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The Adventist Review shares the following world news from Religion News Service as a service to readers. Opinions expressed in these reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Review or the Seventh-day Adventist Church. -- Editors

Largest Persian-Speaking
Church in Tehran Closed


BY JEREMY REYNALDS                                                                     ©2013 Assist News Service

The Central Assemblies of God church in Tehran was closed on May 23 due to pressure from Iranian security authorities.

According to a story by Mohabat Iranian Christian News Agency, a well-placed source said that a sign was posted on the main entrance of the church saying that the church is temporarily closed.

Mohabat News said the source also said that the church staff has not gone to work for two days.

The source also told Mohabat News, “The Islamic regime's intelligence forces have been pressuring the church to close down since six months ago. The authorities also announced two days ago that anyone who tries to enter the church will be arrested.”

Mohabat News reported that its source believes the main reason for closure of the church is that the Iranian security authorities wanted to limit the church service to just the Armenian language, and prevent any Farsi services.

In another incident on May 21, security authorities arrested Pastor Robert Asseriyan in the middle of a church service and transferred him to an unknown location.

Asseriyan is one of the leaders of the Assemblies church in Tehran.

Dr. George O. Wood, the General Superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the U.S., released a statement after the pastor's arrest.

Mohabat News said he expressed concern over the pressure on Persian-speaking churches in Iran, and appealed that the persecution and pressure exerted by the Iranian authorities on the country’s Christians be lifted.

Elsewhere in Wood’s statement, Mohabat News reported he said that closure of the Central Assemblies of God church in Tehran is a beginning of the end for all other Farsi speaking churches across Iran.

Mohabat News reported Wood commented, “Such a move would essentially remove all open witness to the gospel of Christ in the country. 


 

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