Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

What’s next for Iran’s persecuted Christians

May 20, 2024 by Abigail Hart in Persecuted Christians in Iran

Any leadership shifts may potentially reverberate across the Middle East, as Iran has supported armed groups and militants for many years in places such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and more.

Under Raisi, a controversial president, Iran experienced mass protests in 2022 pertaining to its violent treatment of women and mandatory head covering laws.

In the wake of Raisi’s death, power has been transferred to Vice President Mohammad Mokhber. By law, elections must be held in the next 50 days.

However, during recent elections, moderate candidates were barred from participation, causing voter turnout to wane. Consequently, many experts predict that there will be no change to the hardline political establishment.

How many Christians live in Iran?

Less than 100,000 Christians currently remain in Iran among a population of approximately 80 million Muslims. Additionally, roughly 10,000 of Iran’s persecuted Christians leave each year due to mistreatment and other challenges.

Some Armenian and Assyrian churches are permitted, but they may not conduct services in Farsi: the official and dominant language of Iran. This requirement is intended to effectively squeeze—and shrink—the church.

How persecuted Christians worship in Iran

The law prohibits Muslim citizens from changing or renouncing their religious beliefs. When Iranian Muslims convert to Christianity, they may be persecuted by the government—or by their families and community at large.

New converts generally choose to worship alone or in house churches. Those who dare to worship openly may face arrest or imprisonment. They may be excluded from education and career opportunities as a form of religious discrimination, and experience threats, physical violence or death.

According to the US Department of State, Iranian officials disproportionately arrest, detain, harass, and surveil Christians, particularly converts from Islam. And Christian converts accused of proselytizing have forcefully disappeared.

A prayer for Iran’s persecuted Christians

Father God, in the wake of this political shakeup, we lift up the small Christian population that remains in Iran. Lord, strengthen Your people and grow the church despite the persecution and obstacles placed before them. Help them remain in their communities as a light for the gospel.

God, we pray for a day when the Iranian people would experience fair elections and candidates that respect religious freedom and the right to worship You publicly.

We also pray that Iran’s 80 million Muslims would come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Amen.

About the author
Abigail Hart is a Director of Communications at Global Christian Relief. She aims to increase awareness of religious persecution by sharing compelling stories of the persecuted church in places like the Middle East. Read the latest Christian persecution stories on our website and learn more at

Vulnerable Christians face increasing levels of persecution, not only in Iran but all around the globe. Become a Frontline Partner today and your monthly, recurring gift can provide emergency relief and  long-term support—plus Bibles, safe shelter, trauma counseling, medical aid, food and more for those in dire need.

Learn more