It has been revealed that most of the 306 people that died during the huge earthquake that hit Iran on Saturday were women and children, with another 3,000 people reportedly injured.
Iranian Health Minister Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi shared with Iranian TV that 219 of the dead were either women or children, while 49 were men. Many still remained buried under the rubble as rescue workers continue digging through the catastrophic zone in the northern part of the Middle East country. A number of villages were hit hard by the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck 37 miles northeast of Tabriz.
"Nobody knows what happened to his wife and two daughters," one local, Ahmad, 41, said of the family of his cousin who died in the earthquake. "We fear that if rescuers don't get to them soon, they will lose their lives too if they're still alive." more >>
An Iranian pastor serving a six-year term in prison for his faith is being denied hospital treatment for severe bleeding due to stomach ulcers, a Christian rights group has said, warning he might otherwise succumb to the illness within weeks or months.
Benham Irani, pastor of the Church of Iran in the city of Karaj in Alborz Province and currently in Ghezal Hesar prison, is suffering from severe bleeding due to stomach ulcers and complications with his colon which caused him to lose consciousness temporarily last week, the U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide said in a statement.
The rights group added that sources close to Pastor Irani fear that he may have months or weeks to live. more >>
Iranian pastor Behnam Irani, who is serving a five-year sentence, has finally been taken to the military hospital after becoming so ill that he became unconscious within the last week.
Irani has been severely beaten while in Karaj's Ghezel Hesar Prison– allegedly for crimes against national security but really for holding house church services and leading people to Christ. He has been finding blood in his stool, Present Truth Ministries reported Monday. After the hospital visit, it was discovered that the pastor was suffering from a bleeding ulcer.
"We are thankful that he has been allowed to see a doctor and is being treated for his illness, but since the situation is so serious, we ask for your prayers for his healing," wrote Present Truth Ministries in the update. more >>
The U.S. State Department issued a statement Monday to Iran demanding that Tehran immediately release Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been imprisoned for over 1,000 days.
Noting that July 8 marked the 1,000th day that Nadarkhani had been imprisoned, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, "Pastor Nadarkhani still faces the threat of execution for simply following his faith, and we repeat our call for Iranian authorities to release him immediately."
Nadarkhani, 35, is facing death simply because he converted to Christianity when he was 19 and has refused on multiple occassions presented by the court to recant his faith. The pastor from Radht, Iran, was born to Muslim parents and came to faith as a teen. As a pastor he led a network of house churches in Iran. more >>
Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is on death row over apostasy charges, marks 1,000 days in prison today and is set to stand trial again on Sept. 8 for alleged crimes against national security. The American Center for Law and Justice is urging the 2.5 million users on Twitter who have been campaigning for his release to commemorate Pastor Youcef's 1000th day by tweeting and praying.
The ACLJ argues that Nadarkhani has been "illegally imprisoned" for 1,000 days and wants to step up international pressure for his release. The Christian legal group is asking participants of its "Tweet for Youcef" campaign (#TweetForYoucef) to tweet with hashtags #Nadarkhani and #1000illegaldays on Sunday to bring awareness to the pastor's story. The campaign has over 2.5 million participants in over 234 countries.
The ACLJ has also released a video about Nadarkhani's situation on the campaign's website. more >>
A new trial date has reportedly been set for Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor on death row, for Sept. 8.
According to Present Truth Ministries, which has been closely monitoring the pastor's case, Nadarkhani will presumably be tried for crimes against security. "We assume by implication that this means the charges of apostasy have been dropped since the new charges have been issued, but we have no confirmation of that," the ministry said Thursday.
The 35-year-old pastor from Rasht, Iran, has captured the hearts of Christians worldwide as he continues to stand firm in his Christian faith despite facing the death penalty. more >>