As Open Doors International released its annual World Watch List for 2013, the arrest of Iranian Christian converts during the Christmas period increased. In the 2013 World Watch List published by Open Doors, Iran is placed among the first 10 countries where Christians are persecuted the most.
According to Mohabat News, on December 31, 2013, Iranian security authorities arrested four Christian converts by the names of “Sara Rahimi-Nejad, Mostafa Nadri, Majid Sheidaei, and George Isaian” in Karaj.
According to a report by the Human Right Activists in Iran, these Christians had gathered in Isaian’s residence to celebrate the New Year when plain-clothes security authorities raided the home, beat and arrested them. The authorities immediately transferred them to an unknown location.
The report added, the authorities searched Mr. Isaian’s house and all the guests. They seized some of their belongings including books, personal notes, computers, CDs and DVDs, Satellite TV receiver, and even their family photo albums.
The families of these Christian detainees were turned away when they went to Evin prison and to the Intelligence police to inquire about them.
One occasion when pressure on the Iranian Christian community intensifies is during Christmas and New Year. Every year near Christmas, Iranian authorities raid Christmas and New Year house church services/gatherings and arrest those worshiping and celebrating the birth of Jesus.
It should be remembered that in the last few weeks, during Christmas, another group of Christian converts had been arrested. Those arrested were Faegheh Nasrollahi, Mastaneh Rastegari, Amir-Hossein Nematollahi, Ahmad Bazyar, and Mr. Hosseini. They had gathered in a house church in eastern Tehran when they were arrested.
Reports on Christian persecution in Iran also indicated that the Revolutionary Court in Karaj sentenced Hossein Saketi Aramsari to one year in prison. He is currently being held in ward 7 of Karaj Central prison.
A few former Christian prisoners told Mohabat News in an interview, “We were both directly and indirectly pressured to make false confessions regarding our relationship with foreign countries. They wanted us to confess that we receive money to promote Christianity in the country”.
The Islamic regime of Iran is seriously concerned over the spread of Christianity across the country and does its best to counteract it.
The Iranian government uses every means possible to propagate against evangelical and house churches and describes them as a corrupted movement. The Islamic regime considers Christians a threat to national security and often targets them with security charges.
This year as well, Open Doors International published the World Watch List, a list of countries where Christians are persecuted the most. Open Doors also stated that Christian persecution is increasing around the world. The list ranked Iran among the top ten persecuting countries.