28 JULY ’21 | PRAY FOR IRAN
Dear prayer partners,
At least four people have been killed in ongoing protests in Iran. The initial protests were sparked by a water crisis in the southwestern oil-rich province of Khuzestan but have since spread to more cities within Iran. According to the dissident group, Human Rights Activists in Iran, security forces have been firing tear gas and water cannons and clashing with demonstrators. On Friday 23 July, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet told Iran to address the chronic water shortage in Khuzestan instead of cracking down on protesters. President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday (24 July) that “despite the action taken, certain problems in Khuzestan province must still be quickly resolved,” and that people have “the right to protest.”
Across the province of Khuzestan there were reports of disrupted internet slowdowns. Internet-access advocacy group, NetBlocks.org, warned its analysis and user reports were “consistent with a regional internet shutdown intended to control protests.” According to the Iranian state media there has been no acknowledgement of an internet shutdown. The unrest in Khuzestan comes at a time when Iran is struggling through successive waves of COVID-19 infections (Iranians have been crossing the border into Armenia for free coronavirus vaccines available to foreign visitors*) and thousands of workers in its oil industry have launched strikes for better wages and conditions. Iran’s economy has been crippled partly by ongoing sanctions.
Iran is home to over 84 million people, 97.5% of whom profess to be Muslim, while Christianity makes up only 1.9% of the population. According to the Open Doors World Watch List, Iran ranks eighth of the most persecuted countries in the world. The Iranian government sees the conversion of Muslims to Christianity as an attempt by Western countries to undermine the Islamic rule of Iran. Christians from a Muslim background are persecuted mainly by the government, but also by their families and communities. Despite these challenges there has been a steady growth in the ‘underground’ Church in recent years. It is often during times of heightened tensions that believers can share their hope in Christ with their neighbours and friends.
Please join with us in praying for Iran.
“We can change the course of events if we go to our knees in believing prayer.” (Billy Graham)
* To find out more, please read the “Christian perspective” in the following article from last week:
ARMENIA SEEKS OPPORTUNITIES TO BOLSTER ECONOMY AND REGIONAL COOPERATION – https://www.incontextinternational.org/2021/07/21/armenia-seeks-opportunities-to-bolster-economy-and-regional-cooperation/