“But know this , that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves…” 2 Timothy 3:1
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
“Yes and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness sake , for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
Authorities in Iran are increasingly targeting Christian converts with arrests and imprisonments, according to the New York-based Centre for Human Rights In Iran.
“In less than two months, since June 2017, Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran has issued long prison sentences to at least 11 Christian converts and the former leader of the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Iran,” CHRI said in a report.
On July 6, the judge sentenced four Protestant Christian converts to 10 years in prison each “in a trial completely lacking due process,” the group said, quoting Mansour Borji, the advocacy director of a London-based group, Article 18, which defends Christians in Iran.
The four converts — Yusif Farhadov, Eldar Gurbanov and Bahram Nasibov from Baku in the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Iranian national Nasser Navard Goltapeh — were arrested at a reception hosted by their Christian friends in Andisheh last June.
Prosecutors couldn’t produce any evidence to show the converts had acted against national security, Borji said. Yet they were convicted of being “Zionist Christians” who “acted against national security with the intention of overthrowing the state in a soft war.”
Two weeks earlier, the same judge had given Christian converts Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie 10-year prison sentences for propagating house churches and promoting “Zionist Christianity.”
A ruling is still overdue for a decision on an appeal by Omidi, Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie against a sentence of 80 lashes each for drinking wine during a communion service. The Christians were arrested May 13 during a series of raids by security service agents on Christian homes in Rasht.
The U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide has also criticised the government of Iran for persecuting converts.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.”We reiterate that the national security charges levelled in all of these cases amount to the criminalisation of the Christian community for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief, and that this is occurring despite the fact that the Iranian constitution recognises Christianity. We urge members of the international community to extend the sanctions still in place against Iranian individuals to include members of the judiciary who are implicated in ongoing and severe harassment and persecution of religious minority communities.”
Perhaps this crackdown is occurring due to the reported large number of Iranians converting to Christianity.