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 June 19, 2012 3:03 AM

Update on Mehdi “Petros” Foroutan

Mehdi Foroutan was released from prison June 10, 2012. He served almost a year in prison because of his faith for crimes against national security. Thank God for preserving his life and his faith.

Many other Iranian Christians are currently in prison, including Behnam Irani and Youcef Nadarkhani. Both men are reported to remain strong in their faith and positive in their attitudes. Behnam, however, is suffering from health problems and is not allowed to visit a doctor.

Please continue to pray the Lord will strengthen the faith of all Christians in prison in Iran and that they will be released soon.

More Info...

Mehdi "Petros" Foroutan  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 June 14, 2012 5:36 PM

Iranian Authorities Shut Church in Tehran
On Tuesday, June 5, amid a government crackdown on the few recognized churches offering Farsi-speaking services, the Revolutionary Guard’s Intelligence branch ordered the closure of a church. “Due to an increasing number of Farsi-speaking believers mostly Muslim Background Believers it has become a cause of concern for the authorities,” said Monsour Borji, an Iranian Christian. 
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 May 17, 2012 2:58 PM

Iranian Government Increases Control Over Farsi-Speaking Church in Tehran
The last remaining Farsi-speaking church in Tehran faces government demands for the names and identification numbers for all of their members, which could endanger Muslim background believers.
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 May 17, 2012 2:47 PM

Lawyer of Iranian Pastor on Death Row Faces Prison
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the main defense lawyer in Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani’s death sentence appeal case, faces imminent imprisonment for defending the rights of Iranians.
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 February 23, 2012 2:44 PM

Tehran Churches Forced to Stop Farsi Worship
Iran's Ministry of Intelligence has ordered the last two officially registered churches holding Friday Farsi-language services in Tehran to discontinue them. "I believe 100 percent the whole movement in Iran is in God's hand," a source said. "This pushing [of the government] can stop the church buildings, but they cannot stop the Kingdom of God."
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 February 16, 2012 2:08 PM

Iranian Authorities Raid House Church in Shiraz
Last week Iranian authorities arrested Christian converts from Islam while they met for worship at a home. Though the families of the victims have requested information about their whereabouts, authorities have refused to provide it.
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Sign petition to free Pastor Behnam Irani November 23, 2011 8:39 PM

Hi, I have just created a petition "Free Prisoner of Conscience Behnam Irani" who is a Christian Pastor in Iran who is in prison for his faith. I'm asking you to sign this petition to help me reach the goal of 1,000 signatures. I care deeply about this cause, and I hope you will supportmy  efforts.

You can view this petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Free-Behnam-Irani/

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 November 20, 2011 5:17 AM

ranian Pastor Still Awaits Decision on Death Sentence New Arrests Expected
Yousef Nadarkhani, sentenced to death a year ago after a court of appeals found him guilty of leaving Islam, is in deteriorating health. Yousef continues to face physical and psychological torture as authorities pressure him to recant his faith. Some sources indicate the court ruling could come the second half of December when another wave of arrests is expected. This is a favorite time for Iranian authorities to make the rounds at Christian house group meetings during Christmas celebrations.
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 November 05, 2011 6:38 AM

Dear Friends of the Persecuted Church ...

Pastor Behnam Irani has just voluntarily turned himself in to the Iranian authorities to begin serving a one year sentence for "crimes against national security." After turning himself in, he discovered he will also be forced to serve an additional five years for a conviction in 2006 which he was never called on to fulfill. Please write to Brother Behnam to encourage him as he faces a much longer prison term than he expected. Pray for his family and church, also.

www.prisoneralert.com

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 October 26, 2011 7:22 AM

Update on Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani: We continue to closely follow the case of Pastor Nadarkhani who has been sentenced to death for apostasy. The White House, State Department and members of Congress have issued statements on this case.  There is still a great deal of uncertainty about the status of Pastor Nadarkhani. There have been reports from the Iranian government that the death penalty had not been issued and that a retrial has been ordered. Other reports state that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest religious leader has been asked to weigh in on the case.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 October 25, 2011 7:18 AM

Mehdi “Petros” Foroutan

Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: September 2011

Mehdi "Petros" Foroutan, a 27-year-old pastor in Iran, was arrested in January 2010 and charged with crimes against national security and blasphemy against Islam. Although acquitted of the blasphemy charge and released on bail a month later, Pastor Foroutan was sentenced to one year in prison. Unlike most people who wait for an arrest warrant, Pastor Foroutan reported to prison on Sept. 25, 2011, to begin serving his sentence. Almost immediately, Pastor Foroutan was transferred to the area of the prison for recovering drug addicts in Shiraz.

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 October 14, 2011 5:28 AM

Update on Youcef Nadarkhani

VOM contacts report that Pastor Nadarkhani's verdict has been delayed again by the court in Gilan province. The reason for the delay, according to his attorney, is that they have referred the case to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It is highly unusual for the court to ask for the legal opinion of the Supreme Leader.

Please continue to pray for Youcef, his family and those supporting him.

Prisoner Alert users have reported receiving a letter from the Iranian government renouncing published news about Nadarkhani's case. This is positive! Your voices have been heard and the government of Iran feels the pressure. Please continue to stand with our brother.

More Info...

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 September 30, 2011 4:43 AM

Prayer Alert:
 
Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Facing Execution in Next 24 Hours 
Dear Donna Matthews,  

We are asking for your urgent prayer for Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who may be executed within the next 24 hours if he continues to refuse to recant his faith in court. 

 

Youcef is the pastor of a house church in Rasht, Iran, and was arrested in October 2009 for opposing the education practice that forces non-Muslim students to read the Quran in school. Youcef had argued that the Iranian constitution permits children to be raised in their parents' faith; however, for defying Iranian authorities, Youcef was charged with apostasy.

 

Iranian officials used pressure tactics during Youcef's imprisonment as an attempt to coerce him to renounce his Christian beliefs, which included arresting his wife and threatening to seize his children. Still, Youcef remained firm in his faith, refusing to deny the name of his Savior Jesus Christ.

 

On September 22, 2010, Youcef was issued the death sentence for his conversion to Christianity and for encouraging the conversions of other Muslims. Youcef appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Iran, claiming he had never been a Muslim and therefore could not be found guilty of apostasy. However, a written verdict upholding the death penalty and ordering an investigation was handed down on June 12. A reexamination of the case to determine whether Nadarkhani will live or die began on Sunday and has continued for the past two days. Early this morning, Youcef refused to deny his faith for the fourth time in court. Technically, he must only be granted three opportunities to return to Islam before he can be executed for apostasy.

 

Throughout his imprisonment, Youcef has trusted in the Lord and has been a bold witness of the redeeming work of Christ in his life. Remember, Jesus did not merely warn His followers that they might be persecuted; He promised it, saying, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you," (John 15:18-20). 

 

Youcef has learned to delight in hardships and persecution for Christ's sake (2 Cor. 12:10). "Many attempt to flee from their spiritual tests... [but] no one will be victorious by escaping from them, but with patience and humility he will be able to overcome all the tests and gain victory," he wrote from Lakan Prison last June. "Although heaven and earth will fade, His word will still remain."

 

 

Sincerely in Christ,

 

Jeff King
President, ICC

International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
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 September 22, 2011 12:15 PM

Pressure on Iranian Christians Increasing With Growth of Believers
"We are regularly visited by the police; they warn us against speaking about Jesus," says Ramin, a Christian leader. "There is an explosive growth of Christians converts in the country. We can hardly handle the growing number of new believers."
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 September 09, 2011 4:50 AM

Christian Prisoners Are Set Free!
After spending 359 days in an Iranian jail, Vahik Abrahamian was released on Aug 29; Pastor Zhang, imprisoned in China since December 2004, was released from prison on the evening of August 31. Praise God!
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 July 04, 2011 4:56 AM

Anti-Christian Rhetoric and Persecution in Iran: Since the arrests of more than 120 Iranian Christians in December and January, anti-Christian rhetoric among Iran’s religious and political leaders has intensified. Many Christians fear that influential religious leaders will instigate increased, oppressive efforts to counter the growth of house churches. According to an article published last week, “Iran’s radical Islamist theocracy has been a particularly egregious abuser of the fundamental freedom of religion or belief, detaining, torturing, and executing people based on religious identity.” A number of Christians remain in harsh prison conditions despite a lack of formal charges and trials. Read more>>

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 March 11, 2011 7:49 AM

Vahik Abrahamian

Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: September 2010

Pastor Vahik Abrahamian and his wife Sonia Keshish-Avanesian were with their friends, Arash Kermanjani and his wife Arezo Teymouri, when all four were detained. The couples have been accused of various offenses, including propagating Christianity, opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran, and having contact with exiled opposition figures.

