Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, on an early morning last month, over 70 Christians in Iran were suddenly arrested and detained by the Iranian authorities. As these Iranian Christians were taken to a notorious Tehran prison, one married couple was forced to leave a 2-year-old child behind. Another mother was taken while breast-feeding her baby.
Eleven were released after hours of harsh interrogation. The fate of the others remains unknown. According to some reports they are suffering through sleep deprivation and blindfolded interrogations. They are likely to face charges of proselytizing, a death penalty offense in Iran.
The peaceful worship of these Christians poses no threat to the Iranian Government, and the government's persistence in accusing its own population of being enemies does nothing to strengthen the regime.
We stand with these oppressed Christians and other religious minorities in Iran that face constant harassment and potential prosecution. Most of all, we call on the Iranian Government to release those prisoners so they can raise their families and peacefully practice their faith.
Mr. Speaker, why would a government that claims to be so powerful be afraid or threatened by such a small, peaceful minority?