Iran: Eight-year prison sentence for Shiraz believers


By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service

Eskandar Rezaei and Soroush Saraei smallerSHIRAZ, IRAN (ANS – January 9, 2018) – Two Iranian Christians — Eskandar Rezaei and Soroush Saraei — were each sentenced to eight years in prison on December 28, 2017.

According to Middle East Concern (, both Eskandar and Soroush were charged with “acting against national security.”

Soroush faced an additional charge of “forgery,” as the pastor of the Church of Shiraz, for issuing letters for students seeking exemption from Islamic studies classes. They attended the late December court hearing, at the 4th branch of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz.

Following the court hearing, Eskandar Rezaei and Soroush Rezaei were each sentenced to 7
years in prison for “action against the National Security” and 1 year for proselytizing and forming house meetings. They are appealing the sentences.

Eskandar was arrested on July 6, 2017, at his home in Lar, where several hundred New Testaments were confiscated. He was held at Quran Branch of Adel-Aabad prison in Shiraz.

20120214 IranUndergroundChurch smallerSoroush was also arrested in July. He was initially held at the intelligence offices before being transferred to Adel-Aabad prison. Soroush was released on bail of 350-million Toman (approximately $95,000 USD) on October 18, 2017. Eskandar was released on bail of 500-million Toman (approximately $140,000 USD) on September 25, 2017.

Both Eskandar and Soroush were also detained after a previous arrest in October 2012, and were released in 2015.

Iranian Christians (, who circulated this story, have issued the following prayer requests:

  1. that Eskandar and Soroush, and their families, will be strengthened and encouraged by God’s presence and peace
  2. that the appeal judge will reject the charges against Eskandar and Soroush, and that they will both be acquitted and released from prison
  3. that those responsible for the persecution of Christians in Iran will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

Photo captions: 1) Eskandar Rezaei and Soroush Saraei. 2) Underground Christians in Iran pray for each other. 3) Dan Wooding reporting from outside the Kurdistan Parliament in Erbil, Northern Iraq.

Dan Wooding outside Kurdistan Parliament smallerAbout the writer: Dan Wooding, 77, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is the author of numerous books. He also has two TV shows and a radio show, all based in Southern California. Dan has reported from all over the world for ANS, and his most recent visit was to Kurdistan in Northern Iraq.

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