Photo Credit: Courtesy
Pastor Saeed Abedini protesting in front of the White House.

According to reports inside Iran, Mohammed and Nazanin Razvini, two Iranian Christians, were recently arrested. They are presently held in Vakil Abid Prison in Mashhad and their lives are reportedly in danger. They were arrested a couple of hours after their cousin, Pastor Saeed Abedini, appeared on the Voice of America’s Persian-language broadcast, speaking out against Iran’s bloodshed and terrorism around the globe. A relative of the family, Javad Mahdian, who works for the Revolutionary Guards, was asked to help, but couldn’t.

Pastor Saeed Abedini told The Jewish Press in an exclusive interview that there are daily human rights violations in Iran and yet the world remains silent. He cited social media reports of women protesters who were stripped naked and beaten by the Basij militia: “So, they showed one hair through the hijab and now the regime is forcing them to be completely naked, without a brassiere, surrounded by aroused soldiers. They are beaten to death. Their whole bodies are black.”


Pastor Abedini was the leader of the House Church Movement in Iran. He was released by the regime in 2015, as part of President Obama’s nuclear deal. Today he lives in exile in the US.

Abedini wanted to know why Western media outlets did not pay attention to the video he described: “This video was released during the early days of protests. How come no one saw it in the West? My cousin Muhammed has arrested several years ago and hit with a power cable on the head, back, and legs. His whole body was black. After fourteen years, he still can’t control his pain. They did this just because he converted to Christianity and wished to read the Bible in peace. After he got arrested, he became a refugee in Turkey and a single dad providing for two children. When he saw this injustice and saw young boys and girls being raped, he went back and said death to Khamenei and protested with his sister. Now, they arrested him. He will get at least 5 years and his sister 2 to 5 years for demanding their rights.”

According to Abedini, “They don’t hit only protesters, but everyone present, even if they are not protesters. They never check if they are protesters or not. A pregnant woman was shopping and was beaten with a baton. Everyone cried, ‘she is pregnant,’ but the Basiji hit her in the stomach, and the mom and her twins died. Another relative then committed suicide. We had so many people whose relatives were shot and then they commit suicide. I heard from my aunt today––they don’t know if their daughter is getting raped or what is happening to her. It’s like death.”

Abedini added: “Sixty to seventy percent of prisoners are women, and they are raping them and destroying them, and where is the world? My brother got beaten in front of my eyes. Another 20,000 people were arrested last month in Iran, including my two cousins. The world must bear witness to their plight, shut down Iran’s embassies and deport their ambassadors for the grave crimes against humanity that they are committing.”

I appreciate that Israel will help Ukraine militarily after it became public that Iran was helping Putin’s war against Ukraine, but we need stronger actions, as these people are getting stronger every day. Look at the Iranian underage women, whose lives are in danger. They remove their hijab and shout Death to Khamenei. The world must do more to support these revolutionaries.”

Pastor Abedini concluded: “Today, my aunt said to my mom that Mohammed was beaten up so badly he almost died in recent days. He lost a lot of weight. Three of his friends who were with him in prison were taken to an unknown location. In his last meeting with his family, he was so weak he couldn’t stand. He never fully recovered from the torture he endured for converting to Christianity. He suffers from PTSD and a heart condition and can’t control his bladder. He won’t survive. We must act quickly, or else he’ll die, and should he survive, he’ll receive a long sentence.”


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Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and an Israel-based journalist. She is the author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media."