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Concern over Iran Christians Overshadows Presidential Ballot
ICC Note:
While the world looks to the election of the next president of Iran, a crackdown on Christians has gone seemingly unnoticed. “For Western countries, the big event is the election. Iranian authorities used the election campaign and the attention it received, to meanwhile detain Christians. This way they could avoid the world attention such a crackdown would usually receive,” said a church official.
06/14/2013 Iran (BosNews)- A key official of one of Iran’s largest house church movements warned Friday, June 14, that the country’s presidential elections would not lead to an improvement for minority Christians in the Islamic nation.
“The real power is with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who is the one deciding on major policies,” said Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the ‘Church of Iran’ movement.
“We have to remember that the president in Iran has less power than the French prime minister. Khameini even controls the Interior and Intelligence ministers, who are feared by Christians,” Khandjani told BosNewsLife…
Ahead of Friday’s vote, Christians have expressed concerns about a fresh crackdown on Christian groups viewed as dangerous by Iran’s ruling elite.
In recent weeks authorities closed down the Central Assemblies of God church (AoG) in Tehran, the country’s largest Pentecostal church, after detaining its Pastor Robert Asserian on May 21.
Soon after Christian converts, identified as Mohammad-Reza Farid, Saeed Safi, and Hamid-Reza Ghadiri, were reportedly detained May 29 during a worship service of a house church in the city of Isfahan, about 340 kilometers (212 miles) south of Tehran.
They are among several Christians detained across the country. Last week Christians expressed fresh concerns about Iranian Pastor Behnam Irani, who may face the death penalty for “apostasy”, and is reportedly facing serious health problems after two years imprisonment.
Khandjani said he wasn’t surprised about the crackdown. “In the West people seem often more interested in the elections than in individual cases of persecution,” he noticed.

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