Revolutionary Guard Targeting Farsi Churches for Closures
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Intelligence Organization shut down a Farsi-language Protestant Church in Tehran last week in the latest in a string of closures. According to reports, in the last six months, the Iranian government has shut down and arrested members of several Protestant churches that practice and evangelize in Farsi “largely to prevent Muslims from learning about or converting to Christianity.” The Revolutionary Guard also recently took control of oversight of all churches in Iran, putting them under direct control of Ayatollah Khamenei.
Also, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that five prisoners of conscience have been moved to an unspecified location and believes they are about to be executed. The five were arrested during street protests last year and were charged in the murder of a police officer.
Additionally, imprisoned Kurdish journalist and human rights activist Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand started a hunger strike to visit his “gravely ill” son. Prison authorities have denied Kaboudvand leave to visit his son in the hospital and have withheld news of the boy’s condition.
In an analysis of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he begins his last year in office, the Associated Press contrasts the President’s larger-than-life image abroad with his diminished power at home. The article argues, however, that this “classic case of a weak office occupied by a strong personality” still leaves Ahmadinejad some power to influence the tone of domestic politics throughout his final year and he may yet challenge the power of Ayatollah Khamenei again.