Leader: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (supreme leader)/President Hassan Rouhani
Government: Islamic republic

Population: 79.4 million (450,000 Christians)
Main Religion: Islam

Persecution Level: Extreme
Source of persecution: Islamic extremism


Shia Islam is the official religion and all laws must be consistent with the official interpretation of Sharia law. According to the Iranian state, only Armenians and Assyrians can be Christian. Ethnic Persians are by definition Muslim, and ethnic Persian Christians are considered apostates. This makes almost all Christian activity illegal, especially when it occurs in Persian languages – from evangelism to Bible training, to publishing Scripture and Christian books or preaching in Farsi. In 2014, at least 75 Christians were arrested. More Christians were sentenced to prison and pressure on those detained increased, including physical and mental abuse.

Source: Open Doors