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ICC Note:

Radio Farda interviews Mansour Borji, the leader of the Iranian church in London, on the recent arrest of two Christians in Iran.

6/8/2012 Iran (Mohabat News) – After the news on the arrest of Mehrdad Sajadi and his wife Forough Dashtiani, presbyters and teachers at Immanuel Evangelical Church in Tehran, was published on Mohabat News and reflected on other Farsi language media, Radio Farda interviewed Mansour Borji, the leader of the Iranian church in London, regarding the arrest of this Christian couple and the suffocating atmosphere created by the Iranian regime to oppress churches. Below is the transcription of the interview:

Radio Farda: The Mohabat News website which publishes the news on Iranian Christians reported, “No information is available on their health condition or their whereabouts since their arrest.” According to published reports, the Christian couple was arrested on May 24, 2012. However, the news of the arrest was published ten days after it occurred. Why wasn’t it published earlier?

Borji: One of the reasons for this was that it was believed in the church that they may have been arrested temporarily and would be released very soon, or perhaps publicizing their situation in the media might cause their detention to continue longer.

The news was withheld for a while. However, we see this more than before that withholding such news is of no benefit. The security authorities continue what they are doing and usually detainees are kept for a long time.

Radio Farda: Is the only possible reason for the arrest of this Christian couple their conversion to Christianity?

Borji: In addition to this they were involved in Church ministries and were leaders and officials of the church.

Radio Farda: Can you let us know more about the history of the two detainees? Tell us when they converted to Christianity? Or when they started to get involved in church activities that is a possible reason for their arrest now.

Borji: Let me not answer this question. I desire to look at their arrest from the broader perspective of the suffocating atmosphere which they are trying to impose on churches, especially churches in Tehran, the capital.

Similar arrests have also occurred before and we have witnessed the arrests of Christians in churches. Some of them were not even reported, however we knew about them.

It was at a time Christians were asked to limit their worship services. They were even asked to cancel their services on Fridays, for people are free on Friday which is the official weekend in Iran and more people were able to attend the services on Friday.

However it did not result in a reduced number of people attending the church services, but the same number of people who were coming on Fridays, started to come on Sundays and Sunday services prospered.

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