Severe restrictions against Assembly of God church in Iran

ICC Note:

“Churches in [Iran] are banned from preaching the Gospel to non-Christians, holding Persian language services, teaching and or distributing The Holy Bible, or to organise and maintain Christian classes,” Farsi Christian News Network reports.

3/19/2012 Iran (FCNN) – Ever since Mr. Ahmadinezhad took control of the government of the Islamic Regime in 2006, he willingly and enthusiastically set about fulfilling his private promise of eradication of Christianity in Iran. A promise he had made to a group of influential clergymen, as a means of securing their support prior to his so-called “election”.

The new era of Islamic Anti-Christian activities in Iran had begun; church of “Assembly of God” was targeted from the very beginning.

With clear policies by the Islamic Regime, these increasingly draconian measures have reached unprecedented levels. The churches of “Assembly of God” in Rasht, Tehran, Ahvaz, Esfahan, and Oroumiyeh, have selectively and intentionally been targeted by the Islamic Regime.

Some of these restrictions are so severe that they amount to Church closer by any other means.

Persecuted Christians and Churches in the Islamic Republic are banned from preaching the Gospel to non-Christians, holding Persian language services, teaching and or distributing The Holy Bible, or to organise and maintain Christian classes.

Some of other restrictive measures employed against Christian and Churches can be summarised as follows:

1. Putting Church leaders under psychological pressures by constantly serving spurious and unsubstantiated notices threatening them with personal and corporate responsibilities, compulsory insertion of “Minority Experts “( echoes of Apartheid?), working directly for the Ministry of State Security into church offices, and vehemently banning new converts from service and training, are but a few such acts.

The threats and coercion is so great that permanent closer of churches in locations across Tehran and Ahvaz neither is nor even mentioned for fear of persecution and personal dangers it may involve. Closed doors of these Churches stand witness to the empty claims of “freedom of religion” in the Islamic Republic.

2. Unacceptable restrictions on special events: every year just before Christmas and the New Year celebrations, new and renewed restrictions and pressures, particularly against Persian speaking Churches, are created and applied.

If pressures on traditional Armenian and Assyrian churches are concentrated on Islamic veil and female headgears for Christian women, music ban during church services, or entry refusal to new converts; in the case of “Assembly of God” churches these pressures, restrictions and controls are far more pervasive and widespread.

In spite of their loud and often repeated claims of respect for Jesus, Islamic Regime managed to force Tehran’s Assembly of God Church to hold the Christmas celebrations behind closed doors, raid the church in Ahvaz during its religious celebration detaining the assemblage and closing down the building, as well as banning any such activity in Esfahan when they summoned church leaders to the local State Security prison delivering the ultimatum.

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