IRAN: Iranian Authorities Raid a House Church in Tehran: Two Christian Converts Arrested
Mohabat News (28.08.2014) - http://www.mohabatnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9077:iranian-authorities-raid-a-house-church-in-tehran-arrest-two-christian-converts&catid=36:iranian-christians&Itemid=279 -
Many Churches have recently been closed in Iran and those that have remained open are forced to shut their doors on Farsi-speaking Christians, leaving no option for them but to gather in their homes to worship and study the Bible. In a most recent incident, Iranian security authorities raided one of these house-church gatherings in Tehran, arresting two of the Christian converts in attendance.
According to Mohabat News, reports from Tehran indicate that following the recent propaganda campaign against Iranian Christians, two Christian converts identified as Mehdi Vaziri and Amir Kian were arrested as they gathered for prayer and Bible study.
Confirmed reports from Tehran state that Iranian security authorities arrested the two Christian men on August 12, 2014, at 6 P.M. in a house near Azerbaijan Street in Tehran.
A knowledgeable source told Mohabat News, "The raid happened when the owner of the house, where the house-church service was being held, went out to guide two new believers to their gathering. When the authorities attacked, he was still out and because authorities still watch his house, he cannot return there".
Families of the two men arrested in this attack made every effort to inquire about their whereabouts with no success for several days. They eventually found out that the men are being held in Ghezel-Hesar prison.
At the time of writing this report, there has been no further update on how they were arrested or what charges have been laid against them. However, since they were arrested as they attended a house-church service, it is most likely that they may be charged with action against national security, spying for foreigners or offenses of a similar nature.
Mehdi Vaziri, 28, is a graphic designer, and Amir Kian, 27, is a music graduate.
According to Iran's law, which is based on Sharia law, converting from Islam to Christianity is considered apostasy.
Latest UN reports suggest, at least 49 Christian are imprisoned in Iran for faith-related charges. This is only the number of publicized cases and is by no means the real number of Iranian Christian prisoners. There are many more Christian prisoners whose cases are not publicized in order to protect them and their families from threats posed by their interrogators. They are strongly warned against contacting media representatives and international investigators.
Increased pressure on the Iranian Christian community and the closure of the largest Farsi-speaking Church in the country right in the middle of last year's presidential election has caused a new wave of emigration of Iranian Christians. Today, Iranian Christians are scattered across the world.
Recently, Bulgaria's State Agency for Refugees told Fox News, "the Iranian Christian community is growing in Sofia."
He added, "Now there are 100 to 200 people from Iran here," he added. "They are running because of the existing regime in Iran, where they are being persecuted because of their religion."
Iran's house-church movement started after the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, mostly by Christian converts from an Islamic background. The Islamic government prosecutes those Muslims who decide to convert to Christianity.
In the meantime, the wide spread growth of Christianity among Iranians is a major concern of Iran's senior Islamic leaders. They try to focus government pressure against Christians through various means to stop the growth of house-churches across the country.