World Watch List Rank: 8
Leader: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Population: 80 million (475,000 Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Islamic Republic
Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism
"God, we pray for Christians across Iran. We pray for those who are imprisoned to have strength and faith; for those who are meeting secretly to have wisdom and understanding; and for your power to be at work across the nation. "
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Visit the Open Doors website to find out more about persecution in IranVisit the website
Converting from Islam is punishable by death for men, and life imprisonment for women, in Iran.
While those considered ethnic Christians, such as Armenians or Assyrians, are allowed to practise their faith amongst themselves, ethnic Persians are defined as Muslim, and any Christian activity in the Persian language (Farsi) is illegal.
Underground churches are increasingly monitored, which makes some afraid to attend, and at least 108 Christians were arrested in the last year. Interrogation methods in prison can be harsh and sexually abusive.
Open Doors supports the church in the Middle East through the following activities:
- Bible and Christian literature distribution
- Training (such as discipleship training, trauma training)
- Supporting Christian multimedia initiatives for the region