IRAN – Iran arrests evangelical Christians before Christmas holiday

Alarabiya | Emily Judd, Al Arabiya | Dec. 15, 2019

The Iranian regime has begun cracking down on evangelical Christians in Iran in the run-up to Christmas, experts and Iranian Christians said.

Security officials routinely arrest Christian citizens during the Christmas season, according to the 2019 US Commission for International Religious Freedom report, which found the regime arrested 114 Christians during the first week of December in 2018.

Authorities started to arrest Christians last week, said Dabrina Tamraz, who suffered persecution as an evangelical Christian in Iran. “Christmas celebrations make it easier for Iranian authorities to arrest a group of Christians at one time,” said Tamraz, who escaped Iran nine years ago and now lives in Europe.

Tamraz shed light on the harassment evangelical Christians in Iran are facing today, recounting details of how authorities raided her family’s Christmas gathering in Tehran in 2014.

“My brother opened the door only to be confronted with about 30 plain clothes officers who pushed their way in. They separated men from women and conducted strip body searches. Three people, including my father, were arrested and charged with acting against national security and conducting evangelism,” said Tamraz, whose father is an evangelical pastor.