Over 60% Christians Arrested in Iran Targeted for Possessing Bibles


The year 2023 saw a surge in the arrest of Christians in Iran as the Iranian authorities appeared to target Bible distributors in particular, a new report from leading persecution monitoring organizations reveals. One-third of those arrested, making over sixty percent (60%), possessed multiple copies of the Bible.

A 2024 joint annual report released on Monday by the advocacy groups Article 18, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Open Doors, and Middle East Concern, analyzed the various ways the Iranian regime targets religious communities, including Christians, subjecting them to arrests, fines, and floggings.

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“Despite a comparable number of Christians being arrested in 2023 as in previous years — 166 arrests were documented in 2023, compared to 134 in 2022 — fewer names and faces could be publicised,” the report stated.

The arrests came in “waves,” the report reads. Authorities arrested a handful of people before June, increasing to over 100 arrests within three months over the summer and a “further rash of arrests during Christmas.”

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As the report noted, few of those arrested agreed to publicize their cases, which led to an increased number of “faceless victims.”

“By the end of 2023, at least 17 of the Christians arrested during the summer had received prison sentences of between three months and five years, or non-custodial punishments such as fines, flogging, and in one case the community-service of digging graves, on charges of ‘propaganda against the state,'” the report explained.

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Steve Dew-Jones, the news director for Article 18, a London-based organization that specializes in monitoring persecution in Iran, told The Christian Post that he does not believe it’s a coincidence that the arrests in 2023 took place in the months leading up to the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who was arrested and beaten to death by the Islamic Republic’s “morality police”, for wearing her hijab improperly, leading to a massive protest in Iran.

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