The Iranian authorities are rounding up Christians across the country in a wave of arrests targeting ordinary church members – including a 78-year-old woman – and leaders.
Since Christmas, security agents have conducted sweeps of house churches in Ahwaz, Shiraz, Esfahan, Tehran and Kermanshah. Some officially registered churches have been targeted too. Christians have also been seized in their homes and workplaces.
In one incident, 78-year-old Giti Hakimpour was arrested in a raid on her home in Esfahan at 6am on 22 February. Officers searched the active church member’s apartment and confiscated some of her belongings. Giti, who had recently undergone knee replacement surgery, was not in good health; her doctor had ordered that she needed special care and should not be subjected to stress. Following persistent efforts from church leaders, Giti was released on 25 February.