Year: 2020
World Watch List: 09
Score: 85
Leader: Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-Khameni
Population: 82 million
Christian: 800,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Theocratic Islamic Republic
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
Open Doors supports the church in the Persian Speaking World through:
  • Bible and Christian literature distribution
  • Discipleship training
  • Trauma counselling
  • Christian multimedia initiatives
  • Advocacy

“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 getting to know Christ. It’s amazing to see how they love the Lord from their hearts and how enthusiastic and thirsty they are for the Lord. You really should be here to see how ready people’s hearts are, and how much need there is.”

– Darya (pseudonym), a Christian in Iran


Source of persecution: Islamic oppression / Dictatorial paranoia

Sophisticated monitoring
Christianity is seen as a Western influence and a threat to the Islamic regime in Iran. Christians are seen as agents from the West. Citizens are closely monitored with sophisticated technology for illegal Christian activities, even those who are living overseas.

“Crimes against national security”
All ethnic Persians, who form majority of the population, are seen as Muslims. It is illegal to evangelise to them, produce Christian literature or hold church services in Farsi, their language. A Persian who leaves Islam can be punished with death – although they are more likely to be imprisoned for “crimes against national security”. There are officially no church services held in Farsi, but there are house-churches formed by believers from a Muslim background. These underground groups are monitored and frequently raided. Those present will be arrested, especially the leaders. Almost 200 Christians were arrested in the WWL2020 reporting period.

Christians of Armenian and Assyrian descent are allowed to practise their faith, but they still face discrimination, and will face imprisonment, abuse, and harassment if they do reach out to Muslims.

Please pray:

  • For Christians who are in prison right now for their faith in Christ. Pray that God will sustain them, and give them strength to show His love to their fellow inmates and prison guards.
  • For Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-Khameni, that he will have an encounter with Jesus and come to a saving knowledge of Him.
  • That the believers who have been rejected by their families because of their choice to follow Jesus will find new families in the church.

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2020 World Watch List Map

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