Eight Iranian converts to Christianity, including five from one family, were arrested at their homes in a coordinated operation carried out by Ministry of Intelligence agents on 1 July.
The officials swooped at about 9 a.m. in the south-west city of Bushehr and seized Bibles and other Scriptures, laptops, phones and identity and bank cards. Agents also searched the workplaces of at least two of the Christians and took away computer hard drives and security camera footage.
Sources named the five family members arrested as Sam Khosravi, 36, Maryam Falahi, 35, Sasan Khosravi, 35, Marjan Falahi, 33, and Khatoon Fatolahzadeh, 61. The other Christians were named as Pooriya Peyma, 27, Fatemeh Talebi, 27, and Habib Heydari, 38.
Khatoon Fatolahzadeh, arrested after agents in six cars came to her house, was released the same day because of her age. The rest are being held in solitary confinement and without access to lawyers at the Ministry of Intelligence office in Bushehr.
Two months ago, on 9 May, Iranian agents shut down a 100-year-old Assyrian church in Tabriz, north-west Iran, and tore down its cross.