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Pastor Saeed Abedini
Photo: ACLJ

Christians from all over the world can now rejoice as Pastor Saeed Abedini has recently been released from prison. He was one of four prisoners with dual American-Iranian nationality to be freed on January 16th amid intense negotiations surrounding Iran's nuclear programme. Since his release, the 35-year-old pastor has been joyfully reunited with his wife, Naghmeh, and their two children. While relieved that her husband has now arrived safely home, Naghmeh recognizes the need for his continued healing. "The journey is not over yet," she says. "There are a lot of things we'll have to go through."

Pastor Saeed, an Iranian believer from a Muslim background, had been arrested in September of 2012 while visiting an orphanage he was building with government approval. During his visit in Iran, he was sentenced to an eight-year prison term on charges of "threatening national security" due to his involvement with house fellowships. While imprisoned, Pastor Saeed reportedly endured torture, death threats and pressure to renounce his faith, and was also denied medical treatment for the internal injuries sustained during repeated beatings. To read more about his situation, click here.

Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, had expressed great joy and surprise at the news of his release, thanking the many believers around the world who have been interceding for him.

We can join Naghmeh, and others around the world, in offering thanksgiving and praise to our merciful God for this wonderful outcome! Pray that Pastor Saeed will now be able to fully experience physical, emotional and spiritual healing, leaning heavily on the Lord for strength throughout his recovery and as he reconnects with his young family. May his Christian witness among former inmates and prison guards continue ministering to hearts so that many more Iranians will receive God's gift of salvation. Ask the Lord to also continue strengthening and encouraging other believers within the country, including those still awaiting release from detention, so they may serve as powerful witnesses of His love.

Additional note: There are approximately 90 Christians remaining in Iranian jails. They include Maryam Naghash-Zargaran who is serving a four-year sentence in Tehran's Evin Prison. Maryam, too, has experienced abuse and suffers from ill health. Thankfully, Pastor Behnam Irani, who has been imprisoned since 2011, is due to be released this October. (Pastor Behnam's case is available here.)

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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