"I wasn't ready to go to prison. I knew it was a dirty place, a place where people are tortured and locked up in solitary confinement. I was afraid that I would be so fearful that I would give up all the names of the members of house church. I even feared that I would deny my faith if they tortured me."
Such were the fears of *Noushin, a house church leader in Iran who shared her story with Open Doors USA, a non-profit organization serving persecuted Christians all over the world. However, when Noushin was arrested and placed in solitary confinement, she found that her actions differed from her fears. She was able to share the gospel with the interrogator she met in prison.
Telling the interrogator that "it's an honor ... to talk about Jesus," she said, "You also need Jesus in your life. I cannot be indifferent towards you. I want you to experience the joy and blessing of salvation. I can't keep silent about this."
Days later, the interrogator came to Noushin to talk more about the gospel.
"We talked about Jesus for hours until finally the interrogator gave his heart to Jesus," Noushin told Open Doors. "We prayed together."
Christians continue to be imprisoned and placed in similar conditions as Noushin for their faith, according to reports. Political and religious groups have criticized Iran continually as being one of the countries in which religious persectuion is most severe. Iran was ranked seventh in Open Doors USA's World Watch List, a list by which the organization monitors and measures the amount of persecution in countries world wide.
The United Nations released a report in March of 2014 showing that at least 49 out of 307 arrested people of religious minorities in Iran were Christian, implicating that Iran continues to arrest and imprison people for their Christian faith. The report added that house churches and evangelical Christians are considered "threats to national security" in the country.
"These are indicators that President Rouhani has no influence over hard-liners, who remain fully in charge of the judiciary and security apparatus, government entities that are responsible for the most severe abuses against religious minorities," Dwight Bashir, the deputy director for policy at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), told Fox News regarding the 2014 UN report results.
The USCIRF's 2015 report also stated, "over the past year, there were numerous incidents of Iranian authorities raiding church services, threatening church members, and arresting and imprisoning worshipers and church leaders, particularly Evangelical Christian converts."
"Since 2010, authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained more than 500 Christians throughout the country," the report continues. "As of February 2015, approximately 90 Christians were either in prison, detained, or awaiting trial because of their religious beliefs and activities."
*The name of the individual was changed to protect identity.