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Naser sitting in a home.
Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh
Photo: Article18

When news broke out that Evin Prison in Tehran had experienced a fire on October 15th, families of the prisoners were rightly concerned about the safety of those who were inside during the incident. Sounds of gunfire had been heard in the prison, along with explosions. While the reason for the fire remains unclear, it has been reported that all Christian prisoners of conscience were unharmed. For two particular Christian inmates, the days that followed brought an unexpected blessing when they were pardoned and released from prison.

In 2017, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh was sentenced to ten years in prison because he had been hosting house church meetings in his home. Earlier this year, concerns were raised about the Christian man's health (read more). It is with great joy we report that he was released on October 17th as part of a mass pardoning by Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Naser was able to surprise his family members with a phone call, asking them to come and get him.

Fariba
Fariba Dalir
Photo: Article18

The next day, Christian convert Fariba Dalir was also released, having been sentenced in November 2021 to five years in prison, which was later reduced to two years. (Further details on her case are available here.) Fariba's husband Soroush, along with their daughter Arezoo, are said to be "overjoyed" at the reunion.

Reacting to the news of these recent pardons, Article18's director, Mansour Borji, stated, "While we celebrate the recent release of [the two believers], we remain deeply concerned for the health and security of all those who remain in Evin Prison, including at least ten Christian prisoners of conscience."

Praise God for the release of these two Christian prisoners! Pray for patience and strength as they now re-enter life outside the prison institution, joyfully reunited with their families. Continue to prayerfully remember the many believers in Iran still awaiting release from imprisonment, whether at Evin Prison or elsewhere, asking that each one would be filled with a renewed sense of comfort, hope and strength so they can continue standing firm in their faith.

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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Iran News

  • Two Christians Released from Evin Prison
    Naser sitting in a home.
    Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh
    Photo: Article18

    When news broke out that Evin Prison in Tehran had experienced a fire on October 15th, families of the prisoners were rightly concerned about the safety of those who were inside during the incident. Sounds of gunfire had been heard in the prison, along with exp

    ...
  • Christian Couple Detained
    Sara Ahmadi and Homayoun Zhaveh
    Sara Ahmadi and Homayoun Zhaveh
    Photo: Article18

    Homayoun Zhaveh and his wife Sara Ahmadi have faced legal difficulties since June 2019 because of their faith. In November 2020, Sara was sentenced to 11 years in prison for her alleged role in leading a house church. Homayoun was sentenced to two yea

    ...
  • Appeal Denied for Detained Christians
    Anooshavan Avedian
    Anooshavan Avedian
    Photo: Article18

    Anooshavan Avedian is an Iranian‑Armenian Christian leader who was arrested for promoting "propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam" through the house church he operated in his home. He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, along wit

    ...
  • Health Concerns for Christian Prisoner
    Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh
    Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh
    Photo: Article 18

    In 2017, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh was sentenced to ten years in prison for allegedly "acting against national security through the formation and establishment of an illegal church organization in his home." The arrest came after 30 police officers raided an enga

    ...