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Iran's Revolutionary Guard releases photos showing large quantities of confiscated Christian literature

(Wikimedia Commons/Mike Gadd)The Vank Cathedral in Esfahan, Iran.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard has recently published photographs that showed large quantities of confiscated Christian material in an apparent attempt to curb Christian gatherings in the country.

In an interview with World Watch Monitor, religious freedom advocate Mansour Borji said that the photographs, which were initially released in July, were aimed at deterring Christians from meeting over the summer months.

Among the materials confiscated were dozens of Bibles, textbooks, theological notes, and Christian CDs.

A report published by Mohabat News earlier this week indicated that the confiscations occurred after several Christians were arrested in Iran's capital of Tehran and the nearby towns of Rey and Pardis, but no further details were provided.

Borji, who is part of the advocacy group Article 18, described the release of the photos as a "publicity stunt." He added that the news release demonstrated the regime's "disrespect" for religious freedom and fear of Christianity.

"Why would a secure and stable government be so troubled by New Testaments and books on Christian discipleship? How can they claim to have respect for the rights of religious minorities, and then parade Christian literature as evidence of criminal activity?" Borji asked.

The activist said that the confiscated materials will likely be burned by Iranian authorities, citing a similar case two years ago when boxes of confiscated Bibles were declared to have been "destroyed" by the authorities, who reportedly used a Farsi word that Borji said could only mean that the materials were set on fire.

"This shows their disrespect for Christian holy books. When the Nazis went around burning books, Henrich Heine, a German poet wrote that 'Where they burn books, they will too in the end burn people'. This anti-Christian rhetoric and attitude will lead to further violence," he said.

According to Mohabat News, influential Muslim clerics in Iran have been warning against the "excessive promotion of Christianity" among young people, with one cleric reportedly saying that Christians have been luring Shia Muslims who are "not strong in their beliefs."

Christianity has been growing at an exponential rate in Iran, especially among youths, despite the Islamic government's efforts to suppress the faith.

Millions of dollars have reportedly been spent by the government for the dissemination of Islamic propaganda across the country, alongside the campaign to crack down on new Christian converts and the closure of churches.

However, the strategies have proven ineffective, with mission group Elam Ministries estimating that there are as many as 360,000 believers in the country today, compared with only 500 in 1979.

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