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Published On: Sun, Jun 2nd, 2013

AG Church in Iran may not survive after the arrest of Pastor Robert Asseriyan

An Assemblies of God church in Tehran may not survive after the arrest of one of its pastors last week.

Iranian authorities continue to pressure churches of Armenian or Assyrian heritage to cancel all services in the Farsi language, or face permanent closure.

The sign on the church in Tehran: 'This church is closed due to major repairs. Please do not return!' photo Article 18

The sign on the church in Tehran: ‘This church is closed due to major repairs. Please do not return!’ photo Article 18

Pastor Robert Asseriyan was arrested on May 21, two days after the church refused to voluntarily terminate its Farsi services. He is being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Mohabat News reported this week that Asseriyan told his family by phone that he is in good health.

The congregation was to be told of the church’s decision at a meeting at the church on May 26, but a sign was posted on the door of the church, which read: “This church is closed due to major repairs. Please do not return!”

Mansour Borji, an Iranian-born Kurdish Christian and advocacy officer for the human-rights group Article 18, says the situation is symptomatic of a wider problem in Iran, which threatens the existence of all churches in which Farsi is spoken.

“I am certain that the AOG church in Tehran will not be the last,” he said in a May 28 email to supporters. “If the Iranian government manages to close this church, the few remaining churches that have Farsi-speaking services will follow.”

Borji says the government is using Asseriyan’s arrest, and the detention of other pastors, as a bargaining tool.

“Authorities have explicitly made their intentions clear: ‘Farsi services have to stop! We cannot allow this to go on. . . It is best if you close them yourselves so you can keep the building and continue to serve the Armenian congregation. It is only then that we can consider release of your pastors’,” he said.

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  1. Robert Asseriyan, AG Pastor in Iran, released from prison under conditions of ‘silence’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Reports were widespread that the arrest jeopardized the future of the church. […]

  2. New Apostolic Reformation: An Introduction to the Movement | End Times Prophecy Report says:

    […] AG Church in Iran may not survive after the arrest of Pastor Robert Asseriyan (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

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