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 May 24, 2010 2:33 PM

Dear Donna Matthews,Maryam and Marzieh
 
ICC rejoices over the news that Maryam Rostampour, 28, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 31, arrested in Iran fourteen months ago for their Christian faith, have been freed by judicial authorities after being acquitted of all charges brought against them.
 
Maryam and Marzieh were first arrested on March 5, 2009 by Iranian security forces for being apostates (converting to Christianity from Islam).  It was not long before the world took notice of Maryam and Marzieh’s tremendous courage in the face of extreme pressure and intimidation.  Taken before a Revolutionary Court hearing on August 9, Maryam and Marzieh were commanded to recant their faith in return for their freedom.  “We will not deny our faith,” they said. “If we come out of prison, we want to do so with honor.” 
 
While detained at Evin Prison, Maryam and Marzieh were kept in solitary confinement and endured severe interrogations, all the while suffering from poor health.  Yet, in the midst of great trials and persecution, Maryam and Marzieh did not lose hope, but “considered all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 3:8). The international Christian community was moved by Maryam and Marzieh’s steadfast perseverance, and united behind Maryam and Marzieh as one body throughout the world in prayer for their deliverance.  The Lord heard ours prayers, and on November 18, 2009, Maryam and Marzieh were released from prison! 
 
However, the ordeal had not yet ended for Maryam and Marzieh.  Although released, the charges had not been dropped, and in April, Maryam and Marzieh were summoned to another court hearing
 
After a month of anxiously waiting for a verdict, ICC welcomes the news that on May 23, all charges against Maryam and Marzieh have been dropped!  Upon hearing the news, Maryam and Marzieh left Iran to an unknown country after being warned by judicial authorities that any future Christian activity in Iran will be harshly punished.  From henceforth, Maryam and Marzieh will be able to worship God freely and at all hours of the day without having to fear death or imprisonment.  Their faith and endurance has been an encouragement to countless believers throughout the world. 
 
Maryam and Marzieh are grateful for the support and prayers of Christians worldwide.  "We are most grateful to everyone who prayed for us," they said. "I have no doubt that God heard the prayers of His people. I believe our arrest, imprisonment and subsequent release were in the timing and plan of God, and it was all for His glory. But the prayers of people encouraged and sustained us throughout this ordeal."
 
Join us in rejoicing over the Lord’s deliverance of Maryam and Marzieh!   
 
Please pray:
 
-          For Maryam and Marzieh’s recovery, as months of abuse and mistreatment by Iranian security forces have undoubtedly taken a toll on their health
 
-          For Maryam and Marzieh’s adjustment into a new country and culture.  That their witness and faith will continue to move countless more lives into repentance, and toward salvation and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
 
-          For the Iranian church, which continues to persevere and grow despite great torment and affliction committed against them by the Iranian government.
 
Note: ICC would like to acknowledge Elam Ministries for their tremendous effort in rallying international attention behind the plight of Maryam and Marzieh, and for Elam’s devoted support and prayers for these women throughout their captivity and suffering.
 
 
Sincerely in Christ,
 
Aidan Clay
 
Regional Manager, Middle East 
International Christian Concern
P.O. Box 8056
Silver Spring, MD 20907
Phone: (800) ICC-5441
Fax: (301) 585-5918
 
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 April 09, 2010 5:31 AM

Maryam Jalili

Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: December 2009

Maryam Jalili, Mitra Zahmati and Farzan Matin, are imprisoned in Iran following their arrest while gathered at a house church to celebrate Christmas. On Dec. 24, Maryam, Mitra, and Farzan were among 15 Christians arrested by security forces in Pakdasht, Iran. After a week without information, family members contacted authorities and demanded to know where they were being held. Officials told the families that the Christians would be released the same day, but instead they were secretly transferred to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

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 April 07, 2010 8:50 PM

April 7, 2010

Dear Donna

Iranian Authorities Release Assyrian Pastor on Bail

The Rev. Wilson Issavi, who was accused of “converting Muslims,” has been released from prison on bail and is awaiting trial. Although this is a positive update, continued prayers are needed. The joy of Issavi’s family at his release is tinged with fear as they wait in agony for the possibility of him being killed by Islamic extremists, as is common in Iran when Christians are detained for religious reasons and then released. “Sometimes they release you just to kill you,” an anonymous Christian source said. 

Compass News reports that Iranian authorities have set up a video camera outside Issavi’s church to monitor anyone going in or out of the building. According to the pastor’s friend, low-key ethnic Christians, such as the Assyrians, are largely unbothered but active Christians are treated differently. “When you start evangelizing, then you are in real trouble.”

Father, we know that You are sovereign and that You hold Issavi’s life in Your hands. We ask that You would heal his body, protect him as he awaits his trial, and comfort him and his family with Your peace. We continue to pray for the Christians in Iran who face much opposition because of their faith. Renew their love for You daily, and let them bring glory to You in their pain and suffering.

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 March 10, 2010 3:08 PM

Iranian Pastor Tortured, Threatened for ‘Converting Muslims’ 

Rev. Wilson Issavi, 65, was accused for “converting Muslims” and thereby arrested after finishing a house meeting at a friend’s home in Isfahan. Issavi is now being tortured in prison and threatened with execution, sources reported to Compass News. Arrests taking place over the last month seem to be part of an anti-Christian sweep in Isfahan, particularly targeting Christian leaders. One regional analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Iranian government is set on crushing religious freedom within the country. “The recent spate of church leader arrests provides clear evidence of the Iranian authorities’ desperate determination to strangle the growing church movement, along with all other forms of perceived political dissent,” he said.

Another case in point: on Feb. 28th, Isfahan residents Hamid Shafiee and his wife Reyhaneh Aghajary (both converts from Islam and house church leaders) were arrested at their home. Aghajary was at home with a group of other Christians when police came for her and her husband, who was not at home. Police handcuffed her and, upon finding boxes of Bibles, began beating her. Her husband Shafiee was arrested an hour later when he returned to the house. Their fate and whereabouts are still unknown.

Father, we ask that You would work mightily in the area of Isfahan, and continue to strengthen the Christians and church leaders there as they suffer for Your Gospel. We pray for religious freedom in Iran, and for Your Word to pierce the hearts of the Iranian authorities. We ask that Your Holy Spirit would minister to Rev. Wilson Issavi in his pain and hardship in prison, and comfort the families of Hamid Shafiee and Reyhaneh Aghajary as they wait to hear their kin’s outcome.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

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 February 24, 2010 2:31 PM

Dear Donna Matthews,
 
On February 2, Rev. Wilson Issavi was arrested by Iranian state security agents in Isfahan, Iran, an incident that has recently hit mainstream Christian media.  However, ICC sources have confirmed that there were an additional eight other Christians arrested along with Rev. Issavi who are currently imprisoned and awaiting charges.  The names and whereabouts of the remaining eight Christians must remain undisclosed for security purposes. 
 
Rev. Issavi was visiting a friend’s home in Shahin Shahr, Isfahan when state security raided the house unannounced.  Rev. Issavi, his hosts and others were apprehended by the security agents and immediately taken to prison.  Friends and family are deeply concerned as they are unable to contact Rev. Issavi.  The location and physical condition of the nine Christians is unknown.
 
The arrest of Rev. Issavi was a devastating blow to the Iranian Christian community.  Rev. Issavi is known among friends as a humble and devoted servant of the church.  He is considered a man of prayer who has lived a modest life to better assist those in need.
 
The arrests occurred after the Iranian government forced the closure of Rev. Issavi’s church, the Evangelical Church of Kermanshah, on January 2.  Before its closure, the Evangelical Church of Kermanshah was among the few remaining open churches in the country. 
 
Iranian Christians are under constant threat of discrimination, imprisonment, torture, and even execution by the Iranian government which severely restricts religious freedom.
 
Please pray:
 
-          That Rev. Wilson Issavi and the eight other believers will be released from prison.
 
-          That the Holy Spirit will give them strength and comfort amidst any torture or mistreatment they may face.
 
-          That the Lord will give strength to their families.

