Influential Institutions

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Last Sunday the UK reopened its embassy in Tehran and Iran reopened its Embassy in London. This development has been facilitated by last month’s nuclear deal, and marks the beginning of the normalisation of relations between the two nations. Let’s pray the Lord would use this new chapter to bring about an atmosphere where even more Iranians can find Christ and follow him without fear. There is a danger that...
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
When President Rouhani first came to power he indicated he wanted to improve Iran’s human rights record. However the priority was the economy. With the nuclear deal now signed, economically Iran is getting ready for lift off. But on human rights there has been no lift off. It is estimated there are at least one thousand prisoners of conscience in Iran’s prisons; nearly a hundred of these are Christians. And last...
Monday, June 22nd, 2015
Even as the diplomats start what is meant to be the final lap towards the June 30 deadline, nothing is certain over Iran’s nuclear file. There is unease in Washington that the West is giving too much away without enough guarantees from Tehran that Iran will not develop a bomb. Likewise there is unease amongst Iran’s conservatives that this nuclear deal will give the West an open door that will threaten the country’s...
Friday, June 05th, 2015
Iran can now boast that its national football (soccer) captain is from the Armenian Christian ethnic group. Rouhani has appointed an advisor on religious and minority affairs. The government last year donated nearly half a million dollars to Tehran’s Jewish hospital. While it has been suggested that developments such as these show that Iran’s treatment of religious minorities is improving, in fact...
Friday, May 22nd, 2015
The ongoing march of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in Iraq is a major threat to Iran’s security. ISIS is fanatically Sunni and they especially loathe Shias. Iran is Shia. Victorious now in Ramadi, ISIS is now just 65 miles from Baghdad. South of Baghdad is Karbala, the holiest city for Shias. The notoriously corrupt Iraqi army has not been able to hold back the advance of ISIS. Given the threat...
Tuesday, May 05th, 2015
The proxy war going on between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Yemen is dangerous for the whole region. Iran is backing the Houthis, a Shia minority who are fighting the governments, and Saudi Arabia is backing government which is dominated by Sunnis. In response to the success of the rebels, Saudi launched air strikes, killing more than 1,200 people. These air raids have now stopped, but the civil war is continuing and...
Friday, April 17th, 2015
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is suffering from prostate cancer, which has reportedly spread to the rest of his body. Khamenei underwent surgery for his condition last September, and doctors estimate that the 75 year old has perhaps two years left to live. However long Khamenei has left, it seems Iran will have to appoint a new Supreme Leader in the not too distant future.  There is no...
Thursday, March 05th, 2015
Everyone is talking about the Israeli Prime Minister’s surprise speech in Congress on Tuesday, when he protested against the prospect of a nuclear deal with Iran. With opinion so divided on the issue, how should Christians pray? The speech was regarded by the White House as a serious breach of protocol, but the message was warmly welcomed by many members of the house.  Mr Netanyahu sees the threat from...
Thursday, March 05th, 2015
The world is just four days away from probably the biggest geo-political decision of the year. Whatever decision is made, the outcome could impact millions of lives for many years to come. March 31 is the deadline for a nuclear deal between Iran and the West. Both sides have indicated an extension to the deadline is unlikely. This is a critical time for prayer. The attention of all world powers is on Lausanne...
Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
Today is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s birthday. The nation has been marking ten days of celebration for the 36th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, which took place on 11 February 1979, and which overthrew the constitutional monarchy. The ‘Ten-Day Dawn festivities’ culminate today in nationwide rallies. But while there has been outward celebration, it is a period when many have been quietly mourning the...
Thursday, January 29th, 2015
The stalled nuclear talks between Iran and the West have started again. The diplomats want to have the main issues sorted out by March; and all the technical details in place by July. The leaders from both sides, John Kerry for the West, and Mohmammad Zarif for Iran, have been upbeat about the prospects for peace. Mohammad Zarif will be encouraged by a Mehr News Agency survey showing that over 80% in Iran wanted the...
Thursday, December 18th, 2014
President Rouhani is showing no let up in his campaign to see the back of sanctions. He wants them lifted in the next seven months. If this happens, 2015 will be a year of major change for how Iran relates to the world economy. It will also almost certainly bring more freedom to Iran’s Christians. Of course, the president faces the challenge of the hard-liners whose political validity rests on isolationism and...
Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Iran’s talks with the West over the country’s nuclear programme are at a critical stage. Both sides are saying there is real hope that the comprehensive agreement can happen; however the diplomats admit there are serious gaps, and there have been hints that the talks might over-extend the November 24th deadline that both sides set earlier in the year. In theory there should be a breakthrough: a deal is in everyone’...
Thursday, October 30th, 2014
On 31 October 2014, Iran’s human rights record will be assessed at the United Nations Human Rights Council in its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  Now is a pivotal time to for Christians to pray that global governments will be able to pressure Iran into a greater respect for human rights. At Iran’s previous UPR (2010), Iran accepted 126 recommendations for improving human rights, a good number of which...
Friday, October 03rd, 2014
While there has been much talk in the West about the urgent need to confront the brutal Sunni entity ISIL (also known as ISIS), there is uncertainty over whether the Kurds and the Iraqi army with just some Western air support can defeat them. With no decision to send in ground troops, there are even queries about Washington's commitment. There are no queries about the commitment of Iran, the world’s leading Shia...
Thursday, August 21st, 2014
"Stop this extravagance, this reckless throwing of my country to the wind.” This week millions of Iranians are mourning the loss of Nobel Prize nominated Persian poet Simin Behbahani, who penned these words and who died on Tuesday from respiratory disease. As Iranians reflect on her life and re-read her poetry, disillusionment and frustration against the government will be drawn to the surface afresh. Simin’s...
Friday, August 01st, 2014
The war in Gaza is a gift for the hard-liners in the Islamic Republic. Whipping up hate against a common enemy to gain support is an easy game. Led by the Supreme Leader Iranian officials have been queuing up to denounce Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and, posing as champions for the whole Islamic world, have been calling on all Muslims to join the fight. Ordinary Iranians fear this development will set Iran back....
Thursday, July 17th, 2014
It’s nuclear crunch time. Iran and the P5+1 nations* have until Sunday to either reach a long-term deal on reducing Iran’s nuclear program (as everyone hopes), declare the negotiations a failure (which could spell disaster) or, far from favourably, extend the deadline for agreement.  There are divisions in the Iran camp, which make an imminent agreement unlikely. A few weeks ago the mood of the talks was optimistic...
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
On the internet the whole world can see the Sunni soldiers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) murdering unarmed Shias in Iraq. Those being brutally butchered are Iran's allies and friends. Some, like Ali Reza Moshaajjari, are Iranians. According to Iran's media, he was a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards working in Iraq. As his corpse was brought into a packed mosque in the south of Tehran, a voice...
Thursday, June 05th, 2014
The head of the U.N. nuclear agency (the IAEA), Yukiya Amano, suggested on Monday that its probe into suspected atomic arms work in Iran may stretch into next year. World powers are trying to secure a long-term nuclear deal with Iran, and aiming to reach agreement before the temporary deal expires on July 20.  But the IAEA’s announcement could push any agreement long past next month’s target date. The nuclear talks...

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