An Iranian who converted to Christianity has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for distributing Bibles across Iran, the Vatican missionary news agency Fides reported Wednesday.
Mohammad Hadi Bordhar was arrested in Iran in December 2012 and told allegedly told police he wanted to "evangelise by handing out 12,000 pocket bibles," AFP reported,
He was jailed on the premise of "crimes against state security".
According to AFP, after converting to Christianity and being baptized, Bordhar founded a "domestic church" in his home in Rasht, northern Iran. Iranian police uncovered Christian books, CDs and over 6,000 Bibles at his property, Fides reported.
Fides said he had already been arrested in 2009 and found guilty of apostasy but had since been released.
The Vatican news agency quoted a non-governmental group as saying that interest in the Christian faith among young Iranians is worrying the authorities and that churches are often shut down.
Hassan Rouhani, recently elected Iranian president, has raised hopes of civil rights and religious tolerance due to his rhetoric, AFP said.
According to Fides, the Christian minority in Iran is tiny, making up less than one percent of the population.