By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
IRAN (ANS) -- Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, influential figures of the Islamic regime, especially Ayatollahs affiliated with the regime, have frequently tried to provoke government and security authorities to take action against Christians by making negative comments.
Ayatollahs Sobhani and Tabarsi
According to a story by the Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News, some Ayatollahs have made anti-Christian remarks because one of the greatest concerns of the Islamic clerics in Iran is the growth of Christianity in Iran.
Mohabat News said by so doing the ayatollahs hope to decrease the growth of both Christianity and house churches in Iran.
According to Mohabat News, in a statement, Ayatollah Noor-Allah Tabarsi, the Friday Prayer Imam in Sari, defamed Christianity and called today's Christians "a shame for Christianity."
Mohabat News said that Tabarsi, who is also the Supreme Leader's representative in Mazandaran province, claimed that all the corruption in the west was due to the inappropriate application of Christianity.
Mohabat News commented, "He seems to see things differently from behind the pulpit, because in reality church and state are completely separate in western societies. He also neglected to glance at the situation around him, in a country that claims a leading role in imposing pure Islamic rules."
Mohabat News added, "Problems like poverty, sexual immorality, prostitution, corruption in offices, drug trafficking and child addiction have grown so much that even instituting the death penalty for crimes does not seem to be an effective solution. All these problems are growing worse while Iran's Supreme Leader and government authorities believe they have been imposing genuine and pure Islamic laws for more than three decades."
Mohabat News said another report on Jan. 7 noted that Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, who is based in Qom, again warned about the growth of the house church movement, and called for Islamic seminaries to be vigilant concerning this..
Mohabat News said the pro-regime Ayatollah also said that house churches attract ungodly youth who have gone astray and try to induce them to accept their faith.
According to Mohabat News, Sobhani, whose remarks are always strongly reflected by pro-regime news services affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, like Fars News Service, has taken harsh positions against Christianity before. He has tried to get the Iranian Intelligence Services and security authorities to take action against the Christian community in Iran.
Mohabat News commented, "His activities have always pointed towards putting more pressure on Iranian Christians and new converts."
However, Mohabat News continued, taking anti-Christian positions is not a new phenomenon in Iran. Other influential Ayatollahs, including Mesbah-Yazdi, Vahid Khorasani and Makarem-Shirazi, have spoken out harshly against Christianity. Their comments have prompted the Iranian security and intelligence authorities to intensify their pressure and threats against Christians.
Mohabat News concluded by saying, "Taking an overall look, one can readily see that pro-regime Ayatollahs use every opportunity to warn against house churches in Iran."