“DUBAI, United Arab Emirates â€“ Iran has arrested about 70 Christians since Christmas in a crackdown that demonstrates the limits of religious tolerance by Islamic leaders who often boast they provide room for other faiths.
The latest raids have targeted grass-roots Christian groups Iran describes as “hard-liners” who pose a threat to the Islamic state. Authorities increasingly view them with suspicions that range from trying to convert Muslims to being possible footholds for foreign influence.
“The use of the word missionaries instead of evangelicals is an intentional move by the government,” she said. “As evangelicals, they are a group entitled to their faith. As missionaries, they are enemies of the state seeking to corrupt its people.”
Christian activists claim their Iranian brethren are being persecuted simply for worshipping outside officially sanctioned mainstream churches.”