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Iran offers help; whispers of persecution grow.

By December 7, 2006

Iran (MNN)–Iran is trying to thaw relations with the United States by offering to help stabilize Iraq. The offer comes even as Iran faces sanctions as a rogue state. Chaos from within between the religious groups is also surfacing.

Christians make up less than one-half of one percent of Iran’s population. Ethnic Christians are still allowed to express their faith within their own church walls, but those who come from a Muslim background face tremendous risk because the government wants them to return to Islam.

That said, evangelistic work is banned, and, according to Open Doors’ World Watch List, Iran moved up to third place in the rankings.

The Open Doors World Watch List keeps track of the countries known for their harassment and persecution of Christians around the world.

Words of Hope’s Lee DeYoung says they’re getting reports of increasing persecution. “Religious authorities there realize that the church is growing and are seeking to apply pressure on those who come to their attention, who they believe are a part of that movement.”

The new regime threatens evangelism and discipleship efforts. DeYoung says that’s why their work must continue. “The broadcasts are very important for sustaining people. There already is a great shortage of trained Christian leaders, with some of them being forced to curtail their activities. The broadcasts cannot be stopped. They blanket the country and they can be heard, and are being listened to, intently.”

Because the churches are forbidden to assist any Muslim background believers, many ethnic churches removed their support from their brothers and sisters of Muslim origin. Pray for the Muslim background believer cell groups that are now meeting in secret.

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