Sincerely in Christ,
 
Jeff King
President, ICC
 
International Christian Concern
P.O. Box 8056
Silver Spring, MD 20907
Phone: (800) ICC-5441
Fax: (301) 585-5918
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 February 14, 2010 3:37 PM

Maryam Jalili

Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: December 2009

Maryam Jalili, Mitra Zahmati and Farzan Matin, are imprisoned in Iran following their arrest while gathered at a house church to celebrate Christmas. On Dec. 24, Maryam, Mitra, and Farzan were among 12 Christians arrested by security forces in Pakdasht, Iran. After a week without information, family members contacted authorities and demanded to know where they were being held. Officials told the families that the Christians would be released the same day, but instead they were secretly transferred to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Twelve of the believers were released on Jan. 4.

More Info...
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 February 10, 2010 11:32 AM

Fourteen Iranian Christians in Prison After Authorities Crack Down

Following several waves of arrests throughout Iran, at least fourteen Christians are now in prison for their faith. Three of them - Maryam Jalili, Mitra Zahmati and Farzan Matin - are being held in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. In Shiraz seven Christians - Parviz Khaladj, Mehdi Furutan, Roxana Furouyi, Behrouz Sadegh-Khanjani, Abdol Reza Ali Haghnejad, Iman Farzad and one identified only as Mahyar - have been detained since January 11th; six of them have been told they will be charged with apostasy. Two brothers in the northern city of Rasht, Davoot Nejatsabet and Yousef Nadarkhani, are in prison. Two more Christians were arrested in Isfahan.

According to Compass Direct News most of Iran's human rights lawyers have either fled the country or been imprisoned. The few lawyers remaining regard Christian cases as low priority making it virtually impossible for detained Christians to get legal representation. Every Iranian Muslim knows that to become a Christian involves breaking the law and risking your life as apostasy is a criminal offence and the judge may issue a death sentence if he so chooses.

Father, we praise You that in the midst of this adversity You are growing Your church in Iran. We call each prisoner by name. Protect and encourage them and multiply their witness while in prison. Persuade the human rights lawyers to represent them and in Your power, free them.

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A least 7 arrested in during a Christmas raid January 16, 2010 12:53 AM

t least 7 arrested in Iran during a Christmas raid par nicolas le 13 janvier 2010 · 0 commentaire dans la rubrique Persécution des chrétiens, Sujet de prière by Nicolas Ciarapica, Blogdei.com They have succeeded where others have failed. The Church of Iran, a local evangelical movement led by young Iranians now claims more members than other denominations with foreign support. However, it is in great danger. After years of harassment from the government, at least 7 of its leaders have just been imprisoned in the north and south of the country. Even though the 13th article of Iranian constitution guarantees to a certain degree religious freedom for minorities (Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians), it is still forbidden for a Muslim to change religion. Yet, according to fatwas decreed by Ayatollah Montazari who passed away last December and Ayatollah Sanei, new converts to one of the monotheisms should not be deemed apostates. Reality is somewhat different. After the raid on December 10, 2006 which received international support and another one on May 11, 2009, the Church of Iran is once more under attack. Social unrests, reshuffling inside the Ministry of Intelligence as well as increasing pressure upon the Baha’is were signs that a widespread showdown was coming close. That was the case during Christmas season. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Rasht was arrested on October 12, 2009 for apostasy against Islam and remains under custody. Despite the risk, members of his church held a Christmas celebration. Keyvan Rajabi replaced the pastor and was arrested after a “convocation” from the intelligence service, which offered him the usual deal: requiring for information about meetings, members’ lists. In the same way as behind the Iron Curtain, some believers get manipulated up to the point that they hand down brothers to the authorities. Confronted with the movement’s refusal to cooperate, the authorities now demand that former Muslims return to Islam. Dozens of believers were summoned, after which 5 leaders of the movement have been jailed in Shiraz, in the south of the country. These pastors from several towns had been told that the object of the convocation was to negotiate. In fact it was a trap. At the same time in Kermanshah in the west, an Assyrian Pentecostal church was closed. Here are the persons whose arrest had been confirmed. In Rasht Youcef Nadarkhani (Rasht) Keyvan Rajabi (Rasht) In Shiraz Parviz Khaladj (Rasht) Mehdi (Petros) Furutan (Rasht) Roxana Furuui (Shiraz) Pastor Behrouz (Marco) Sadegh-Khanjani (Teheran) Pastor Abdol Reza (Matthias) Ali Haghnejad (Bandar-Anzali) Please publish this article on the net, without this paragraph. You can write or call the Iranian embassy in your country, without mentioning Blogdei. Just say that you have read it on the web or in the media. Be polite and show that you are astonished that these people are in jail for merely exercising their freedom of conscience, whereas the Iranian constitution allows it. You can also forward this article to official Muslim organisations. Mot-clefs: apostate islam, iran, persécution source: blogdei

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 January 01, 2010 9:57 PM

PRAISE FOR THE RELEASE OF MARYAM AND MARZIEH IN IRAN: On November 18, Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad were released from one of Iran’s notoriously brutal prisons. Both women were released with no bail required, after spending nearly nine months in prison.  I was truly encouraged by the responses from many of our advocacy supporters when we announced this good news.  One such message came from Montie Shelton in Texas who wrote “This is great news!  I am glad to know that our letter writing actually makes a difference.  Praise God!” I hope each of you stays encouraged like Montie to keep up the fight for those who need our help! Full Story>>

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 November 30, 2009 4:22 AM

IRAN RELEASES TWO CHRISTIAN WOMEN: On November 18, Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad were released from one of Iran’s notoriously brutal prisons. Both women were released with no bail required, after spending nearly nine months in prison. Although they could still face charges of proselytizing and ‘apostasy,’ or leaving Islam, their release is remarkable, as it is rare for Christians to be released from prison in Iran.  Open Doors would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who prayed and sent messages to the Iranian government on behalf of Maryam and Marzieh! Full Story>>  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 November 25, 2009 9:15 PM

Iran's Christians face terrible persecution and prejudice. Now mounting anti-Christian pressure is affecting their right to worship freely even more blatantly.

The Iranian Ministry of Information has forced the termination of Friday services for one of the country's largest Protestant
churches.

Rev. Sourik, overseer of the Assemblies of God Churches in Iran has announced that the Central Church in Tehran is no longer allowed to hold Friday services.  The church was forced to end these services or be completely shut down nationwide.

"The announcement of the termination of the Friday services was received with shock and utter surprise and resulted in many openly weeping in the church service," reported the Farsi Christian News Network, which has close ties with Iranian Christians.

Many in the West may not understand the significance of this move, but according to Voice of the Martyrs Canada,
"The believers of this church, which has been holding two Friday services since the 1960s, will find it difficult to attend Sunday services as Sunday is not a day off for many, as it is in the West."

This news is especially hard for this congregation because their pastor has been detained for several weeks after refusing to allow authorities to
"impose the reading of the Koran on Christian children."

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has insisted that the practice of forced Koranic courses violates Article 26 of the Declaration of Universal Human Rights, which Iran has signed. The Article says, "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children."

Authorities have told Pastor Nadarkhani "Not happy with the fact that we tolerate you, you pushed too far your boldness by refusing that your children follow Koranic courses." As of publication, Pastor Nadarkhani is still imprisoned.
 
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 November 18, 2009 2:40 PM

November 18, 2009
Dear friend of the persecuted,

It is with great joy that I can share with you that Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh have been released from prison today!!! I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to each person who sent an email to the Iranian authorities on behalf of Maryam and Marzieh. You used your time and freedom to play a part in pressuring the Iranian government for their release. It is a beautiful demonstration of Christian unity when so many individuals and organizations join together to speak out for suffering believers worldwide.

Maryam and Marzieh were imprisoned for over 9 months in Iran’s most notorious Evin prison, simply for their faith in Christ. Both women have been released without bail which is another blessing. Unfortunately, the government did not drop the two remaining charges of “apostasy” and “propagation of the Christian faith” with which the women have been charged. This means the women could be re-arrested and will have these charges hanging over them. Please join us in:

  • Praising God for the release of Maryam and Marzieh!
  • Praying for quick and complete physical healing of both women who are in poor health and need medical attention
  • Praying that the 2 remaining charges against the women would be dropped quickly

    Learn more about Maryam and Marzieh’s release>>

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Giving thanks,

Lindsay Vessey




Lindsay Vessey
Advocacy Director

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 November 12, 2009 8:30 PM

Women Face Life in Prison  

Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, arrested on March 5, 2009, face charges of propagation of the Christian faith and apostasy in Iran.  For seven months these women have been held at Tehran's notorious Evin prison.  They have spent time in solitary confinement and are currently held in an overcrowded cell with more than 20 women.  If convicted, they could be sentenced to life in prison.  In the face of great pressure to recant their faith, both women have declared they will not deny their Christianity.

