The Iranian government is stepping up its persecution of Christians, in violation of the fact that its constitution guarantees Christians the right to representation in the Iranian Parliament, the right to produce non-halal food, and more. Despite this, Christians in Iran not infrequently suffer expropriation of their property, the forced closure of churches, and other forms of persecution.
Most of the roughly 300,000 Christians in Iran are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, an ancient Church that broke off communion with Holy Orthodoxy after the fourth ecumenical council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Other Christians in Iran are members of the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, and the Roman Catholic Church; there is also a growing number of Pentecostals, Evangelicals, and other Protestants. Please pray for all the Christians of Iran, that they would be protected and strengthened, and that all Iranians would find in the Holy Orthodox Church the full expression of the faith that Iran’s Christians are holding fast to amid so much suffering.
“Iran: ‘staggering’ number of Christians arrested – 114 in a week,” World Watch Monitor, December 5, 2018:
Over 100 Christians have been arrested in Iran in the past week and nearly 150 in the past month, as part of the government’s attempt to “warn” Christians against proselytising over Christmas, according to the advocacy director of religious freedom charity Article 18.
Mansour Borji called the number of arrests – 114 in the past week alone – “staggering”. In the past month, he said a total of 142 Christians have been arrested in “10 or 11 different cities” across the country and belonging to different Christian groups.
Borji told World Watch Monitor that most of those arrested were allowed to go home after a few hours, or in some cases days – “as they had arrested so many of them and didn’t know what to do with them all” – but all were told to expect a call from the Ministry of Intelligence. Each of the Christians had their mobile devices confiscated, while those suspected to be the leaders of the groups remain in detention.
Borji added that the Christians were asked to write down details of the history of their Christian activities and told to have no more contact with any other Christians or Christian groups.
At the end of last week, the government-approved news agency Mehr claimed that some of those arrested were foreign nationals who had taken Iranian names, as reported by Radio Farda.
News of the arrests comes in the week that the mother of one long-term Christian detainee, Ebrahim Firouzi, died and was buried, without her son being allowed to see her in her final days, nor attend the funeral.
Kobra Kamrani, who had cancer and had lost her eyesight, died on Monday, 3 December, aged 56, and was buried the following day, as is customary in Iran.
Within the last month, as her health deteriorated, she had pleaded with the authorities to allow her son to visit her one last time, but her pleas were rejected.
Following his mother’s death, Firouzi, who has been in prison since 2013, asked for a furlough to attend his mother’s funeral, but his request was also denied….