Published on: 24 October 2017
By Britta Milovansev -DOHI News
Abdol-Ali Pourmand, a Christian convert and member of Payam-e Aramesh (Message of Peace) house church in Dezful, was arrested on October 19, 2017 by Iranian security officers after being summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence office.
According to Mohabat News, while Pourmand was working on his farm, plain-clothes security authorities raided his house in his absence and confiscated Bibles and Christian CD’s. After the raid Pourmand received a call from the Ministry of Intelligence which summoned him to their office in Dezful, Khuzestan. When he arrived at the office he was immediately arrested and transferred to Ahwaz.
He was permitted a short phone call to his family on October 21, three days after his arrest, where he told his family that he would not be held long.
Pourmand, a newly married man of two months is now separated from his new bride.
Three other Christians, also from the Payam-e Aramesh house church in Dezful, have been arrested recently. Sources report that they have been beaten in prison and told to renounce their faith. If they don’t, they face being removed from the country or beaten to death.
On October 10, Mohammad Ali Torabi, also known as Davoud, a member of the Payam-e Aramesh house church, was arrested at his work place and immediately transferred to Ahwaz. His family was also told that he will be released soon, but he has not yet been released.
Two other Christian converts were also arrested at the same time as Torabi but were conditionally released later the same day after long hours of interrogation.
Iranian authorities have intensified persecution of Christians in the south-western province of Khuzestan, especially in the city of Dezful, the capital of Dezful County, Khuzestan Province. Dezful, the thirtieth most populous city in Iran, sits close to the foothills of the Zagros Mountains. It has a population of 420,000 people (2011 census) where many are from Middle Persian roots who speak the ancient dialects of Persian.
Despite the Iranian government’s various methods of harassment, terror, arrest and heavy sentences on Christians and death sentences to those who convert from Islam, Christianity is growing among Iranian citizens across the country.