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Demand Human Rights Before Shaking Hands With Iran

From Mohabat News, Karaj, Iran - August 27, 2013:

Security authorities arrested three Christians, two of whom are Farsi-speaking, in an arbitrary move without mentioning any charges for their arrest. The unreasonable arrest of these Christian men and an increase in condemnation of Christians by the Iranian judicial authorities all point to a deteriorating situation for the Iranian Christian community. Ebrahim Firouzi and Sevada Aghasar went to visit Masoud Mirzaei in his office in an insurance company in Karaj, when plain-clothes security authorities raided the office and arrested all three Christians present.The arrested Christians are, Masoud Mirzaei, resident of Karaj, Sevada Aghasar, Armenian resident of Tehran, and Ebrahim Firouzi who was arrested again after being sentenced in the Revolutionary Court. The authorities then transferred them to an unknown location. Their location is still unknown at the time of writing this article and no indication has been given with regards to their charges for this arrest.

  • International Christian Concern (ICC): They are “alarmed by the latest series of events that continue a pattern of egregious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms in Iran.”
  • Peresecution.org: “There has not been any improvement in the months since the election of President Hassan Rouhani.”
  • Todd Daniels, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East: “Iran continues to engage in a pattern of systematic abuse of the basic and fundamental rights of both its own citizens, and in the case of Saeed Abedini, an American citizen.

Thanks to dedicated groups like the American Center for Law and Justice and some at Fox News, many Americans are aware of the plight of Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran since 2012 for, essentially, refusing to renounce his faith in Christianity. Pastor Abedini’s imprisonment (as well as the imprisonment of two other Americans) has drawn the attention of Secretary of State John Kerry; the topic even came up in President Obama’s phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this week.

But as we debate the wisdom of extending the hand of friendship to Iran, it’s important to be aware that human rights abuses occur there on a daily basis with no real signs of improvement since the June election.