Father, we ask you to give Maryam and Marzieh courage to remain strong in their faith.  Show them Your presence in tangible ways.  Fill them with an uncommon peace that others might observe and turn to You, the giver of faith and peace. Give fruit to Open Doors’ advocacy campaign that justice may prevail.

Take a stand against this injustice by joining the Global Campaign on behalf of Maryam and Marzieh.
   
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 November 05, 2009 12:17 PM

November 05, 2009
Dear friend of the persecuted,

Click to take actionYour voice is needed to help free two Iranian Christian women
from unjust imprisonment. Maryam Rostampour (27) and
Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad (30), were arrested
on March 5, 2009 in Tehran, Iran.

Though initially arrested for acting against state security and taking part in illegal gatherings, it soon became clear their only crime was their Christian faith. When Maryam and Marzieh were pressured to recant their faith and return to Islam, they refused, and therefore remain in prison.  Will you speak up for them?

These women have undergone intense interrogations, which have reportedly involved sleep deprivation and other psychological pressure. They are living in deplorable conditions, sharing a cell with over 20 other women, and both have deteriorating health. Marzieh suffers from spinal pain, an infected tooth and intense headaches and is especially in need of medical attention, which has not been provided.

Six months after their initial arrest, Maryam and Marzieh were formally charged with anti-state activities, propagation of the Christian faith, and apostasy. In their trial on October 7th the judge surprisingly acquitted them of anti-state activities, which moves their trial from the revolutionary court to the general court. While this is a positive step forward, they will remain in prison awaiting trial for the other charges.

Please send a message to Ambassador Khazaee of the Iranian permanent mission to the UN in New York, asking for the immediate release of Maryam and Marzieh.

Thank you for taking action and please pray for these brave women who are courageously standing up for their faith!Share this

Advocating with you,

Lindsay Vessey




Lindsay Vessey
Advocacy Director

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 November 01, 2009 6:45 PM

Two Iranian Christian Women Still Held in Evin Prison Two Iranian women imprisoned in Iran's most brutal prison have been returned to prison for not renouncing their conversion to Christianity.

Maryam Rustampoor, 27 and Marzieh, 30 have been imprisoned in Tehran's Evin prison for 8 months. During a hearing in August the two were interrogated
repeatedly regarding their faith.

 "We love Jesus... we have no regrets... we will not deny our faith." The judge then sent them back to prison for an indeterminate period of time to "think about their decision."

"We have already done our thinking," they told him.

These girls are just two among dozens possibly hundreds of Christians detained in Iran in recent months. The harassment is the radical Islamic government's response to an Iranian revival that has thousands of Iranians coming to Christ each month
.
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 September 29, 2009 11:06 AM

Two Iranian Christian Women Still Held in
Evin Prison

The Voice of the Martyrs

 

Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh

Maryam Rustampoor, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, were arrested and sent to Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran. The two women did not rob a bank, kill a man or beat up someone.

Their crime? Loving Jesus. And it is for this reason alone they are still imprisoned.

In August during a court hearing, the two were questioned repeatedly about their faith. They were told to return to Islam.

"We love Jesus," was their reply. Prosecutors asked the women, who had already spent five months in prison, if they regretted being Christians.

"We have no regrets," they said. "We will not deny our faith."

The judge sent them back to Evin Prison - notorious for its brutality - to "think about" their decision.

"We have already done our thinking," they told him.

Maryam and Marzieh are among dozens of Iranian Christians arrested, detained or interrogated in Iran in recent months. The harassment is the radical Islamic government's response to an Iranian revival that has thousands of Iranians coming to Christ each month.

The Voice of the Martyrs helps the Iranian church in many ways, including supporting gospel television broadcasts transmitted into Iran and printing Christian literature for distribution inside the country.

Restricted Nations: Iran

This month we invite you to make a special contribution in support of our work with Iranian believers. In addition, VOM just released Restricted Nations: Iran, a new book about Christ followers in Iran. This book can help you understand the history of the church in Iran and offer an effective way to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters living there today.

 

» PLEASE CLICK HERE for more information and to make your contribution or to purchase the book.

 

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 September 17, 2009 7:32 PM

Strength to Iranian Believers


Bill still in review
by House Committee
on Foreign Affairs
.
Read full story>
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 September 09, 2009 7:01 AM

Iran Detains 32 Christians

In the uncertain climate surrounding the recent presidential elections in Iran, Christians are being viewed as dangerous to the regime. Since the beginning of August, dozens of Christians have been detained and at least 8 still remain imprisoned.

"It seems that the Iranian government views Christians and other religious minorities as endangering the regime," said a spokesman for the Netherlands-based Open Doors, a Christian advocacy group, about the reported arrests of 32 Christians in the village of Amameh and the northern town of Rasht.

"A group of 24 Christians, all of them ex-Muslims, gathered for Bible study. They were taken to their own homes and police confiscated their passports, other documents, money, compact disks, books, computers and mobile phones," Open Doors added.

At least seven Christians of this group, identified as Shahnam Behjatollah and six others known only by their first names Shaheen, Maryam, Mobinaa, Mehdi, Ashraf and Nariman, remain detained.

Open Doors spokesman Jan Vermeer linked the arrests to reported "divisions within the regime," following the recent disputed presidential election.

"Previously people heard only one opinion in the [state-run] media, now there are discussions at the highest levels. It seems that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters do everything to keep their power over the country."

In its efforts, the government has cracked down on any group viewed as being in opposition to it. Christians and other religious groups are viewed as "a risk" to the future of the regime.
 
Open Doors said it has launched a letter campaign for Christians in Iran.

"As [President] Ahmadinejad begins his second term as president, Open Doors asks him to guarantee religious freedom to all Farsi speaking Christians...and to free those detained for their faith [in Christ]."
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 August 31, 2009 4:57 AM

Iran Detains 32 Christians
In the uncertain climate surrounding the recent presidential elections in Iran, Christians are being viewed as dangerous to the regime. Since the beginning of August, dozens of Christians have been detained and at least 8 still remain imprisoned.
 
"It seems that the Iranian government views Christians and other religious minorities as endangering the regime," said a spokesman for the Netherlands-based Open Doors, a Christian advocacy group, about the reported arrests of 32 Christians in the village of Amameh and the northern town of Rasht.

"A group of 24 Christians, all of them ex-Muslims, gathered for Bible study. They were taken to their own homes and police confiscated their passports, other documents, money, compact disks, books, computers and mobile phones," Open Doors added.

At least seven Christians of this group, identified as Shahnam Behjatollah and six others known only by their first names Shaheen, Maryam, Mobinaa, Mehdi, Ashraf and Nariman, remain detained.

Open Doors spokesman Jan Vermeer linked the arrests to reported "divisions within the regime," following the recent disputed presidential election.

"Previously people heard only one opinion in the [state-run] media, now there are discussions at the highest levels. It seems that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters do everything to keep their power over the country."

In its efforts, the government has cracked down on any group viewed as being in opposition to it. Christians and other religious groups are viewed as "a risk" to the future of the regime.
 
Open Doors said it has launched a letter campaign for Christians in Iran.

"As [President] Ahmadinejad begins his second term as president, Open Doors asks him to guarantee religious freedom to all Farsi speaking Christians...and to free those detained for their faith [in Christ]."
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 July 10, 2009 9:07 AM

Update on Marzieh & Maryam

Maryam and Marzieh are doing well despite being imprisoned for four months. The Voice of the Martyrs contacts report they remain courageous and trusting in God. In June when a judge told them he would make sure they were both executed as "apostates", they responded with courage, telling the judge to "expedite his sentence." Following the recent political turmoil in Iran, 600 women have joined Maryam and Marzieh in Evin prison.

We encourage you to continue praying and writing to Maryam and Marzieh to make sure they are not forgotten. They have been strengthened by the prayers and help of believers like you. Write to the government requesting they be released.

More Info...

Marzieh & Maryam  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 June 25, 2009 12:49 PM

IRANIAN CHRISTIANS REFUSE TO ACCEPT ELECTION RESULTS: In Tehran many Iranians have rejected the results of the presidential elections. News reports show protesters streaming through the streets of Iran’s capital. There are also reports that Ayatollah Khamenei has directed the Guardian Council to examine claims of election fraud after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the runaway winner. Full Story>>  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 June 21, 2009 11:38 AM

Charisma News

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Christians Still Hope for Freedom in Iran
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iranundergroundAs protests of Iran's presidential election results went into their sixth day today, Christians in the nation remained hopeful that the election would bring greater freedom.

"[Christians are] watching what's going on and certainly they're hoping for freedom," said David Yeghnazar, U.S. director of Elam Ministries, which trains Iranian Christians to evangelize and disciple their nation.

