Iranian Christians are delighted with the release of Joseph Shahbazian (59), an Iranian of Armenian descent.

Joseph was arrested on 30 June 2020 when the Revolutionary Guard Corps raided a Christian meeting in a home in Tehran. He was charged with “acting against national security by promoting Zionist Christianity” and, after three weeks’ detention, his bail was set at the exorbitant figure of three billion tomans (approximately €140,000).

On 29 May 2022, Joseph, along with six Christian converts, was tried on these charges. Judge Iman Afshari sentenced him to ten years in prison, followed by two years in internal exile in the southeast of Iran. He was also given a two-year ban on travelling abroad or membership of any social or political group. As well he would have to report to the offices of Iran’s intelligence service for two years after his release on an unspecified “seasonal basis.

Joseph started his sentence in Evin Prison, Tehran, in August 2022. He was granted a review of his sentence in February 2023 and in May his sentence was reduced to two years.

Mohabat News reports that Joseph has been granted a full pardon through a court ruling.

Iranian Christians are thankful for the release of Joseph Shahbazian and request prayer that the Lord will enable him to recover from his imprisonment and that other Christians in prison or facing detention will be encouraged by this example.

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