Iran arrests more than a dozen Christians in raid

The National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) revealed that at least 25 Christians were recently arrested in the Southern City of Kerman.

According to a report by NCRI, security guards raided the homes of the Christians and confiscated some of their personal belongings. The authorities have not released any information about the reason for the arrests nor the whereabouts of the detained citizens.

Iranian Christians stand in line at a church to cast their votes during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, in Tehran February 26, 2016. | Reuters/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

The Iranian authorities have been increasingly targeting Christians in its campaign against gatherings where Islamic principles are not strictly adhered to.

Last August, five Christian converts were arrested at a family gathering in Firouz-Kouh county, north of Tehran. According to Mohabat News, one of the arrested men was beaten by the police when he protested against the harsh treatment of the guests. The police found and confiscated three Bibles and charged five men for evangelizing at their house church.

Family members are worried that the detained men will be forced to make statements against other believers.

Iran currently ranks in the Open Doors World Watch List as the ninth most difficult country to be a Christian. Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs reported that the number of believers continue to grow in the Islamic Republic despite the persecution of Christians.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is actually the place in the world where the Church is growing the fastest, something that would be pretty surprising to most Christians," Nettleton said, according to Mission Network News.

Nettleton asserted that Iranians are beginning to reject Islam because of its connection to the government, which has been perceived as corrupt and inefficient.

"The country is run by the Mullahs. The government says, 'We're doing everything according to Islamic principles.' So if the government doesn't work, if there's still corruption, if there's still poverty, then that must mean Islam doesn't work.... That failure has really, in the eyes of the people of Iran, become the failure of Islam," Nettleton added.

Nettleton stated that he had heard reports that as much as 70 percent of Iranians reject Islam and some have become more open to the Gospel.