Continued Wave of Arrests in Iran
Four New Christians arrested in Isfahan
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
TEHRAN, IRAN (ANS) -- Following the wave of arrests and repressive measures against new Christians in the capital city of Tehran, reports now indicate similar actions against recent Christians in other cities of Iran.
Iranian prisoner in prayer
Mohabat News (www.mohabatnews.com), the Iranian Christian New Agency, said in a story sent to the ASSIST News Service, that “following the wave of repressions and arrests of several new Christians in Tehran and other cities, the security police in Isfahan have also been very active in pursuing similar measures.”
Coinciding with the arrest of Rev. Leonard Keshishian, pastor of the Assemblies of God Church in Isfahan on December 31st, reports have been received that four other new Iranian Christians have also been arrested in Isfahan (150 miles south of Tehran) at the same time.
The Mohabat News reporter in Isfahan has stated that the names of the four arrested are as follows: 31-year-old Basir Amini, 25-year-old Hooman Tavakoli, 20-year-old Rafee Nadi-Pour, and 35-year-old Yasaman Yar-Ahmadi. They were all arrested in Isfahan on Thursday, December 30th, 2010.
“The security police, in a coordinated and simultaneous sting operation, arrested each of the above mentioned Christians at their residences. These agents of the government, in their usual and routine habit, searched the homes of these Christians and confiscated some of their personal belongings such as computers, CDs, Bibles, and other Christian books,” the Mohabat News story went on to say.
Tehran's notorious Evin Prison
“Unofficial sources have indicated that these individuals, subsequent to their arrests, were transferred to Tehran. Also, it has been reported that these four Christians along with all others who have been detained since Christmas 2010 have been kept at the section 209 of the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran, which is an exclusive section reserved for political prisoners and is under the direct control of the Revolutionary Guards.”
The news source added that Rev. Keshishian was also arrested moments before the arrival of the New Year, on December 31st, and currently it is unclear whether these arrests and the ones from several weeks' pasts are in any ways connected to each other.
“Reports of similar arrests in various cities in Iran such as Tehran, Karaj, Mashhad, Arak, Dezful, Ahvaz, Shiraz, Rasht, Hamadan, and Isfaham have been reported and published in this and other news sites,” said the Mohabat News story.
“The Iranian government, in the past years, has been exerting repressive pressures on religious minorities, but the recent wave of arrests represents the largest coordinated and organized repression so far.
“The official government news and propaganda sites as well as Mr. Morteza Tamadon, the governor of the Province of Tehran, have accused these Christians as collaborators with illegal foreign Christian organizations. This accusation seems strange when the government judicial authorities are yet to release the name of any such foreign organization and present credible evidence to prove such accusations.”
Their story added: “Christian Iranians have always believed that contact with other churches and Christian organizations, whether in or out of their country, is part of their Christian unity and means of discipleship and fellowship of all members of the universal body of Christ. Therefore, any form of contact with churches or Christian organizations outside of Iran is not viewed, by believers inside Iran, as an immoral or subversive activity. Currently, due to severe restrictions on travel visa for touristic or educational purposes, any meaningful contacts and fellowship with Christians outside of Iran are non-existent.
“Therefore, we conclude that the Christians in Iran are basically independent and are not part of any worldwide denominations. Christian churches in Iran, due to the restrictions imposed by both the Iranian government and other countries, do not receive any form of aid from any foreign missionary organizations. Thus, accusations such as collaboration with foreign missionary organizations are baseless and sooner or later these detained men and women should be released.”
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