More than 20 people have been killed as security forces have moved to crush street protests in Iran which erupted last Thursday (28 December). The demonstrations, which have led to the arrest of around 450 people in Tehran alone, are the largest in the country since 2009.
The unrest is thought to have been triggered by a rise in the prices of staple foods, but inflation is just one of the problems in the Islamic Republic.
Social problems include rising inflation, a lack of job opportunities for graduates, debilitating medical bills (which lead to healthy family members selling organs to pay for treatment for others who are sick) and the clumsy response of the government to recent earthquakes.
In the domestic political sphere, corruption is rife among the unelected religious hierarchy led by the Ayatollahs, who control the powerful military force of the Republican Guard – thought to be responsible for a vast illegal smuggling network costing the state billions of dollars in lost tax revenue. Corruption cases against former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his inner circle are ongoing.
Internationally, efforts to bolster Iran’s regional position have brought the country into open conflict with Sunni Arab states, while the change in rhetoric from President Trump in relation to the nuclear “deal” has left Iran with few allies other than Russia.
A partner told Barnabas Fund: “Currently Christians are not venturing out to the streets, this is not their fight! The majority of prayers are united on Lord, let Your Kingdom come and Let Your Will be Done.”
Please join with our persecuted brothers and sisters – who are part of one of the fastest growing churches in the world, but who face the daily threat of imprisonment and potential torture for their faith – in praying for their nation.
From Barnabas Fund partners