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Christianity in IranChristian Pastor under Iran death threat
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them.
Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.
Revelation 12 - http://nasb.scripturetext.com/revelation/12.htm
Iranian Pastor Stands Firm in Faith, Faces Execution
Court to determine Yousef Nadarkhani’s fate in the coming week.
ISTANBUL, September 28, 2011
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani refused to recant his Christian faith today at the fourth and final court hearing in Iran to appeal his death sentence for apostasy (leaving Islam).
The court house in Rasht, 243 kilometers (151 miles) northwest of Tehran, has swarmed with security forces for four consecutive days since Sunday (Sept. 25), the first day of his four appeal hearings.
Applying sharia (Islamic law), the court on Monday, Tuesday and today gave Nadarkhani, 35, three chances to recant Christianity and return to Islam in order for his life to be spared.
In all instances, Nadarkhani refused to recant.
“I’m in contact with Iran,” a source close to Nadarkhani’s family said, “but the news isn’t very good. We’ll see.
If they really want to they can kill him they can, because he hasn’t renounced his faith. It finished today. We have left everything in the hands of God.”
Authorities arrested Nadarkhani in his home city of Rasht in Oct. 2009 because he allegedly questioned obligatory religion classes in Iranian schools. In September 2010 the court of appeals in Rasht found him guilty of apostasy and in November issued a written confirmation of his charges and death sentence.
At an appeal hearing in June, the Supreme Court of Iran upheld Nadarkhani’s sentence but asked the court in Rasht to determine if he was a practicing Muslim before his conversion.
The Supreme Court also determined that his death sentence could be annulled if he recanted his faith.
On Sunday (Sept. 25) in the first two and a half hours of the court, the judges determined that Nadarkhani indeed was not a practicing Muslim before his conversion to Christianity.
The source said that in this time period things looked more promising for Nadarkhani, and that the court might reverse the sentence based on the findings.
Re: Christian Pastor under Iran death threatScores of Christians arrested Dec. 25 in Iran
Jan 7, 2011 Scores of Christians have been detained since Christmas in Tehran, according to a statement protesting the action by Iranian authorities issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Jan. 7.
"They were informally accused of being 'evangelical missionaries,' although no formal charges have been filed by authorities," USCIRF stated, noting: "Iranian law makes proselytizing of Muslims by non-Muslims illegal, in contravention of international standards."
According to the USCIRF statement: "Reports indicate that as many as 70 Christians have been detained over the past two weeks. Some individuals have since been released, although it is unclear how many remain in detention. While most of those detained are Evangelical Christians, members of Iran's Armenian Christian community also have been detained."
Bryant Wright, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, noted in a Jan. 7 statement: "This Christmas season, while we were celebrating the birth of our Savior in relative peace, many of our brothers and sisters in other countries have lost their lives or been put in prison because they bear His Name.
"The bombing of the church in Egypt, the events in Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the recent wave of arrests in Iran grieve our hearts," Wright continued. "These followers of our Lord have been called upon to suffer for the Name of Jesus. We pray for them and their families.
Iran: 64 people executed in 24 days
Jan. 24, 2011 Unprecedented wave of executions in the Islamic Republic. Iran executed six people on Monday bringing the number of executions since the beginning of 2011 to 64, an average of one person every nine hours.
It was reported that among those executed were two activists who were members of an exiled group that joined post-election protests. The Tehran prosecutor's office named the two as Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Hajaghaei. In addition, those executed included three men accused of sexual assault and a serial killer who was sentenced to a public flogging.
Besides drug charges, the Iranian constitution gives out a death sentence for murder, rape, adultery, armed robbery and espionage. Most of the citizens executed since the beginning of the year were convicted of drug offences. Just last week, ten drug smugglers were executed. National media outlets reported that the ten were flogged and fined before they were killed.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran accused the regime's security forces of participating in an "execution celebration" though Tehran claims that they stiffened drug offence sentences in a bid to cope with the phenomenon.
