Any day now, four Iranian Christians could receive a phone call telling them to report to the prison gate in their home city of Rasht. And once inside they will begin ten-year sentences for nothing more than living out their faith in Jesus.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, and fellow Church of Iran members Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi have all been convicted of running house churches and ‘promoting Zionist Christianity’. They lost their appeal against against their sentences and could now be told at any time to report to the prison.
Iran is number 10 on the 2018 Open Doors World Watch List, our annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the worst persecution.
Sentences for Christians in Iran are increasing.
“Whilst Christians have consistently been put in prison for their faith in Iran, in considerable numbers, the length of the sentences has seemed to have increased in the last year or so,” said Miles Windsor from Middle East Concern.
Iran’s constitution acknowledges Christians as one of the recognised religious minorities allowed to operate in the country ‘within the limits of the law’. But in reality things are very different: the government harasses and imprisons Christians and other religious minorities and the law does not allow Muslims to convert to Christianity – or even renounce their beliefs.
But your prayers and support can make a world of difference to our brothers and sisters in Iran, even in prison, where it seems that noone can reach them.
After four years’ imprisonment for ‘violating national security’, Iranian Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran was released from Tehran’s Evin prison in August 2017. Open Doors held a worldwide letter-writing campaign for her during her time in prison. The video below shows, not only the price Christians pay for their faith in Iran, but the powerful effect of discovering that they are not forgotten.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.