Tehran, Iran – An Iranian-Armenian pastor was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years of “deprivation of social rights”, for leading a Christian house church in Tehran, Iran.
The April 11 judgment against Anooshavan Avedian is for “creating and directing an illegal group”, the humanitarian organization Barnabas Fund reported.
Abbas Soori and Maryam Mohammadi – two members of the house church – were sentenced to 10 years’ disenfranchisement for being part of the “illegal group”. Their sentence also includes a two-year exile from Tehran, a fine of 50 million tomans ($1,700) and a two-year ban on social groups and travel outside the country.
The three were arrested during a raid on a house church in August 2020.
Because Anooshavan has Armenian heritage, it is illegal for him to render services in Farsi, Iran’s national language.
In Anzali, Iran, intelligence ministry agents raided the home of Rahmat Rostamipour, a Christian convert to Islam, in April, Barnabas Fund reported. Although Rostamipour was not charged with anything, he was detained in a location unknown to his family.
Iran is No. 9 on Open Doors’ 2022 global watchlist of the toughest places to be a Christian.