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Mojtaba Hossein, Mohammad-Reza Partoei
Kourosh), Vahid Hakkani, Homayoun
Shokouhi and his wife, Fariba Nazemian
Photo: Mohabat News

The country's judicial authorities have conditionally released Homayoun Shokouhi who was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for his faith in Christ. Homayoun's release took place on November 10th, after serving two years and eight months in Adel-Abad prison.

Back in February of 2012, Homayoun was arrested along with fellow believers during a worship gathering that was held in a house church. The plain-clothed security authorities who had raided the meeting insulted and then arrested all who were in attendance. Most of those arrested that evening were released on bail after 36 days, including Homayoun's teenage son Nima whose bail cost about $70,000 CAD (according to exchange rates during that time).

However, others were sentenced to serve longer terms. The harsher verdicts were imposed on Homayoun and his wife Fariba, as well as three Christian men: Mojtaba Seyyed Alaedin Hossein, Mohammad-Reza Partoei (Kourosh) and Vahid Hakkani. (Mohammad-Reza was granted conditional release on May 13, 2014.) While Fariba was released on bail after serving eight months of imprisonment under dreadful conditions, all four men were sentenced to three years and eight months for "holding house-church meetings, evangelizing, contacting foreign Christian ministry organizations, propagating against the Islamic regime and disturbing national security." (A previous report on the situation can be found here.)

According to Iranian laws, when a convict serves half of their sentenced term, he/she can appeal to receive conditional release. Yet despite the opportunity for such release, all Christians in Iran remain under constant threat of harassment, arrest and prosecution because of their faith. Additional information on the present political and spiritual climate in Iran can be found at the Iran Country Report.

While we are called to "mourn with those who mourn," we are also instructed to "rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15). Therefore, let us rejoice with Homayoun and his family over the good news of his release and their wonderful family reunion. We can also be thankful for the earlier release of their Christian friend and colleague Mohammad-Reza. Praise be to our mighty God for working on their behalf by granting them favour with the judicial authorities! As God is "no respecter of persons," may the same mercy and favour be extended toward Mojtaba and Vahid who are patiently awaiting their own release from prison. Most important of all, may the spiritual seeds they have each sown in the lives of fellow prisoners, as well as the prison officials, during their incarceration bear much lasting fruit there in Iran.

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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