Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The Stream: An Iranian activist group asked an American journalist to participate in a conference critical of the U.S. and Israel, part of the enlistment of American thinkers willing to join Iran’s propaganda campaign.
Fox News: Iran’s revolutionary court imposed harsh prison sentences last week on 18 Christian converts for charges including evangelism, propaganda against the regime, and creating house churches to practice their faith, according to sources with knowledge of the Islamic Republic’s secretive judicial system.
The Washington Post: Men in Iran wanting to get a spiky haircut, a tattoo or a good ol’ eyebrow plucking from barbers are out of luck. Officials have banned such styles, describing them as “devil-worshipping” and “homosexual.”
Mohabat News: Mojtaba Seyyed-Alaedin Hossein was conditionally released from Adel-Abad prison on March 18, 2015, just a couple of days before Iranian New Year. He endured more than three years in prison.
Fox News: Like most 6-year-olds, Jacob Abedini sat with a black pen in hand and excitedly sent out invitations to his seventh birthday party Tuesday. But the guest whose attendance is most important won’t be there — his father, American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who remains locked inside an Iranian prison because of Christian faith.
Forbes: By the end of 2014, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had identified 221 journalists in prison across the world, the second highest number since the organization started recording these figures in 1990. China and Iran were the worst offenders, holding a third of all journalists jailed globally.
WorldWatch Monitor: After spending more than one year in prison, for ‘collusion against the [Iranian] government’ and ‘evangelism,’ Iranian pastor Rasoul Abdollahi has been released from prison.
Christian News Network: Barack Obama met with the wife of an American pastor imprisoned in Iran on Wednesday after she made the request when she learned that he would be visiting her area to give a speech at a public university.
Christian News Network: Three Iranian pastors who were sentenced to six years in prison for committing “action against national security” and “creating a network to overthrow the system”—charges believed to be used as a catchall against anyone deemed a threat to the government —have now been acquitted of their crimes.
Iran court clears three Christians of convictions in appeal hearing; watchdog groups encouraged by ruling
The Christian Post: Three Iranian Christian leaders have seen their convictions overturned following an appeals hearing, in what persecution watchdog groups are hailing as an encouraging victory. Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani have been granted their freedom after their six-year sentences were overturned, but pastor Benhram Irani is still serving six years for previous convictions.
Pastors Behnam Irani, Matthias Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani attended a second court session today as part of their appeal against six-year sentences on trumped-up political charges, which had been handed down in October.
The Christian Post: The Christian Defense Coalition and Church on the Hill have announced that they’ll be setting up a Thanksgiving place for American pastor Saeed Abedini in front of the White House on Thanksgiving morning, reminding President Barack Obama about the imprisoned husband and father.
The Christian Post: An Iranian woman hanged for murdering her alleged rapist left behind a heartbreaking message for her mother in which she asserts that “death is not the end of life” and that she trusts God with her future, even if it meant death by the Iranian court.
Christian News Network: An Iranian pastor has been sentenced to six years in prison for spreading Christianity in the nation, an act that is believed to be seen by the government as a threat to the Iranian regime.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Press Release: Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Pastors Behnam Irani and Matthias Haghnejad, and Deacon Silas Rabbani, who previously had capital charges against them dropped, have been each given six-year sentences by an Iranian court.
Huffington Post: In the U.S., we pride ourselves on freedom of speech. Regrettably, this is not the case in many countries. For example, the Iranian regime concentrates on oppression of thought.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, Pastor Behnam Irani and Deacon Silas Rabbani from the Church of Iran denomination, who were facing capital charges that now appear to have been dropped, were tried for other alleged offences at the 1st Branch of the Revolutionary Tribunal in Karaj on 30 September.
Townhall: As ADF Legal Counsel, Paul Coleman said, “The human rights situation for Christians in Iran has been well-documented, and there is little doubt that a Christian convert would face real risk of harm if he is forced to return to his country. Christians should be able to practice their faith openly without fearing for their lives.”
Christian News Network: Christians worldwide are gathering today to pray for the release of an American pastor who has been imprisoned in Iran simply because of his Christian faith.
Alliance Defending Freedom and Jubilee Campaign filed a brief with the European Court of Human Rights Thursday highlighting the dire situation facing Christian converts in Iran. In January, a lower chamber of the court ruled that Sweden had not violated the European Convention on Human Rights by denying an Iranian citizen’s request for asylum. The court held that no real threat was posed to the applicant’s life by returning him to Iran because he had kept his faith private – a point ADF and Jubilee Campaign challenge in their brief.
