Iranians go to the polls today to elect a new president: please pray the result is a victory for religious tolerance.
The race is essentially between two candidates: the incumbent president, Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, and the conservative Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Despite Rouhani’s pre-election promises that he would improve the situation for religious and ethnic minorities, persecution of Christians has continued. Around 90 are reported to be in prison for their faith although the figure could be far higher. They are in urgent need of our prayers.
Please pray for Christians in Iran today as the nation votes for its next president.
We’ve just learnt that Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz and Amin Nader Afshar have been summoned to a court hearing on Sunday, before a judge renowned for his harsh rulings. The charges against them include acting against national security and being involved in illegal Christian gatherings.
Victor and Amin were arrested at a Christmas celebration at the pastor’s home in December 2014. Both were released on bail but Amin was later arrested at a picnic in Firuzkuh in August 2016, along with Victor’s son, Ramiel, and three other Christians. It’s not yet known when these four Christians will go on trial.
We’re still waiting for news of Maryam Naghash Zargaran (pictured) who was scheduled for release earlier this year. Her four-year sentence was recently extended by 45 days after she was allowed out on medical parole and made an unsuccessful appeal for release on health grounds. She continues to suffer from several serious health problems.
Ebrahim Firouzi recently lost an appeal against a five-year jail sentence. He has been refused leave to visit his elderly mother who is reportedly seriously ill with cancer.
Meanwhile, Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi are still waiting to hear the outcome of their appeal against a sentence of 80 lashes for taking communion wine.
- Pray that the election result will mean greater religious freedom in Iran and help strengthen the church – rather than a return to a more repressive regime.
- Ask God to strengthen and encourage all His people behind bars in Iran. Pray that the new regime will order their release.
- Pray that God will multiply His church in Iran, adding to their number daily, as he did in Acts 2:47.
(Sources: BBC, Middle East Concern, Mohabat News)