Iran has fired a second missile during its military exercises, causing some to fear that Israel and United States bases could be targets.
In an announcement earlier this morning, Iran stated that it had fired a second long-range missile capable of hitting Israel and U.S. bases, if threatened. Iran’s Deputy Navy Commander Mahmoud Mousavi told reporters: “We have test-fired a long-range short-to-sea missile called Qader (capable), which managed to successfully destroy predetermined targets in the Gulf.”
The firing of Qader comes during Iran’s military drills in the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway that provides for the shipping of the world’s oil. Iran has threatened to close the Strait should the U.S. or any ally attack the country. more >>
Iranian authorities raided a church that was celebrating Christmas and detained everyone in the building, including children attending Sunday school, a U.K.-based Christian charity said.
Officials in the southern town of Ahwaz raided an Assemblies of God-affiliated church last week and herded the entire congregation into two buses, according to the Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
While the majority of the members were “interrogated, threatened and eventually released,” the church’s senior pastor, identified only as Farhad, remained in detention, along with his wife and some church leaders, at press time. more >>
A pastor in Iran sentenced to death for refusing to recant his faith may have to wait another year for a ruling on whether the sentence will be upheld, according to sources.
Yousef (also spelled Youcef) Nadarkhani, sentenced to death after a court of appeals in Rasht, Iran, found him guilty of leaving Islam in September 2010, has been in prison since October 2009, yet his lawyers said they were told to not expect any movement on his case for another year.
“The news we have about Yousef is not official, but that’s what the lawyers are saying,” a member of the Church of Iran who requested anonymity told Compass. “The lawyers speak to the judges’ secretaries and hear things. Rasht is not a big city, so it is easy to know what is happening.” more >>
Iran’s Christians fear heightened persecution in their homeland this Christmas season as they prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of a government raid on church houses that resulted in the arrest dozens of believers.
The Dec. 26, 2010, raid involved Iranian authorities storming house churches and private homes in the early morning hours. The international community entered the New Year to find that 70 Christians had been arrested during the holiday season.
An Iranian court is likely to delay its verdict in a case concerning Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is facing death penalty for converting to Christianity, to allow authorities to further coerce him to convert to Islam as he remains in jail.
The evangelical pastor’s lawyer has learned that the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, has asked the presiding judge over the trial, Ghazi Kashani, to delay the pending judgment and keep him in prison for another year, Present Truth Ministries said in a statement Thursday.
Nadarkhani, a 32-year-old house church leader from the Church of Iran denomination, was convicted of apostasy last year and was sentenced to death by hanging. However, the Supreme Court of Iran asked for the retrial of his case by a lower court in the city of Rasht in northern Gilan Province. more >>
A 29-year-old Iranian Christian man who chose not to follow the Islamic faith of his parents, which is also the dominant religion of the country, was forced to flee Iran recently because of pressure from his family, friends and the authorities.
"In Iran, anyone who converts to Christianity faces various problems," said Abdol-Rahman Mohammad Pouri, as quoted by Mohabat News, an Iranian Christian news agency. "In spite of the love I had for my family, I had to leave home. Everyone rejected me. The only thing that helped me through was my faith in Christ."
The news agency reported Sunday that Pouri had to leave due to "pressures of security authorities," and is currently seeking asylum in neighboring Turkey. Pouri also said even his friends rejected him after he converted to Christianity from Islam, calling him an apostate and an infidel. more >>