London, 12 Aug – At least eight Iranian Christians were beaten and arrested last Friday in the Iranian city of Karaj while gathering for a prayer ceremony in a house church, the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran said on Wednesday.
“The Iranian regime’s armed plainclothes agents raided the house church, insulted and beat the worshipers, and confiscated their books and pamphlets before transferring them to a van to be taken to a prison, according to the eyewitnesses”, the NCRI reported on its website.
The security agents also confiscated satellite dishes at the premises, it said.
Six of the Christians arrested were identified as: Ms. Hayedeh Shadnia, Ms. Shahin Bashiri, Ms. Mona Chahardoli, Mr. Esmaeel Falahati, Mr. Nematollah Youssefi and Razmik.
Later three of the arrestees were released on bail but there is no information available about the remaining prisoners, the NCRI said.
The latest crackdown on the Christian minority in Iran follows the destruction of a Sunni prayer hall in the Iranian capital Tehran.
“In the early hours of July 29, officials from the Tehran municipality, backed by state suppressive forces (police), raided and destroyed the Sunni ‘Pounak’ prayer hall”, the NCRI said.
“The destruction of this prayer hall took place while the clerical regime has prevented the large Sunni population in Tehran from using or building a mosque”.
Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi described the destruction of the Sunni prayer hall as an “anti-Islamic, sectarian and criminal act”.
Rajavi, who is President-elect of the NCRI, last month urged Christian leaders to inform the public about the “inhumane practices of the regime in Iran”.
“Today, the Middle East is facing a watershed moment. Moderate forces striving for human rights must be supported. And faith community leaders can contribute a great deal toward the establishment of a free Iran, where human rights are respected”, Rajavi said on 16 July.