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Abdol-Ali Pourmand - Photo: Mohabat News
Photo: Mohabat News

On October 19th, a member of the Payam-e Aramesh (meaning "Message of Peace") house church in Dezful was arrested and transferred to another city known as Ahwaz. Shortly before arresting Abdol-Ali Pourmand (also referred to as Elyas), security authorities raided his home while he was away working on his farm. During Abdol's absence, officials searched the house thoroughly and confiscated a few Bibles and Christian CDs.

The initial arrest was made after Abdol received a call from the Ministry of Intelligence, summoning him to their office in Dezful. Three days after the arrest, Abdol was allowed to make a short phone call to his family, informing them that he would not be held in prison for very long.

Just a week prior to Abdol's arrest, another member of the same house church, Mohammad Ali Torabi (also known as Davoud), was arrested and transferred to Ahwaz immediately. Similarly, Mohammad's family was told that he would be released soon. However, he has not been released since his arrest.

Persecution of Christians in the southwestern province of Khuzestan has intensified in the past several weeks, especially in the city of Dezful. Over the past three and a half decades, the Islamic regime of Iran used different methods -- including harassment, terror, arrests and heavy sentences -- to persecute Christians, especially those who speak Farsi. Imprisoned believers are typically beaten and told they will be forced out of the country, or they are threatened with death, if they don't renounce their faith in Christ. (A prayer alert update concerning other imprisoned believers in Iran may be reviewed here.)

Considering the intensifying persecution that Abdol and the other Iranian believers are presently facing, please pray that God's Spirit will imbue His persecuted people with overcoming power and strength, so they will not only survive these fiery battles but triumph victoriously over them. Throughout the process, may their testimonies be as brightly shining lights effectively dispelling the darkness surrounding them. Additionally, pray for the families of the imprisoned men who are anxiously awaiting their release, that they will also be comforted by our Eternal Father who promises to be their refuge in times of trouble and to lovingly shelter them with His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27).

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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