The American Center for Law and Justice, the law group that raised awareness and started petitions signed by millions calling for the freedom of Pastor Saeed Abedini, says it's grateful that he's finally been released, and urged the focus to move on to the many other persecuted Christians around the world.
"From our involvement in Pastor Saeed's case more than three years ago, our goal was two-fold: keep Pastor Saeed alive in one of the world's most dangerous prisons — and work to secure his release. To accomplish that, we implemented a three-point strategy," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement to The Christian Post on Monday.
Land belonging to an Iranian Assyrian church that was illegally confiscated by authorities two years ago will soon be the venue for a center for Islamic prayers, according to Iran's state-controlled media.
The Chaldean Catholic Church in Western Tehran, the original owner of the land, has made numerous pleas to authorities to get the grounds back, but in vain, the state-run newspaper Sharq quoted Jonathan Bet-Kelia, a member of the regime's Majlis, or parliament, as saying, according to Assyrian International New Agency.
Bet-Kelia met with Ali Younesi, special assistant to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on ethnic minorities affairs, with the same request but was told that nothing could be done about it. Younesi is a former Minister of Intelligence and Security, and is known for ordering arrests and assassinations of numerous dissidents. more >>
The government of Iran reportedly arrested a group of nine Christians on Christmas Day for celebrating their faith at an in-house church in the city of Shiraz.
"There has been a steady deterioration of human rights abuses in Iran during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as president, including executions and suppression of religious and ethnic minorities," said Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
"This is just another case in point. Actually, the clerical regime is one of the top violators of rights of religious minorities, including Christians, in the world. The regime has institutionalized repression of the Iranian people as the main tool of its survival." more >>
Pastor Farshid Fathi Malayeri of the Assembly of God church has been released five years after he was jailed in a prison in Iran for being part of a "foreign" group and spreading Christianity.
Malayeri, who was arrested in 2010 during the Iranian government's raids on Christians and churches, was given a six-year sentence in 2012 for "action against national security, cooperating with foreign organizations and evangelism."
The U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper welcomed his release ahead of Christmas celebrations, but also expressed concerns. more >>
The government of Iran sentenced a woman to death by stoning as the world marked International Human Rights Day on Thursday, reports said.
Fox News reported that a woman, identified by the initials A.Kh, was sentenced by the Iranian criminal court in Rasht to be buried to her shoulders and pelted with rocks until she is dead. The woman was convicted of being complicit in the murder of her husband.
"The rate of executions in Iran has not decreased in the last few years, it has increased," noted Maryam Nayeb Yazdi, a prominent Canadian-Iranian human rights activist based in Toronto. more >>
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei continues to claim that the infamous "Death to America" chant is not actually against the American people.
Khamenei told students in Tehran earlier this week that the slogan, often chanted at anti-American rallies, is aimed at U.S. foreign policy, and not at actual Americans.
"Your 'Death to America' slogan, and the cries by the Iranian nation, have strong logical support behind them," he said, according to The Associated Press. "Obviously by 'Death to America,' we don't mean death to the American people. The American nation is just like the rest of the nations. It ... means death to U.S. policies and its arrogance." more >>