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Friday, December 9, 2011

Pre-Christmas Rise of Threats and Intimidation against Iranian Christians in the Islamic Republic

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

IRAN (ANS) -- Christian activists and house church members across Iran have been ordered to show up at the local State Security offices of their respective towns and cities.

According to a story by the Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), quoting Christian sources in different cities, there are reports of sharp increase of activities against Christians prior to Christmas by the State Security centers of the Islamic Republic.

Reports received by FCNN show that a number of Christians in Tehran and six other cities have been ordered to the State Security centers, interrogated at length, and only been allowed home with a stern warning that they will be recalled.

In addition, FCNN said, a variety of police organizations nationwide have started exchanging information about Christian-owned businesses.

FCNN said a senior general of the Islamic police in Tehran, explaining and excusing the (illegal) information gathering said, “We must be on guard to find out the reasons behind this massive and country- wide distribution of The Bible. It is obvious that this illegal act could not have been done without the help and cooperation of Christian businessmen, and we are looking for proof of their involvement.”

FCNN said reports also show that municipalities and provincial governments across the country are being ordered to force local churches to publicly participate in the two month-long mourning activities of the Shia’ Moslems, ordering them to cancel Christmas and new year’s celebrations as a show of their compliance and support.

In previous years, FCNN said, offices of Islamic Guidance across the country forced one or two churches to hang banners across the front entrances of their buildings proclaiming their condolences to Moslems on the occasion.

FCNN said, “Some less literate and more unscrupulous mullahs then used this as proof of Christian devotion to Islam and specially to the third imam, whose slaying nearly 1200 years ago, (is what) this two-months long mourning is all about.”

FCNN said two of last year’s victims, Nor-ol-lah Ghabiti-zadeh from Ahvaz, and Farshid Fat’hi of Tehran, are still behind bars and have yet to be charged.

FCNN said these two are the latest “admitted” victims of last year’s waves of house raids and mass arrests. The majority of those victims endured weeks and months of incarceration before being freed; often after payment of much ransom money required by the “Judiciary” of the Islamic Regime.

FCNN said Morteza Tamadon, governor of Province of Tehran, officially announced his own crackdown on evangelical Christians, and said they will be placed under additional pressure and arrested wherever they might be.

At the same time, FCNN said, Heydar Moslehi, an appointee of the Islamic Regime’s supreme leader to the sensitive Ministry of Islamic Guidance and State Security, has “continued his ministry’s unrelenting threats and physical assaults on house churches and individual Christians across the land ruled by the Islamic Regime.”

FCNN reported that Moslehi said recently the ministry will continue to follow the Supreme Leader’s direct orders to prevent the spread of house churches in the country.

Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."

Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at

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