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Iran: Pastor begins 10-year sentence for his ‘disturbing’ teachings

The U.S. State Department has classified Iran as a “country of particular concern” for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“Iranian-Armenian pastor begins 10-year sentence for his ‘disturbing’ teachings,” Article 18, September 18, 2023:

As Iran’s president was flying to New York this morning, an Iranian-Armenian pastor was handing himself in to prison in Tehran to begin a 10-year sentence for engaging in “propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam”.

Anooshavan Avedian, who is 61 years old, was sentenced more than a year ago, but had not been summoned to serve his sentence until he was visited last week by two plainclothes officers from the Ministry of Intelligence.

This visit took place last Wednesday, the same day that another Iranian-Armenian pastor, Joseph Shahbazian, was released from Evin Prison. 

That very same day, Anooshavan was told that the time had come for him to begin his own 10-year jail term.

Article18’s director, Mansour Borji, said the timing of Anooshavan’s summons showed that “the general policy of the Iranian government towards Christians has not changed”.

“Although we have seen a number of Christians released this year,” he said, “the fact that somebody has now gone to prison on the same charges or for the same activities for which others have been pardoned or released, or had their sentences reduced, shows the arbitrary nature of the judicial system in Iran.”…

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