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The families of three Azerbaijani Christian men, who have been detained for almost two months in Iran, recently appealed for help. Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov, and Bahram Nasibov were arrested on June 24th at an engagement party in Tehran. No charges have been filed against them, nor have they been allowed access to a lawyer.

About ten people were initially arrested but most were soon released. Along with the three mentioned men, a Christian convert from a Muslim background by the name of Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh has also been detained. According to one of our sources, Naser was "held separately from everyone else during the raid and there has been no word of his whereabouts since his arrest."

The Azerbaijanis were invited to Tehran by friends. The concerned families don't know why their loved ones were arrested nor do they know exactly where they are being held. Thankfully, since the arrests, the three men were allowed to call home. It was revealed during their telephone conversations that the imprisoned Christians have been kept in separate cells at a prison somewhere in the province of Tehran.

After receiving petitions from their families, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran requested permission to meet with the men, but this has not yet been granted. Information on how you can stand with these concerned families -- by participating in a petition for their release -- is available here.

Ask the Lord to make His reassuring presence tangibly known to these imprisoned men and their families as they wait upon Him for divine intervention, granting each of them the strength and encouragement required to be effective witnesses of the Gospel wherever they happen to be located. Also pray that the hearts of the governing officials involved in this case will be touched by the Holy Spirit's promptings to "act justly and to love mercy" (Micah 6:8), so these followers of Christ can be set free and joyfully reunited with their families.

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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