Behnam Irani is an Armenian-Iranian Christian currently in prison in Iran. He became a Christian believer in 1992, and has served as a pastor since 2002. In December 2006, he was arrested for the first time for “crimes” against Iranian national security. Such “crimes” involve holding house church services and inviting Moslems to follow Jesus Christ. At his first trial, he was given a five-year suspended sentence. On April 14, 2010, he was arrested a second time on the same charges as he continued to minister. On that occasion, police officers broke up a house church service, and took him into custody. Each in attendance at the church meeting was interrogated by security officers, and the police confiscated Bibles, Christian literature, and other materials, as evidence against him. Following his arrest, Pastor Irani was imprisoned for two months, and then released on bail in June 2010. At his trial in January 2011, he was convicted for his crimes, and sentenced to one year in prison. As he approached the end of his prison term, as part of their psychological torture against him, prison officials told him that his sentence would be extended until at least 2013. He is still in prison today.
During his imprisonment, Pastor Irani was subjected to sleep deprivation, and was beaten regularly by his fellow prisoners under the watchful eye of prison officials. His health is failing. He is losing his eyesight, has untreated Inflammatory Bowel Disease, is suffering from a serious ulcer, and is barely able to speak, and has great difficulty walking. Under international pressure, Iranian authorities allowed him to undergo surgery on February 22, 2014. According to media reports, the surgery was successful, and he returned to prison on February 26th. His wife, teen daughter, and young son miss him very much. If you, your church or study group, want to send him a letter of encouragement, please write to him at the following address:
Pastor Behnam Irani
Ghezel Hesar Prison
Karaj, Albourz State
Islamic Republic of Iran
Please do not send him any money or gifts. I encourage you to quote Holy Scriptures in your letter, but please do not disparage the depravity and utter evil of the current government of the Iranian mullahs. Pastor Irani wrote a deeply moving and powerful letter at Christmas 2011, reminiscent of St. Paul’s letters. I commend the study of his letter, which is available here. (I have also linked to a second letter by Pastor Irani describing prison life, and encouraging Christians to return to their first love of Christ, available here.) Please pray fervently for our brother in the Lord, of whom this world is unworthy, and for his family who also suffer terribly during this difficult time.