The regime's critics claim that the fact that drug use and trafficking - especially among the younger sectors in the population - is expanding proves that the death sentence policy has failed. They called on the Republic to end its cruel execution policy.
Iran is considered the country with the highest rate of executions in the world, relative to the population, and ranked second after China, in the number of annual executions. Last year, at least 180 people were executed in Iran.
Iranian pastor faces death for rape, not apostasy
September 30, 2011 Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani will be put to death for several charges of rape and extortion, charges that differ greatly from his original sentence of apostasy, claimed Iran.
However, the charge of apostasy is the only charge leveled against Nadarkhani.
"Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32-years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19," reads the brief.
The brief was obtained by CNN from the American Center for Law and Justice and was translated from its original Farsi by the Confederation of Iranian Students in Washington.
IRAN SET TO EXECUTE CHRISTIAN PASTOR FOR NOT CONVERTING TO ISLAM
September 30, 2011 by Joel Rosenberg
Please pray that the Lord spares the life of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.
He’s the head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran and could be executed for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert to Islam, according to media reports.
Other Christians in Iran get Death Threats as False Charges Emerge Against Pastor
October 04, 2011 Iranian Christians who fled Iran in the wake of a government campaign against evangelical Christianity have received death threats via email from a group calling itself “the unknown soldiers of the Hidden Imam.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says the e-mail calls on the believers to either repent or face extra-judicial execution.
The “unknown soldiers” are alleged to have links with Iranian security services.
According to CSW, the email, which was sent to each individual on September 14, warned the recipients that although they may have managed to flee Iran, they are not hidden from the “acute eyes of the unknown soldiers,” who claim they have been advancing to the heart of the “Zionist regime” over a number of years.
CSW says the email concludes by offering the 11 Christians “the opportunity to repent and ask forgiveness from the presence of the Hidden Imam [the 12th Imam, the Messiah-figure in Shia Twelver theology] and the Great Allah. Otherwise, according to the Fatwa given by Mehdi the Hidden Imam, they must be killed.”
CSW said Rev. Samuel Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries, who has been closely involved in the house church movement in Iran, indicated that he and his network of churches were taking the threat very seriously.
CSW says the threat to the lives of the eleven Christians, together with the continuing threat of execution of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, are indicative of what Pastor Yeghnazar terms the “utter hypocrisy of a government that claims Christians live in freedom.”
Mar 13:9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
Mar 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
Mar 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
October 11, 2011
The case of an Iranian pastor facing a possible death sentence for apostasy has reportedly been referred to Iran's supreme leader, a move some say shows the Islamic republic is feeling pressure in the face of growing international support.
Attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told AFP on Monday that an Iranian court has decided to seek the opinion of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -
the Islamic republic's spiritual leader and highest authority -- in the case of Youcef Nadarkhani, a 32-year-old pastor who was arrested in October 2009 and later sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.
Iran uses beatings to pressure Christian pastor
November 17, 2011
Reports confirm jailed leader resisting campaign to make him recant
Beatings and solitary confinement are two of the tools being used by Iranian officials to pressure a Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani condemned for blasphemy to recant his faith.
Iran has planned to execute Nadarkhani, but he remains alive because of the international furor created.
Compass Direct says the Church of Iran pastor who has been on death row since his blasphemy conviction in September 2010 is in deteriorating health.
Nadarkhani Pressured to Deny Christ December 21, 2011
A new chapter in the case of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani may get your blood boiling.
Nadarkhani was arrested on apostasy charges in 2009 after he protested a government decision that would end up requiring his son to read the Koran in school.
Since then, his lengthy court saga has included threats of the death penalty if he refuses to accept Islam.
Most recently, according to Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) reports, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, head of the judiciary, has ordered the judge presiding over Nadarkhani's case to delay his written verdict for one year. The judge was specifically ordered to keep Nadarkhani in prison, using whatever means necessary to force him to recant his Christian faith and convert to Islam, says VOM.
The case has been put on hold several times. What's most disturbing this time around is the reasoning behind it.
