Tag Archives: Iran

Benham Irani: Iran

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UPDATE  December 6, 2016
Pastor Irani was released from prison on October 17, 2016, after having served a 6 year sentence.  He was reunited with his family in Turkey on November 17, 2016.  Thank you for all your prayers on his behalf!  Blessings and healing to Pastor Irani, his family, and all his friends!


UPDATE  June 16, 2016
Pastor Benham Irani is once again suffering from severe coughing as he completes his prison term.  The doctor doesn’t know what is causing the coughs, and he has not given him any treatment or medication.  Please pray for strength and healing.


UPDATE  January 7, 2016
Pastor Irani is currently serving a six-year term in prison (he has nine months left on that sentence), and has been very ill for much of that time.  On top of back problems, worsening eyesight, and bleeding intestines, he is now suffering from influenza.  He is very weak, and unable to speak with others.  Please pray for him!


UPDATE  October 3, 2015
Pastor Irani has been released from prison again, this time for 2 days.  I pray that he will enjoy this short rest, and that the courts will reconsider his request to spend the last two years of his sentence under house arrest.


UPDATE  August 4, 2015
Pastor Irani is still on prison leave.  He is expected to return to prison on August 7, 2015.  He has been on leave since July 4, 2015!


UPDATE  August 1, 2015
Pastor Irani was recently granted two weeks of prison leave, during which he was able to return home to his family.  He will return to prison following his leave.


UPDATE  February 19, 2015
Under Iranian law, a prisoner may be granted a conditional release for good behaviour when they have completed more than half of their prison sentence.  Pastor Irani recently applied, and although the prison officials  agreed, the judge turned down his request.  Pastor Irani remains in poor health as a result of his incarceration.  Please continue to pray for him and his family.


UPDATE  December 16, 2014
Pastor Benham Irani has won his appeal!  He will continue to serve out the terms of his first conviction (a sentence of 6 years) and then he will be released!  Finally some good news!


UPDATE December 6, 2014
Tomorrow Pastor Irani will be able to represent himself as the Iranian court hears his appeal.  Please pray for him and for the courts!


UPDATE  December 1, 2014
Pastor Irani recently wrote a letter from prison.  He wrote it to encourage you!  You can read it at Present Truth Ministries.

Reports indicate that Pastor Irani remains a concern of Iran’s secret police, and that they intend to keep him in prison for the rest of his life.  Threats have also been reported against his wife Kristina, and their children, Rebekah and Adriel.  Please continue to pray for them, and that the Western governments who are negotiating with Iran will not be complacent about the government’s policies of persecution and intolerance.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


UPDATE  November 3, 2014
Six more years have been added to Pastor Irani’s sentence (making a total of 12 years), but the charges against him of “spreading corruption on earth” were dropped for him as well as two other leaders of the “Church of Iran”.  This took away the possibility of their receiving the death penalty.  Pastor Irani is being moved to a new prison near the Afghanistan border where it will be hard for his family to visit him.  The other two men, Abdolreza Haghnejad and Reza Rabbani, are being moved to a prison at Minab, in the south of Iran.

Please continue to pray for these three men, their families, and their church.  Do whatever you can to make the people around you aware of the horrific persecution that is going on all around the world.  Millions of Christians have been affected, but many other minorities are being targeted as well.


UPDATE  October 16, 2014
Pastor Irani was beaten on June 7, 2014 and held in solitary confinement for weeks in an unknown location.  He has been returned to prison where new charges have been brought against him.  A judge has charged him with “communicating with media.”  Authorities interrogated the pastor on five separate occasions, for four hours at a time.  Please pray for him!


UPDATE  April 5, 2014
Pastor Benham Irani has been in prison since 2010.  He is a Christian convert from Islam.  Recently his prison cell was searched by the authorities who took his Bible, his notebooks, and books he had checked out of the prison library.  According to Iranian law, citizens of Iran are allowed access to religious materials, but this does not always seem to apply to coverts from Islam, who are considered apostates.  His wife, Kristina, is raising their two young sons alone while her husband is in prison.  She has developed stomach ulcers.  Please pray for this family.

