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Anooshavan Avedian
Anooshavan Avedian
Photo: Article18

An Iranian-Armenian Christian leader has been sentenced to ten years in prison for promoting "propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam" through the house church he operated in his home. The 60-year-old believer, Anooshavan Avedian, was arrested in August 2020 and released on bail a month later, along with two converts to Christianity.

In addition to the ten-year prison sentence handed down last month, Anooshavan faces an additional ten years of "deprivation of social rights" after his release, which carries various restrictions – including the type of employment he will be permitted. The other two released Christians, Abbas Soori and Maryam Mohammadi, were not sentenced to prison but were given the same ten-year deprivation term, along with a two-year ban on international travel.

For a duration of two years, each of these believers are not allowed to live in Tehran, nor in its neighbouring provinces, and they also must not hold a membership to any political or social group. All three Christians are appealing their sentences. To read further about the persecution of followers of Christ in Iran, go to our country report.

Pray for Anooshavan as he presently serves time in custody, asking God to grant him needed grace and strength as he awaits justice and hopeful acquittal. In the meantime, may he serve as a vibrant witness of Christ's compassion to prison guards, fellow inmates, and those of the judicial system, through his words and deeds. Also lift up Abbas and Maryam who must now leave their homes and communities, in addition to adhering to the other imposed restrictions, praying that they will receive the help and encouragement they need, as well as opportunities to develop friendships in the new places where they must live. Pray that each of their appeals will be successful. In general, prayerfully remember Christians throughout Iran who seek to shine the light of Jesus in their darkened nation.

Current Ministry Fund

By funding television broadcasts, VOMC is making it possible for a vast audience of viewers throughout Iran to be reached via satellite with the "Good News" of Jesus' tremendous love for them. VOMC is also working with ministry partners to provide the Theology of Persecution course in the Farsi language so Iranian believers can be taught an accurate theological perspective and, therefore, gain a better understanding of persecution from a Biblical point of view.

Project Fund: Underground Church

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
85,888,910 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity
Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes

Religion (%)
Islam (99.6), other, including Christian (0.3), Unspecified (0.2)

Leader
President Ebrahim Raisi (2021)

Government type
Theocratic republic

Legal system
Religious legal system based on secular and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Iran

As the Gospel message goes forth over the airwaves, may the growth of the church continue to multiply despite persecution. Pray that the Iranian government will be open to change, allowing full rights and protection for its non-Muslim citizens as well. In the meantime, may those who are forced to flee the country find safe refuge and help so they can live in peace and worship the Lord with freedom.

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