Iran’s church fights for survival.

By September 14, 2004

Iran (MNN)–Evangelical Christians in Iran are facing harsh crackdowns as police arrested 80 church leaders last week.

According to Compass Direct, police invaded a gathering of church leaders, arresting all the men and women present. Gathered in the city of Karaj, about 20 miles west of Tehran, it was the first day of the annual general conference of Iran’s Assemblies of God Church.

Authorities interrogated each individual separately with a specific list of questions and then released most of the believers. Ten pastors remain in custody at an unknown location and without any contact with family members.

Those released were forbidden to attend the church services on Friday, the country’s weekly day of rest, when most churches meet for worship. With the pastors still detained and church leaders banned from attendance, the believers sensed the strain of persecution. Ten years ago, three Protestant pastors were murdered, and believers feel this recent crackdown is the biggest crisis for evangelicals since then.

The Iranian government has strictly limited the activities of Christians in Iran, closing down churches and arresting known converts to Christianity.

Pray for the safe release of the 10 pastors and for wisdom for Iranian evangelicals during this time of crisis.

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