What You can Do:

  • Pray for Pastor Irani.
  • Pray for his wife Kristina, and their two sons.

Father, today we lift up Pastor Irani and his wife Kristina.  Remind them of the glory that awaits those who suffer because of their relationship with You.  Strengthen them.  Support them.  Lead them.  Guide them.  Heal them.  Protect their children from evil, and reveal Yourself to them so that they will follow You, as do their parents.  Pastor Irani has lost his Bible, Father, but he hasn’t lost You.  Speak to him directly.  Remind him of who he is and who You are.  You are the Most High God.  Prove Your presence to these children of Yours each day, and every hour.  Amen.


Pastor Behnam Irani began serving a sentence for “crimes against national security” after turning himself in on May 31, 2011.  His sentence was for 1 year, but was later increased to 5 years.  Since being imprisoned he has been beaten repeatedly by fellow inmates (with guards watching).  His beatings have resulted in lose of vision, and difficulty in speaking and walking.  He also appears to be suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease.  Sources close to the situation fear he is so ill he will die in prison, unless the conditions change.

Pastor Irani was the leader of a house church in Iran.  On April 14, 2010 security officials interrupted a worship serviced to arrest the pastor.  They confiscated Bibles, DVDs, and other Christian literature.  In January of 2011 he was tried and convicted of crimes against national security.

What you can do:

  • Please pray for Pastor Irani, his family, and his fellow prisoners and jailors.

Father, God of all Creation,

We lift up Pastor Irani before you today.  He has laid his life down to serve You, and all those with whom he comes in contact.  You have brought him into contact with those who hate him, who repeatedly beat him, and who have wounded his body, perhaps to the point of death.  Jesus, you know exactly what that is like.  Pour out your Spirit upon him.  Fill him with your mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love.  Let his light shine before the men in his prison so that they will see his good works and glorify You.  Speak through his mouth, Father.  He is not able to speak freely anymore, but You can speak through him.  Heal his wounds.  Comfort his spirit.  Release him from pain.  Let him soar on wings like an eagle above the chaotic fray.  Open up the hearts and minds of his captors and persecutors.  Reveal Yourself to them with power and authority.  Turn the prison into a sanctuary where Jesus, the King, is praised forevermore!  Nothing is too hard for You.  With You, nothing is impossible.

Comfort and protect the pastor’s family, Father.  Surround them with Your protection and power.  Lift up their heads, be the strength of their lives, and be their portion forever.  Fill them with confidence in You, in Your plan for the world, and in their place in Your plan.  Keep them strong in the faith.  Hold them in Your hand and never let them go.  Thank You for the powerful work You are doing through Pastor Irani and his family and church.

In the awesome, sweet name of Jesus, Amen.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs

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Yousef Nardakhani: Iran

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UPDATE  June 16, 2016
Pastor Nardakhani and his wife, his sister, Tina, and three other Christians were arrested on May 13, 2016.  Authorities raided his house and confiscated Bibles and other Christian material.  Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie, and Mohammedreza Omidi remain in custody.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


nardakahniDecember 25, 2012  ARRESTED AGAIN
Pastor Nardakhani was arrested again on Christmas day while he was celebrating the holiday at home with his family.  The 34-year-old pastor was originally arrested for protesting a policy that required all children to study the Quran in school.  Youcef claims this is in opposition to the Iranian constitution which allows for religious freedom.  He was held in prison for more than 3 years before he was released in September of 2012.  Officials claim he still has 45 days left of prison time in his original sentence.  (He was actually sentenced to death.  That sentence was temporarily annulled, and then reinstated, as it remains to this day.)  During his previous incarceration, the pastor was kept in Lakan prison, where authorities used many “techniques” including medication, to get him to convert back to Islam.

Youcef’s wife was arrested when her husband failed to recant.  She was put on trial without a lawyer, and sentenced to death.  She was later released when a lawyer appealed her case.  Relatives cared for the couple’s two children during the time both parents were in prison.

Please continue to pray for Youcef and his family as they face this new, unexpected trial.  Little information has been given to them regarding this new situation.

UPDATE
Pastor Nardakhani wrote a letter the day he was released, September 8, 2012, expressing his appreciation for all those who supported him during his incarceration.  You can read the letter here.

September 10, 2012  RELEASED
Pastor Youcef Nardahkani, arrested in September of 2009 and convicted on charges of apostasy (converting to Christianity) and sentenced to death, was released from prison yesterday.  According to CNN, a trial court in Iran acquitted him of apostasy, but convicted him for “evangelizing Muslims.”  He was sentenced to prison, but then was told that his prison time had been completed during the time he’s already served (3 years).  International efforts to secure his release have been going on during this time.  There are approximately 300,000 Christians in Iran, a country that is 98% Muslim.  Nine other Christians are imprisoned in the country because of their faith.  Keep praying for the release of all of them, and that religious tolerance will grow in Iran.  (Information from First Things.)

Since 2001, there have been more than 2,000 Christians brutally murdered in Iran.  Today Pastor Yousef Nardakhani has been in prison for over 2 years, convicted of apostasy.  He was given four opportunities to renounce his faith in Jesus in order to save his life, but his reply has been, “Jesus is my life.  How can I renounce him and save my life?”  Last month the courts signed his execution orders, which means he may be hanged at any time.

The internet has been filled with support for Pastor Nadarkhani, but where have the political powers been?  Many petitions have been sent to the US State Department urging them to intervene, or at least condemn the situation, but as far as I can tell they have not used their power on behalf of this man whose sole crime is being a Christian.  President Obama issued a statement on September 30, 2011:

“The United States condemns the conviction of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people. That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations.”

Although Iran constantly commits crimes against humanity, kills its own people, commits war crimes, aggressively attacks its neighbors, vows to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth”, and “won’t rest until the United States of America has been destroyed”, it is actually on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women!  Women are stoned in Iran, yet Iran is on a committee to oversee the status of women in the world?  Are things upside down or what?

Pastor Nardakhani has a wife and two young boys.  Pray for them.  Pray that they will be safe, have a place to live, and that their courage and faith will grow as this most difficult situation continues to develop.  Pray that God may intervene on their behalf, and release Yousef from prison.  Pray that Yousef will know how deep, how wide, how long, and how high the love of God is, and that he will know the power of the resurrection of Jesus, each day in his prison cell.

Several more people were arrested a few weeks ago in Iran, and are currently in prison, facing the same charges:  Fashad and Shahnaz (husband and wife), David, and Naser.  Pray for them, too.

Father, we pray from the bottom of our hearts for Pastor Yousef, his family, and all the Iranians who are imprisoned and/or persecuted today because of their faith in You.  We ask You to intervene on their behalf.  Give them the courage to face whatever comes to them with courage, devotion, and joy.  Father God, Jesus is the Lord of all.  We ask that your Spirit invade the prisons of Iran in a mighty way, like a flooding river, bringing all the fruits of the Spirit to your people there.  We pray for the guards and authorities of the prisons–that they will see the love and joy in Your servants, and want it for themselves.  We pray that their eyes will be opened, that You will rescue them from the domain of darkness, and transfer them into the kingdom of the Son of Your Love.  Let our brothers and sisters know that we are praying for them, and overwhelm them with the joy of Your very powerful Presence.  Make the prisons Your sanctuary!  We pray for the believers in Tehran, Lord.  Give them a place to meet and worship, keep them safe from unrighteous laws, and send Your angels to guard and protect them.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Update, July 6, 2012
On July 4th, Yousef received information that he will be facing a new trial in September on charges related to national security.  There is also a report that a Russian Orthodox priest sent a letter to the Supreme Leader on Nardakhani’s behalf.  He was told the death sentence against the pastor will be dropped.

Update, May 10, 2012
Yousef’s lawyer has just been sentenced to 9 years in prison for violating national security.

Update, April 10, 2012
You can write to Pastor Yousef.  Get the information here at Voice of the Martyrs.

Update, March 29, 2012
Although rumors of his death circulated the internet last week, Pastor Nardakhani is still alive.  Read Joel Rosenberg‘s blog for more information.

You can pray for other Iranian prisoners listed here at Voice of the Martyrs.

Amin Khaki, Rahman Bahmani, and Hossein Baroun–Iran

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UPDATE  October 7, 2015
On Thursday, March 6, 2014, during a church picnic, Pastor Khaki and his friends were attacked by Iranian security forces.  They were beaten, arrested, blindfolded, and held in jail for 9-10 hours during which they were tortured.  The two other men arrested with Pastor Khaki were held in prison for months without a trial, and then released.

Pastor Amin has just received a verdict in his trial.  He has been convicted of “advertising against the Islamic Republic of Iran through spreading Branhamite, Jesus Only, Christianity,” and sentenced to serve one year in prison.

Please continue to pray for these men, their families, friends, and the country of Iran.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


Pastor Amin Khaki and seven other Christians were arrested during a picnic in a Shoush park.  They were beaten, blindfolded, and detained in interrogation rooms for several hours.  Five of the people were released, but Pastor Khaki and two other members of his church, Rahman “Ziya” Bahmani and Hossein “Daniel” Baroun remain in prison.  They have not been charged, nor has bail been set.  They have been detained since March 6, 2014.

What You can Do:
Please pray for Pastor Khaki, his family, and the church members incarcerated with him.  Pray for those who were arrested and released.  Pray for the government of Iran, and all the people of that country.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries

Father in Heaven,
Today we lift up yet another group of Your children who have been arrested because of their relationship with You.  Strengthen them, encourage them, strongly support them.  Fill their lives with Your tangible presence and remind them of all that they know about who they are and who You are.  Touch their jailors with Your mercy and grace.  Reveal Yourself to the leaders of Iran.  Protect the Iranian people, and bring them liberty and justice.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Alireza Seyyedian: Iran

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UPDATE  August 4, 2015
Alireza has been released from prison early!  He is now home with his family.  His future plans are not know.  Please pray for him as he adjusts to life, once again.


UPDATE October 16, 2014
Alireza continues to show signs of psychosis as his stay in Evan Prison is taking a hold on him.  He told Persia BBC that he is addicted to drugs he’s taken for insomnia, stress, and depression, given to him by prison doctors.  Please pray for him.  His prison term will be up in 2017.  He was sentenced to six years in prison for converting to Christianity.


Alireza Seyyedian has been imprisoned in Evin Prison in Iran since 2011.  He is serving a six-year sentence.  He was a happy, healthy, young man when he entered prison, but during a 3 day leave to visit his family, they saw a completely different man.  During the first year of his internment Alireza managed to cope, but then depression and psychological problems began to take their toll on him.  “I just wanted the days to pass quickly,” he said, so he began to take drugs recommended by his fellow prisoners.  Now he appears to present symptoms of psychosis and drug addiction.  He stopped taking the drugs during his home visit, but was trembling, vomiting, and “robotic” in effect.  He spent 4 days of his visit in the hospital, which he left prematurely due to the desire to spend time with his family.  Please pray for this young man who has been in one of the worst prisons in the world for five years.

What You can Do:
Pray for Alireza, his family, his jailers, and his country.

Father,  We can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for Alireza, living in unsanitary and dangerous conditions at Evin Prison.  Thank You that he has survived there for five years.  We pray that You will strengthen him and support him during his final year in prison.  Move strongly within Him, Father.  Be his family, his brother, his father, and his best friend.  Prove to him that You have never and will never leave him nor forsake him.  Forgive him, Father, for none of us are as strong as we think we are, we are just dust.  Heal him.  Refine, and then restore him to greater heights than before he began this ordeal.  Encourage and support his family.  Soften his jailers, and let Your light shine in and through him for the duration of his prison sentence.  Give him a glimpse of the glory that is about to be revealed as a result of his suffering.  Even Jesus “endured the cross because of the joy that was set before him,” Father.  Set Alireza’s joy before him in visions, in songs, in memories.  Sustain him with your outstretched arm.  Amen.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries

Robert Asserian: Iran

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UPDATE  December 1, 2014
Pastor Robert was released on bail on July 2, 2013, and told to “be quiet” about what he went through.

