Iran to gather more information and tighten its control over religious minorities
| It is being said that Iranian police have given the form shown in the picture above to trade unions. When anyone goes to meet with the trade union, they, as well as their companions, are asked to complete this form.|
Source: Mohabat News
by Mohabat News, Iranian Christian News Agency. August 30, 2012.
Some reports and documents reveal that trade unions are seeking to gather information about religious minorities to help the government increase its pressure on Iranian citizens, especially religious minorities. Religious minorities in Iran have been facing various kinds of discrimination and legal restrictions since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
According to Mohabat News, the Human Rights Activists News Agency reported that Iranian authorities have attempted to gather information about religious minorities, especially Baha'is through syndicates in Shiraz.
It is being said that Iranian police have given the form shown in the picture above to trade unions. When anyone goes to meet with the trade union, they, as well as their companions, are asked to complete this form.
Opponents said, "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?"
It should be said that trade unions are only asked to obtain professional and not personal information about their members.
No doubt, such actions by the Iranian government cause Iranian citizens, especially religious minorities, to be identified and further controlled.
Further control over religious minorities in Iran
Various sources tell of intensified pressure by the Religions Department of the Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic against Armenian dioceses, associations and organizations affiliated with Armenian, Jewish, Zoroastrian and Assyrian religious and ethnic minorities.
According to published reports, the Revolutionary Court as well as the Intelligence and Security police of Tehran sent warning notices to the offices of parliament members representing religious and ethnic minorities asking them to obtain reports and information about some religious minorities immigrants and suspicious regime opponents and their families inside Iran.
This is while the Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic with the assistance of the Ministry of Communication and Technology, has compiled a list of phone numbers registered under Jewish, Armenian and Assyrian names and constantly spies on them by listening to their conversations. Also we hear many reports indicating religious minorities' representatives in the Islamic Parliament of Iran cooperate with the Ministry of Intelligence.
A news source inside the country, also told Mohabat News that traces of a religious minorities representative can be seen in the closure of some churches as well as the banning of Farsi-speaking Christians from entering official churches. According to the report it is rumored that this member of Iranian parliament had confidential dealings with the Executive Secretary of the evangelical church and thus was able to bring a very special place of worship for Persian Christians under the government's control.
Religious minorities living in Shiraz
Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, is one of the largest cities of Iran and is a place where numerous religious minorities including Christian converts live. The religious minorities in this city as well as all across the country are subjected to harassment and are being prosecuted by the judicial system of the Islamic Republic.
According to published reports, two religious minority communities, namely Christians and Baha'is residing in the city have had no good days since February 2012, for they are severely pressured and harassed by the intelligence office of that city.
As the published reports reveal, the security authorities raided a house church in Shiraz and arrested ten Christian converts who had gathered for worship.
Fariba Nazemian, Mojtaba Hosseini, Homayoun Shokouhi, Mohamad-Reza Partoei (Koorosh) and Vahid Hakkani were among those arrested. All these Christian converts are still being held in prison with their fate unknown.
For more than six month they have been imprisoned in Adel-abad prison in Shiraz. Although their judicial status is still unknown, what is clear is that their only crime is their faith in Christianity.
Also, about the same time as these Christians were arrested, the homes of 30 Iranian Baha'is residing in Shiraz were also attacked by security authorities and 11 of them were arrested. According to the "Baha'i Community" News service, security authorities had arrest warrants for 21 of them, but they could not arrest all 21 Baha'i because not all of them were present at that time. Among those Baha'is arrested was a mother and her 9 month old baby who were released in the evening of the same day together with two other Baha'is.