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ISIS executing Shias; the cry for revenge in Tehran

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 called out, 'Our godless enemies behead our soldiers'. From behind a screen, women wailed; men clenched their fist. The cry for revenge was palpable.

So far Iran has offered to help the government of Nouri Al Maliki, and promised a determined response if the holy Shia sites in Najaf and Kerbala in the south of Iraq are threatened. But if the cold bloodied killing goes on, pressure will grow for the world's largest Shia country to do more.

Iran's foreign policy file is full of difficult dilemmas. If Tehran intervenes in Iraq, to what extent and with what conditions should it do so? With ISIS tearing apart all that the Western forces have tried to build during the past decade, Washington and London seem keener to draw closer to Iran. But this is anathema to some in Tehran. Yet, with Iran's grim economy being the number one concern of most Iranians, a rapprochement with the West, which would see crippling sanctions lifted, is sorely needed. And in the midst of these talks a Western diplomat could take the opportunity to raise Iran's human rights record as an issue. That too needs a response.

Most Christians are nowhere near the tables – either in Iran or the West – where these difficult decisions are made. But we can pray. Iran's foreign policy team need wisdom.

Pray for

  • The Supreme Leader, who has the final say in foreign affairs
  • Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani
  • Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif