Last week two Christians were flogged in Iran. Their crime? Consuming alcohol. They had been arrested while celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Two others are also awaiting the same punishment. The level of Christian persecution in Iran remains patently dire. We continue to thank God for the courage of our brothers and sisters and pray for their ongoing strength.
Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) received the verdict against them on 20 October: conviction for drinking alcohol in violation of Iran’s strict laws, and possession of a receiver and satellite antenna. Recently, a Shiraz appeals court reportedly upheld sentences against six other Christians. The group were arrested together in February 2012 during a house church gathering. Last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran presented a report to the General Assembly which re-iterated that freedom of religion has not improved since Rouhani assumed the presidential office.
But despite the dangers they face, Christians continue to meet and worship God together. They love to sing together, hear God’s word and remember Jesus’ great love and sacrifice through taking Communion. The next time you celebrate the Lord’s Supper, allow it to remind you to pray for those who cannot do so with the same freedom as you.
• Justice at appeal for Behzad, Mehdi, Mehdi and Amir
• Strength for all imprisoned Christians, including the four in Shiraz
• Ongoing opportunities for fellowship for Iranian believers