Source:  Rach’s Thoughts
The Christian Post


Robert Asserian, pastor of the Assemblies of God church in Tehran, was arrested on May 21.  His church was invaded by Islamic security forces, and may of his personal belongings were confiscated.  No one knows where he was taken.

A close friend of the Pastor Asserian said,

“The church knew it was only a matter of time until something like this happened. I would like to ask the global Church to pray for Pastor Asserian; he is a much-loved pastor, husband and father of two young sons. Please also pray for the whole church at this traumatic time. I would like to see the international community holding Iranian authorities to account for this incident, which is just one example of the regime’s systematic and flagrant abuse of Iranian freedoms.”

Father in Heaven,
I thank you for Article 18 (UN Declaration of Human Rights) that states that everyone has the right to freedom of religion and conscience.  I pray that You will raise up mighty support for all people who are suffering because of their relation with You, and for reasons of conscience.  I pray that the international community will take a strong stand against religious persecution, and move together against all abuses world-wide.  But even with that, Your word says that we, Your peculiar people, have been called to suffer, to “fill up what’s left of the sufferings of Christ,” and that suffering brings fellowship with him, so I ask you to fill up the lives of all those who are suffering with the life of Jesus.  Make his presence real in their lives, fill up their prisons with Your glory and grace, and let Your kingdom come to the hearts of everyone who is being treated unjustly.  I thank you for this pastor and his congregation.  Be all they need, in all of them, all the time, Father.  Overcome evil with Your good in every way, in every need, in every circumstance.  Teach us to pray faithfully and consistently for those who are in such fearful places, and enduring such unspeakable acts.  In Jesus mighty name, and for Your great glory!  Amen.

Sources:
Voice of the Martyrs
Elam Ministries
Article 18

Mostafa Mohammad Bordbar: Iran

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Mostafa Mohammad Bordbar was originally arrested in his home town of Rasht for converting to Christianity and attending a house church.  He was found quilty of apostacy and released on bail.  He was arrested again on December 27, 2012, in Tehran, as he was celebrating Christmas.  Fifty other people were arrested together with him.  They were interrogated for hours, and most of them were released.  However, Mostafa, and Vruir Avanesian, an Armenian pastor, were detained.

Although his family offered up the deed to their house as bail, it was refused because the property was in another country.  He has been sentenced to ten years in prison for “anti-security organization” and”gathering with intent to commit crimes against Iranian national security”.  The charges against him include being involved in Christian evangelical activities used to fight the Islamic regime of Iran through

  • the establishment of evangelical ministries and holding underground worship meetings
  • Mostafa’s baptism
  • Continued attendance to a house church
  • Leading weekly house church gatherings
  • Providing other believers in other cities with evangelical material
  • Translating and dubbing five movies related to Christian evangelism
  • his clear confession to the court that he left Islam and converted to Christianity
  • his clear confession to the court that he considered evangelism a duty
  • his confession that he has distributed 12,000 pocket-sized Bibles
  • the discovery of 6,000 Bibles, gospel CDs and other books and CDs related to Christianity in his house

What you can do:

  • Pray for him and his family
  • Write to him in prison

Mostafa Mohammad Bordbar
Evin Prison
Saadat Abad
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

Lord, we lift up Mostafa and his family to You today.  Bless him, protect him, keep him strong, and in the center of Your presence.  Encourage him, support him, and be the lifter of his head.  Surround him with the glory of Yourself, and shine through him to all those with whom he comes in contact.  I pray that, in some way, all the Christian men in Evin Prison will be able to communicate with and support each other during their time there.  Place each of them in the exact place in that prison where they can do the most good for You, Father.  Protect and provide for his wife and children during this decade of trouble.  Be their husband and father while he is unable to fulfill his role in these areas.  Let mighty acts of valor be done in Your name through Mostafa and through his family and church.  In Your loving kindness, Amen.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh: Iran

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In 2009, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh were imprisoned in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran for 259 days for telling others about their life with Jesus.  They received many encouraging letters from believers around the world during their prison stay, which improved their treatment.  In June, the two women visited Voice of the Martyrs and shared their experiences.  You can watch the video here.  It’s 50 minutes long.

They have written a book about their experiences called Captive in Iran.