In recent days, there have been complaints of violations of religious minority rights in Iran, particularly Christians and Christian converts.
Mansour and Mahmoud Mardani Kharaji, two Christian converts who have been arrested by security authorities for more than a month, are still missing. Security forces apprehended the two brothers on December 22 in a house church in Fooladshahr, Isfahan. Despite their family’s efforts, no information about their whereabouts or condition has been obtained.
The IRGC intelligence forces raided the church where about 10 Christian converts had gathered to celebrate Christmas,” an informed source claimed. The plainclothes agents who had already monitored the place confiscated their mobile phones after conducting a body search. Then they registered the names and details of all the 10 Christian converts and started interrogating them.”
Both Mansour Mardani Kharaji and Mahmoud Mardani Kharaji are plasterers and are 42 years old.
Evangelism, missionary work, and converting to Christianity are all considered crimes in Iran and can result in a sentence of more than ten years in prison. In Iran, it is currently illegal to distribute Christian literature in Persian.
Eight Christian converts were summoned to the “press headquarters of the Ministry of Intelligence” in Dezful, southwest of the country, on January 30.
Authorities forced Christian converts to abandon their beliefs by holding ideological classes for them.
There are no recent official figures on the number of Christians in Iran, but a 2011 state census reported 117,704 of them.
Those who identified themselves as Christians in an official census belonged to historic ethnic churches that are recognized and accepted, such as Armenian churches.
The Iranian government, on the other hand, is merciless on evangelical and other new Christian movements that are developing discreetly among Muslims.
Iran has 270,057 Christians according to the World Christian Database (WCD) in 2010. Some Christian groups think that the figure is significantly higher. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, at least five church leaders have been assassinated, and hundreds more have been interrogated or imprisoned in Iran.