Tasnim news agency connected with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards reported on Sunday that nine evangelical Christians have been arrested in recent days in Alborz province, neighboring the capital Tehran.
Tasnim had already reported the arrest of four Christians on Saturday and on Sunday it said five more were arrested on December 26, a day after Christmas. It is not clear when exactly the first four were detained.
The Islamic Republic regularly persecutes people who convert from Islam to Christianity and most converts try to worship secretly in home-churches. A few Christian preachers have been killed or received long prison terms in the past. International human rights organizations have condemned Tehran for its policy towards converts.
Conversion to another religion is forbidden in Islam and punishable. The issue is if a government decides to get involved and prosecute someone for changing his religion.
According to the Islamic constitution of Iran, traditional established Eastern churches are officially recognized and are free to operate and serve their congregations, which mainly have ethnic composition; such as the Armenian or the Assyrian communities.