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IRAN: AT LEAST SEVEN CHRISTIANS ARRESTED OVER CHRISTMAS

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At least seven believers in Iran were arrested in a spate of arrests over Christmas, as the authorities continue their clampdown on Christian activities. 

Three Christians, including an Afghan refugee, remain held after being arrested during a house church meeting in Shahriar, west of Tehran, on 11 December. Around 25 people, including children, had met together to worship and pray, and to plan their Christmas celebrations, when the meeting was raided by 30 security officials. 

The three believers were arrested and driven to their homes, which were searched by the authorities. Alongside the Afghan refugee, the other two who have been detained are a woman in her 30s and a 70-year-old man. The others at the meeting were forced to fill out forms containing questions about their faith and activities, and told that they would soon be summoned for further questioning.

Image: Cheragh and Eram botanic garden in Shiraz, Iran.

Harsh and unpredictable regime

Meanwhile, another Christian, Esmaeil Narimanpour remains detained following a raid on his home in Dezful, western Iran, on Christmas Eve. Despite not having a warrant, the authorities searched Esmaeil’s home and confiscated Christian books. Esmaeil is a convert from Islam, and has previously been forced to attend ‘re-education’ sessions with an Islamic cleric.

Esmaeil spoke to his family briefly on Christmas Day to tell them that he was being held in Ahvaz, 150km south of Dezful. When his family followed up on his case, they were themselves questioned and detained for several hours.  

At least three other Christians are reported to have been arrested over the Christmas period in separate incidents in both Ahvaz and Izeh.

In better news from Iran – which is currently eighth on the World Watch List – at least nine Christians sentenced for long imprisonments because of their faith were released in 2023. This provides some hope for our brothers and sisters in prison in Iran, but given the harsh and unpredictable nature of justice in the country, this cannot be guaranteed – making your prayers all the more valuable. 

Source: Article 18

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That all those affected by these recent raids and arrests will be upheld by God’s presence

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That the Iranian authorities involved in cases against Christians will be impacted by the behaviour and witness of believers.

2

That all will be released and face no further questioning or reprisals

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