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Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani
and wife, "Sister Tina"
Photo from Present Truth Ministries

The fate of a Christian pastor in Iran is in the hands of Iran's judicial system. Youcef Nadarkhani, pastor of a church of about 400 people, was convicted of apostasy and has been sentenced to death for allegedly renouncing his Muslim faith (read more).

On September 22, Iran's 11th Circuit Criminal Court of Appeals for the Gilan Province upheld the death sentence and conviction of Nadarkhani for apostasy. The delivery of the death sentence is being delayed. According to reports, the goal is to put more pressure on him to turn away from Christ.

Todd Nettleton with VOM USA says, "[Nadarkhani's] attorney has now formally appealed the verdict, or asked for the verdict to be set aside. So now we wait and see what the appeals court will do in this case."

Nadarkhani would be the first Christian convicted of apostasy to be executed in 20 years. Nettleton says Christians are facing more persecution. "The church of Jesus Christ is growing at an incredibly high rate, and Muslims are coming to follow Christ in huge numbers. That has the government running scared."

Two articles in Iran's constitution grant Christians "the right to freely worship and form religious societies." Another article "obligates the Iranian government to uphold the equality and human rights of Christians."

Pray God will fill Pastor Youcef and his family with peace and that they will continue to stand on the Word, knowing that God protects His children. Pray for those in charge of Pastor Youcef's case, that God would soften their hearts and cause them to overturn their decision.

Please visit the Iran Country Report to learn more about suffering believers in Iran.

Current Ministry Fund

By funding television broadcasts, VOMC is making it possible for a vast audience of viewers to be reached throughout Iran with the "Good News" of Jesus' love via satellite.

Project Fund: Underground Church

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
85,888,910 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity
Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes

Religion (%)
Islam (99.6), other, including Christian (0.3), Unspecified (0.2)

Leader
President Ebrahim Raisi (2021)

Government type
Theocratic republic

Legal system
Religious legal system based on secular and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Iran

As the Gospel message goes forth over the airwaves, may the growth of the church continue to multiply despite persecution. Pray that the Iranian government will be open to change, allowing full rights and protection for its non-Muslim citizens as well. In the meantime, may those who are forced to flee the country find safe refuge and help so they can live in peace and worship the Lord with freedom.

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