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Pastor Vruir Avanessian
Photo: Mohabat News

Rev. Vruir Avanessian was temporarily released from the Evin Prison in Tehran on the 10th of January after spending 15 days in custody. Despite serious health concerns, the 60-year-old pastor was subjected to ongoing interrogations while imprisoned. Fortunately, he was granted bail by posting property title deeds valued at 150 million toomans (approximately $60,000 CAD), but now must wait to receive a court summons for a hearing. So far, there have been no charges or reasons given for his arrest (and subsequent detention), but it's likely due to his alleged contacts with Christian converts within Iran. To read about Iran's political stance on Christianity, go to the Iran Country Report.

Rev. Avanessian, an Armenian Iranian Christian, was arrested along with approximately 50 other believers who had gathered at a home in the northern part of Tehran to celebrate Christmas. The majority of these men and women had come from Muslim backgrounds and, as a result, were detained at the location for several hours by the secret police of the Ministry of Information. They were mandated to complete questionnaires requesting important contact information, social media and e-mail account IDs with accompanying passwords, and details on how they came to accept Christianity. After the completion of the questionnaires, their mobile phones were confiscated and they were notified that individual summons will be sent to each one for further questioning.

Added Note: At least 20 other believers are known to remain detained in Iran because of their Christian faith or activities. These include Pastor Farshid and Pastor Behnam (who is not receiving medical treatment for a serious health issue).

First of all, let's thank the Lord for Rev. Avanessian's release as we continue to plead for his vindication and healing. Ask that He strengthen the faith of all the previously mentioned Iranian believers, and that any charges made against them will be dropped. May their steadfast witness serve as a source of encouragement to others and be used for the extension of His Kingdom. And may all the officials involved love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.

This brief music video clip will encourage you to remember our suffering spiritual family in Iran.

Current Ministry Fund

By funding television broadcasts, VOMC is making it possible for a vast audience of viewers throughout Iran to be reached via satellite with the "Good News" of Jesus' tremendous love for them. VOMC is also working with ministry partners to provide the Theology of Persecution course in the Farsi language so Iranian believers can be taught an accurate theological perspective and, therefore, gain a better understanding of persecution from a Biblical point of view.

Project Fund: Underground Church

Country Information


85,888,910 (July 2021 est.)

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

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

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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Iran News

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    Naser sitting in a home.
    Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh
    Photo: Article18

    When news broke out that Evin Prison in Tehran had experienced a fire on October 15th, families of the prisoners were rightly concerned about the safety of those who were inside during the incident. Sounds of gunfire had been heard in the prison, along with exp

  • Christian Couple Detained
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    Sara Ahmadi and Homayoun Zhaveh
    Photo: Article18

    Homayoun Zhaveh and his wife Sara Ahmadi have faced legal difficulties since June 2019 because of their faith. In November 2020, Sara was sentenced to 11 years in prison for her alleged role in leading a house church. Homayoun was sentenced to two yea