Islamic Republic forces have arrested a group of Christians in Ahvaz ahead of Christmas.
According to Human Rights Reporters of Iran, Islamic Republic security forces attacked a church in Ahvaz on Friday and arrested the pastor, his wife and all the congregants in attendance.
Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh, his wife and two other members of the congregation were released hours later, but the others remain in custody.
Although the Iranian government recognizes Christianity, many Christians have been arrested in recent years and charged with spreading religious propaganda. Iranian authorities do not recognize conversion from Islam; therefore, missionary efforts by other religions are not tolerated.
Close to 125,000 Christians live in Iran, mainly from the Armenian Orthodox faith. Open Doors, an international organization that reports on Christian persecution, says half of Iran’s Christians are newly converted.