// World Watch List


  • Leader: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
  • Population: 80.9 million (800,000 Christians)
  • Main Religion: Islam
  • Government: Islamic republic
  • World Watch List Rank: 8
  • Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism

At least 193 Christians were arrested or imprisoned in Iran in 2016.

Ethnic Persians are seen as being Muslim, and carrying out any Christian activities in the language of this group, Farsi, is strictly illegal. A Persian person who decides to leave Islam can be sentenced to death if male, and life imprisonment if female - although this sentence hasn't been carried out for over 20 years. Despite this, Christians from a Muslim background make up the largest group of Christians in Iran.

Read more about persecution in Iran

Please Pray 

  • That the laws of Iran will change to allow for freedom of religion
  • For comfort for imprisoned Christians in Iran, and that God will give them love for their captors
  • 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.


How we help

Open Doors supports the church in the Middle East through the following activities:

  • Bible and Christian literature distribution
  • Training (eg discipleship training, trauma training)
  • Supporting Christian multimedia initiatives for the region
  • Advocacy.
Kristina Irani

In the middle of the night - Kristina Irani

This song was written by Kristina Irani. She wrote this song the second time Pastor Behnam was arrested; it's about the comfort that God gives her, even in the most difficult circumstances, and it's called 'In the middle of the night'. Listen to this song and pray for our Iranian church family.