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Iranians watching Christian television programingIronically, one of the worst countries in the world for Christians happens to also be the country where the church is growing the fastest. The Islamic Republic of Iran has gained the distinction of being the leading country in the world where the church is growing at a rapid rate and greatly influencing the region for Christ.

Last year, the mission research organization, Operation World, listed Iran as having a 19.6 percent increase in its Christian population annually -- more than any other country in the world. Todd Nettleton, representing The Voice of the Martyrs USA, described the irony of it all on the organization's persecution blog. He noted that the Ayatollah Khomeini, the radical Islamic leader who took power in 1979, turned out to be "the greatest evangelist we've had in Iran." Statistics indicate that as many as 70 percent of Iranians have rejected Islam.

When Khomeini turned Iran into an Islamic republic in 1979, according to Open Doors USA, all missionaries were kicked out, evangelism was outlawed, Bibles in Persian were banned, and pastors were killed. Yet, the intense persecution has led to something truly remarkable. Fox News noted that despite the Iranian regime's crackdown on Christianity, a large underground church movement has been growing. Hundreds of Iranians have reportedly been converting to Christianity, and many are being baptized in underground churches held within private homes across the country.

A report by Open Doors USA states: "Many feared the small Iranian church would soon wither away and die. But the exact opposite has happened. More Iranians have become Christians in the past 20 years than in the previous 13 centuries put together since Islam came to Iran." This is backed up by statistics. "In 1979, there were an estimated 500 Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. Today, there are hundreds of thousands; some say more than one million. Whatever the exact number, many Iranians are turning to Jesus as Saviour and Lord."

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

  • 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