On April 11, officers from the Ministry of Information arrested 19-year-old Daniel Shahri, a Christian in Isfahan, Iran, according to Farsi Christian News.
Undercover officers went to Daniel’s home under the pretense of delivering a letter. When the door was opened, officers stormed inside the house. Daniel was not at home, so the officers confiscated personal belongings including his computer, DVD player, DVDs, CDs, cell phone and books. The officers then forced Daniel’s sister to call him and ask him to come home. When he arrived, the officers arrested him and took him to an unknown location.
Three days later, Daniel was finally allowed to contact his parents, who are blind and have physical disabilities. Daniel told his parents he was being held at Dastgard prison on charges of “publishing falsities and insults to the Muslim faith.”
In a separate raid on April 14, plain-clothes officers from the Ministry of Information arrested a house church pastor in Karaj, Iran. Pastor Bahnam Irani was leading a Bible study for new Christian converts when officers raided his house, arresting the pastor and about 10 other men who had gathered for fellowship and study. All of the men were forced to fill out forms explaining how they became Christians and who baptized them. The officers told the young men that their meeting was illegal and that they would be summoned in the coming days for further questioning by authorities.
Pastor Irani was reportedly assaulted and then transported to an undisclosed location. Officers returned to the pastor’s home later that day and confiscated his personal belongings, including pictures, cameras, computers, Bibles and other Christian literature.
These two incidents are the latest in a series of crackdowns on Christians by the Iranian government. The Voice of the Martyrs stands with persecuted believers in Iran and calls for their immediate release from prison. Pray for the health and safety of Daniel Shahri and Pastor Irani. Pray that they will be released soon and that all charges will be dropped. Pray that increased persecution will result in increased boldness among believers in Iran.