WHO IS THE LEADER OF IRAN?
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the leader of Iran.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN IRAN?
There are 800,000 Christians in Iran – a tiny minority in a country of 82 million, making up less than one per cent of the population. Amazingly, while Christians from Muslim backgrounds must keep their faith secret and could face the death penalty if discovered, they make up the largest group of Christians in the country.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN IRAN?
Christianity is seen as a Western influence and a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran. All ethnic Persians are seen as Muslims. It is illegal to produce Christian literature or hold church services in their language, Farsi. If an ethnic Persian leaves Islam they can be punished with the death penalty – although they are more likely to be imprisoned for ‘crimes against national security’.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN IRAN?
Believers from Muslim backgrounds keep their faith secret. Secret house churches are monitored and frequently raided, and dozens of Christians are imprisoned in appalling conditions.
Your support and prayers have helped to provide trauma care for believers who were imprisoned in Iran and are now living abroad. Wahid, pictured above, was a house church leader in Iran. He says, “As a former prisoner, I have often felt alone, and thought nobody cared about me. This training proved me wrong."
Christians from Armenian and Assyrian churches are allowed to practise their faith openly, but they still face discrimination, and it is illegal for them to share the gospel with Muslims.
"I am encouraged that you visit us, that my story is shared, and that people pray for me."
- A HOUSE CHURCH LEADER WHO WAS IMPRISONED IN IRAN. HE HAS RECEIVED TRAUMA CARE IN TURKEY THROUGH OPEN DOORS
HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST?
You can give to provide vital support
Open Doors advocates for those who are imprisoned for their Christian faith in Iran and organises trauma care conferences for former prisoners who now live in another country in the region.
Give to support the work of Open Doors in the Middle East.
You can SPEAK OUT
Sign up for advocacy alerts for updates on how you can be a voice for our persecuted church family.
You can pray
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
A PRAYER FOR IRAN
Lord Jesus, we lift to you our persecuted family in Iran. May Your tangible presence surround those who are imprisoned for their faith and give them courage to continue to witness for You. Stir the hearts of those in government and authority, that they would allow for more freedom of religion, and comfort and provide for those who have been rejected by their families and communities.
During 2018, the Iranian Christian community, along with other religious minorities, continued to suffer multiple violations of their right to freedom of religion or belief. Ongoing surveillance of Christians by the authorities was often accompanied by harassment, raids on private house gatherings, confiscation of property and large numbers of arrests. This annual report on the violations of Christians’ human rights in Iran was written in collaboration between Article18, Middle East Concern, CSW and Open Doors International.