IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The West needs to be careful not to let Iran gain from the crisis with Qatar.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Four Iranian converts to Christianity were arrested last Tuesday in the city of Karaj, about an hour drive from Tehran, according to Persian media reports.
Two weeks before Christmas, Iranian security forces raided six houses the converts used as home churches, detained four and dragged them away. Milad Goudarzi, Amin Khaki, Alireza Nour-Mohammadi and Shehabuddin Shahi were engaged in a "Christian ceremony" prior to the arrest, according to Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty external broadcast service.
Furthermore, Radio Farda reported, security forces raided two shops belonging to two of the converts and confiscated some of their merchandise. One of the shops was sealed off for “overcharging,” “profiteering” and “breaking guild regulations.”
IRNA, the Iranian government's official news agency, defended the arrests.
“Elements of a devious Christian cult who were promoting it and attempting to disrupt the market and economic order have been arrested,” it claimed Tuesday.
Iran claims to allow freedom of religion, and has historically reserved five seats in its 290-member parliament for recognized religious minorities — one for a Jew, two for Christians and two for Zoroastrians — even since the Islamic revolution in 1979.