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04/18/2022 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was granted temporary furlough from prison, where he is serving a six-year prison sentence on charges of “acting against national security” by “promoting Zionist Christianity.” He is set to return to prison tomorrow after spending five days with his family.

Pastor Nadarkhani was released from the notorious Evin prison, where he was serving his reduced sentence. Authorities arrested him along with three church members during raids in Rasht in May 2016. The Christian community of Rasht has faced heavy persecution in recent years, with three more who were arrested recently.

These three, Ahmad Sarparast, Morteza Mashoodkari, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh were arrested in early September 2021 and released on bail. Now, however, they have been sentenced to five years in prison and fined. The judge handed down the verdict citing “forming a house church,” “spreading propaganda against the state,” and “communication with Zionist agents and the Branhamist sect abroad” as their charges. Their families have also faced harassment by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC).

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