Rev. Robert Asserian remains imprisoned over three weeks after his arrest in Tehran. The central Assemblies of God church, where Robert served as an associated leader, remains closed with a sign on the door declaring that the church is ‘closed for essential repairs’.
On May 21 Rev. Asserian was arrested when he arrived to lead a prayer meeting at the central Assemblies of God church in Iran’s capital city. The pastor is now held in Evin prison and is believed to be facing regular interrogations from agents of the Revolutionary Guard, a body under the direct control of the Supreme Leader. No services or activities have been held at the church since the arrest. Robert’s wife, two sons and friends are gravely concerned for Rev. Asserian, whose condition remains unknown.
When a large and long-standing sanctioned church like Rev. Asserian’s is no longer able to conduct its activities, it is an indication that other churches will soon find themselves in the same situation. Since the 1979 revolution there have been increasing efforts to eliminate the church’s presence through mounting pressure and persecution, and by cutting off access to literature, leadership training and communion with the global Church. If the trend continues in the same direction, there will soon be no services or activities conducted in Persian in any of Iran’s churches. Let us pray that this trend will be halted.
• Rev. Asserian’s health, welfare and strength from the Lord
• Encouragement for the disbanded congregation and the church’s staff
• A lifting of the level of persecution under the incoming president