The irony is stark: One of the worst countries in the world for Christians to be living in is also the country where the Church is growing the fastest. That country is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is listed as the eighth worst Christian-persecuting country in the world on the 2017 Open Doors USA World Watch list. But now, Iran has gained the distinction of being the leading country in the world where the church is growing and influencing the region for Christ, according to the Christian persecution watchdog.

Last year the mission research organization Operation World listed Iran as having a 19.6 percent rise in its Christian population annually — more than any other country in the world, according to Mission Network News. Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs, USA described the irony of it all on the group’s persecution blog. He noted that the Ayatollah Khomeini, the radical Islamic leader who took power in Iran in 1979, turned out to be “the greatest evangelist we’ve had in Iran.” READ MORE