Christians worldwide were greatly stirred by Nadarkhani's possible fate in the hands of the Iranian government--so much so that they spoke out in petitions to governments and to advocacy groups. Even the United Nations has expressed concern over the issue.
The recent order to delay Nadarkhani's sentence may have been in response to those outcries. According to Present Truth Ministries, the order was designed to cause the international community, specifically Christians, to forget about Nadarkhani's case.
"Once we forget about him, then they are free to execute him," said a spokesperson from Present Truth Ministries.
Down the road, this could have severe implications for Christians in Iran--which already stands as the second-worst persecutor of Christians in the world, according to the Open Doors World Watch List--and for the spread of the gospel.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is Alive and Well
Mar. 8, 2013 ACLJ was notified last night by a reporter that an Anglican vicar in Iraq had posted a message to his Facebook page revealing that Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was released from an Iranian prison last fall after nearly three years, was dead.
That was quickly picked up by social media and the unconfirmed report continued to gain traction.
We contacted our sources inside Iran and confirmed that the report was indeed false - Youcef is not dead, but alive and well. Several of our sources today talked directly to Pastor Youcef himself.
Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries, who was very involved in the Pastor Youcef case, also knocked down the rumor telling the news organization that published the initial report that "Youcef is alive and he is doing fine."
We know that rumors abound inside Iran.
Lawmakers Pressure Kerry to Aid American Pastor Jailed in Iran
Feb. 14, 2013 ACLJ
80 Republican and Democratic lawmakers from both chambers of Congress wrote Secretary of State John Kerry asking that he reinforce the European diplomats trying to secure the release of an American pastor imprisoned in Iran on religious charges.
Pastor Saeed Abedini, who lives with his family in Idaho, was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of starting house churches in Iran after he traveled there to start an orphanage — a project the Iranian government encouraged. . . .
“We know that international pressure works,” ACLJ executive director Jordan Sekulow wrote in The Washington Post this week. “We saw that with the case of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was released for a second time earlier this year after being sentenced to execution for apostasy (converting to Christianity). His freedom is the direct result of immense international pressure
Mass exodus of Christians from Muslim world
May 8, 2013 A mass exodus of Christians is underway in the Islamic world, largely thanks to the USA.
We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world, much of which was almost entirely Christian prior to the Islamic conquests (crusades), came into being.
The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and increasing year by year.
Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.
Iraq was the earliest indicator of the fate awaiting Christians once Islamic forces are liberated from the grip of dictators.
60 Christians were slaughtered in 2010 in Bagdad Iraq.
In 2003, Iraq Christian population was at least one million. Today fewer than 400,000 remain, the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading.
Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini Spends Birthday in Solitary Confinement
May 07, 2013 An Iranian-American pastor spent his 33rd birthday in solitary confinement today, suffering from untreated injuries from beatings by prisoners and officials in an Iranian prison.
Saeed Abedini has spent six months in Tehran’s harsh Evin Prison, known for housing political dissidents and government protestors, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for planting house churches from 2000 to 2005. Although there is no law against house churches, the government termed his involvement a threat to “national security,” even though he had ceased such work after agreeing in 2009 to limit his ministry to humanitarian work.
An international letter-writing campaign for his birthday resulted in more than 52,000 letters arriving at the maximum-security prison. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), an advocacy group that represents his family, worked with intermediaries to send the notes to Evin Prison.
The large number of letters also serves to let Iranian officials know that the international community is still fighting for his release, said Tiffany Barrans, international legal director of the ACLJ.
“We know from former prisoners that letters are a source of encouragement, that the guards are required to translate every incoming mail, and that these letters put the government of Iran on notice that it is being watched,” Barrans told Morning Star News.
Abedini was sentenced on Jan. 27 for threatening “national security,” a catch-all phrase often used by Iranian courts to imprison converts from Islam for various sorts of evangelistic activities.
In late April he was put into solitary confinement following a “peaceful, silent protest” in an outside courtyard with other prisoners over the lack of medical care and threats against visiting family members, according to Mohabat News Agency.
He and nine others were placed into solitary confinement. Abedini suffers severe internal bleeding from beatings.
