Even though a Christian is no longer under the death penalty in
Iran, one group is maintaining focus on other persecuted Christians
in the country.
Ann Buwalda of the Jubilee Campaign reports that Youcef Nadarkhani
had been sentenced to die for converting to the Christian faith (see earlier story), but a court over the
weekend lifted the death penalty and released him from prison after
"Iran basically backed down under international
pressure. It's so clear that without the international, pressure
this would never have happened," Buwalda asserts. "So, we need to
praise God, and we need to thank everyone who wrote letters, who
prayed and so forth, because this is a milestone and a breakthrough
But she points out that at least 16 Christians are still behind
bars who need prayer, as does the underground church.
"There are amazing things happening in Iran through the house
churches in terms of growing numbers of Iranians are coming to the
Lord," the human rights advocate reports. "There's an openness to
the gospel like we've never seen before, and of course the Iranian
government has been trying to figure out what to do to stop
So far, that has been a matter of rounding up Christians and
jailing them for a time -- keeping some in prison and giving them
the choice of converting to Islam or remaining behind bars.