Society

Friday, June 05th, 2015
Iran is the tenth highest consumer of cosmetic surgery in the world. Botox, lip augmentation, upper eyelid surgery, nose jobs and eye lift procedures are all increasingly popular as women strive to achieve a particular notion of beauty.   A leading Iranian psychologist ties the rising rate of surgery to falling self-esteem. Physical beauty is a growing obsession in Iran. Perhaps this is not surprising...
Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Making up 10% of Iran’s population, there are nearly five and a half million Kurds in Iran. They are a major ethnic group, living mainly in the west of Iran. They have their own language and culture, and most are Sunni Muslims, not Shia like Iranians. The relationship of these Kurds with the rest of Iran has not been easy. Under both the Pahlavi Shahs there were rebellions against Tehran’s rule, and from 1979 –...
Tuesday, May 05th, 2015
Marriages are destroyed by it. Families suffer because of it. Women are devalued by it.  In Iran, people can be imprisoned for participating in it: Pornography. Google has analysed which countries are searching for adult sites the most, and Iran appears as number four on their list. One would think that the conservative Islamic Republic might not battle with pornography as much as more liberal...
Tuesday, May 05th, 2015
For Iranians, Norouz (Persian New Year) is a special time of getting together and celebrating with family. It’s also, therefore, a time when family tensions make their presence felt. Please join us in praying that many Christians would be able to play a part in family reconciliation, and to share Christ with their extended family this Norouz. All families have their issues. Iranian families are no different. And...
Friday, April 17th, 2015
Decades of war means that millions of Afghans have been forced to flee their homeland.  And Iran – the most natural place for suffering Afghans to go – now has a huge population of Afghan refugees.  One of these refugees is a 21 year old man called Hossein. Stories like his are far too common: “I was twelve when my father and mother were killed in a Taliban bomb attack. I lost my left leg. My younger...
Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
Marriage is in a mess in Iran. The young population is delaying getting hitched. ‘Temporary marriage’ (sigheh), and therefore sexual immorality, is rife. Divorce ends one in three marriages in Tehran. So the government is taking action. The regime has just launched a new matchmaker website, which, it hopes, could lead to as many as 100,000 durable marriages. Under-30s make up 55% of the population. But most cannot...
Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Many house churches have members that used to be drug addicts, but who have found freedom in Christ. Iran has millions of drug addicts, all of whom also need healing. That’s why Christians are often found reaching out to, and ministering to, drug addicts. Let’s pray for those who are pouring Jesus’ love into broken hearts and bodies. The drug problem is not going away. One raid in mid-November saw over two tons of...
Thursday, November 20th, 2014
At every Elam conference for Iranian Christian women, Dr Mojdeh Shirvanian leads a session on abortion. She describes what happens medically; outlines the Bible’s teaching on the unborn; and explains why depression follows. Mojdeh then invites those who have had abortions forward for prayer. At the last conference 30 out of 55 attendees came forward. Some had undergone multiple abortions. After several years of...
Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Street rallies and social media protests are ongoing in Iran following a spate of acid attacks on women in Isfahan in recent weeks. The women were reportedly attacked due to their not adhering to strict dress codes and not properly wearing their head coverings. Horrified members of the public are protesting in Tehran and Isfahan and demanding justice for the victims. Sources differ on how many women have suffered...
Friday, October 03rd, 2014
A 25-year old woman is serving time in prison for attending a volleyball match. A 37-year-old man, Mohsen Amir-Aslani has been executed for suggesting that the story of Jonah in the Qur’an should be read symbolically. A 26-year-old woman who stabbed a rapist in self-defence is due to be hanged.  Six young Iranians have been given suspended jail time and 91 lashes each for a music video they posted on YouTube. These...
Thursday, August 21st, 2014
A powerful earthquake hit western Iran early on Monday, seriously injuring at least 60 people in the province of Ilam*, a region near the border with Iraq. As lives and communities are being rebuilt, join us in praying that local Christians would be salt and light during this difficult time. The 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit at a depth of around 10 kilometers (6 miles) in an area 36 kilometers southeast of the...
Friday, August 01st, 2014
The arbitrary arrest last week of the Washington Post’s correspondence in Tehran, Jason Razaian, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and another American couple, both photojournalists, immediately hit the international head-lines. Their plight is a salutary reminder of how dangerous journalism is in Iran. There are dozens of Iranian journalists in prison; most of them charged with writing ‘propaganda against the state’,...
Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Imagine if posting the wrong thing on social media could cost you 21 years in prison.  It may sound like a scenario from a dystopian novel, but sadly it’s not Orwellian* fiction: it’s an Iranian reality. On Monday, eight Iranians were jailed for between 11 and 21 years for something they posted on Facebook site. Why?  Because their posts were interpreted as propaganda against either the regime, or against Iran’s...
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Tehran’s cafes and restaurants have been banned by police from live-screening Iran’s World Cup soccer matches.  Presumably the aim is to deter mass gatherings and rowdy celebrations. However, the ban did not stop many Tehranis gathering in restaurants and cafes to watch Iran’s opening match against Nigeria last Monday, nor did it stop them seizing the moment and celebrating in the streets afterwards, despite a...
Thursday, June 05th, 2014
At least four people are believed to have died and many more were injured when a gigantic dust storm engulfed Tehran on Monday night. The freak weather, which struck in the late afternoon, sent residents dashing for cover as debris swept across streets and snapped trees as the city was hit with 110 kilometer per hour winds. Pictures of the dust storm, commonly called a “haboob” across the Middle East, were posted...
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
A battle currently rages in Iran over the Islamic headscarf for women: the hijab. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, it has been mandatory for all women in Iran to wear the headscarf when in public. They can face a fine or arrest otherwise. Many Iranian women are content with the headscarf, and would freely choose to wear it for religious or cultural reasons. But in the past month, a vast number of discontented...
Tuesday, May 06th, 2014
The inequality of women in Iran has been underscored once more by a bizarre, recent move by Iran’s Health Ministry. The dearth of medical practitioners in rural areas has long been a noted problem in Iran, but now the Health Ministry has declared its remedy: reducing the number of female medics. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, recently declared on his personal website that gender equality was "one...
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
The public hanging of a convicted criminal during February, and a video of the event which has gone viral on the internet, has raised awareness and sparked debate among Iranians and around the world about the brutal practice of public execution in Iran. The person in the video is seen being forcibly restrained by policemen before being hanged. The majority of Iran’s population is deeply disturbed by, and wants an...
Thursday, April 03rd, 2014
Alcohol is banned in Iran, and raids and police seizures are frequent, but that does not stop Iranians from drinking. Many are brewing their own alcohol at home and selling it on, meaning that alcohol can be acquired easily if you know who to call. The messy picture of growing alcohol abuse means we need to pray for local Christians who are reaching out. Wild parties in Iran’s cities are common occurrences; there...
Monday, March 03rd, 2014
Almost as soon as President Rouhani took office, Iran’s crippled economy began to look healthier. Now it is official. This week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed that if the strict sanctions regime is eased in line with the ongoing success of the nuclear talks, then Iranian can expect good news. The economy will stabilize, and there will be growth of between 1 – 2%. Inflation – which was running at...

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