(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

Scenery in Iran

Two Iranian Christians were sentenced to a total of eight years in prison by a revolutionary court in December 2017 after being convicted of national security-related crimes. Suroush Saraie and Eskandar Rezaie, who are both members of the Church of Iran denomination, each received seven-year sentences for "creating a group that works against national security" and an additional year for "propaganda against the state." Both men are appealing the verdict. (A report on the previous arrest of these believers, which took place in 2012 during a home prayer meeting, can be found here.)

The more recent verdict was handed down in a court hearing at the 4th Chamber of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz. During this same court hearing, a Christian woman named Zahra Norouzi Kashkouli was sentenced to a year in prison for "being a member of a group working against the system." She is also appealing the sentence.

Article 23 of the Iranian constitution states that "the investigation of individuals' beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief." Nevertheless, there has been a rise in the arrests of members affiliated with minority faith communities since the advent of the Rouhani presidency. Christians have since been routinely charged with national security-related crimes in order to justify the excessive sentences.

Despite these incriminating sentences, ask God to draw the focus of the three convicted believers onto Him -- the Author and Finisher of their faith (Hebrews 12:2) -- so they will not despair. May they see beyond their present circumstances to the unfolding of His greater and higher plans, not only in relation to their own lives but with an awareness of the potential spiritual impact they can have on others. Pray that as the Lord mediates for justice and deliverance on their behalf, imparting wisdom to their legal representatives throughout the process, these imprisoned Christians will serve as effective witnesses -- filled afresh with His Holy Spirit and wonderfully comforted and strengthened by His abiding presence.

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.

end

Select a Region

Iran News

  • Prisoner Located and Since Released on Bail
    Ayoub Poor-Rezazade - Photo: Middle East Concern
    Ayoub Poor-Rezazade
    Photo: Middle East Concern

    In the Persecution & Prayer Alert that VOMC published on September 30th, it was reported that three Christians had been arrested while attending a prayer meeting in Rasht, Iran, on September 5th. The report had mentioned that two of the believers were r

    ...
  • Arrests of Christian Converts During Prayer Meeting
    Morteza Mashhoudkari, Ahmad Sarparast, Ayoub Poor-Rezazade - Photo: Middle East Concern www.meconcern.org
    Morteza, Ahmad and Ayoub
    Photo: Middle East Concern

    Three Christian converts were arrested while attending a prayer meeting in the Iranian coastal city of Rasht on September 5th. Intelligence agents raided the meeting and took Morteza Mashhoudkari, Ayoub Poor-Rezazade and Ahmad Sarparast for interro

    ...
  • Proposed Law Leads to Concerns
    Underground house church - Photo: VOM USA
    Pray for creative solutions as Iranian believers spread the Gospel.
    Photo: VOM USA

    Finding encouragement in the Christian faith can be especially difficult in a country like Iran, where tight government controls prevent followers of Christ from meeting together. In recent years, modern technology cr

    ...
  • Presidential Election Brings Concerns
    Ebrahim Raisi
    President Ebrahim Raisi
    Photo: Mehr News Agency (cc)

    The recent election of Ebrahim Raisi as president of Iran has led to concerns for those monitoring religious freedom in the country. The election has been discredited by many since reformers or moderates were banned from running for the position

    ...