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Thousands Pray For Persecuted Christians in Iran , Pastor Released (Update)

(BosNewsLife) 6/13/2006– As thousands of Christians from around the world continued to pray for persecuted Christian believers in Iran Tuesday, June 13, a Christian convert jailed six weeks ago in northern Iran was released and reunited with his family, fellow believers said.

The family of Ali Kaboli, 51, continued to decline comment on the reason for the long-time Protestant believer’s arrest or any conditions of his June 12 release by police authorities in his home city of Gorgan , said Compass Direct, a Christian news agency.

But local Christians reportedly said a “hefty bail” was posted to the court for Kaboli’s release, indicating that a formal case could be pending against him. Kaboli was arrested without explanation on May 2 from his carpenter’s workshop in Gorgan. A former Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, Kaboli hosted house church meetings in his home and traveled in the Caspian Sea region as an itinerant evangelist. Under Iran ’s strict apostasy laws, Kaboli could face the death penalty for converting to Christianity 35 years ago.

The news came as Iranian church representatives said in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife that they could “not express how deeply encouraged and thankful Iranian Christians are that so many are standing with us in prayer.”

“We believe the Lord will hear the cries of His people, so we urge everyone to carry on praying and spreading the word about this prayer effort. Let’s see millions pray for Iran and let us witness together how God can transform a nation,” they added.

Christians in and outside Iran created a ‘Pray for Iran’ website (www.prayforiran.com) in nine languages with daily prayer requests and since the campaign began May 25, Ascension Day, after 120 Iranian church leaders appealed for prayers. “It is estimated that several hundred thousand believers will pray for Iran as a result of the campaign,” organizers said.

“RECENT SOFTENING”

Christian believers claimed that their prayers may have impacted “the apparent recent softening” in the nuclear stand off with the United States . “Interestingly, the topic for prayer on May 30 was the nuclear issue, and on May 31 the United States opened the door for possible direct diplomatic talks with Iran for the first time in over 25 years,” they said.

” Iran has responded fairly positively to a new proposal to re-open negotiations. Whether or not this is a direct answer to prayer or not, time will tell. However, it does provide added motivation to continue asking the Lord to intervene.”

Iranian churches say Iran “could be on the edge of a radical spiritual transformation,” with three weeks of the campaign left. The prayer campaign is focused on three main areas including the “persecuted Church in Iran , revival in Iran and for God to intervene in the political situation,” Iranian church representatives said.

Several Christians have been killed in Iran for their faith while others are jailed for their activities or for abandoning the Muslim religion, human rights groups say.