By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

Pastor Behnam Irani facing death amid health concerns and reported execution plans.

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– A jailed Iranian pastor, who may be executed for “apostasy”, already faces death as authorities continue to deny him medical care despite earlier promises, a church official and close friend told Bmay be BosNewsLife.

Pastor Behnam Irani was was still suffering behind bars Sunday, August 26, said Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the pastor’s ‘Church of Iran’, a growing evangelical house church movement.

“He was several times unconscious,” added Khandjani in an interview with BosNewsLife.

News of the worsening health situation came nearly a month after he was told that Iranian doctors wanted to remove part of his intestines.

“Pastor Behnam Irani has a blood infection and he might be sent to a hospital for surgery…[They] may remove part of his intestines, which are [the] source of infection,” said Khandjani at the time.


“However despite earlier promises nothing has been done,” he said.

Christians have linked his health troubles at least partly to reported mistreatment in the Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj city, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of the
nation’s capital Tehran.

Iranian officials reportedly told the pastor he is “not going to leave the prison alive”.

He began serving a one-year prison term in 2011 for his Christian activities, but was later told it would be extended by a five-year, previously suspended, sentence for “crimes against national security,” his church and other sources said.

However Khandjani warned there is also “an implicit death penalty in the verdict” of the court.


He said the court called the pastor, who is in his 40s, an “apostate” while “a judge said that apostates must be put to death.”

It is not yet clear when and if the death sentence will be confirmed and carried out under Iran’s complicated and often secretive judicial system.

His fellow pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, already faces execution, but a new trial will start September 8 at a special court near Lakan Prison in the northern city of Rasht, amid international pressure to release him, the Church of Iran said.

Khandjani cautioned that the pastor face “the same” death-sentence-carrying “charges of apostasy”, or abandoning Islam. He said church leaders have been asked to testify against the pastor, adding that some are willing to do so.

Many “true leaders have already fled” or continue to refuse to testify against the pastor, he said. “They are expected to be present at the trial,” Khandjani added speaking from an undisclosed location amid security fears.


Iran’s feared secret service also tried to infiltrate churches and authorities even appoint church leaders, Khandjani said speaking from a secret location.

At the same time Iran’s religious leadership is reportedly divided over whether Nadarkhani should be executed. “Much will depend on the reactions of the international community,” added Khandjani.

He said Nadarkhani’s wife and two children face a “difficult, painful time” as they still await his fate.

The pastor himself has called his detention and legal difficulties as “the day of exam and trial” of his faith. “Though my trial…has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God’s will,” Nadarkhani wrote recently from Lakan Prison near the northern city of Rasht, where he has been held since 2009.

“These days…are hard” but “to prove [my] loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments,” he said.

Christians have linked the reported crackdown to concerns within Iran’s leadership over the spread of Christianity in the strict Islamic country, though officials have strongly denied wrongdoing, saying Nadarkhani violated the laws of the land.


  1. i pray for our dear christians in prison for Christs sake. i pray Jesus give them strength and comfort. I pray Jesus be near to them and that they know that other christians are praying for them. Jesus is coming back to get us.

  2. This is the letter I regulary email to Irainian leaders and the EU and /canadian Government. I alo send nice cards to both Pastor Irani and Nadarkhani.

    Your Excellency,

    I respectfully ask you to show compassion to Behnam Irani, a church pastor in Iran who is currently imprisoned in the Karaj Ghezal Hesar prison effectively because of his religious faith.

    His health is reported to be declining steadily (I understand he now has difficulty walking, is unable to see well and is suffering from a bleeding ulcer, which has caused him to lose consciousness). Unless he receives proper medical treatment soon I fear that he may die.

    As a result I respectfully ask that you would show clemency and release him so that he can recover physically and once more contribute to Iranian society as a loyal citizen. Behnam, who is married with two children, desires only good for the country he loves.

    Your act of compassion in releasing him will win the admiration and gratitude of many concerned individuals around the world of whom I am one.


    Fr Richard Weber

  3. The one for Pastor Nadarkhani

    We ask you to please forward our appeal to the Iranian Government as a matter of urgency matter of urgency.

    We are concerned for the continued imprisonment of Pastor Yousef Nedarkhani on Apostasy Charges in violation of the Constitution of
    Iran and the International Covenant on Human and Religious Rights and Freedoms.

    We are concerned over the latest developments that ,Pastor Nadarkhani is being tortured in a small cell where he is being denied sleep
    He is being tortured psychologically, trying to force him to convert to Islam .
    This must stop now ,it is cruel and beyond words and totally unacceptable
    We call on the Government and Courts of Iran to drop all charges against him in accordance with Iranian and international law
    and release him to his family.

    Yours Sincerely

    Fr. Richard

  4. The reason way the Islamic “Republic” of Iran denying medical to that Christian pastor to the point that it might result in his death is because the mullahs who are in power in Iran are very much afraid that the Iranian people might come to here the truth of the Bible. Likwise, the mullahs don’t want the people of Iran to hear the Christian gospel or start to compair and contrast the Bible and the Quran. This is because if the people start to do this they might find out the the Bible is the superior of the two books. Thus the mullahs would lose their power base, which is based on the Quran. So the Mullahs will do everything thet can, even murrder people, to keep out outside information, which includes the Bible with its message of hope by faith in Christ . In short. the mullahs and the other dictators in Iran want to keep the peopleof Iran in the darkness of Islam and away from the light of Christ so that they may stay in power in Iran.


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