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Praise God for Farshid’s release!
Photo: Facebook / Free Farshid

We are pleased to report the encouraging news that Iranian pastor Farshid Fathi has been released from prison. He was freed on December 21st, almost five years after his initial detainment. Farshid, who converted to Christianity as a teenager, was arrested in 2010 during a crackdown on Tehran house churches and held in solitary confinement for almost a year before receiving his sentence.

In April of 2012, the young pastor was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, after being charged with "acting against national security through membership of a Christian organization, collection of funds, and propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country." An additional year was added to his sentence in April of 2014 after allegations were made by prison authorities that alcohol had been discovered in Evin Prison during a raid. In the violent raid, Farshid was physically assaulted by a guard and suffered a broken foot for trying to assist an injured prisoner. He was later transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj during August 2014. Previous reports on Farshid's case are available here.

Prison authorities at Rajai Shahr Prison notified Farshid in writing that he was due for early release in December 2015, rather than the determined date of December 2017. We are thankful that his early release was indeed recognized, and that Farshid is able to experience freedom once again and the joy of being reunited with friends and family.

God's Word admonishes: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). What a relief it is to now be able to rejoice with our Christian brother Farshid by lifting up prayers of thanksgiving over his recent release, praising God for working out His greater plans, and for preserving the life of this young pastor throughout his imprisonment. Please join us in praying that Farshid will have the opportunity to connect with the members his family, including those who have immigrated to another country since his initial incarceration. May the good news of his outcome serve as a reminder for us to intercede for the release of the estimated 90 Christians in Iran remaining behind bars. In the interim, while suffering for righteousness' sake, may they be emboldened in their faith and equipped by God's grace.

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.


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Iran News

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    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

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    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
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    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