"There are indications that with the deep unpopularity of the regime
that people are turning away from Islam," Marshall said in an interview with
the U.S. television network Fox.
activists said the crackdown was launched in May in the southern city of
On May 11, Moeller said, at least eight people were arrested in Shiraz
on charges of abandoning the Islamic faith. Such a crime was punishable by
up to life in prison.
One suspected organizer of Christian activity in Shiraz was identified
as Mojtaba Hussein. The 21-year-old Hussein, believed to have organized
house churches, remained in prison after his colleagues were released.
"He [Hussein] may not be willing to give up the names of other Muslim
Moeller said. "He may not be willing to recant his faith himself."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has proposed a law that would
impose capital punishment on any Muslim who leaves his faith. Christian
activists said many young Muslims, dismayed by the abuses of the Islamic
regime, have been interested in Christianity and other religions.
"Seeing Muslims converting to Christianity is directly threatening to an
Islamic regime," Moeller said.