The Problem

100,000 million Christians face persecution simply for following Jesus 
The Problem


Leader: President Hassan Rouhani
Population: 82 million (800,000 Christians)
World Watch List Rank: 9

“Despite all the difficulties and challenges, God is always with us… Every week new believers join us. Even though we experience a lot of difficulties and pressures, we get motivated every day because we see teenagers, young adults and elderly people coming to know Christ.
Darya, secret house church leader in Iran

The basics

Christianity is seen as a Western influence and a threat, and all ethnic Persians are seen as Muslims. An ethnic Persian who leaves Islam can face the death penalty or imprisonment for ‘crimes against national security’ and it’s illegal to produce Christian literature or hold services in Farsi (the Persian language). Much of the persecution of Christians comes directly from the Iranian government.

Christians who convert from Islam have to keep their faith completely hidden. Secret house churches are monitored and frequently raided, and dozens of Christians are imprisoned in appalling conditions. Believers from Armenian and Assyrian churches can practise their faith openly, though they still face discrimination and are forbidden from sharing the gospel with Muslims.

And yet, reports suggest that the church is growing – praise God!

Main threats to Christians

  • Anti-Christian violence
  • Government surveillance
  • Government obstruction

The facts

  • Iran is governed by strict Islamic laws.
  • In Iran Muslims are not meant to shake hands with Christians, touch them, or eat their food.
  • Muslims converting to Islam can face the death penalty.
  • Christians are monitored by the secret police. In November 2015, 14 Christians at a house church meeting were arrested. 52 Christians were arrested in 2017.
  • Those arrested face intimidation, physical and mental abuse as well as threats of execution.
  • Christians who try to speak to Muslims about Jesus can be imprisoned, face physical abuse and harassment.

Where is it?

Pray this…

Almighty God,
You are love, truth and goodness. Even when people think of Your followers as dirty and unclean, You are good. Open eyes and minds in Iran to new ways of seeing. Empower and embolden those in Iran who love You. Help them share Your grace in powerful ways. Be with those in prison. Bring strength and courage. Give them words to speak that will open hearts to know You, even in jail. Spirit of God, equip Your church. Keep them faithful.

Other things to pray for…

  • For comfort and strength for the dozens of imprisoned Christians and their families
  • For wisdom for Christians to know who to trust, and for protection for secret believers and underground churches
  • That God will work through Open Doors’ trauma care conferences to help those who have been imprisoned to recover from their horrific experiences
  • For protection for secret believers and underground churches in Iran, and that the church in Iran will continue to grow.
  • That the laws of Iran will change to allow for freedom of religion
  • For many Muslim families, it is a great disgrace when one of its members leaves Islam. Pray for protection and provision for Christians who have been cursed and disowned by their families.


The brave faith of 21 year old Fatemah…

The good news: How we’re helping…

Open Doors supports the church in Iran through partners – as well as trauma training, this is done through distributing Bibles and other Christian literature online, advocacy for those in prison and various forms of training.

Latest news and articles on Iran…

Click the Iran tag below for a list of the latest articles and news on the country…

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.