Christian News Network: A Christian pastor in Iran who is already serving six years behind bars is facing the death penalty for ‘spreading corruption on Earth’ through his Christian witness and activities.
Religious Freedom Coalition (BosNewsLife): An evangelical Iranian pastor serving a six years prison term for his Christian activities is facing 18 new charges, including “spreading corruption on Earth”, which carries the death penalty, Christian rights activists say.
Fox News: Young Iranians are having pre-marital sex – including homosexual relations – in far greater numbers than the regime in Tehran would like to admit, according to a government study which recommends addressing the issue by encouraging the use of “temporary” marriages that may last no longer then the tryst itself.
NY Daily News: The American pastor was receiving treatment for injuries he reportedly received from guards and fellow inmates at Rajai Shahr prison in Iran. Relatives say Abedini was abruptly removed from the hospital and taken back to jail.
CNN: Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has tracked the world’s worst abusers of religious rights. As the most recent report notes, it has never lacked for material. Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe.
Fox News: “Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned in Iran for practicing his Christian faith, has been moved from a murderers’ ward to one reserved for political prisoners, a slight improvement his supporters say is the first positive sign in …
CNSNews: The top ten countries for persecuting Christians over the last year were: North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.
CNSNews: A conservative civil rights group is welcoming the release of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from an Iranian prison, after he and dozens of other Christians were interrogated and arrested by the Islamic Republic on Christmas Day.
ACLJ: American Pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned in Iran’s deadliest prison. Another year begins with Pastor Saeed separated from his wife, his kids, and his country, suffering in chains for the Gospel.
AP: In Iran, free condoms and government-backed vasectomies are out, replaced by sermons praising larger families and discussions of even offering gold coins to the families of newborns.
CNSNews: One of the few Iranian churches still serving Christians who are not from minority ethnic groups – and are therefore more likely to be converts from Islam –reportedly has told these Farsi-speaking believers that they are no longer welcome.
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada: It causes me, an immigrant to this beautiful country, concern that Canada has become so politically correct that we are seemingly unwilling to acknowledge Christmas. I am not the only immigrant to feel this way. Others do too. “…This whole ‘let’s be politically correct’ [thing] – it’s getting out of hand,” says Shahed Khalili who immigrated to Canada from an Islamic Republic.
Morningstar News: As Western powers prepare to ease economic sanctions against Iran in support of a new nuclear non-proliferation treaty, human rights activists say leverage for winning freedom for prisoners of faith may about to be lost.
Washington Free Beacon: The United States released $8 billion in frozen assets to Iran on Sunday in a move meant to ensure Tehran’s compliance with a nuclear pact signed over the weekend, according to top Iranian officials.
Morningstar News: After Iran’s secret service learned he was evangelizing in the Christian rehabilitation center, Davoodi was falsely convicted of selling drugs in the facility and was sentenced to prison. His probation officer also told him he would face death if he failed to show up for his weekly meeting with him.
Less than Half of the World’s Countries Support U.N. Resolution Criticizing Iran’s Human Rights Abuses
CNSNews: As a new round of nuclear talks begins with Iran, international criticism of Iran’s human rights record at home appears to be waning.
Boston Globe: Officials with the American Center for Law & Justice say Monday’s visit marked the first time Saeed Abedini was able to see family since his transfer to Rajai Shahr prison more than two weeks ago.
Findlaw: The organization’s total worth is difficult to pinpoint because of the secrecy of its accounts. But Setad’s holdings of real estate, corporate stakes and other assets total about $95 billion, Reuters has calculated. That estimate is based on an analysis of statements by Setad officials, data from the Tehran Stock Exchange and company websites, and information from the U.S. Treasury Department.
American Center for Law and Justice: The ACLJ has confirmed through Pastor Saeed’s family members in Iran that he has been moved from Evin Prison in Tehran to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj – an even more dangerous prison where he faces life-threatening conditions and treatment.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide: Two of the four members of the Church of Iran denomination sentenced to 80 lashes for taking wine during a communion service were lashed yesterday. Behzad Taalipasand and Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) received 80 lashes on 30 October. According to CSW’s sources, Behzad Taalipasand was whipped “with extreme violence.”
Washington Free Beacon: Iran plans to build many new nuclear plants with atomic reactors along its coastlines with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, Iran’s top nuclear official announced on Thursday.
Fox News: Four Iranian Christians were reportedly sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine for communion, a shocking punishment meted out even as a new United Nations report blasted the Islamic republic for its systematic persecution of non-Muslims.
AP: A Southern California pastor says an activist preacher detained in Iran after staging a protest outside a prison will be sent back to the United States.
