Government agents shut down Iran’s largest Persian-language Pentecostal church Monday, just one week after one of its pastors was arrested and hauled away midway through a worship service.
On May 21, authorities grabbed Pastor Robert Asserian while services were under way. They have not told parishioners where he is being held.
“Before going to the church, authorities raided Pastor Asserian’s home, where they confiscated a computer and several books,” Wood said. “Then, they found Pastor Asserian at the church leading the prayer service, immediately arrested him and announced the church’s imminent closure.”
Iranian Christians fear a court verdict directing prosecutors to pursue the death penalty against Irani for apostasy, said Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the Church of Iran movement to which the pastor belongs.
He urged Christians around the world to sign a **petition
** asking the White House "to take immediate steps to put pressure on the Iranian government to secure the release of Irani.
"Most of the focus of the American church, regarding persecution, has been [Abedini],” he said. “I’m very thankful that so much attention has been given to him [but there are also] others in prison serving a sentence for their Christian faith.”