THERE IS NO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AT ALL IN SATANIC ISLAM!
WHY NUKE IRAN?
To STOP the SPREAD of - CHRISTIANITY!
May 2013 Millions find Jesus - in IRAN!
PRAISE the LORD! The greatest Christian revival in the world is in Iran!
There is an explosive growth of Christianity in Iran, despite persecution! Praise the LORD! Perhaps this is
why Saudi Arabia, Barak Hussein Obama and the NWO 666 Beast are so desparate to see Iran nuked!
As the Godless West wants military action against Iran, a historical Christian revival is sweeping through
Persia, increasing in both speed and intensity. Read this and you can see why Satan wants to nuke Iran.
The GOSPEL in Persia. A supernatural work going among the people of Iran. PRAISE the LORD!
The Persian people by and large are a very sweet, gentle and humble people.
Shiite Muslims are accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior in unprecedented numbers!
Reza Safa, a former Shiite Muslim now broadcasts the Gospel into Iran through his television program.
Iran Alive Ministries (IAM) the Shabekah7 network beams on their own station via satellite and calls it Station Seven.
There are many Christian testimonies pouring out of Persia, of miracles, supernatural encounters, transformed
lives and baptisms, all on a magnificent scale. This is not an exaggeration.
More Iranians have come to Christ in the past 30 years than in the prior 1,400 years combined!
The 2013 Operation World prayer manual lists the growth of Christianity in Iran as leading the entire world.
There is a Christian revival especially among young people there!
A house church movement within Iran is part of that revival and has triggered many secret meetings.
Iran is ranked 5th on the Open Doors 2012 World Watch List of the top 50 worst persecutors of Christians.
Gospel in IRAN
Do you not say, There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest?
Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.
Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal
so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. John 4:35-36
Iranian Pastor released from prison
July 8, 2013 Assemblies of God Pastor Robert Asserian has reportedly been freed from prison in Iran, but was told to remain silent about what he has gone through.
Mohabat News reported that the pastor of Iran's largest Persian speaking Pentecostal church, who was arrested on May 21 while leading a worship service in Tehran, was released on bail on July 2. The news agency of Iranian Christians and activists said that while there is "no clear information" on the release, he and his family have been told to keep silent about what happened.
"The condition 'silence for freedom,' shows that Iranian authorities want to portray actions such as releasing prisoners as human rights improvement in Iran," the report said. "This is done to rebuild the distorted image of the regime in the international community and escape pressure from the media for violating Human Rights."
The Vatican Radio confirmed the news in a short press release, reminding readers that Asserian's house was searched and his computer and his books were confiscated when he was arrested in May. Iran, an Islamic republic, allows limited and restricted opportunities for Christian communities to gather, but it has tried to stop them from using the Farsi language in their religious gatherings.
"There are lots of underground churches in Iran but the Assemblies of God, which the Church in Tehran is, is permitted to operate but with many restrictions. It has never been easy, but now they are considering closure," Kiri Kankhwende, press officer for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, shared with The Christian Post in May.
Global Prayer Gatherings Set to Mark One Year American Pastor Has Been Imprisoned in Iran
Thousands are expected to attend prayer gatherings this Thursday for an American pastor who has been imprisoned in Iran for one year.
As previously reported, Saeed Abedini, who fled Iran in 2005 and moved to Idaho with his wife and two children, was arrested last year for allegedly threatening the national security of Iran by planting house churches a decade ago, and for attempting to turn youth in the nation away from Islam and toward Christianity. He had traveled to Iran to build an orphanage and visit his parents last fall, and was about to return to the states when he was taken into custody. Abedini was then sentenced to eight years in Iran’s Evin Prison, where he will have officially served time for one year on Thursday.
Abedini’s wife Naghmeh said that the ordeal is particularly difficult for the couple’s children.
“Every minute, every day Saeed is apart from us is more excruciating than the next,” she stated on behalf of her daughter Rebekka (7) and son Jacob (5). “This was the second year that Saeed missed Rebekka’s birthday. We had hoped that this past year would be the last she would ever have to celebrate without Daddy. Now, I am faced with the painful realization that our kids are growing up without their father. We are praying for a miracle just to be able to see him again.”