AP: A retired Southern California pastor with a history of overseas activism was detained in Iran after staging a protest outside a prison to demand the release of Iranian Christians held inside, his daughter and fellow pastor said.
One News Now: Attorney Tiffany Barrans of the American Center for Law and Justice reports that 28 countries told Iran they want to “engage in dialogue” with the country. “But this is a confidence-building measure that we’re going to require of you – that you release Pastor Saeed and other prisoners of faith who are in the same situation as him,” Barrans, paraphrasing the request,recalls.
AP: Iran’s president stepped up his challenge to hard-line factions on Monday, calling for the lifting of restrictions on academic freedoms and for granting Iranian scholars more opportunity to take part in international conferences.
Aleteia: Prayer vigils continue to be held in order to pray and raise awareness for Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who is still being held in an Iranian prison on an eight-year sentence.
Baptist Press: As Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini marks one year in Tehran’s brutal Evin Prison, his wife encountered Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, in a New York hotel lobby and passed along a letter from the prisoner to the president.
WorldNetDaily: As Iranian-born American pastor Saeed Abedini prepares to mark one year in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison for his Christian beliefs and activities, his wife, Naghmeh, is praying that she and the couple’s children will be able to see him again
CNSNews: As Iran’s new president continues a charm offensive ahead of next week’s visit to the United Nations General Assembly, religious freedom advocates urged him, again, to release an Iranian-American pastor sent to prison for eight years for purported national security offenses.
AP: In a setback for Western efforts to tighten sanctions against Iran, a top European Union court on Friday threw out penalties imposed on several Iranian businesses for their alleged ties to the country’s disputed nuclear program.
Morningstar News: Harsh treatment of Christians before the June 15 election of Iran’s new president has continued since Hassan Rouhani took office on Aug. 3, including the upholding yesterday of pastor Saeed Abedini’s eight-year prison sentence.
AP: A human-rights group says an Iranian court has rejected an appeal by an American pastor sentenced to eight years in prison.
AP: The lawyer of a man convicted of building and promoting pornographic websites says a death sentence against his client has been converted to life imprisonment.
AP: Hard-line parliamentarians challenged Monday the Cabinet proposed by Iran’s new president, accusing him of nominating ministers who are friendly to the West or who back “sedition” against the country’s clerically dominated system of government.
Townhall: One of the nation’s most prominent evangelical leaders wants to know why President Obama has remained silent as Iran tortures an American pastor held captive in one of the Islamic republic’s most notorious prisons.
ChristianPersecution.info: The pastor of Iran’s largest Persian speaking Pentecostal church has been “conditionally released” from prison but his congregation in the capital Tehran remains closed, Iranian Christians told Worthy News.
AP: Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday criticized the Egyptian military’s toppling of the nation’s Islamist president, calling the move improper in its first official reaction.
Reuters: Iran’s foreign ministry condemned the killing of four Shi’ite Egyptians near Cairo, saying such extremism violated the tenets of Islam, state television reported late on Monday.
AP: However, the overall tone of Hasan Rowhani’s first post-election news conference, will likely be viewed by the West as further evidence that his stunning victory last week could open new possibilities for dialogue to ease tensions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
Baptist Press: Iran’s treatment of its Christian minority has come under fresh scrutiny in recent months with some harsh reports on the country’s human rights record.
Fox News: The American pastor jailed in Iran for his Christian faith has managed to get a letter out to his global supporters, thanking them for their prayers while confirming the brutality of his conditions.
AP: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that a decision by election overseers to disqualify his top aide from next month’s presidential race is an act of “oppression” and that he will take the case to the country’s supreme leader.
AP: Hard-line Iranian lawmakers have petitioned authorities to bar two prominent presidential contenders – a moderate former president and a protege of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – from running in next month’s election in a further sign of intense political jockeying over the final ballot list.
Baptist Press: More than 52,000 letters have been written to American pastor Saeed Abedini, commending him for his strong demonstration of faith as he languishes in an Iranian prison. The Web-based campaign was launched by the American Center for Law and Justice ahead of Abedini’s 33rd birthday May 7.
Washington Times: Gaza “modesty police” are out in full force, and have arrested more than 40 in April alone, driving fears that Hamas-inspired Islamic fundamentalism is taking over the region.
Fox News: The American pastor jailed in Iran for his faith has been placed in solitary confinement and may now be suffering organ failure, according to family members in Iran who are increasingly alarmed at his deteriorating health.
WorldNetDaily: Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said Abedini’s physical condition is worsening amid the continued beatings from prison guards. “Following a brief visit from family members today, we have learned Pastor Saeed continues to suffer from the effects of a brutal beating one week ago and continues to be denied medical care,” Sekulow said.