A number of Iranian Christians are asking for prayer following a series of arrests across three different cities.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard conducted the arrests, which began with a raid on the house of a Christian convert in Tehran.
According to reports, the agents marched all the occupants of the house outside before reading out a list of names: Joseph Shahbazian, an Armenian-Iranian Christian, and Christian converts Reza, Salar, Sonya, and sisters Mina and Maryam. Those on the list were handcuffed, blindfolded and taken away. Police also confiscated the mobile phones of all the others present and made them provide contact details, before going to the houses of others on the list and searching for Bibles, other Christian literature and electronic communication devices. Three more converts who were then arrested in their homes.
In addition, on 30th June, agents called three Christian converts (Sohrab, Ebrahim and Yasser) in Malayer, Hamedan Province, and summoned them to the Revolutionary Guard intelligence office for questioning the next day. The group were arrested before they got a chance to turn themselves in. They were later released on bail for 30 million tomans (approximately $1,500) each on 2nd July.
Middle Eastern Concern said the group have highlighted some specific prayer points:
- God will strengthen and encourage those who were arrested – some are recent converts
- Those arrested in Tehran and Karaj will be released soon on bail
- Iranian authorities will not pursue those discovered at the meeting, but not already on the list, and that confiscated possessions, such as mobile phones, will be returned
- Iranian authorities will stop treating Christian gatherings as threats to national security and respect the right to freedom and belief of Iranian citizens, allowing them to express that freedom through fellowship
Under Iranian state-mandated Sharia law, Christians who have converted from Islam are considered to be apostates and may be subject to arrest, imprisonment and even execution.