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Persecuted but not forsaken

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3

Many Christians in Iran are paying a high price for their faith in Jesus. They have lost jobs, homes or even custody of children. Some have been physically abused. Many are rejected by friends and family. And some are unjustly imprisoned in Iran’s notorious prison system.

Your prayers are vital. Prayer strengthens our brothers and sisters and reminds them that they are not forgotten. 

“I sense the fragrance of your prayers as a cool breeze on my heart and it strengthens me from afar.”

Imprisoned Christian, Farshid Fathi, Letter from prison

Imprisoned Christians:

Please consider standing in solidarity through prayer with the prisoners listed below.  They have all been imprisoned on erroneous political charges relating to their Christian faith.

  • Ebrahim Firouzi (m) - house church member, in prison since August 2013. He was initially serving a one-year sentence, but in March 2015 he was sentenced to a further five years. His mother passed away in late 2018 but he was not granted permission to attend her funeral.
  • Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh (m) - since 20 January 2018 he has been serving a ten-year sentence in Evin prison for “acting against national security through the establishment of house churches”. He was originally arrested along with three Azerbaijani Christians.
  • Majidreza Souzanchi-Kashani (m) - Christian convert who has been in prison since 17 November 2017, serving a two-year sentence for “membership of an evangelical group and conducting evangelism”. He was originally sentenced to five years, but his sentence was reduced at appeal.
  • Yousef Nadakharni (m) - serving a ten-year sentence in Evin prison since July 2018. A leader within the 'Church of Iran' - a denomination with an unconventional understanding of the Trinity. He was sentenced to death for apostasy in 2010 but released after a public outcry.
  • Yaser Mosibzadeh (m) - serving a ten-year sentence in Evin prison since July 2018. A member of the 'Church of Iran'.
  • Saheb Fadaie (m) - serving a ten-year sentence in Evin prison since July 2018. A member of the 'Church of Iran'.
  • Mohammadreza Omidi (m) - serving a ten-year sentence in Evin prison since July 2018. A member of the 'Church of Iran'.

Sentenced Christians - not yet imprisoned:

  • Sixteen converts in Bushehr - members of the Assemblies of God church before it was closed in 2013 - have been sentenced. The group was originally arrested, detained, interrogated and released on bail in 2015. An appeal was heard in March 2019. It is expected they will be summoned soon to serve their sentences. The group includes Shapoor Jozi (m), Parastou Zariftash (f), and Payam Kharaman (m).
    • 12 have been sentenced to one year
    • 4 will serve a five-month sentence
  • Rev. Victor Bet Tamraz (m) - a senior Iranian-Assyrian church leader, Kavian Fallah Mohammadi (m) and Hadi Asgari (m) (both converts) have been sentenced to ten years each for “conducting evangelism and illegal house church activities".
  • Amin Nader Afshari (m) - a convert, was sentenced to fifteen-years for “conducting evangelism, illegal house church activities and insulting Islamic sanctities."
  • Shamiram Issavi Khabizeh (f) - the wife of Rev. Victor Bet Tamraz, was sentenced to five-years’ imprisonment for “acting against national security." An appeal is ongoing.

(These lists are not intended to be comprehensive. They are an aid for prayer.)

Those arbitrarily detained:

There are many others arbitrarily detained.​ Please pray for them: for many people this is the most difficult stage because it almost always involves long periods in solitary confinement and regular, long sessions of harsh interrogation. Sometimes this interrogation process involves physical and psychological torture. Most of those who are in detention will not have been informed of the charge against them or allowed access to a lawyer.

Recently released from prison/arbitrary detention:

Please pray for their recoveries from time in prison, for their readjustment to normal life and for their plans for the future.  Pray for those who were released from detention on bail as they will likely be summoned to court, or taken for further interrogations, in the future.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” 1 Corinthians 4:8-10

Last updated: April 2019. The information above is compiled from Elam's own contacts, and information available publically from the UN Special Rapporteur, news agencies and various NGOs/non-profits, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Middle East Concern, Article 18 and Open Doors. Further reading: