Christian martyr’s grave was destroyed in Iran
In December 2019, the grave of the only Iranian Christian executed for apostasy was demolished in Mashad, northeastern Iran.
According to International Christian Concern, Pastor Soodmand converted to Christianity prior to the 1979 revolution and was active in ministry, including leading the Assemblies of God Church in Mashad.
He was arrested and tortured in 1990. He was freed on a short-furlough from prison, and executed two weeks after his return.
Based on official charges, he was the only one who received death sentence, however many others have been in prison for several accusations, such as spying or organizing illegal gatherings and masses.
The recent US drone strike on Ghasem Soleimani left a vacant position for which Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has appointed Ismail Qaani as the new commander of the extraterritorial Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards.
Relating to the execution of Pastor Soodmand, “in August 1988 Qaani was appointed deputy commander of the Guard’s Forces, and is believed to have overseen a crackdown there in 1992 against protesters. As Deputy Commander, Qaani would have held a degree of command authority as the process of Pastor Soodmand’s execution was carried out”, ICC wrote.
Mashad is the religious capital of Iran and a place of pilgrimage for Shiites from all around the globe.