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Photo: Christian Solidarity Worldwide


Davoud Alijani, an Iranian believer imprisoned along with four other Christians in December of 2011, was released on January 13th after spending more than 250 days in jail. Davoud had been charged with converting from Islam to Christianity. (For more information about his arrest, please visit this page.)

Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh and Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, who were imprisoned along with Davoud, were earlier released from custody in December 2013. At last report, the fourth Christian, Pastor Farhad's wife Shahnaz Jayzan, remained imprisoned. However, unconfirmed reports indicate that she will be released in the next several days.

Meanwhile, January 16th marked the third anniversary of the trial of Behnam Irani, 43, a house church leader imprisoned for "offences against national security." Contacts report that Pastor Behnam is being held in appalling conditions at Ghezal Hesar prison and that he is seriously ill. His medical conditions, for which he has received inadequate treatment, include a bleeding ulcer and a herniated disc. He has also been beaten and tortured by prison officials. His family is concerned that he may die in prison. (To learn more about his imprisonment, click here.)

In a letter Behnam wrote in prison, he shared: "In jail I have attained new experiences about love. Here, I live with cellmates of whom it is hard to see anything positive in their lives and personalities. They don't think about anything but negative values, abhorrent acts, learning new experiences in crimes and nasty literature. I look at them and whisper to myself, 'Do they really deserve prayers and intercessions?' Immediately, I remember that Jesus Christ was sacrificed for their sins too. 'He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world’ (1 John 2:2)."

While imprisoned, Pastor Behnam's family is facing scrutiny by authorities. On December 15th, 2013, security forces raided the home of his wife Kristina, as well as the homes of three other Christians. Authorities confiscated Bibles and other Christian materials, as well as Kristina's laptop.

Thank the Lord for answered prayer in the release of Davoud, Farhad and Naser. May Shahnaz's release soon follow! Ask the Lord to help them recover from the emotional and physical ordeals they have suffered. Pray that He will make His presence known to Pastor Behnam during this time of great need, giving His faithful servant strength, healing and grace for each new day. Please also remember Pastor Behnam's dear wife Kristina in prayer, along with their two young children, Rebecca and Adriel. May God comfort them through the outpouring of love they receive from fellow Christians, as well as through the promises of His Holy Word (Psalm 119:49-56). Let us also bring the officials and authorities involved with Behnam's case to the Lord, asking Him to work mightily in their hearts so they may extend His justice and compassion.

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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