FURTHER CONTROL OVER RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN IRAN

Assyrian International News Agency AINA
http://www.aina.org/news/20120831191726.htm
Aug 31 2012

Various sources tell of intensified pressure by the Religions
Department of the Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic
against Armenian dioceses, associations and organizations affiliated
with Armenian, Jewish, Zoroastrian and Assyrian religious and ethnic
minorities.

Some reports and documents reveal that trade unions are seeking to
gather information about religious minorities to help the government
increase its pressure on Iranian citizens, especially religious
minorities. Religious minorities in Iran have been facing various
kinds of discrimination and legal restrictions since the Islamic
revolution in 1979.

According to Mohabat News, the Human Rights Activists News Agency
reported that Iranian authorities have attempted to gather information
about religious minorities, especially Baha'is through syndicates
in Shiraz.

It is being said that Iranian police have given the form shown in
the picture above to trade unions. When anyone goes to meet with the
trade union, they, as well as their companions, are asked to complete
this form.

Opponents said, "what do our spouse's personal information, current
and past addresses and the condition of our place of residence have
to do with the union?"

It should be said that trade unions are only asked to obtain
professional and not personal information about their members.

No doubt, such actions by the Iranian government cause Iranian
citizens, especially religious minorities, to be identified and
further controlled.

Further control over religious minorities in Iran

Various sources tell of intensified pressure by the Religions
Department of the Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic
against Armenian dioceses, associations and organizations affiliated
with Armenian, Jewish, Zoroastrian and Assyrian religious and ethnic
minorities.

According to published reports, the Revolutionary Court as well as the
Intelligence and Security police of Tehran sent warning notices to
the offices of parliament members representing religious and ethnic
minorities asking them to obtain reports and information about some
religious minorities immigrants and suspicious regime opponents and
their families inside Iran.

This is while the Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic with
the assistance of the Ministry of Communication and Technology, has
compiled a list of phone numbers registered under Jewish, Armenian
and Assyrian names and constantly spies on them by listening to
their conversations. Also we hear many reports indicating religious
minorities' representatives in the Islamic Parliament of Iran cooperate
with the Ministry of Intelligence.

A news source inside the country, also told Mohabat News that traces
of a religious minorities representative can be seen in the closure
of some churches as well as the banning of Farsi-speaking Christians
from entering official churches. According to the report it is rumored
that this member of Iranian parliament had confidential dealings with
the Executive Secretary of the evangelical church and thus was able
to bring a very special place of worship for Persian Christians under
the government's control.

Religious minorities living in Shiraz

Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, is one of the largest cities
of Iran and is a place where numerous religious minorities including
Christian converts live. The religious minorities in this city as
well as all across the country are subjected to harassment and are
being prosecuted by the judicial system of the Islamic Republic.

According to published reports, two religious minority communities,
namely Christians and Baha'is residing in the city have had no good
days since February 2012, for they are severely pressured and harassed
by the intelligence office of that city.

As the published reports reveal, the security authorities raided a
house church in Shiraz and arrested ten Christian converts who had
gathered for worship.

Fariba Nazemian, Mojtaba Hosseini, Homayoun Shokouhi, Mohamad-Reza
Partoei (Koorosh) and Vahid Hakkani were among those arrested. All
these Christian converts are still being held in prison with their
fate unknown.

For more than six month they have been imprisoned in Adel-abad prison
in Shiraz. Although their judicial status is still unknown, what is
clear is that their only crime is their faith in Christianity.

Also, about the same time as these Christians were arrested, the homes
of 30 Iranian Baha'is residing in Shiraz were also attacked by security
authorities and 11 of them were arrested. According to the "Baha'i
Community" News service, security authorities had arrest warrants for
21 of them, but they could not arrest all 21 Baha'i because not all
of them were present at that time. Among those Baha'is arrested was
a mother and her 9 month old baby who were released in the evening
of the same day together with two other Baha'is.

www.mohabatnews.com