At least a dozen Christians living in Iran have been arrested by intelligence officers belonging to the country's Revolutionary Guard in three cities, a human rights monitoring group reported.
Article 18, a London-based nonprofit organization that promotes religious freedom for Christians in Iran, said the arrests took place on June 30 and July 1 in the cities of Tehran, Karaj, and Malayer.
The first arrests took place around 8 p.m. last Tuesday, when 10 intelligence agents raided the home of a Christian convert in Tehran's Yaftabad district where 30 other Christians were gathered.
Six were handcuffed, blindfolded, and transported to an unknown location, Article 18 said.
Before reaching the undisclosed location, the intelligence officers drove the six Christians, including a few others from the raid, to their homes to search for Bibles, Christian literature, and communications devices.
Witnesses told Article 18 that some of the captured Christians were beaten, along with their non-Christian family members.
Three other Christians were arrested by the Revolutionary Guard in Malayer last Wednesday morning. They were released the next day after posting bail of around $1,500.
According to Article 18, all that is known about the other arrested Christians is that two of them have had their bail set at around $2,500 and are trying to secure the funds for their temporary release.
? In the Republic of Iran, which is governed by Islamic law, it is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity.