2010 has started with news of the arrest of up to 85 believers gathering to celebrate Christmas. According to the FCNN website, 15 Christians were taken into custody on Christmas eve in Pakdasht, a township 25 km southwest of central Tehran and about 70 were detained the same evening in Karaj, a large town north of Tehran. After a week the fifteen Pakdasht Christians were moved to Evin prison, and in early January twelve were released, but the whereabouts of Maryam Jalili, Mitra Zahmati, and Farzan Matin is unknown. All the Karaj Christians were swiftly released, but two of the leaders remain in detention. This news indicates that the authorities are intent on maintaining a policy of intimidation towards the house churches to thwart the spread of Christianity. While the policy might have an immediate effect on individuals caught up in the traumatic process of being detained, overall there is no sign that there is any let up in the interest Iranians have in the Christian faith, an interest partly caused by the government’s insistence on banning its teachings.
- Release of those still detained
- Comfort for families of those affected
- Change of policy of authorities towards Christians.