Yeghnazar said Christians affiliated with his organization are praying for the political situation, neither endorsing candidates nor encouraging members to participate in protests. But Open Doors, a California-based ministry that advocates for the persecuted church, said many Iranian Christians, who spoke on condition of anonymity, don't accept the election results that declared incumbent President Mahmud Ahmadinejad the runaway winner of the June 12 election.

Some younger Christians even took to the streets this week, joining hundreds of thousands in supporting opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has accused Ahmadinejad's government of fraud and called for new elections to be held.

"In the big cities young believers are involved in the street protests also and people from smaller villages have joined them," said Saeed (not his real name), noting that  he did not know of any Christians who voted for Ahmadinejad, though some church leaders and middle-aged Christians chose not to vote at all. "Young Christians have put very open reactions on Facebook and via other ways on the Internet."

Although neither candidate is perceived as a friend of the church, Christians in Iran say Mousavi may be more moderate in his approach to religious minorities. Goudarz (not his real name) told Open Doors he voted for Mousavi "because he is more open-minded and [democratic] than Ahmadinejad."

"Now we hope and pray that the situation will change soon or that we can have new elections," he said. "When the government orders new elections indeed, it will be the very first national victory in 30 years of dictatorship. The next government then owes to the people to give more freedom."

Observers said the massive protests, which openly defied orders from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recalled the unrest of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

"The predominately young demonstrators [call] Ahmadinejad a dictator and yell chants like ‘Ma dolate zoor nemikhaim' meaning ‘We don't want a government of force,'" Iranian Christian Daryush (not his real name) told Open Doors. "They also yell at the security forces and call them traitors and vote-stealers. A friend said that within the security forces are pro-Mousavi followers,' saying, ‘Beechareh shodim!' or, ‘We are without hope.'"

Daryush said friends told him young men and women were being beaten, and that they heard screaming and gunfire near the university in the early-morning hours. On Monday, militia who support Ahmadinejad's regime shot and killed seven demonstrators, the Associated Press reported.

Observers said the recent election simply brought to light a long-held dissatisfaction with Iran's cleric-led government, which some say has for years trampled on the will of the people.

Yeghnazar said that disillusionment has helped fuel church growth. He estimates that at least 1 million Iranians have to come Christ in recent years and that there are at least 100,000 Muslim-background believers in the country.

"People are looking for freedom-really, the freedom to be able to function as Christians," Yeghnazar said of the Iranian church.

He said believers feel that they are constantly being watched. Their phones are tapped, evangelism is forbidden, and printing Bibles and other Christian materials is illegal.

"If you go against that you can pay a heavy price," Yeghnazar said. "There have been leaders who have been killed. ... It's the pressure of daily knowing at any time you can be arrested purely because you're a Christian and thrown in prison."

He said more than 50 Christians were arrested in 2008, and on March 5, two young women were arrested and jailed because of their Christian faith.

"The indications are that the church would face less pressure under Mousavi than Ahmadinejad," Yeghnazar said. "Ahmadinejad's policies would be more severe on the church."

Yeghnazar said the churches affiliated with Elam are not focused on changing their nation through

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 June 20, 2009 8:12 PM

Dear Donna  

Nasser became a Christian eight years ago, after hearing the gospel from a customer at his small shop.  He embraced the hope of new life in Christ.  But because conversion to Christianity earns the death penalty in Iran, his home country, Nasser and his family were forced to flee.   

Though he and his family immigrated to Turkey,  Nasser suffered a brutal attack at work and they had to move on.  The family was again uprooted. 

Although desiring to return to Iran, the current situation and religious persecution in the country has prevented them.  As they journey on without a home or safe destination, Nasser and Leila entrust themselves and their children to God's protection and continue to pray for those who remain in Turkey and Iran.

Lord, help those who are currently suffering for their faith in Iran and across the Middle East.  Give them wisdom as they decide whether to flee their homes, especially for believers in Iran.  Heal those who have been injured. Protect those fighting for freedom. Strengthen those standing up for Christ.  Give them courage and hope in You! 

The current political situation in Iran is incredibly hostile towards any form of intellectual or religious freedom. Dissenting voices over the recent elections in Tehran have gained international attention. 

The "government of force" has attempted to silence the protests, even resorting to violence.  Please pray for this dire situation and for Christians caught in the middle of the unrest.  For believers in Iran, like Nasser, life is one of ongoing persecution.
 

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 June 17, 2009 9:17 PM

Middle East - Two Christian women held in Tehran prison for over a month without representation.

Persecution Update>>

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 June 10, 2009 7:07 PM

“Therefore...we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring."
 - 2 Thesalonians 1:4

June 10,  2009 

Dear Donna  

Ahmandinejad Running for Re-Election in Iran on June 12    

This week there will be a presidential election in Iran.  In the U.S. such an election can herald change; in Iran it can have greater implications, especially for Christians.  In 2005 the election of conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought, as promised, a restoration of Islamic government.  The effect for Christians, especially Muslim Background Believers (MMBs), has been significant. Here are a few examples of how life has changed for Christians:   

  • In an effort to prevent Muslims converting to Christianity, Christians may not meet with Muslims to share their faith.
  • Churches are closely monitored and there are sometimes spies planted so that activities are reported to authorities.
  • Muslims wanting to read the Bible, and those who would supply them, are in danger and must be more discrete.
  • Islamic clerics sometimes incite hatred toward Christians, and interrogations, arrests and torture of independent and evangelical Christians and MMBs occur more commonly now.
  • A year-and-a-half ago, as a result of informers, an Assemblies of God Church in Tehran was forbidden to continue holding Sunday school.  Islamic clerics now examine what is taught to the children.   

Father, we know You see the plight of your people in Iran.  Grant courage, wisdom and safety to Christians and to those who are seeking Your truth.  Cause Your work to go forward in power and authority.  We pray especially that You would provide for the children in the church to be raised up to know and love You.  And during this week’s election, we pray that freedom from tyranny may be established in this nation.   

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anonymous  May 29, 2009 9:34 AM

Marzieh & Maryam

Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: March 2009

On March 5, Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor were arrested by Iranian security forces and labeled "anti-government activists," according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN). Thirty year-old Marzieh and 27-year-old Maryam are being held at Evin Prison, which is notorious for treating women badly. "Both women are allowed just a one-minute telephone call everyday to their immediate families. Both are unwell and in need of urgent medical attention," FCNN reported. During their last call on March 28, Marzieh said that she was suffering from an infection and high fever.

More Info...
Prisoner Archives  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  May 28, 2009 2:39 PM

IRAN RELEASES PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE TIMETABLE: Iran has announced the details of a series of televised debates to be held in the run-up to the June 12th presidential election. In a first for the country, each of the four candidates will go head-to-head with his rivals starting on June 2nd. The four men will also get equal air time for their individual campaign films and radio broadcasts. Get Updates>>  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  May 28, 2009 2:37 PM

IRAN - AUTHORITIES PRESSURE FATHER OF CONVERT: In an attempt to silence a Christian human rights activist living in England, Iranian authorities arrested and interrogated his Muslim father for six days before releasing him. Abdul Zahra Vashahi, a retired 62-year-old suffering a heart condition, was arrested in Iran’s southwestern city of Bandar Mahshahr and interrogated about the human rights activities of his son, a Christian convert who has been living in England since 2003. Full Story >>
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anonymous  May 20, 2009 7:25 PM

“I want to know Christ.” Philippians 3:10  

May 20, 2009 

Dear Donna,

As I came closer I could see dark shadows around her eyes and I realized even before she spoke that she had encountered a lot of pain.” - Iranian discipleship trainer.

Nadereh was a radical Muslim.  In her community she was renowned as the most devoted religious female.  She instructed the children in Islamic studies and many people came to her for help, for prayer and for instruction.  

During her college years she had a school friend, a Muslim Background Believer (MBB), who talked to her about God and Jesus.  Nadereh could not accept or understand the Trinity, but she respected her friend and was willing to listen…then the dreams started. One night she saw Jesus on a mountain saying to her, “If you are hungry, come to me and I will give you food.”  Another night she saw Jesus in bright shining clothes, so bright she could not look at Him. Then on the final night she saw Jesus walking on the water, holding out His hand for her.  Nadereh told her friend about these dreams.  She showed Nadereh where each of these events had occurred in the New Testament.  Nadereh was completely shocked; she had never seen a New Testament.      

Heavenly Father we ask that You make your presence known to those who are living in darkness, that their hearts and minds will become softened, and that they too can receive the gift eternal life.  “May my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word” (Psalm 119:169).    

