The Problem

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

Iran

Leader: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
How many Christians?: 800,000 (under 1% of the population)
World Watch List Rank: 8

“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…

Lord, please comfort Christians who have been imprisoned for their faith, that they may know You closely and hear You speaking powerfully to them. Bless the work Open Doors does for Iran, that its advocacy will bear fruit and encourage believers. Please give Iranian believers opportunities to tell others the good news of Jesus’ love for them.

Meet Mojtaba


Mojtaba from Iran was imprisoned for leading a house church. In this video, he shares how God used his imprisonment to help share the gospel with the least and the lost.

Meet Maryam


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; unfortunately, most of the letters were withheld from her. Now released, she is finally able to read your encouraging words!

How can I help Christians in Iran?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Iran. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Open Doors supports the church in Iran through partners with online ministry presence, multimedia productions, and advocacy. Special attention is given to Christian leaders, women, former prisoners, youth and youth leaders, and children.

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.