Friday, July 31st, 2020
Recently, prayer was requested after Iran's parliament proposed worrying amendments to the penal code – amendments which would make convicting Christian converts and other unrecognized religious groups easier. In an answer to prayer, the Guardian Council (which vets all legislation) has sent the draft amendments back to the parliament for clarifications.
As a result, there will be a...
Monday, July 06th, 2020
There is an urgent need to pray in light of a new legal threat to Christians and other minorities in Iran.
The Iranian parliament has recently approved amendments to two articles of the Penal Code. These changes - if approved by the Guardian Council - make it easier for judges to convict and punish those they see as deviant, like Christian converts.
"The new law effectively criminalises every...
Friday, January 10th, 2020
Two days ago, at our annual staff retreat, we woke up to the news that Iran had targeted two US military bases in Iraq. Tensions around the globe were high. That morning our team prayed, along with many others.
Our team includes people from many nations, including Iranians and Americans. There was a remarkable love and unity as we all prayed together. I wish you could have witnessed the glorious...
Thursday, May 23rd, 2019
Many have asked me how they should pray for Iran given the current political situation.
I have just returned from a conference on prayer in the Iran region with more than 150 of our leaders. We looked together at the Lord’s Prayer and I was struck afresh by the significance of the line: 'Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'
Elam was founded with the conviction...
Thursday, January 04th, 2018
Elam Ministries and Iranian Christians are asking the global church to intercede for Iran following the recent popular protests that swept through the country.
From 28 December 2017, many Iranian cities and towns witnessed popular protests for several days. Clashes with the authorities led to at least 21 people being killed, and as many as one thousand protestors may have been arrested.
Iran’s state media...
Friday, October 20th, 2017
Last week, US President Donald Trump declined to certify that Tehran was complying with the terms of a landmark 2015 agreement aimed at controlling Iran's nuclear programme. Mr Trump said Iran had violated the terms of the deal and he wanted to see the agreement toughened.
Mr Trump announced treasury department sanctions on Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and called for restrictions on Iran's...
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
In a clear escalation of hostility towards the church, Iran has recently sentenced 12 Christians to 10 years or more in prison on charges related to their Christian faith and ministry.
In addition to the long sentences received by Pastor Victor, Kaviyan, Hadi and Amin, 10-year sentences have recently been handed down to eight other Christians in two separate cases. In the first case...
Friday, July 07th, 2017
Iran’s presidential election on 19th May saw incumbent Hassan Rouhani win a landslide victory against hardline opponent Raisi.
Despite his wide margin, Rouhani faces considerable challenges, both at home and abroad, as he embarks on his second term. He badly needs to demonstrate progress on overhauling the struggling economy.
During his first term Rouhani did not bring increased freedom for Iran’s...
Thursday, April 06th, 2017
In May, Iranians will go to the polls to elect their president for the next four-year term. Although the president has less authority than the Supreme Leader, he does have significant sway in some areas. So the pending vote could profoundly affect the lives of ordinary Iranians, including underground Christian believers.
Each presidential candidate will be vetted by Iran’s Guardian Council during...
Thursday, December 08th, 2016
On 30 November millions across Iran gathered together to mourn the death of Imam Reza, Shia Islam’s eighth Imam. On this national holiday, millions of black-clad mourners took part in processions, or went on pilgrimage to the Imam’s colossal shrine in Mashhad, eastern Iran. But the scale of popular participation paints a misleading picture of religious commitment in Iran.
There is often a lot of...
Thursday, November 03rd, 2016
Iran’s academic record is impressive, especially in science and technology. In these fields Iran’s output is eleven times higher than the average. Iran is also strong in the other sciences such as engineering, medicine, physics, chemistry and biology.
There are at least two reasons for this achievement. One is Iran’s disciplined high school system where there is a strong emphasis on mathematics and science...
Friday, September 23rd, 2016
About 450 social media users were arrested or summoned and warned by Iran’s cyber police during the summer. Administrators of groups on apps such as Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp were targeted, a website linked to the Revolutionary Guards reported. "These people were carrying out immoral activities, had insulted religious beliefs or had illegal activities in the field of fashion," the Gherdab website said....
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
The United Nations, Amnesty International, and ordinary people all want to talk about Iran’s judiciary and its human rights record. So does the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Larijani. He made the offer in a speech on August 3rd.
Iran has the second highest number of recorded executions in the world, after China, for which there are no exact figures available. Last month (July) 58 were executed in Iran. In...
Monday, July 25th, 2016
There are at least 30 million people of Kurdish ethnicity in the world. Most Kurds live in parts of eastern and south-eastern Turkey, western Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria, though Kurds can also be found in many other nations around the world today.
Many Kurds in the Middle East want their own autonomous nation. But Iran’s six million Kurds have been pretty quiet on...
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
President Rouhani is facing severe criticism from conservatives.
The understanding was that Rouhani would revive Iran’s economy by getting sanctions lifted as a part of a nuclear deal with the West.
The deal has been signed and is in effect, but the economy has not yet revived.
Investors are interested, but there is still caution, because though UN sanctions have lifted, the US has kept severe restrictions...
Friday, May 06th, 2016
Newspapers have long been a flash point between moderate and hard-line politicians. Back in the 1990’s under President Khatami, newspapers started questioning the judiciary. The response was ferocious. Newspapers were closed down and journalists were arrested. As the judiciary reports directly to the Supreme Leader, President Khatami was unable to act.
It’s the same today. Recently, four journalists...
Friday, April 08th, 2016
Early in March Iran tested several ballistic missiles, some with a range of over 1,000 miles. The footage of the missile tests broadcast around the world has tested diplomatic nerves abroad; and political nerves at home.
Abroad, the cry went up that Iran had violated the 2015 nuclear agreement and sanctions should be reimposed. Iran staunchly defended its right to have a non nuclear missile programme, for defence...
Friday, March 18th, 2016
Late February witnessed elections for both Iran’s Majlis (parliament) and the Assembly of Experts, a body of men with one function: to choose the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic. The outcome could have a noticeable impact on Iran’s future.
The parliamentary elections are being heralded as a victory for political pragmatists (those who are willing to compromise somewhat on Iran’s revolutionary...
Thursday, February 18th, 2016
On 26 February, Iranians will go to the ballot box for two important elections: firstly, for Iran’s parliament; secondly, for the ‘Assembly of Experts’.
The 290-seat parliament has serious influence: it can issue formal questions to the executive and must approve the annual budget, ministerial appointments, and all international treaties. The Guardian Council has already excluded many reformist...
Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Earlier this month Sunni Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia cleric (and 46 others). There was outrage in Shia Tehran and the Saudi embassy was sacked by angry crowds. Diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi are now frozen. The episode has ramped up tension in the already very tense Middle East. This is an important time for Christians to pray for peace.
The execution of Nimr al-Nimr caused...