TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian-Armenian pastor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years of “deprivation of social rights,” for running a Christian house church in Tehran, Iran.
The April 11 judgment against Anooshavan Avedian is for “establishing and leading an illegal group,” the relief organization Barnabas Fund reported.
Abbas Soori and Maryam Mohammadi, two members of the house church, were sentenced to 10 years of deprivation of social rights for being part of the “illegal group.” Their penalty includes a two-year exile from Tehran, a fine of 50 million tomans ($1,700) and a two-year ban on joining social groups and traveling abroad.
The three were arrested in a house church raid in August 2020.
Because Avedian has Armenian heritage, it is illegal for him to conduct services in Farsi, the national language of Iran.
In Anzali, Iran, Ministry of Intelligence agents in April raided the home of Rahmat Rostamipour, a Christian convert from Islam, Barnabas Fund reported. Although Rostamipour was not charged with anything, he was put into detention in a location unknown to his family.
Iran is No. 9 on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.