Temporary furlough for detained Iranian pastor. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom demands his permanent release

TEHRAN — The violations of the Iranian regime against indigenous minorities and religious freedoms have become innumerable. In 2018, Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was arrested, on charges of “acting against national security” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.” He was detained in Evin prison in Tehran where he contracted serious diseases.

Earlier, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called on the Iranian regime for the permanent release of the pastor. Nadarkhani was temporarily released on April 13. This was welcomed by USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza, who said that the most important next step is the permanent release of the pastor and all other individuals detained due to their religious beliefs.

Nadarkhani is a church pastor for 4,000 people in Iran. In 2018, his house was stormed. He and his family members were beaten. His two sons were prevented from completing their education, which prompted Nadarkhani to go on hunger strike for three weeks in prison.

It was reported that Nadarkhani had previously faced several similar charges, and was sentenced to death before being acquitted of apostasy charge.

In Iran, Christians who are born into the indigenous Assyrian and Armenian churches have relative freedom to worship, unlike Christians from a Muslim background. However, they are not free to evangelize, must conduct their services in their own languages, i.e., not in Farsi which is the official language of Iran – and may not admit converts to services.

Related: Story of the Bet-Tamraz family Part 1: Pastor Victor and Bet-Tamraz couple flees Iran after combined 15 years prison sentence for teaching Christianity

For the article in Arabic see SyriacPress Arabic