Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, was able to address the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time directly on Tuesday, calling on world leaders to stand up for the principles they say they uphold and help her imprisoned husband.
"For nearly a year, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has tried to silence my husband, Saeed Abedini, through illegal imprisonment, torture, and threats against our family. Why is he being held – because he exercised his rights of religious freedom, expression, and peaceful assembly," Naghmeh Abedini began.
"I hope that my presence here today will put a face to those who suffer when a government does not uphold its obligation to protect these freedoms. . . ." more >>
The Central Assembles of God Church (AOG), Iran's largest Persian-speaking Pentecostal church, was closed during a worship service on Monday, according to BosNewsLife. Its pastor, Robert Asserian, was detained on May 21 and moved to an unknown location.
BNL said that the Islamic authorities are "eager to maintain their influence [and] wary of groups deemed dangerous to their power base, including growing Christian churches."
"These incidents appear to be an attempt to stop worship services from being conducted in Farsi, the language of the majority of Iranians," said George O. Wood, general superintendent of AOG in the United States. "Services are allowed in Armenian, a minority language that most Iranians do not speak or even understand." more >>
Imprisoned U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini has managed to get out a letter to his hundreds of thousands of supporters around the world through his wife, Naghmeh, in which he praised the unity Christians in various denominations have shown in praying for his release.
"I heard that the persecution, my arrest and imprisonment has united churches from different denominations, from different cities and countries, that would never come together because of their differences. That the churches have united together in prayer to put one request (my freedom) on one day (Pentecost) before God," the pastor said in a letter.
"You don't know how happy I was in the Lord and rejoiced knowing that in my chains the body of Christ has chained together and is brought to action and prayer." more >>
The National Council of Resistance of Iran has advocated on behalf of persecuted religious minorities in Iran and has called for the humane treatment of Christians in prison in light of deteriorating conditions in some of the country's most notorious prisons.
The council revealed that agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security arrested Pastor Robert Assarian of the Assemblies of God Church in Tehran on Tuesday, May 21. The agents took the pastor to an unknown location and closed the church.
Another pastor, Behnam Irani, was not provided medical care by Gohardasht prison officials despite the fact that he has serious health conditions. more >>
A Christian pastor at the Central Assemblies of God Church in Tehran was arrested during a prayer meeting at the church, which may be forced to close down in June due to pressure from Iranian authorities.
"There are lots of underground churches in Iran but the Assemblies of God, which the Church in Tehran is, is permitted to operate but with many restrictions. It has never been easy, but now they are considering closure," Kiri Kankhwende, press officer for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, told The Christian Post in an email on Wednesday.
While details are scarce about the arrest of the Rev. Robert Asserian, CSW, which works for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, noted that he was arrested on Tuesday morning while conducting a prayer meeting at the church. Iranian forces apparently raided his house and confiscated many of his belongings, including his computer and books. Asserian was taken to an unknown location. more >>
More good news concerning U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini has followed his release from solitary confinement last week, as reports have suggested the global support he has been receiving while in prison in Tehran, Iran, are helping him find joy and peace.
"Despite his suffering, Pastor Saeed's faith continues to keep him alive. Other prisoners reportedly told Saeed's family that when Pastor Saeed was released from solitary confinement, 'he was glowing,' and that miraculously he 'was filled with more joy and peace after solitary' than he was before solitary," the American Center for Law and Justice said in a statement on Tuesday.
The American pastor is said to be suffering from medical problems, including kidney issues, as he serves the eight-year sentence handed to him in January by the Iranian court for "endangering national security." The ACLJ, which represents his wife and two children back in the U.S., has said that Abedini is being unfairly targeted for his Christian faith in the largely Muslim-dominated country, and that he is being denied the medical care he needs. more >>