Released Iranian pastor remains closely watched

Thursday, July 11, 2013
Charlie Butts (

An Iranian pastor is now free from jail after his arrest in May, though he is being closely watched by police.

IranPastor Robert Asseriyan was arrested after police raided his church. And Todd Daniels of International Christian Concern (ICC) tells OneNewsNow his recent release is conditional.

"One of the primary conditions seems to be that he remains silent about his imprisonment, [about] what happened to him while he was there," Daniels reports. "It seems like this is a pattern that the Iranian regime is trying to work on to somewhat improve their human rights record, which is obviously quite poor."

Pastor Asseriyan's crime was leading a church service in Farsi, which is the official language of Iran.

"The Iranian government somewhat tolerates the Christian communities for ethnic minorities, for Armenians, but any church that holds services, [that] does outreach in Farsi, they really try to crack down on to prevent any outreach to the Muslim community," the ICC spokesman explains.

So the pastor was sent to prison for preaching in Farsi, though that is the only language a portion of the population speaks, aside from Arabic.

While Asseriyan is being closely watched by police - as is his church - prominent pastors like Benham Irani and Saeed Abedini remain behind bars. Abedini, who has been in an Iranian prison since late last year, is an American citizen.

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