Historical Context

Iran (officially Islamic Republic of Iran) called Persia before 1935, with Tehran as the capital city. The country is located in the South-Western part of Asia and occupies the 2/3rd of the vast Iranian Plateau, extending from Mesopotamia to the peaks of Kopeth-Dagh for 1400km, and from Araks River to Baluchistan, a province of Pakistan, for around 2250km. The total area of the country is 1.640.000km. It equals to the territories of the Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Ireland and Denmark together.

Iran is bordering the Caspian Sea, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan to the north, Turkey to the northwest, Iraq to the west, Afghanistan to the east, Pakistan to the southeast, the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea to the south. The population is 70.5 million. The official language is Persian.

The theocratic government of Iran assumes restrictions in some rights and liberties.

Historical sources show that Iran has 5.000 years of history. In 3.000 BC, the first state formed on the territory of Iran, was Elam. In the days of Darius I, the Parthian Empire was stretching from Greece to the Indus River. For centuries, the dominant religion in Iran was Zoroastrianism, but afterwards Islam entered the country and was established as the state religion in XVI century. The majority of population is Shia Muslim. Iran is one of those states where Shia Muslims make up more than half of the population, 89%. Sunni Muslims make up 9%. There are other religions as well, but Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity are officially accepted and protected by the Constitution. The representatives of these religions are registered in Majlis, whereas even Sunni Muslims do not enjoy this privilege.

Currently in Iran rapid growth of Christian Churches is taking place, though Iran occupies the 9th position according to infringement of rights of Christians. The president and the Supreme Religious Leader are openly speaking against the Home Churches.


Christian Context

Officially, Christianity is allowed in Iran, however propagation of Christianity is forbidden. Thus, according to the official data, vast majority of Christians in Iran are the ethno-religious communities of Armenians and Assyrians. Non-Ethnic Christians in Iran are mainly Protestants proselytized from Islam and are viewed by the authorities as apostates. The Home Churches of the Protestants and proselytes are persecuted even more actively now. Up to this day, this is carried out under the excuse that evangelization is the expression of Christian dissidence and is connected to the West and Zionism which allegedly are against the Islamic regime of Iran.

However, currently the demand for Bibles in Persian has drastically risen, which speaks about multiple new believers. The number of Christians is rapidly rising; it is considered 500.000-1.000.000. The Christians in Iran ask to publish as many Persian Bibles as possible.

According to the high-ranked official of the Ministry of Education of Iran, each day around 50 young people secretly become Christians. While conversion to Christianity is forbidden in Iran and is punished by execution, in the West, among the Iranian Diaspora, mass conversions into Christianity take place.

This large-scale conversion to Christianity can be seen through the online database of Iranian Christian Churches. In London alone, there are 3 Iranian Churches; moreover, there are Churches in 9 other cities of England, as well as in 14 other European countries. There are Iranian Christian Churches in 22 states in the USA, in Canada (8 Churches in major cities), in Australia (4 Churches) and in New Zealand. The database of Iranian Churches provides around 150 addresses of Iranian Churches in the Western world. There are even instances when authoritative Muslim religious leaders secretly come to Christ.

There is a very simple reason why many Muslims are not able or do not want to become Christians; it is the writing of their prophet, Mohammad: “Anyone, who changes his Islamic religion, should be killed” (Bukhari 84:57).