Iran Human RightsHundreds of Christians in Iran Arrested Ahead of Christmas

Hundreds of Christians in Iran Arrested Ahead of Christmas


Hundreds of Christians in Iran Arrested Ahead of Christmas

Iran Focus

London, 21 Dec – Over 150 Iranian Christians have been detained in the past month and arrests are expected to continue over the Christmas holiday.

Those arrested include Amir Taleipour, 39, and his wife Mahnaz Harati, 36, who were arrested in front of their 7-year-old daughter during a raid on their home in Mashhad. The couple has not been allowed to speak with relatives or lawyers since the arrest.

Sources explain that these arrests in the officially Shia Muslim country normally spike during December when more Iranians are attracted to Christianity, as Iran hopes to intimidate potential converts away from the religion. However, arrests have been especially severe this year, with some speculating that security branches who fear losing money in the new budget are trying to show how effective they can be.

Miles Windsor, advocacy and development manager at Middle East Concern (MEC), said: “The current situation has been described by some as unprecedented. There are a huge number of arrests and detentions. Recently it seems there is definitely a coordinated and determined campaign to decimate the Christian community and to spread fear and intimidation.”

While Shia Islam is Iran’s official religion and bases its laws on the mullahs’ interpretation of Sharia, the constitution recognizes Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity as official religious minorities. However, according to the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report, it also specifies the death penalty for “proselytizing”, attempting to convert Muslims, “enmity against God”, and “insulting the prophet [Muhammad]”.

Further Arrests

Other Iranian Christians recently arrested include:

• Sisters Shima, 27, and Shokoofeh Zanganeh, 30, who is beaten in prison in Ahvaz on or after December 2, after a raid on their home

• Farzad Behzadi, 30, and Abdollah Yousefi, 34, who was arrested at the same time as the sisters, but whose whereabouts are unknown

• 70 Christians in Karaj on November 30, including Jamshid Derakhshan, 64, whose whereabouts is still unknown

Windsor said that these continuing arrests are increasing fear and limiting the flow of information, noting that most Christian arrestees are falsely charged with vague national security crimes, including espionage. These charges, often followed by sham trials, carry prison sentences of 10-15 years.

He said: “There is no doubt that it’s the Christian faith of these individuals that is the reason behind their arrests and detentions.”

The US State Department yet again listed Iran as a Country of Particular Concern for severe violations of religious freedom earlier this month. Despite the crackdown, Christianity is growing in Iran with estimates of between 800,000 and 1 million Christian Iranians.

Latest news

Iranian People’s Resistance Changed the Appeasement Policy

Soon after the new US government started its obligations in January 2021, hand in hand with the European governments...

Khamenei’s Disgraceful Campaign Against Piranshahr and Javanrud, Who Will Be the Loser?

On the 67th day of Iran’s revolution, the Iranian regime attempted to put a halt to the protests in...

Iran: Expensive Medicine, Cheap Human Life

A look at the equipment and weapons that the Iranian regime has been using against its people to suppress...

Who Is Abolqasem Salavati Iran Regime’s Killer Judge?

Last week, it was announced that the case of several people who were arrested during the Iranian People's uprising...

Iran Revolution Characteristics

More than two months have passed since the start of the latest round of protests in Iran against the...

Iran’s Regime Is Unable To Eradicate Protests

Totalitarian governments, whether be it a monarchy or a clerical regime, and their international supporters are pursuing the same...

Must read

Iraq FM fears ‘tension’ over Iran nuclear program

AFP: Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Sunday urged...

Iran ban on ‘Western’ hairstyles

BBC: Iranian police have warned barbers not to give...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you