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Three Christian Converts, Including Actor Playing Jesus, Arrested in Iran

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"[A] government of ‘Threat and Fear’ for Christians."

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Three Iranian men reported to be Christian converts, one of whom was making a film about the life of Jesus, were arrested in Iran late last month, Iranian opposition and Christian groups said.

Plainclothes officers raided the home of Shahram Ghaedi, arresting him and two other Christians on Sept. 27, the Christian Telegraph reported, quoting the Iranian Christian website Mohabat News. News of the arrests didn't surface until this week.

Ghaedi played the lead role in an Iranian film about the life of Jesus, and has been cast as the role of Jesus in other productions, according to the reports.

The other two arrested were identified as Heshmat Shafiei and Emad Haghi.

Unnamed sources told Mohabat that some of Ghaedi’s books and computer were confiscated during the raid.

The Christian Telegraph reported:

Shahram Ghaedi, 32, is a theatre actor and a member of St. Paul Church in Esfahan. He has played the role of Jesus in several theatre plays because he resembles the generally popular idea of how Jesus may have looked. He was in the process of making another "Jesus Film", but the project was disrupted after the government authorities arrested several of the cast members. Some of the cast members were even forced to leave the country due to pressures exerted by the security authorities.

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, officers from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security carried out the arrests in the Esfahan province.

It also noted that the Iranian judiciary just last week charged three Iranian pastors for “acting against national security” and “association with the aim to overthrow the system.”

While President Hasan Rouhani has been widely described in the mainstream media as a “moderate,” persecution of Christians has continued in the Islamic Republic. As the Christian Telegraph observed: “President Rouhani's slogan in his presidential campaign was ‘Prudence of Hope,’ while in practice his government has proven to be a government of ‘Threat and Fear’ for Christians.”

Front page image via Shutterstock

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