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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.

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 (99.6), other, including Christian (0.3), Unspecified (0.2)

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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Iran News

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    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

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  • 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
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    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

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    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

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