When Nadereh came to faith her family reacted very badly by beating and torturing her for many weeks.  Nadereh continued to read the New Testament at night under her blanket using a small light.  One of her sisters crept into her bed and she shared the gospel with her.  Taking great risks, one by one she shared with three of her other sisters, leading each one to Jesus.

The situation for Nadereh was even worse at her job. She had a good position but when it became known that she was a Christian, she was demoted and placed in the lowest paying job.  An official letter was issued to all staff stating that she was unclean, that no one was allowed to talk to her, touch her, eat with her or have any connection with her at any time.  Despite what her employers had done, the situation created new opportunities.  Nadereh’s fellow employees began visiting her in private asking about Christianity.  Praise God! 

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anonymous  May 13, 2009 12:59 PM

>Helping young converts in Iran stand strong.
Read more>>

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anonymous  May 13, 2009 12:56 PM

Breaking Through the Borders of the
World's Worst Persecution Hot Spot

From the Field

Shunned by Family and Friends, New Converts Find Strength in Christ.
Secret Believers in Iran

"After this training,
my life completely changed..."
Read full story>>




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anonymous  April 15, 2009 11:09 AM

Marzieh & Maryam

Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: March 2009

On March 5, Marzieh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor were arrested by Iranian security forces and labeled "anti-government activists," according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN). Marzieh and Maryam are being held at Evin Prison, which is notorious for treating women badly. "Both women are allowed just a one minute telephone call everyday to their immediate families. Both are unwell and in need of urgent medical attention," FCNN reported. During their last call on March 28, Mazieh said that she was suffering from an infection and high fever. She said, "I am dying."

More Info...
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anonymous  April 04, 2009 7:24 AM

Iran -
Three Christians arrested and held without charge.
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anonymous  February 12, 2009 9:36 AM

Case Still Open against Christians Released in Iran*

Converts from Islam Jamal Galishorani and his wife Nadereh Jamali were arrested in Tehran last week and later released on bail.  Iranian Christians and human rights agencies fear possible charges of “apostasy,”  which sometimes entails a death sentence, Compass reports.

Armenian Hamik Khachikian was also arrested in Tehran on Jan. 21, but was released a week later without charges. The arrests of the Galishoranis and Khachikian, according to a source, are part of the government’s increased harassment of Iranian Christians. “The pressure is continuous,” the source said. “The regime rules through fear, and they want Christians to be afraid.” 

May we stand together with these bold and couragious Christians in prayer knowing ... If our God is with us whom then shall we fear? Read the full report >>

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anonymous  January 28, 2009 8:26 PM

Three Iranian Christians Arrested from Homes in Tehran*

Jamal Ghalishorani, his wife Nadereh Jamali, and  Hamik Khachikian were arrested on January 21st and are being held without charges by Iranian authorities. These Christians were taken from their homes in the early morning. Their families have not been notified as to where they have been taken or how they will be charged, according to a Compass Direct News report. 

Arrests and pressure on Christians from authorities have ramped up even further in the past few months, the source said. “We are quite sure that these arrests are part of a bigger operation from the government.  Maybe up to 50 people were arrested.  In Tehran alone already some 10 people were arrested all on the same day.”

The arrests are particularly disturbing in light of the Iranian parliament’s approval last September of a new penal code calling for a mandatory death sentence for “apostates,” or anyone who leaves Islam for another faith (i.e. followers of Jesus Christ). Under the new penal code, male “apostates” would be executed, while females would receive life sentences.  Read the full story>>.

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anonymous  January 11, 2009 6:55 AM

IRAN | Concerns about the health and safety of the son of martyred Iranian pastor Hossein Soodmand are escalating as Ramtin Soodmand awaits trial for “promoting anti-government propaganda.”  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  October 01, 2008 8:35 PM

Dear Donna

‘Apostasy’ Bill Appears Likely to Become a Law*

IRAN - Without international pressure, there is little to stop the Iranian government from ratifying a bill that will make apostasy (leaving Islam) a capital crime, warns human rights groups and experts. On Sept. 9, the Iranian parliament approved a new penal code by a vote of 196-7 calling for a mandatory death sentence for apostates, or those who leave Islam. The Christian and Baha’i communities of Iran are most likely to be affected by this decision. “Unless there is a coordinated and very strong effort from the international community to place pressure on Iran for this, I don’t think there will be anything stopping the Iranian government from passing this legislation,” Joseph Grieboski, founder of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, told Compass Direct News.  Read more about the apostasy bill and its effects in Iran.  

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anonymous  September 25, 2008 6:44 AM

PROTEST TO STOP RELIGIOUS LEADERS FROM HONORING IRANIAN PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD:  Open Doors USA is joining a coalition of organizations and legislators to protest an event planned to honor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York City on September 25th. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has issued a press release condemning this honor bestowed on President Ahmadinejad.  Click here to learn more about the protest.  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  August 01, 2008 3:11 AM

WAITING FOR ISLAM'S MESSIAH: Iran's president believes Allah has chosen him to prepare the world for the coming of an Islamic 'savior' called the Mahdi. But before the Mahdi's return, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes there must be global chaos - even if he has to create it himself. Whether it's his belief that Israel should be wiped off the map, denials of the Holocaust, obsession with going nuclear, or support for radical Islamic terrorist groups, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a man on a divine mission.  Full Story>>  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  July 23, 2008 5:31 AM

Dear Donna

Iranian Christian Flees with Family*

IRAN - Days after his release from a month of interrogations and imprisonment, Iranian Christian Mohsen Namvar has fled across the border into Turkey with his wife and son. Namvar, 44, had been held incommunicado by a branch of Sepah (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) from May 31 until June 26. At the time of his release, Namvar was extremely ill. “I have no doubt they wanted to kill me,” Namvar told Compass Direct News.

According to Namvar, who converted from Islam to Christianity as a teenager, the mistreatment stemmed from his refusal to give the police any names or information about other converts and house church groups in Iran. Read More  

Prayer Points:

  • Pray that Mohsen’s body would be fully healed after the physical abuse he has endured and ask the Lord to bring emotional restoration to the Namvar family. (Psalm 34:17-18)
  • Pray that the UNHCR office in Turkey would process the Namvar family’s asylum paperwork so that they would be able to resettle quickly. (Psalm 84:11)
  • Call upon the Lord to bring about fruit from Mohsen’s years of sharing his faith within Iran.
  •  (Hebrews 4:12)
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit would draw the men who tortured Namvar to himself.                 (1 Corinthians 2:14)
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anonymous  July 09, 2008 10:21 AM

IRAN
Christian Couple Arrested, Tortured and Threatened - Compass Direct News

On June 3, a newly converted Christian couple in Iran was arrested by police for holding Bible studies with Muslims in their home, and attending a house church. According to Compass Direct News, "Makan Arya and Tina Rad were seized from their home in east Tehran after one of Makan's relatives informed security police of the couple's Christian activities. Their 4-year-old daughter was left behind, ill and unattended. The couple was taken to an unknown jail where they were severely beaten and interrogated for four days." Compass reported, "Makan was accused of 'activities against national security' and Tina of 'activities against the holy religion of Islam.' The authorities threatened to take their daughter away to a religious institution and warned they could be imprisoned on charges of apostasy or fabricated drug charges if they didn't stop their Christian work." The report added that eventually the couple was pressured into signing a statement claiming they had not changed their religion from Islam and promising that they would stay away from their house church and other Christians. "After a court hearing, Makan was freed on bail charges of US $19,634 and Tina upon payment of US $29,451. The couple returned home to find that the window of their shop had been smashed by local Muslims. On June 23, Makan received a letter threatening him with continued attacks if he did not put up evidence of his Islamic faith on the front of his shop, to which he responded by hanging pictures of Muslim leaders on his window," Compass added. Ask God to strengthen the hearts of these believers to proclaim His Name without hesitation or fear. Pray for healing, especially for Tina who currently cannot walk as a result of her mistreatment in detention. Isaiah 40:29-31
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anonymous  July 09, 2008 9:51 AM

Imprisoned Christian ‘Temporarily’ Released*

IRAN - After four weeks in police custody, Iranian Christian Mohsen Namvar was released "temporarily" last week to return to his home in Tehran. Police had previously detained and tortured Namvar for baptizing Muslim converts to Christianity. According to Compass Direct News, a doctor summoned to Namvar’s home after his release administered medicines and serum to treat the badly beaten prisoner. Read more… 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray that Mohsen Namvar will receive all of the medical help he needs and that his health will be completely restored. (Jeremiah 30:17)

  • Please pray that Namvar’s release will turn from a "temporary" release into a permanent one. (Isaiah 49:9)

For more information on Christians who are persecuted worldwide, download the latest version of the Persecution Update.

