Iranian Authorities Raid House Church in Tehran; Arrest Two


Date:  2014-09-02

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

IRAN (ANS) -- Reports from Tehran indicate that following the recent propaganda campaign against Iranian Christians, two Christian converts identified as Mehdi Vaziri, 28, and Amir Kian, 27, were arrested as they gathered for prayer and Bible study.

According to a story by Mohabat News, Iranian security authorities arrested the two men on Aug. 12 2014, at 6 p.m. local time in a house near Azerbaijan Street in Tehran.

Vaziri is a graphic designer, and Kian a music graduate.

A source close to the story 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."

For several days, the families of the two men arrested attempted unsuccessfully to discover where they're being held. They eventually found out that they're in Ghezel-Hesar Prison.

At the time of writing, Mohabat News said there's no update on how the men were arrested or what the charges were against them.

However, Mohabat News said, as they were arrested while attending a house church service, it is most likely that they may be charged with action against nationa l security, spying for foreigners or something similar.

According to Iran's law, which is based on Sharia law, converting from Islam to Christianity is considered apostasy.

Mohabat News said that 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 actual 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 cautioned strongly 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 disbursement of Iranian Christians. Today, they're scattered across the world.

Recently, Bulgaria's State Agency for Refugees told Fox News, "The Irani an Christian community is growing in Sofia."

Mohabat News said he added, "Now there are 100 to 200 people from Iran here. 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, Mohabat News said, the widespread growth of Christianity among Iranians is a major concern of Iran's senior Islamic leaders. They try to focus government pressure against Christians through a variety of means to stop the growth of house churches across the country.

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