Iran (MNN) — The Iranian parliament has voted in favor of the death penalty for people arrested during nationwide protests. So far, 15,000 people have been arrested. Out of 290 seats, 227 voted in favor of the action.
What’s behind such a brutal strategy? Denise Godwin with International Media Ministries (IMM) says, “The threat for them is a threat to power. The threat for them is a threat to religion. They see it as a threat to the way of life. But I think what we see when we look in from the outside is people who are ready for freedom and choice.”
The unrest began in September after a 22-year-old woman died in police custody. She was detained for wearing the hijab improperly.
The protests have all grown from this one incident, Godwin says, focusing on freedom for women especially. “They’ve carefully stayed away from saying too much about religion. But some of that is under the surface. We talked to a ministry that’s doing stuff on the ground there recently, and their surveys and reporting have shown that only 35 percent are still feeling connected to Islam.”
IMM is currently producing a dramatization of the story of Esther. Godwin hopes to get it into the hands of Iranians soon. “There’s this threat of killing many, many people. And one person, Esther, rises up to stand in the gap. And that was in the Persian Empire (modern-day Iran). Who will stand up at this time? Will someone stand in the gap?”
“Could the world stage actually put pressure on this regime to not kill those 15,000 people?”
Pray many Iranians would find hope in Jesus.
Also, ask God to strengthen Iranian Christians. Godwin says, “We need to pray against the spiritual oppression that’s occurring when the majority of the government votes to kill protesters.”
The header photo shows a vehicle damaged during the protests. (Photo courtesy of Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)