Iran remains a country of concern because of its harsh persecution of Christians, especially Christian women.
During the Islamic Revolution in Iran a little over 40 years ago, foreign Christians were forced to leave the country. Now the country is clamping down on the Church's steady growth, even as it survives underground.
Claire Evans of International Christian Concern (ICC) tells OneNewsNow the growth comes from Muslims converting to Christianity.
"They realize that that dream they had 40 years ago is terrible; it's a nightmare, and they want to get rid of it," Evans relays. "The regime feels this pressure, and because their identity is so wrapped up in Islam, they feel incredibly threatened by the growth of the Christian Church."
And that is why nine Christians, including the pastor of an underground church, were recently given five-year prison sentences a piece.
Women are also oppressed, especially if they are Christian.
"The suicide rate for women, generally speaking in Iran, is one of the highest in the world," Evans explains. "So to be a Christian and suddenly find yourself persecuted doubly so is incredibly challenging."
The thrust of Islam is to control the country's population and force the faith on everyone, but the people do not want it any longer. So Christians are praying for freedom from the grip of the religion police.
President Donald Trump declared Friday that a "reign of terror is over" as he marked the death of Qassem Soleimani, a key Iranian general killed in a U.S. strike. In his calls with a top officials from a number of countries, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that Trump acted to counter an imminent threat to U.S. lives in the region but also that the U.S. is committed to "de-escalation" of tensions, according to the department's summaries of the conversations.
Evans points out that Iran was the first country in the Middle East to recognize freedom of religion 2,000 years ago.