An official campaign against Muslim converts to Christianity has been escalating over the past decade, and has at times been accompanied by a rise in anti-Christian rhetoric from anti-government officials. The Baha’i community, which remains unrecognised officially, and the Dervishes, have increasingly been targeted with hate speech. They face a range of discriminatory and repressive policies including regarding their education.
Sunday 17 March
Political opposition members, human rights activists and journalists continue to be arrested on spurious grounds. At least 746 people are detained on account of their religion or belief. Pray for divine protection and provision for everyone who is in prison because of their beliefs or because they spoke out against oppression.
Monday 18 March
The Baha’i community have long been particular targets of the regime, with seven Baha’i leaders serving 20-year prison sentences. An estimated 317 Baha’i are imprisoned because of their faith, while senior government officials continue to use anti-Baha’i rhetoric. Pray that all Baha’i imprisoned unjustly would be swiftly released.
Tuesday 19 March
In July 2018 Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, Hadi Asgari and Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi were sentenced to ten years in prison each, Amin Afshar-Naderi was given a 15-year sentence, and all were banned from travelling for two years. Pray that their appeals would be successful and these sentences would be overturned.
Wednesday 20 March
These people were all sentenced by Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh, a judge who is notorious for handing down excessive sentences to Christians who appear in his court on unfounded national security charges. Ask God to work powerfully in Judge Ahmadzadeh’s heart so that he would act with justice and impartiality.
Thursday 21 March
In January 2018 Judge Ahmadzadeh sentenced Shamiran Issavi, Pastor Bet- Tamraz’s wife, to five years in prison, on national security charges after she participated in Christian seminars abroad. Pray that her sentence would be overturned at her court date later this year, and that she would be released.
Friday 22 March
Any gathering of Christians, including social gatherings such as birthday or engagement parties, is seen as potential house church activity and a threat to national security. Pray that this attitude would change, and that Christians would be allowed to gather peacefully in public and in private.
Saturday 23 March
O Lord of all, thank you for the courage and faithfulness of your people facing discrimination, harassment and worse in Iran. We ask that you would release all those who are unjustly imprisoned, especially the seven leaders of the Baha’i faith. Amen.