Partner with
Local Missionaries in Iran

Map of Iran

Population:

83.8 million

Evangelical population:

1.19%

People groups:

94

Unreached people groups:

84

10:40 window
Located in the 10/40 Window

Iran

Slightly smaller than Alaska, Iran is the second largest country in the Middle East. This Islamic republic borders Iraq, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Turkey, the Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea, and Gulf of Oman. One of the most mountainous countries in the world, Iran is also home to deserts and coastal plains. Tehran, its capital city, is the most populous city in Western Asia.

Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 with a theocratic system of government the gives ultimate authority to the ayatollah, commonly referred to as the Supreme Leader. Designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, Iran has received widespread criticism for its unequal rights for women and human rights abuses, including persecution and arrest of those critical of the government. In 2019 and 2020, police killed thousands of people who participated in protests demanding reforms or abolishment of the Islamic Republic.

Iran’s economy suffers from high unemployment, especially among women and college-educated young people, and low international investment. Two-thirds of its population is under the age of 25.

The Persian majority is very family-oriented and love gathering together to socialize and laugh. In public settings, they abide by the strict rules of Islamic dress and customs to avoid penalties, but they are very different in private—fun-loving and open-minded. While the majority profess to be Muslim—98% of Iran’s total population is officially Shia Muslim—only a small percentage of Persians are actual practicing Muslims. Ministry workers report a great openness to the gospel among them.

Unfortunately, under Shariah law, Christians in Iran are forbidden to evangelize, produce gospel literature, or hold church services in Farsi, the country’s official language. Technically, any Muslim who leaves Islam is subject to the death penalty. According to Open Doors, house churches are frequently raided and “dozens of Christians are imprisoned in appalling conditions.” In 2018, over 100 Christians were arrested in a single week.

Aware that many Iranian citizens are resistant to radical Islam and open to exploring God’s Word, an indigenous ministry has created an online interactive magazine for Persian-speaking children, which culturally addresses biblical and universal ethics. Support for this ministry will help them cover production costs.

Sources: Joshua Project, Open Doors, Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook

Elderly Iranian woman sits outside on a brick bench made built into a wall

How to Pray for Iran

  • Pray that, despite the oppressive restrictions of Shariah law, multitudes of Iranians would come to know the one true Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for boldness, courage, and wisdom for Iranian Christians as they seek to live out their faith and share the gospel with others at great risk to themselves and their families.
  • Pray for those believers who are currently suffering in prison for their commitment to Christ—that their release would happen soon and that they would remain faithful to the Lord while in chains.

More stories from Iran

Support Microenterprise Projects in Iran

An illiterate widow with no way to support her family was presented with an opportunity to make rugs through a microenterprise project developed through a native ministry. The woman is a believer, and when church members told her about the project, she cried with joy because she had been a professional rug maker in the past.

Read More »

Encourage Family Unity in Iran

A young woman went with her sister to a church member’s house one evening determined to discover why her sister’s behavior had changed. While there, the owner of the house presented her with a Bible, and the woman’s eyes immediately filled with tears.

Read More »
Three Iranian men holding up booklets

Help Workers Plant Churches in Iran

A man addicted to drugs for 20 years became so desperate that he tried to kill himself. Native Christian workers visited and prayed with him, and after three days he put his faith in Christ, stopped using drugs and began sharing his faith with addicts.

Read More »
Young Iranian girl wearing a floral head covering and two necklaces

Help Workers Proclaim Good News in Iran

When native Christian workers collected a church offering to bring to a needy family, upon arrival they were surprised to hear the daughter tell them she knew they were coming from Jesus. She told them that two nights prior she had dreamt of being in a beautiful garden where Jesus told her He would send her help.

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Help Share Saving Grace in Iran

An elderly woman was in evident pain from an illness she had suffered for six years when native Christian workers visited her. After they had prayed for her for five minutes, she began to feel relief and got better as they continued praying. The workers shared the gospel with her and her adult son, and they accepted Christ’s grace.

Read More »