Iran: “Staggering” Number of Christians Arrested Before Christmas

Iran

Iranian intelligence agents raided a Christian family’s home and arrested the parents, leaving behind their 7-year old daughter. They are the latest in a sweep of nearly 150 Christians arrested over the last month.

The mass arrests in the lead-up to Christmas is the government’s attempt to “warn” Christians against evangelizing over Christmas, a religious freedom advocate told World Watch Monitor.

The number of arrests of believers from different Christian groups in 10 or 11 different cities is “staggering,” said Mansour Borji of Article 18.

Officials “had arrested so many of them and didn’t know what to do with them all,” Borji said. Most were released after a few hours or days but were told the Ministry of Intelligence would be calling them. Their cell phones were confiscated. Christians that were suspected to be leaders remain jailed.

The Christians were told to write the details and history of all their Christian activities, and told not to contact any other Christians or groups.

Middle East Concern asks for prayer for the Christian family most recently arrested. Amir Taleipur and his wife Mahnaz Harati have been held in detention since Dec. 6. They are not allowed to communicate with family members or get legal assistance. Family members are caring for their daughter.

Iranian Christian leaders have come to expect higher numbers of Christians to be arrested around Christmas. But this year is more severe.

One leader said the Christmas season causes many Iranians to be attracted to Christianity. The government tries to squash any interest through intimidation.

Please pray that:

God will give peace to Christians under pressure.

Amir and Mahnaz will be allowed to talk with their family and get legal help, and be released.

Christians in Iran – and those seeking Jesus – will not be intimidated.

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