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anonymous  July 09, 2008 7:34 AM

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anonymous  July 09, 2008 6:52 AM

It was 4 p.m. on March 17, 1988 when Iraqi planes dropped eight mustard gas bombs over the wood-beamed stone houses of Nowdesheh, nestled in a green horseshoe valley near the border.

"I saw the gas and smelled peaches," said Dara Meshkati, who was 10 years old at the time. "Then my eyes closed and I couldn't see anything. I was blind for two months."

U.N. investigators said 13 people were killed and over 100 injured in the attack -- an event eclipsed by Iraq's chemical assault the day before that killed about 5,000 Iraqi Kurds in Halabja, 25 km (15 miles) across the frontier to the west.

At that time, no asphalt road linked Nowdesheh with the nearest small town of Paveh, so the victims faced a jolting five-hour evacuation over a dirt track through the mountains.

Meshkati, a pale-faced man with listless eyes, recovered his eyesight and is well enough to work in an accountant's office, but still suffers from asthma -- and psychological scars.

"Nobody drinks water from my glasses. People here think I have a problem," he complained.

He is just one of scores of survivors in Nowdesheh, which suffered three gas attacks in the same month of 1988, the final year of Iran's ruinous eight-year war with Saddam's Iraq.

"We went to help the wounded," recalled Rahim Maghrouzi, 52, a surgical mask over his mouth. "We didn't realize it was chemical weapons. My skin turned red. We tried to wash our eyes with water. I still can't breathe properly and I can't work."

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anonymous  July 02, 2008 3:59 AM

Newly Converted Christian Couple Arrested, Tortured, Threatened*

Security police officials in Iran tortured a newly converted couple and threatened to put their 4-year-old daughter in an institution after arresting them for holding Bible studies and attending a house church. Under Iran’s strict Islamic laws, Muslims who convert from Islam to another religion can be executed. Read more… 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for Makan Arya, his wife (Tina Rad) and their 4-year-old daughter to not lose faith in God despite the persecution they endure. (Mark 11:22)
  • Pray also that this couple will be able to find support and friendship with other believers in this region who will help them learn how to study the word of God. (1 Peter 2:17)
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anonymous  June 26, 2008 2:01 PM

IRANIAN CHRISTIAN ARRESTED WITHOUT CHARGES:  Iran continued a wave of arrests against Christians in recent weeks, detaining a Tehran house church leader who was previously held and tortured for religious activity. Eight policemen arrested Mohsen Namvar, 44, from his Tehran home on May 31, refusing to provide any reason for his arrest. Read More>>


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anonymous  June 18, 2008 11:13 AM

IRAN
House Church Leader Arrested – Compass Direct News

On May 31, house church leader Mohsen Namvar was arrested by eight police officers in his home in Tehran, Iran. According to Compass Direct News, "The officers confiscated a number of Namvar's personal belongings including his computer, printer, CDs, books and money. He was given no official explanation for the arrest, and his current location is unknown." Compass Direct added, "According to an Iranian pastor residing outside the country, Namvar had anticipated that police would come for him since hearing that he had been implicated during police interrogations of Christians in the city of Amol in April. He had been warned by a friend that authorities were keeping him under close watch. Namvar was previously held and tortured for baptizing Muslim converts to Christianity in the spring of 2007." Pray for Namvar's release. Pray that he will act as a faithful witness for Christ during his detention. Pray that his wife and children will rely on the Lord for comfort and strength. Matthew 5:14-16  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  June 11, 2008 6:10 AM

IRAN
UPDATE: Christian Converts Released from Prison - Compass Direct News

Praise God! Homayon Shokohie Gholamzadeh (48), an Iranian Christian convert arrested on May 11 by police in the city of Shiraz, was released from prison on May 22. According to Compass Direct News, Gholamzadeh was taken into custody with his wife and another couple before boarding a flight at Shiraz International Airport. On June 2, Mojtaba Hussein (21), another Iranian Christian convert from Islam arrested on May 11, was released from prison. According to Compass Direct, the authorities demanded valuable property deeds as bail collateral for the release of the two believers. Praise God for the release of these believers. Pray God encourages them as they live their lives for Him. Pray for other believers who face challenges for practicing their faith. Psalm 34: 1-10  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  June 05, 2008 4:14 PM

“A Cry from Iran” - The true story, produced by Haik Hovsepian's sons, contains hidden camera footage filmed in Iran during the actual events, and has inspired audiences from all backgrounds. Order this award winning DVD today  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  June 02, 2008 11:20 AM

In 1994, Haik Hovsepian, the leader of the Protestant churches in Iran, rose to the defense of a man sentenced to die for converting from Islam to Christianity. Leading an international protest, Hovsepian campaigned successfully for the condemned Christian’s release.

But three days later, Hovsepian himself disappeared. His body was soon found riddled with knife wounds. Two other prominent Iranian Christians were martyred six months later, leaving the church stunned and grieving. Hovsepian left behind a wife and four children.

Today, half a world away in Burbank, California, two of Hovsepian’s sons, now professional television producers, have created a gripping documentary about their father’s life and death. Using real footage from inside Iran, the documentary depicts life under one of the world’s most Christ-hostile regimes and issues a call to action to the American church for support and prayer.

“We thought this would be a very powerful story,” says Joseph Hovsepian, 34, Haik’s eldest son and producer and director of A Cry From Iran. “At the time, my view was very personal. I saw it as something that would please our family and families of martyrs and the Iranian church.

“But later, after living in America and seeing Christians who didn’t care or know about the persecuted church, we saw another need—to inform Westerners [about the persecution in Iran] so they could start supporting the church there with the power of prayer and in every way.”

At the Hovsepian home, photos of Haik’s smiling face are placed throughout the house, including above the video-editing suite where Joseph and brother Andre, 24, make a living. It was Haik who had encouraged Joseph to develop his talent for video production back in Iran.

“Against the Islamic laws of the time, the Assemblies of God was very open to music and technology,” Joseph says. “My father was a big supporter of technology. He believed you could use it to the glory of God.”

Haik probably didn’t realize that the footage his teenage son was taking of underground church services, conferences, even funerals for martyred believers would one day be used to tell his own story and the story of other Christians killed during the wave of persecution in the mid-1990s. “I believe it was the work of the Holy Spirit preparing us for such a day to tell such a story,” Joseph says.

After Haik’s murder, the grief-stricken sons were initially overcome with hatred toward those who had killed their father. “We had a hard time even dealing with Muslims and looking in the mullahs’ faces on the streets,” Joseph says. “But as the Lord started healing our hearts and bringing forgiveness, filling us up with more peace and care for the enemy and for the country of Iran, then [we decided to stay] for the sake of encouraging the church and other martyrs—soon there were several of them.”

Iran is experiencing one of the greatest revivals of modern times.  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  May 28, 2008 5:10 AM

IRAN
Iranian Police Arrest 12 Christian Converts, Four Remain in Prison - Compass Direct News

On May 12, Iranian police arrested 12 known Muslim converts to Christianity and confiscated their books, computers and printers in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz. According to Compass Direct News, "The arrests began at 5 a.m. on May 11, when two couples were taken into custody before boarding their flights at the Shiraz International Airport and sent directly to jail. All four were subjected to hours of interrogation, questioning them solely 'just about their faith and house church activities.'" Compass Direct News added the detained Christians had been identified as: Homayon Shokohie Gholamzadeh, 48; his wife, Fariba Nazemiyan Pur, 40; Amir Hussein Bab Anari, 25; and his wife, Fatemeh Shenasa, 25. Although the two wives were released the same day, Anari was detained until May 14, and Gholamzadeh remains jailed. "Two hours after the early arrests of May 11, police authorities invaded the home of Hamid Allaedin Hussein, 58, arresting him and his three adult children: Fatemah, 28; Muhammed Ali, 27; and Mojtaba, 21. All the family's books, CDs and computers were hauled off as well. Hussein, his daughter and one son were released later the same day, but [his] son Mojtaba remains in prison," Compass Direct added. On May 13, local police also arrested two more former Muslims involved in a separate house church in Shiraz as the Christian converts were talking together in a city park. Both men, Mahmood Matin and a second man identified only as Arash, are still in jail. Yet another arrest incident was reported last month in the northern city of Amol, in Mazandaran province near the Caspian Sea. Two of the arrested converts to Christianity, one a pregnant woman, are still imprisoned with no news of their whereabouts. Psalm 91  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  April 23, 2008 8:37 AM

