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Farhad Sabokrouh and Naser Zamen-Dezfuli
Photo: Mohabat News

On December 4th, two Iranian believers -- Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh and Naser Zamen-Dezfuli -- were released from prison after being incarcerated for more than 200 days.

The men were apprehended on December 23rd, 2011, after authorities raided a Christmas celebration held at their registered church and arrested all in attendance, including children. Several hours later, most were released except for Pastor Farhad, his wife Shahnaz Jayzan, Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, and another church member by the name of Davoud Alijani.

The four were later released on bail. However, in October of 2012, they were each sentenced to one year in prison for "converting to Christianity, inviting Muslims to convert and acting against state security through evangelistic activities." These believers were summoned to court on May 1st, 2013, to begin serving their sentences. At last report, Davoud and Shahnaz remain in prison and it is unclear whether they will be released as well.

Praise God for this answer to prayer! Pray that as Pastor Farhad and Naser recover from their ordeal, the Lord will grant them ongoing grace and strength. May He also protect them from further opposition. Pray, too, that their testimonies will demonstrate to unbelievers the love and faithfulness of our God. Remember Davoud and Shahnaz in your prayers as well. Whether imprisoned or free, may they remain steadfast in their faith and rejoice in the gift of our Saviour, Jesus, who has promised to never leave them or forsake them (Hebrews 13:5).

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. VOMC is also working with partners to provide the Theology of Persecution course in Farsi to train Iranian believers to provide a proper theological perspective and understanding of persecution from a Biblical point of view.

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 (99.4), other, including Christian (0.3), Unspecified (0.3)

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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