Iran arrests Pastor, then closes his Church

Monday, June 3, 2013

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

iran-christianTEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)-- Iranian agents closed Iran's largest Persian-language Pentecostal church Monday, one week after arresting its pastor during worship services, according to Fox News.

Apparently the closing of Tehran's Central Assemblies of God was part of the Islamic Republic's crackdown on Christians before the presidential election in June to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"These incidents appear to be an attempt to stop worship services from being conducted in Farsi, the language of the majority of Iranians," George Wood, general superintendent for the Assemblies of God (U.S.), told BosNewsLife, a news service that reports on the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

Previously on May 21, Iranian authorities abducted Pastor Robert Asserian while he was conducting services; his whereabouts are still unknown.

"Before going to the church, authorities raided Pastor Asserian's home where they confiscated a computer and several books," Wood told BosNewsLife. "Then, they found Pastor Asserian at the church leading the prayer service, immediately arrested him and announced the church's imminent closure."

The number of Iranian Christians, many of them converts from Islam, is estimated at only 100,000 in a nation of mostly 75 million shi'a Muslims.