The winter winds of isolation blowing into Iran are getting even colder. UN sanctions got tougher, and in response mobs attacked the UK embassy in Tehran. So the UK has closed down its diplomatic mission there and Norway followed suit. Meanwhile, the violent suppression of unrest in Syria has brought calls from around the world for Iran’s ally, President Assad, to step down. There is no guarantee a new administration in Damascus would be friendly towards Tehran.
More ominously, acts of violence have entered this diplomatic winter. Last month there were explosions at two military bases, one near Tehran where 17 people were killed, and another near Isfahan. The Iranians blame foreign secret services. For their part, the Iranians claim they downed a US drone used for surveillance in Afghanistan on December 4th, 2011. The drone has been put on display.
Neither the winds of isolation, nor these acts of war are good news for Iranians, especially Iranian Christians. Throughout history Christians have always suffered when their governments have become more nationalistic. For however patriotic the Christians are, they also belong to a world-wide church, and so attract suspicion. Moreover, when a government becomes isolated it feels free to deal with its domestic issues without any concern for international opinion. Thankfully there are many voices for peace both in the West and Iran. Christians should pray these voices prevail.
• Peace summit to be called to stop war
• Wisdom and courage for diplomats
• Christians to be protected from unfair accusations