Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Most Iranians speak Persian, or Farsi. The Islamic Revolution of 1979, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, affected Iran more than any other event in modern history. It led to the establishment of the world’s only country governed by an Islamic theocracy, now 40 years old. Today, many of those who committed their lives to Islamic rule are filled with despair. This disillusionment has opened new doors for the gospel, which is sweeping across the nation via satellite TV and Internet, and growing house church movements. However, the government continues its attempts to thwart this move of God. Mature Christian leaders and pastors are often arrested and their families harassed, and some are left with no option other than to flee the country. The subsequent decline in mature leadership leaves house churches susceptible to false teaching. Christians inside and outside the country are working to strengthen and equip the church. Iran is the only nation in the world whose official state religion is Shiite Islam. As the world’s largest Shiite country, it actively seeks the expansion of Shiite Islam by supporting the relatively new Shiite government in Iraq and Islamist terrorist organizations in Syria and Lebanon. The country is at odds with Israel and the West, as well as many nations that practice Sunni Islam. Christians are persecuted by government authorities that have a network of informants in each city. Family, friends and community members sometimes also persecute Christians, especially when news of a conversion becomes public.