Iran Steps Up Persecution of Religious Minorities

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Mohabat News, a Chrisitian news agency in Iran, reports that Iranian authorities are using trade unions to gather information about religious minorities. It is believed that the information will be used to identify and further persecute them.

In a further crackdown on religious minorities in Iran, the agency says that Iranian police have given the unions forms that everyone must fill in when meeting with a trade union. The forms request personal information about the individual as well as each one's spouse.

Opponents of these forms ask, "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?"

Various sources also told the news agency of intensified pressure by the Religions Department of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry against associations and organizations affiliated with Armenian, Jewish, Zoroastrian and Assyrian religious and other ethnic minorities.

According to published reports, the Revolutionary Court as well as the intelligence and security police of Tehran sent warning notices to all members of the Iranian parliament representing religious and ethnic minorities asking them to obtain reports and information about religious minorities and “suspicious regime opponents” and their families inside Iran.

The religious minorities representatives are said to be  “cooperating” with the Ministry of Intelligence.

At the same time, the Intelligence Ministry, with the help of the Ministry of Communication and Technology, has compiled a list of phone numbers registered under Jewish, Armenian and Assyrian names and is believed to be constantly monitoring their conversations.

A news source inside the country also told Mohabat News that a religious minorities representative was complicit with the government in the the closure of some churches as well as the banning of Farsi-speaking Christians from entering official churches.

Iranian security authorities recently raided a house church in Shiraz and arrested ten Christian converts who were worshipping there.

At the same time, the homes of 30 Iranian Bahais in Shiraz were attacked by security authorities, with 11 arrested.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org