WASHINGTON — Outspoken conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is warning that a $50 billion signing bonus that could be a part of the U.S. State Department's nuclear agreement with Iran will likely be used to fund terrorist organizations that attack Americans and other Westerners.
The 44-year-old 2016 presidential candidate was interviewed via satellite video by Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens at the Christians United For Israel conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Cruz asserted that terms of the agreement (which was announced Tuesday morning after the interview and aims to gradually lift crippling economic sanctions off of Iran in exchange for curbs to the Islamic Republic's nuclear activity) must be strong and added that agreeing to weak terms with Iran could spell disaster.
It was reported earlier this year that the State Department was considering the idea of offering a $50 billion signing bonus to the Islamic Republic for signing the agreement, but Cruz argues that money would — with "absolute certainty" — fund worldwide terrorism. more >>
American pastor Saeed Abedini has reportedly been "viciously beaten" by fellow prisoners in an unprovoked attack in the Iranian prison where he's being held. The pastor was punched in the face, leaving his eyes beaten black and blue, but prison guards intervened and prevented further injury.
The American Center for Law and Justice, the law group which represents his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, and the couple's two children in the U.S., said that the prisoners also demolished a small table that the pastor had used to study and read during the beating that he endured last week.
Abedini was allowed to see a prison doctor, who determined that he does not have any broken bones. On Wednesday, he was able to see a family member who came to visit him and see his injuries first hand. more >>
An Iranian interrogator involved in the persecution of religious minorities gave his life to Jesus Christ after a Christian woman locked in solitary confinement for three days shared the Gospel with him.
The woman, a house church leader named Noushin, was arrested for her faith and forced into solitary confinement, according to Open Doors USA, an organization that aids persecuted Christians throughout the world.
"I wasn't ready to go to prison," said Noushin to Open Doors. "I knew it was a dirty place, a place where people are tortured and locked up in solitary confinement. I was afraid that I would be so fearful that I would give up all the names of the members of house church. I even feared that I would deny my faith if they tortured me." more >>
Iran's revolutionary court is believed to have sentenced 18 Christian converts to prison for their faith in a new crackdown on Christianity in the Islamic Republic, a report said.
Fox News noted that the charges include evangelism, propaganda against the regime, and creating house churches to practice their faith. It added that the total sentences come close to 24 years, but it's not known how many years each individual received, due to the lack of transparency in Iran's judicial system.
"The cruelty of Iran's dictatorial leaders knows no limits," said Saba Farzan, the German-Iranian executive director of Foreign Policy Circle, a strategy think tank in Berlin. more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who has spent over two and-a-half years in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith, is marking on Thursday his 35th birthday by urging believers to pray for America's revival. The pastor noted in a letter that his birthday this year falls on the National Day of Prayer in the United States.
"As an American and as a prisoner for Christ, I have spent many hours praying and crying out to God for revival for this great nation. We all hope for the success of our nation and for America to be blessed, but without revival there can be no true success or blessing. As Ezra's cried out to God in repentance and the Israelites joined him in weeping bitterly and turning from their sin, I would like to ask you to join me in repenting and praying for revival," Abedini' letter begins.
The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, and the couple's two children in Boise, Idaho, said that the letter was obtained from a family member in Iran who visited the pastor in prison last week. more >>
As the United States continues to negotiate with major world powers and Iran aimed at limiting the Middle Eastern nation's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, the wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini says her husband, who has been imprisoned there for more than two and a half years for his faith, is being threatened by guards that he will never be freed unless he renounces Jesus Christ.
"Last week had been quite difficult for Saeed. He has been under a lot of pressure and attack from the hardliners. The guards have also been threatening Saeed that he will never go free and additional charges (and years) will be added to his sentence (which they have done to other Christians and fellow inmates)," said the pastor's wife, Naghmeh Abedini, according to ACLJ.
"They continually threaten Saeed that the only key to his freedom is denying Christ and returning to Islam. Saeed refuses to deny Christ and continues to be a light and witness in that dark prison. These threats, coupled with the fact that there have been mass executions during the last week in Rajayee Shahr prison, have really taken their toll on Saeed. He asks for prayer for continued strength," she said. more >>