Human rights, religious freedom concerns turn spotlight on Iran

By June 21, 2018

Iran (MNN) — Iranian officials have arrested one of the nation’s top human rights defenders, raising alarm from watchdog groups like Amnesty International.  The arrest comes on the heels of criticism from the U.S. State Department regarding Iran’s “gross religious freedom violations.”

Behaviors like these are typical of Iran’s leaders, says Voice of the Martyrs USA’s Todd Nettleton.  Nonetheless, hope remains.

“Even as you see things in the world that maybe aren’t going as you think they should, or how you wish they would, God can still work and bring good…and I think the Church in Iran is an amazing example of that,” says Nettleton.

“God is working His plan, regardless of what humanity is doing.”

Christians are one of Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious groups, yet they count for less than one percent of Iran’s population.  Even so, their number is growing as more Muslims encounter the Gospel.

This growth is troublesome to the government, Nettleton comments.  Officials hope to stop this development “by arresting Christians, putting them in prison, making life as difficult as possible for those who choose to leave Islam to follow Jesus Christ.

A mural in the holy city of Qom depicts Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, on the left and Ali Khamenei, the current Supreme Leader of Iran, on the right. (Photo/Caption Courtesy of David Stanley via Flicker https://flic.kr/p/ez3Q3N)

“But, as we see behind the scenes, their efforts are not working.  The Church in Iran is continuing to grow.”

According to Nettleton, some Iranian believers call Iyatollah Khomeini “the greatest Christian missionary in the history of Iran.”  Khomeini led Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

“By saying, ‘We’re going to do everything right according to the Quran, just as if Mohammad was here and running things himself; that’s how we’re going to make our decisions’, they have really set the stage for this hunger for the Gospel.”

Pray this hunger will cause Iranians to seek truth and find answers in Scripture.  Pray for a boldness that only God can provide.

Learn how you can help support persecuted believers through VOM USA.

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