DENIED SERVICES!
IN IRAN - They only encourage the Muslim religion, and so they control their citizins through various means, such as collecting information on their citizens.
Iranian citizens must have govenment issued cards in order to buy food, go to school, or find employment. Since Christianity is discouraged quite adamently; those who openly practise Christianity are denied these basis rights. Of course Iran also does police raids on Christian premises, and they imprison, beat, torture and brutalize practising Christians. This is the government doing this.
Other countries have put into effect similar laws and practises.
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anonymous  January 28, 2008 8:13 AM

Christians make up less than one-half of one percent of the population. Open witness to Muslims is banned and government spies monitor Christian groups. One such group was arrested In September 2004. A group of Assemblies of God believers had gathered for their conference when police arrived, blindfolding every person in attendance and leading them away for questioning. Ten pastors were detained, but a few days later, only Hamid Pourmand remained in prison. During his incarceration, he had minimal contact with his family, and faced continual pressure to convert to Islam. His wife and sons were dependent on the generosity of fellow believers, having been stripped of Pastor Pourmand’s salary. Thankfully, due to international pressure, he was acquitted of blasphemy charges in conjunction with his conversion to Christianity twenty-five years earlier. A conviction of blasphemy could very well have resulted in the death penalty under Shariah law. Pastor Pourmand was released early on July 20, 2006, but was warned that attending church services could revoke his release orders and force him to serve the remaining fourteen months of his sentence.

Believers are also discriminated against in education, employment, and property ownership and several pastors have been murdered. Although missions are not allowed to enter Iran, a growing number of Muslims have converted to Christianity. Those who do convert, however, often face serious danger to themselves and their families and may seek refugee status abroad; something that foreign governments are not always willing to grant, as shown in two cases involving Canada in 2002 and 2003. There are also possibilities of evangelizing the millions of Iranians who live abroad, including more than two million in the United States.

Prayer Requests
  • Pray that the government will be open to change and allow full rights and protection for non-Muslims.
  • Pray for strength for those who come to Christ, despite the threats and dangers.
  • Pray for those who are forced to flee their country, that they may find refuge and help.
  • FROM THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS.
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anonymous  November 15, 2007 4:53 AM

Reference Notes and acknowledgements:
1.) Persecution.org international Christian Concern.
2.) Christian Persecution Informational November 7th, 2007
3.) Quote from Voices of the Martyrs!
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anonymous  November 14, 2007 9:10 PM

1 In Iran the laws are restricted towards any religion other than Islam.
To convert from the Muslim religion to Christianity is considered Apostasy and punishment is most generally the death penalty.
Christians are monitered consistently.
The Laws of Iran Prohibit -
1.) The printing of Christian literature, including church bulletins and church newsletters.
2.) Non Muslims from proselytizing.
3.) Government workers from practising any religion other than Islam.
 Along with the death penalty other punishments include whipping and tortues
Christians make up less than one-half of one percent of the population. Open witness to Muslims is banned and government spies monitor Christian groups. One such group was arrested In September 2004. A group of Assemblies of God believers had gathered for their conference when police arrived, blindfolding every person in attendance and leading them away for questioning. Ten pastors were detained, but a few days later, only Hamid Pourmand remained in prison. During his incarceration, he had minimal contact with his family, and faced continual pressure to convert to Islam. His wife and sons were dependent on the generosity of fellow believers, having been stripped of Pastor Pourmand’s salary. Thankfully, due to international pressure, he was acquitted of blasphemy charges in conjunction with his conversion to Christianity twenty-five years earlier. A conviction of blasphemy could very well have resulted in the death penalty under Shariah law. Pastor Pourmand was released early on July 20, 2006, but was warned that attending church services could revoke his release orders and force him to serve the remaining fourteen months of his sentence.
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anonymous  October 13, 2007 8:12 AM

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126 USA E-mail: danjuma1@aol.com, Web Site: www.assistnews.net Friday, September 10, 2004

IRAN ARRESTS 80 EVANGELICALS Amid Fears of New Crackdown on Christians

By Stefan J. Bos Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service Evangelical church in Tehran. S

Source: Compass

TEHRAN, IRAN (ANS) -- Iranian police invaded the annual conference of Iranâs Assemblies of God and arrested at least 80 church leaders at the churchâs denominational center near Tehran as part of the worst crack down on evangelical believers in a decade, a Christian news agency reported Friday, September 10.

Compass news agency said security forces raided the meeting "without warning" in Karaj, 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of the capital, after they surrounded the churchâs garden property Thursday, September 9.

Eyewitnesses were quoted as saying that all men and women present at the first day of their annual meetings were detained. "The police came from everywhere," an Iranian Christian reportedly said. "There were a lot of them."

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126 USA E-mail: danjuma1@aol.com, Web Site:

www.assistnews.net

Friday, September 10, 2004

INDIAN MISSIONARIES RELEASED BY HOSTAGE TAKERS

Mission organization calls it "miraculous turn of events." By: Stefan J. Bos Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service Native Christians gather for worship. Source: GFA PATNA, INDIA (ANS) -- Gospel for Asia (GFA) said late Friday, September, 10, that three of its native missionaries who were captured and threatened with death in India's north-eastern state of Bihar have been released by anti-Christian militants "in a miraculous turn of events." The Hostage takers had threatened to kill Pastor Manrathan, his wife and Bible woman Sarita within 48 hours for "desecrating a village with the Gospel" unless a ransom of 25,000 Indian rupees (roughly $550) dollars was paid, a huge amount in the impoverished region, GFA said earlier. They were "severely beaten and tied to a sacred tree by an anti-Christian group," since Thursday, September 9, added GFA President K.P. Yohannan in a message to his organization's supporters, which incl  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  October 01, 2007 7:38 AM

THERE WILL BE MORE SO KEEP CHECKING!  [   [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
 September 16, 2007 6:41 PM

Government treats own citizens like POWs
Subjects Christians to harassment, threats, beatings

Posted: April 13, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern


© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

British military service members recently released after they were kidnapped by Iran and held hostage for nearly two weeks are revealing stories of threats and terror they suffered during their captivity. Now the Christian ministry Voice of the Martyrs is confirming Iran treats its own citizens the same way – if they are Christian.

One of the British service members, Faye Turney, reported after being returned to Great Britain that one of her captors rubbed her head and said, "Just you now," when she asked about her colleagues.

Another time, a jailor came in to measure her from head to foot, while she was listening to sawing and hammering going on nearby. She said she thought her coffin was being prepared.

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Iran's pressure on the service members, and their manipulation for Iranian interests, continued when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced plans to release them, as a "gift" to Britain.

Turney later told reporters she "felt like a traitor" when she complied with demands to write letters of confession that were used as propaganda on Iranian television. The service members reported they were constantly subjected to psychological pressure for the two-week period.

Voice of the Martyrs, however, said this is a regular routine for Iranians who refuse government demands to renounce Christianity.

Sources for the Christian organization say threats, interrogations, beatings and even malicious attacks are routine parts of attempts by the Iranian government to silence Christians who continue to spread the gospel of Jesus.

"Reportedly, Iranian officials treated British sailors … very well," the group said. The prisoners were filmed eating, watching television and laughing and joking, although the service members later explained that was staged for international publicity.

"Government officials have not been nearly as cordial to their own citizens who follow Jesus Christ," VOM said.

An Iranian source recently reported to VOM that a woman named "Azedeh" was abducted by government officials while she was returning from visiting a family new in Christianity.

"Azedeh was threatened, interrogated and forced to deny Christ. She refused and was eventually released," the source told VOM. "As Azedeh and her sister continued evangelizing, the government randomly summoned them once or twice a month for interrogations and threats.

"Many times the government demanded the sisters deny Christ, or turn in other Christians, but the sisters refused," the source reported.

And when the sisters were not being watched by government agents, "their neighbors reported their activities to police. They were beaten many times, even attacked with a knife," VOM's source said.

Eventually, their landlord evicted them, the report said, so VOM helped them relocate to a different, hopefully safer, region in the nation.

"Their lives have changed. They are now able to continue their ministry and are doing more evangelism," the source reported. "They thank their brothers and sisters in the United States who are praying for them and thinking of them. Knowing there are people around the world praying and encouraging them warms their hearts."

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anonymous IRAN - CHRISTIANS THAT ARE PERSECUTED IN IRAN! September 14, 2007 10:29 PM

This Is A Posting Site, Where You Can Post News, Information, and Other Items For The Christians In Iran Who Persecuted!
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