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Future for Iranian Christians unclear in light of nuclear deal

By July 17, 2015
(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Australia)

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Australia)

Iran (MNN) — The U.S. has signed a nuclear deal with Iran. Now, it just needs Congress’ approval. The world is talking politics, but what would this mean for Iranian Christians?

The deal doesn’t directly put Christians in danger, but in a country where nearly all Christian activity is illegal, the doors for persecution would be wide-open.

“This deal clearly seems to strengthen the Iranian government, to give them more of a position of strength within their own country,” says Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs.

“Putting them in a stronger position internally in Iran likely means that they will have more ability and more opportunity to persecute Christians because we know that they are very strongly opposed to the gospel; they’re opposed to the growth of the church,” Nettleton adds. “Anything that strengthens the government strengthens a body that persecutes our brothers and sisters.”

Despite the hostility, however, Christianity in Iran is thriving. And based on the way Christians have stood strong in the face of violence and injustice in the past, the effects of the nuclear deal shouldn’t quench their faith.

(Photo courtesy of VOM via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy of VOM via Facebook)

“One of the really amazing things is the growth of the church in Iran,” Nettleton says. In fact, Operation World says the fastest-growing church in the world is in the Islamic Republic of Iran. God is doing that through really remarkable ways.

“He’s doing it through supernatural means, through dreams and visions…. He’s doing it through radio and television broadcast.…He’s also doing it through bold, Iranian Christians who are willing to share their faith even though they know there are risks to that. Through all of these means and others as well, God is at work, and so many Iranians are coming to know Jesus as their Savior.”

Among Iran’s citizens, the gospel is taking root and changing lives. The country’s leaders, however, want it destroyed. And that doesn’t mean just in Iran.

“I’m reminded of the verse in Psalms that talks about praying for the peace of Jerusalem,” Nettleton says. “This is something that potentially puts that peace at risk, because we know that Iran is a country that part of their foreign policy, part of their goals, is the destruction of Israel.”

The good news is: Christians can make a difference. Nettleton asks that you pray for boldness and strength for Iranian Christians and that Iran’s leaders would find salvation.

“The potential is there that a whole nation could be changed by that, if someone in a significant place of power was to come to a relationship with Christ.”

You can also help VOM support persecuted believers financially. Click here to donate to help Christians in the Middle East.

 

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