According to Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, security authorities of the Islamic Republic have started a broad systematic series of arrests in different parts of Iran, especially in Esfahan in an attempt to counter the growth of Christianity and the house church movement. The arrests in Esfahan which began with the arrest of Hekmat Salimi, pastor of the official church of St. Paul, are a continuation of the series of arrests of Christians in Ahwaz and Shiraz. On the morning of February 22, 2012, security authorities attacked his home in Fooladshahr, arrested him without providing a reason and transferred him to an unknown location.
Based on a published report, following that raid, a 78 year old Christian lady, Ms. Giti Hakimpour, a member and minister of St. Luke's church of Esfahan, was arrested in her flat that same day. Eyewitnesses said that there were both police and private cars parking down below her flat from 6 in the morning.
- The continuation of coordinated arrests
The latest report by Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, indicates that a Christian convert by the name of Majid Enayat, a member of a house church was also arrested following the arrests of numerous Christians in Esfahan. Security authorities arrested him in his workplace on the same day as other detainees i.e. February 22.
After the arrest, security authorities went to his house, searched it and seized some of his personal property. Majid Enayat had just married in the latter part of last summer. The officers even took the movies of his wedding ceremony with them and there is a concern that security authorities will use those movies to identify their Christian friends and other contacts.
After his arrest and until Friday, February 24, Majid's wife was also summoned for interrogation. She was also asked to bring some of Majid's personal things and give them to the Intelligence services. This implies that they are planning to keep him in jail for a long time.
Majid has been denied any contacts or visits from his wife or family since his arrest, the report adds.
It's noteworthy that security authorities sent Mr. Enayat some messages through people who had been arrested earlier stating that they would come to him. He had even predicted his arrest beforehand.
Majid Enayat, had also been arrested and interrogated in 2009 when was returning from Turkey. However, he was released the same day after signing a disclaimer.
For now, no information is available concerning his whereabouts and health condition, though unconfirmed reports indicate that he is being held in Alef-Ta ward (a special prison ward for religious and security prisoners) of Dastgerd prison in Esfahan.
The method used as well as the time of these arrests shows that this series of arrests had been pre-organized and conducted through prior identifications. Prior to this, security authorities had arrested numerous Christian citizens individually or in groups in Ahwaz, Shiraz, Tehran and Esfahan. As a result the number of detainees is growing day by day.