By Joseph C. DeCaro, BosNewsLife International Correspondent/BosNewsLife Middle East Service

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– A house church in the Iranian city of Ahvaz expressed concerns Sunday, September 5, about the whereabouts of one of its members, who they said has not been heard from since his arrest nearly six weeks ago. 

The 27 year-old Neshan Saeedi was detained by plain-clothes security forces who entered his house on July 24, Christians said, speaking on condition of anonimity.  The security officers reportedly searched his home and seized personal belongings, including a computer, Compact Disks with Christian seminars and teachings, Christian books, Bibles, and family photo albums.

Saeedi and his family were initially taken to Chaharshir detention center in Ahvaz for several hours of questioning and “harsh interrogation,” Christians said. Security officers allegedly described the Christian family as “apostates who were unworthy of raising their 6 year-old daughter.” They were also warned that  if they continued their Christian activities, they might lose custody of her, church members said. Additionally, authorities reportedly accused of “anti-government activities” by acting as agents of foreign powers.

There was no immediate known response from Iranian authorities. However the government has made clear it would crackdown on those deemed “dangerous” to the strict Islamic society.


After the interogation, his wife and daughter were released, but no one has seen Saeedi since, Christians said, adding that members of the home-based church who worshipped with Saeedi were forced to disband. Security agents are allegedly seeking two other leaders of the church while Saeedi is presumed to be under great pressure to reveal the names of all church members.

Elam Ministries, an organization supporting churches in Iran, has linked the crackdown on Christians to concern among Iran’s leaders about the spread of Christianity in the Islamic nation. “Because Iran is a strategic gateway nation, the growing church in Iran will impact Muslim nations across the Islamic world.”

The group said recently that in 1979, there were less than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. “Today the most conservative estimate is that there are at least 100,000 believers in the nation.”

The perceived hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come under international pressure to improve religious rights and abandon his nuclear program. He has denied wrongdoing. (With editing by Stefan J. Bos).  



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