However, Naghmeh also told students at Liberty University this past week that her husband has led over two dozen prisoners to Christ since being incarcerated.
“They’ve told him many times that they would free him and allow him to return to our family, the kids and I, if he would deny his Christian faith, and he’s stood strong in that prison. He’s led many, many–over 30 people–to Christ in that prison,” she explained.
On Thursday, supporters in over 70 cities across the U.S. and around the world will join together to pray for Abedini’s release as gatherings are scheduled to mark one year that the pastor has served in prison.
Iranian-American pastor held in Iran reportedly moved to more dangerous prison
The Iranian-American pastor being held in Iran has now been transferred to a more dangerous prison where he faces life-threatening conditions, according to his family and attorneys.
When a member of Saeed Abedini’s family went to visit him at Evin Prison, a facility in Tehran where he has been kept for over a year, he was told that the pastor had been moved about an hour and a half away to Rajai Shahr Prison in the town of Karaj.
The family member then travelled to Rajai Shahr Prison and was told that the pastor is being kept there, but is not permitted to have any visitors, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, the pastor’s U.S.-based attorneys.
According to inside sources, this new prison in Karaj is an even more dangerous facility, where violent prisoners, typically imprisoned for murder and rape, are held.
Abedini, 33, an American citizen who lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two children, has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment, following his arrest on a bus. His supporters say he has been beaten and tortured in the prison, and that he was only in Iran to try to start a secular orphanage.
The pastor’s mysterious transfer brings new concerns to his family and attorneys, who have been closely monitoring his medical and psychological condition.
President Obama called for the pastor’s release in his phone call to Iran’s new President Rouhani in September.
There has been wide bi-partisan support in the Senate and Congress for the pastor’s immediate release.
Secretary of State John Kerry also urged the Iranian regime to release him earlier this year.
Wife of imprisoned pastor says family devastated after Iran deal fails to secure his release
The wife of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini says she and her family are devastated after learning that the Obama administration did not try to secure the release of her husband as part of the newly signed deal on Iran's nuclear program.
Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year for practicing Christianity. The talks over Iran's nuclear program were seen by his family and those representing them as one of the most promising avenues yet for securing his release.
But the White House confirmed over the weekend that Abedini's status was not on the table during those talks.
"It's devastating," the pastor's wife Naghmeh Abedini told Fox News Radio.
She said her children were praying to have him home for the holidays. "It's unbearable," she said, "to think of another Christmas without him and see my kids not have him home for Christmas."
After the nuclear deal announced over the weekend, Abedini said she doesn't see "any more leverage left."
"Iran has no incentive for them to release him. I don't think we have any more leverage," she said. "We now have to consider other avenues and having other countries speak out because our country when we could have used our leverage chose to stay silent."
Abedini and others were hopeful after President Obama personally raised Abedini's plight in a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in September.
As the matter appeared to languish, the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents the Abedini family, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to demand Abedini's release as a condition of any agreement on Iran's nuclear program.
The deal announced over the weekend, though, included no mention of Abedini. Obama also did not mention the pastor's case when he made brief remarks from the White House late Saturday night, announcing a six-month plan to suspend parts of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for a rollback of some sanctions.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ, accused Obama and Kerry of having "turned their backs on a U.S. citizen."
Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, confirmed that the Iran talks "focused exclusively on nuclear issues," though said the U.S. "has certainly raised" Abedini's case and that of other imprisoned Americans as part of bilateral discussions.
Another case that has recently drawn public attention is that of Amir Hekmati, a U.S. Marine who was arrested in Iran in 2011 while visiting his grandmother.
He was detained on charges of spying for the CIA and sentenced to death. His family says the confession was coerced.
The FBI also reported that, as of this Tuesday, former FBI official Robert Levinson will become one of the longest-held Americans in history -- he went missing after traveling to an island off Iran in March 2007; the U.S. government has since received indications he's being held.