(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)
Pastor Behnam Irani

Three Christian men -- Behnam Irani, Matthias Haghnejad and Silas Rabbani -- were recently handed six-year prison sentences. These believers had earlier been accused of capital offenses, but thankfully those charges were later dropped. (For more information on the capital charges, visit this page.)

This latest verdict dictates that Pastor Behnam will serve his sentence at a prison in the northern city of Zabol, while Pastor Matthias and Silas (a deacon) will be transferred to a prison in Minab which is located by the Persian Gulf. All three are appealing their sentences. The cities of Zabol and Minab are infamous for their extremely hot climates. Moreover, the prisoners' families will be forced to travel long distances for visits, which will prove to be both financially and physically challenging.

According to religious liberty advocates, these sentences are the latest examples of the surge in oppression against religious and ethnic minorities under the Rouhani presidency. This repression has occurred despite his earlier promise to uphold the rights of religious minorities during the run up to elections last year.

While thanking God that the capital punishment charges against these three men have been dropped, let us ask Him to now be very near to these dear brothers in Christ as they each face six-year sentences. In particular, pray that they will not despair, but would continue in their faith -- established and firm -- remaining grounded in the hope of the Gospel (Colossians 1:23). May their appeals be swift and successful so that they will soon be released to their families! Until then, ask God to meet their loved ones' every need, as they now face new challenges in caring for these imprisoned men due to the extended distance of the other prison locations. Additionally, intercede on behalf of Iran's leaders and authorities, praying that many of them will come to know Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

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


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.


Select a Region

Iran News

  • Sentences for Detained Christians
    Anooshavan Avedian
    Anooshavan Avedian
    Photo: Article18

    An Iranian-Armenian Christian leader has been sentenced to ten years in prison for promoting "propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam" through the house church he operated in his home. The 60-year-old believer, Anooshavan Avedian, was a

  • Christian Woman Now Facing Two-Year Sentence
    Silhouette of a woman, prison bars

    In July 2021, Fariba Dalir was arrested along with five other Christian converts, including her husband-to-be, Soroush. While awaiting trial, all six believers were ultimately released on bail – Fariba on November 18th and the others in October. While out on bail, Fariba and Soroush were married.

  • Retrial Request Denied
    Brother Naser
    Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh
    Photo: Middle East Concern

    Last month, it was reported that the prison sentence for Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh was to be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Iran (read more). Naser was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to ten years in prison for allegedly "acting against national se

  • Prison Sentence to be Reviewed by the Supreme Court
    Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh - Photo: Middle East Concern
    Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh
    Photo: Middle East Concern

    On June 24th of 2016, 30 intelligence police agents raided an engagement party near Tehran, Iran. Everyone who attended the celebration was detained, including three visiting Christians from Azerbaijan. Most were released from custody, except for the