Imprisoned Iranian Christian says people praying for him are ‘sharing my burdens’

Imprisoned Iranian Christian says people praying for him are ‘sharing my burdens’

An Iranian Christian convert serving a 10-year prison sentence for his membership of a Tehran house-church has written a letter thanking those who are praying for him.

Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh, who is 58 years old, remains in the Iranian capital’s Evin Prison, despite the coronavirus outbreak persuading Iran to release tens of thousands of prisoners, including several Christians.

In February, Nasser’s longstanding petition for a retrial was finally accepted, but the prison authorities continue to refuse him temporary leave, as well as seven other Christians, including three others whose cases are being reviewed.

Rights groups have called for the release of all prisoners of conscience, as coronavirus infections and deaths have been reported in several prisons.

Nasser has suffered several health issues, so his family are particularly concerned about him.

In his letter, written in English, he says that he “yearns” for the company of his fellow Christians from behind the “high and barbed walls of Evin Prison”, and thanks those who have prayed for him for “sharing my burdens”.

The full text of his letter is below, as well as a photograph of the letter:

In the name of the Lord,

“Indeed you are our glory and our joy” – 1 Thessalonians 2:20

To all dear brothers and sisters, who are bestowed upon by God’s love and grace. 

With greetings, while yearning your company from behind the high and barbed walls of Evin Prison. Having and cherishing the memories of the past, with a heart full of love, care and gratitude. I scribe what permeates from my heart to you.

I recall your pious gatherings with one mind and heart, and sing songs in glorifying the Lord in soul and heart.

I am amongst you. Walls and space do not keep me away, even though I hold the sorrow within contained; you are always in my prayers in a united love. 

I thank God for the support that you have showered me with, for all my problems in prison which you have shared my burdens, giving me strength, and encouraging me continuously. How lucky I am to have you beside me. 

Surely I could not walk on my own; the Lord carries me on his feet with the warmth of your love through the hardship of this dungeon. The prime message I heard was to love each other. May the Lord’s love and care be with you and keep you safe. 

“Who then can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, hardship or persecution, famine or nakedness, danger or death?” – Romans 8:35 

With all my love and care,

Nasser Navard