The Reverend Pourmand

A colonel in the Iranian army, Hamid Pourmand, could be sentenced to death for espionage and apostasy against Islam. It is illegal for army officers to be Christians. The gentleman is a minister of the Assemblies of God in Iran, and had not kept his conversion secret.

This year has seen the Iranian government tighten the screws on Christians, and this arrest is not policy-automatic. It is a conscious decision to up the ante, and convey a clear message to northern Iran, which has always had a pesky Christian remnant to deal with (the descendants of Nestorians). 86 other Protestant leaders were arrested along with the Reverend Pourmand (here's the old WorldNetDaily story), but have all since been released. The message: play ball, or else.

The Assemblies of God are particularly active in that part of the world, and have been particularly targeted by the Iranian government.

Some depth to the long history of Christianity in the area: one of the countries on the northern border of Iran is Armenia, the national church of which is the oldest church of uninterrupted succession in the world. Armenia succesfully resisted Muslim invaders and Mongols during the Middle Ages.