Leading Authority on Christian Persecution: Statement on Release of Americans Imprisoned in Iran

The following is a statement from Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry in response to the freeing of four Iranian-Americans:

"Open Doors is relieved and thankful for the release today by Iran of the four Iranian-Americans. Among those released was Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was imprisoned for his Christian faith and served more than three years of an eight-year prison sentence. Iran ranks No. 9 on the 2016 Open Doors World Watch List, an annual ranking of the most dangerous and difficult places on earth to be a Christian.

“Iran, like far too many places around the world, denies people the freedom to worship according to their own beliefs and convictions. Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world. In Iran, nearly all Christian activity is illegal—from evangelism to Bible training to publishing Christian books. Many church services are monitored by the government authorities, and Christianity is considered a cultural invasion of the enemy. Iran is a country where persecution is so intense that many Christians do not report incidents. Hundreds of Christians remain in prison simply because of their faith.

“We are grateful for the thousands of Open Doors supporters who have prayed and advocated for Pastor Saeed’s release. While we celebrate the release of Pastor Saeed and the other Americans, we cannot forget those left in Iran who cannot exercise their faith without fear of imprisonment or death. Please pray for other Christians still imprisoned in Iran for their faith. I also urge all of us to consider the privilege of religious freedom that we enjoy in the U.S., work to protect it and advocate for those around the world who do not have it.”   

About Open Doors USA

For more than 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries for Christians. Open Doors works to equip and encourage Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution and equips the Western church to advocate for the persecuted. Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. For more information, visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.