- There was concern Tuesday, March 29, about the whereabouts of three detained Iranian house church Christians after Iranian security forces raided a worship service, Iranian Christians said.

Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News, which has close contacts with the house church, told BosNewsLife that 10 people were detained March 17 during the raid in the western city Kermanshah, nearly 600 kilometers (375 miles) from the capital Tehran.

Seven believers were later released but Meghdad Babakarami and a couple, Nahid Shirazi and Masoud Delijani, remained detained, Christians said. "There is no report regarding their whereabouts and well-being," the agency added.

The seven Christians were reportedly released March 18 after being forced to sign a paper to never participate in house church events again.


Families of those still detained tried to contact judicial authorities but did apparently not receive any response about the Christians' whereabouts Tuesday, March 29, Mohabat News said.

Iranian officials have reportedly said they have no information ""regarding these individuals".

The reported raid came as a set-back for Christian converts who reportedly gathered for praise and worship.

Iranian Christians said Agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry used "extremely excessive force to arrest them"and also confiscated Christian paintings, Bibles, DVDs, a computer case and identity documents.

Christians have linked the reported raid to attempts by Iran's government to halt the spread of Christianity among Muslims in this predominantly Islamic nation.


Iranian Christians also expressed fresh worries about the elderly pastor Wilson Issavi, who detained government security agents in the city of Kermanshah in February last year. He released after 54 days on bail, but is currently waiting to be summoned to a Revolutionary Court on charges that rights activists have linked to his Christian activities.

His Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Kermanshah is among several churches in Iran that have been closed by authorities on charges of "proselytizing", or converting, Farsi-speaking Iranians, Iranian Christians said.

There is also international concern about several other detained Iranian Christians, including five Christians who rights activists say face charges of blasphemy that carry the death penalty, BosNewsLife reported earlier.

Pastor Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani, Mehdi Furutan, Mohammad Beliad, Parviz Khalaj and Nazly Beliad -- all members of the evangelical oriented Church of Iran denomination -- are expected to face a blasphemy trial next month.

The Christians already serve one year imprisonment for "crimes against the Islamic Order", that fellow believers have linked to their Christian activities.