Iran (International Christian Concern) – An Iranian-Armenian Christian house church leader, Joseph Shahbazian, was finally released on a slightly reduced bail nearly two months after his detainment. The authorities had requested a bail amount of 3 billion tomans, the highest on record for an imprisoned Christian, but the family was only able to pay 2 billion tomans ($100,000). Since he is released only on bail, it is anticipated that the authorities will pursue charges against him.
Iranian Christians often face national security charges because of their faith practice. However, Armenian Christians are supposed to have some religious freedom “protections” because their families were Christians before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. These protections exist only in theory, and actually serve to isolate Armenian (Christians) from Persian (Islamic) society. Any kind of integration can be interpreted by the authorities as a national security issue.
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