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ICC Note:
A 78-year-old woman was arrested in her home in Iran, Farsi Christian News Network reports.
3/3/2012 Iran (FCNN) – Unexpected and socking as arrest of Pastor of Saint Paul’s Church in Esfahan was, we now have the unhappy duty of informing you of the simultaneous arrest of an elderly Christian lady.
Quoting Human Rights activists’ network, FCNN (Farsi Christian News Network) reported the news of Pastor Hekmat Salimi’s arrest in the early hours of Wednesday 22nd Feb 2012 at his home.
His home in Foolad shahr, a suburb of Esfahan, Iran’s 2nd largest city situated 400 Km south of Tehran, was raided by hooded agents of the Islamic Regime’s Ministry of State Security.
Pastor Salimi’s house was ransacked by the agents, and books, computer, other personal belongings were confiscated, and were taken away, along with the handcuffed pastor.
Ministry of Islamic Justice has yet to announce the reasons for Pastor Salimi’s arrest.
The deplorable news of Pasrot Salimi’s arrest was soon followed by the appalling report of simultaneous arrest of Mrs Giti Hakimpour.
A 78 years old active member of Church of Saint Luke in Esfahan, she was seized at her home in the early hours of the morning of 22nd Feb. 2012.
Mrs. Hakimpour is from a Christian Convert family. She is a retired nurse, sister-in-law of the former Anglican Bishop Iraj Motahedeh, and lives alone.
Her extended family all live abroad, but because of her love of the country and spirit of devotion to her Christian principles, at the twilight of her life she has chosen to remain in her beloved land rather than to live abroad.
After a persistent enquiries and repeated visits by Church leaders in Esfahan; the 78 years old Mrs. Hakimpour was eventually allowed home on Saturday 25th Feb 2012.
No reason has yet been given for her arrest, nor is it at all clear what if any charges are to be brought against her. Being born in a Christian family; the possibility of charging her with apostasy seems to be remote, but we fear that stranger things have been claimed by Islamic Republic.
Not only House Churches but also the long established and historical churches across the city have become targets of intimidation, slander and attacks.
What is the reason of attacks?
This tightening of Islamic Republic’s oppressive grip against the Christian community in Isfahan, has reached new depths of despair particularly since the official Islamic media’s reports of “discovery” of a truck load of Bibles on its way to the city.
Discovery of so many Bibles destined for the city, seems to have frightened the Islamic authorities; fearful of the obviously huge demand amongst ordinary and supposedly devout moslim population for the True word of God; they are acting the only way they know how; attack the effect rather than addressing the cause of peoples disdain and revulsion with their treatment by ideologues contemptuous of populace and their needs.
More arrest reported
On the 22nd Feb 2012, a number of new converts from Islam were also rounded up. At least one victim has been named as Mr. Majid Enayat , whose wife has repeatedly been ordered to present herself for interrogation.
Based on this report, Shahram Ghaedi, Shahnaz Zarifi and Maryam Del-aram are three other Christians arrested during the broad wave of arrests on 22 February, 2012 in Esfahan.
The two churches of Saint Paul and Saint Luke are both members of the evangelical circle of Iran and have always held their services in Persian. Although both churches have been careful not to antagonise the Islamic authorities in the past, and have carefully steered clear of any controversy and/or any activity which may have been seen as contrary to the wishes of the Islamic Regime; it is not clear why their members and followers have become the target of Islamic Justice.
Old hands may remember St. Luke church as the baptismal and spiritual home of the martyred Bishop Mehdi Dibaaj.

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