On August 15th Mahmoud Shahroudi stepped down as head of Iran’s judiciary after ten years. He has been replaced by 49 year old Sadeq Larijani. already a jurist in the Guardian Council, who is known to have a close relationship with the intelligence services and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. He lectures both at Qom and Revolutionary Guard bases on Islamic ideology and is a keen opponent of intellectuals like Abdulkarim Soroush who call for religion to be less central in government. The head of the judiciary has immense power. After the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, Sadeq Larijani will have the final say on all the cases in the judicial system deemed to threaten the Islamic Republic –including the cases of Christians such as Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh. Sadeq Larijani comes from a powerful family. He is the son of Ayatollah Amoli and son in law of Ayatollah Khorasani, while he is also the brother of Ali Larijani, well known as Iran’s former negotiator on the nuclear issue and now the speaker of parliament. His other brother, Mohammad Larihani is at present the deputy head of the judiciary. There is nothing in Sadeq Larijani’s background to indicate he will be moderate in his dealings with Christians…but prayer can change a man’s heart.