A missions ministry that has been closely following the case of an Iranian Christian pastor facing execution says the Iranian government is trying to confuse and deceive the Western media with conflicting reports.
Fars news agency, the Iranian government’s unofficial mouthpiece, reported that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is not on death row for apostasy, but for crimes against national security. Those crimes include rape and extortion.
The claims were made to Fars by Gholomali Rezvani, deputy governor of Iran’s Gilan province. Present Truth Ministries called the report "perplexing and dishonest." more >>
American Christians and U.S. officials are rallying behind a pastor in Iran who faces execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith.
While the Obama administration had remained silent despite calls to intervene in the case of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, the White House Press Secretary released a statement Thursday, asking Iranian authorities to release the pastor.
"Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people," the statement reads. "That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations." more >>
Speaker of the House John Boehner as well as the White House have issued statements Thursday, pressuring Iranian officials to spare the life of pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, even as reports increase of the Christian convert's impending execution.
In an issued statement, Wednesday, Boehner said: "Religious freedom is a universal human right. The reports that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani will be sentenced to death by the Iranian government unless he disavows his Christian faith are distressing for people of every country and creed."
The Republican Congressman from Ohio also alluded to Iran's past statements of promoting tolerance: more >>
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani needs Christians around the world to stand in the gap for him as he faces execution Thursday at the hands of the Iranian government. That was the urgent email message disseminated Wednesday by International Christian Concern, a Washington, D.C., organization that assists the worldwide persecuted Christian church.
Nadarkhani, leader of a 400-strong house church movement in Rasht, Iran, was arrested in October 2009 for opposing the Islamic republic’s requirement that non-Muslim students read the Quran in school. The Christian pastor had argued that the Iranian constitution permitted children to be raised in their parents’ faith.
In September 2010, an Iranian regional court sentenced Nadarkhani to death by hanging for “convert(ing) to Christianity” and “encourag(ing) other Muslims to convert to Christianity.” more >>
Two American hikers jailed for “spying” in Iran have finally been released after two years in incarceration in an Iranian prison.
Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested in July 2009 for apparently crossing an unmarked border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran. They were each sentenced to eight years in prison by the Iranian authorities.
However, both men have now been released after the Iranian court approved a $500,000 bail for each prisoner to secure their freedom. They were handed over to an Oman envoy on Wednesday and were immediately taken out of the country. more >>
Iranian authorities on Monday released a Christian after 359 days of detainment on charges of spreading Christianity among Farsi-speaking Iranians and having ties with foreign Christian organizations, according to Mohabat News.
Authorities arrested Vahik Abrahamian, 45, a dual Iranian and Dutch citizen who belongs to Iran’s Armenian community, and his wife on Sept. 4, 2010, in Hamadan, 337 kilometers (210 miles) west of Tehran, along with another Iranian Christian couple, Arash Kermanjani and Arezou Teimouri. On April 30, authorities released Abrahamian’s wife, Sonia, along with Kermanjani and Teimouri, after they appeared in court, and Abrahamian was ultimately held in the Hamadan general prison ward.
The two couples spent 44 days in solitary confinement in the detention center of the Ministry of Information, Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN) reported. more >>