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Retired American pastor arrested for protesting outside Evin Prison

Retired American pastor arrested for protesting outside Evin Prison

A retired American pastor has been arrested after protesting outside Evin Prison against the increased pressure on Christians in Iran.

Eddie Romero live-streamed today’s protest on his website, using a hidden camera and microphone. But the recording was cut off during his arrest and since then there has been no news of the pastor.

The pastor had said he was seeking to raise awareness of the pressure on Christians in Iran and to call for the release of four Iranian Christians: Farshid Fathi, Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar and Alireza Seyyedian.

Pastor Romero also called for the release of imprisoned human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, who had defended Christians including Yousef Nadarkhani.

Over 40 Christians are currently detained in Iranian prisons due to their religious activities, labelled “actions against national security” and “propaganda against the regime”. At least seven of them, including Farshid Fathi, Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar and Alireza Seyyedian, are in Evin Prison.

Farshid and Alireza are serving six-year sentences, Saeed eight, and Mostafa ten. They are in Ward 350.

Also detained in Evin Prison are Maryam Naghash Zargaran, who is serving a four-year sentence, and Ebrahim Firouzi and Sevada Aghasar, who were arrested in June. 

Pastor Romero was the pastor of a Californian church before his retirement, and now lectures in philosophy.

His protest comes as negotiations continue between Iran and the international community over its nuclear programme.

“Iran cannot easily ignore this protest at such a sensitive time politically,” says Article18’s Advocacy Director, Mansour Borji. “Despite the promises made by the Iranian president about easing the pressure against religious minorities, Farsi-speaking Christians are still under pressure and in recent months several have been handed very severe sentences.”