Israel criticized on Sunday an interim nuclear deal the United States and other world powers reached with Iran, calling it a "historic mistake." It is also a "betrayal" of U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is in an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith, said the American Center for Law and Justice, which had urged Washington to secure his release as a precondition.
"What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it's a historic mistake," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, of the four-page agreement, to which Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are also party.
Named the "Joint Plan of Action," the deal requires Iran to freeze its nuclear program for six months even as negotiators continue to push for a longer-term agreement. In return, Iran will be provided with up to $7 billion in relief from international sanctions for the duration of the interim agreement. more >>
Israeli archaeologists are claiming to have unearthed a wine cellar that is older than the bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls at a site in northern Israel.
American and Israeli archaeologists digging over the summer at a site known as Tel Kabri, located in northern Israel in the ruins of what used to be a northern Canaanite city, discovered the remains of 40 large jars near the banquet hall of a palace where the city-state's leaders and guests used to feast. The findings were presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Baltimore, Maryland.
Although the liquid that once sat in each jar has long vanished, chemical analyses performed on the jars' residue found they contained remnants of wine ingredients, including tartaric and syringic acid residues, as well as various spices and sweeteners, including mint, honey, cinnamon bark, juniper berries and resins. According to the New York Times, this recipe for wine was similar to medicinal wines used in Egypt for 2,000 years and would taste similar to a modern-day Greek wine. more >>
The American Center for Law and Justice has urged Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Geneva for nuclear talks with Iran, to secure the release of U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is in an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith, before an agreement on that country's nuclear program.
"The actions of the Iranian regime have utterly ignored President Obama's demand for Mr. Abedini's release," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, wrote to Kerry this week.
"Failure to secure Mr. Abedini's freedom and return to the United States while executing an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran sends the unmistakable message that the United States will not protect its own citizens even when dealing directly with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran," added Sekulow. more >>
Human Rights Watch revealed that Syrian rebel forces have committed war crimes including the killing of civilians and the targeting of churches, during their attack on the Christian village of Sadad in late October.
According to the testimonies of villagers, the rebel fighters refused to allow them to leave their homes in areas with active fighting, while others said that the fighters used civilians as human shields.
Residents confirmed that opposition fighters also stole the possessions of some residents - looted and vandalized property in at least three local historical churches. more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has launched a global petition to urge the United Nations and the world's leaders to step in the Syrian civil war and help the suffering people, many of whom are in Christian communities that have been caught in the crossfire.
"For nearly three years, the people of war-torn Syria have experienced terrible suffering and enormous challenges," Open Doors said in a statement on Thursday. The group is seeking 500,000 signatures.
"In particular, the Christian community, around 8 percent of the population, is paying a high price for living in a country where the civil war has caused over 100,000 deaths and left 4.2 million homeless inside the country." more >>
The family of Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran has finally been allowed to visit him in Rajai Shahr Prison, where he was abruptly transferred to earlier this month. But the U.S. citizen is still being denied the medication that he needs.
"Pastor Saeed's situation remains dire. However, we are encouraged that his Iranian family was allowed visitation – and that his Iranian family was able to see him face-to-face and communicate with him. Pastor Saeed, however, has yet to receive the medication he has been prescribed for internal injuries suffered at the hands of his captors," the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) reported in an update on the pastor's condition on Monday.
The update served as the first physical confirmation of Pastor Saeed's condition and life since he was taken out of Evin Prison earlier this month and transferred to Rajai Shahr. The law group, which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S., noted that the pastor is being kept inside the violent criminal ward and is sharing a cell with other prisoners. more >>