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

The death sentence of Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor convicted of apostasy, has been upheld and confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court. Pastor Youcef, a leader in the Full Gospel "Church of Iran" network, was arrested and imprisoned in October 2009 after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the Qur'an (click here for more). In September, Iran's 11th Circuit Criminal Court of Appeals for the Gilan Province upheld Pastor Youcef's death sentence and conviction for apostasy. The delivery of the death sentence, however, was delayed. Many believe the delay was a means to pressure him to him to turn away from Christ in prison. With the sentence now upheld and confirmed, it is possible that the authorities will ask him to recant his faith and execute him without advance notice if he refuses -- a typical pattern of action taken by authorities in such cases. If Pastor Youcef is indeed executed, his would be the first judicial execution of a Christian in Iran in two decades. He is but one of several members of his church who have been arrested by Iranian officials, and his wife has also spent time in prison because of her faith in Christ.

Pray that God will continue to equip Pastor Youcef to stand firm in his faith. Pray that he will sense the love and support of all those praying for him and working on his behalf. Pray that the Iranian authorities involved will be convicted of their injustice and overturn the case. Pray for comfort to abound in the hearts and minds of Pastor Youcef's wife and children.

You can find out more about the trials facing Iranian Christians at the Iran Country Report.

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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