Calls for prayer for Iranian Christians have increased, alongside concerns that they will be targeted in the aftermath of anti-government protests.
Christians are always under surveillance by Iranian police. In May, the Middle East Reformed Fellowship reported that one young Christian couple were summoned by the secret police and received a suspended sentence for having spoken of Christ to their friends. Another young man was suspended by his wrists and had his feet beaten.
The troubles began in June, when liberal thinkers, students and supporters of the three other candidates staged mass demonstrations in the capital Tehran claiming that the June elections had been rigged. The mood turned ugly as leaked figures suggested that Ahmadinejad, the Ayatollah’s favourite, had actually come third in the election. However, the protests were met with violent military opposition. Several were killed and many wounded by militia gunshots. Iranian police, government-backed militias and intelligence forces attacked student dormitories, battered students and took them into detention.
Despite promises by the Ayatollah and the ruling Council of Guardians that some of the votes would be recounted, the protest has continued. Dr Payam Faze, former consultant to the United Nations, wrote an open letter to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, saying: ‘It is time for the international community to support innocent civilians who are being systematically attacked by Ahmadinejad’s government’.