Euphoria is building up in Iran after an incredible achievement! Within 24 hours of the accord being ratified, Iran unveiled an order of 129 airbus passenger jets! The first in a long list. In the USA there was much satisfaction and back patting – a job well done! The Iranian president, Rouhani, was on official mission, first paying respect to the Pope and asking for prayers. Probably it will be much easier to be accepted and hailed as a hero in the West than within the dissatisfied masses in Iran!
I have been asked to comment on the implication of the lifting of sanctions, which has crippled the Iranian economy for well over three decades, intensified in 2006 by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1696, which demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and threatened sanctions.
This economic contraction took its toll on the Iranian people while the religious oligarchs plundered the national wealth to build their own empires, as well as pouring finances into the building of offensive weapons systems.
It’s noteworthy that in the final hours of announcement of annulation of imposed sanctions, elements within the establishment did all in their power to stop the ‘normalisation’ of relations by ransacking and burning parts of the Saudi embassy and taking American sailors as hostages. The Rouhani government took immediate measures and managed to control the situation and press through the deal.
Soon after, countries all along the Western coast of the Red Sea, namely Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, where Iran’s revolutionary guards had painstakingly built up bridges and invested hundreds of millions of dollars for over two decades, were bribed by the Saudis and severed diplomatic relations with Iran.
Some power players in Iran who have hugely benefited from the sanctions are now expressing their anxiety about the influx of tens of thousands of businessmen, and are not sure how they can control every single one of them. One happy conclusion has been the release of Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini and three other well known American citizens.
While businessmen are gearing up to take a slice of the cake in Iran’s business deals, I am hoping to see Christ’s ambassadors amongst them! Who will volunteer for such a mission?
So what does the future hold now? Iran is preparing for an economic boom, but oil prices are at an all-time low. Will the boom ever happen? While businessmen are gearing up to take a slice of the cake in Iran’s business deals, I am hoping (and the Ayatullah’s are openly expressing their serious concerns) to see Christ’s ambassadors amongst them! Who will volunteer for such a mission?
The implications of Iran being warmly embraced in the midst of the free world are yet to be seen, but considering the open infighting between power centres in Iran, even name-calling by the Ayatollah’s, and over 90% of the ‘moderate’ candidates for the new parliamentary election being disqualified by the ‘council of guardians’, all I can see is dark clouds on the horizon.
During the presidential election before last, we experienced a temporary ‘Green Revolution’ with mass turnouts, which were brutally silenced, and thousands paid the price. On this occasion people are far less optimistic and no one is eager to risk their lives!
The main reformist leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Ayatollah Karoobi have been suffering house arrest since mid-February 2011. All cries for their release have been falling on deaf ears. I can’t see the slightest hint of loosening of the suffocative grip of the regime. I can’t see any betterment of the circumstances of millions of Christian believers. All Muslim converts are considered as ‘Mofsede Fel-arz’ which literally means ‘corrupt to the core’ and/or ‘defiler of the earth.’
The influx of petrodollars and frozen assets will only boost the state control and benefit those closely affiliated with the regime. People are not invited to share from this table!
Meanwhile no attention is being given to the natural disasters in the making. Dried up rivers, lowest level in history of drinkable water dams, red sandstorms, high rate of addiction, uncontrollable prostitution exacerbated by the ‘Sighe’ or religious hourly, daily or longer term temporary marriages. The very fibers of society are corroding!
It’s interesting to watch the competition between countries and international business firms in order to be endeared by the regime. There is still a small element of ‘private businesses’ in Iran, but by and large all and everything else ends up with the revolutionary guards. Whether it’s a plan for a hotel building or a mall, a hospital or a school, all pass through the revolutionary guard filters. The iRobot (the Robot, i.e the ‘Revolotuinary Guatds’ created by the ruling clerics) has become fearsome and even controls moves and decisions of its ‘creator masters’!
I encourage the body of Christ worldwide to engage in prayer and partner in mission. There is a task to be accomplished!
Despite all the rhetoric and seeming solidarity of all factions within the various power players in Iran, and despite it’s iron grip, the regime is standing on shaky ground. They don’t need to fear the West or Israel, but now seriously fear each other. Gone are the early days of the revolution with fervour for sacrifice and distribution of wealth to the poor! Now it’s openly the survival of the fittest.
Despite all the dark clouds one can always find silver linings. I encourage Christian businessmen to boldly enter the arena. I encourage intercessory prayer warriors to travel to Iran and pray through the cities, I encourage the youth to enroll in universities and be light and salt. I encourage the body of Christ worldwide to engage in prayer and partner in mission. There is a task to be accomplished! Feel free to write to us and our expert and experienced team will be glad to meet and assist.
A part of 222 ministries’ strategy for 2016-2020 is to invest in producing high quality TV programs; nurturing, encouraging, giving spiritual guidance to the church and sharing God’s Father heart with the nation. In fact, throughout 2016 we will be broadcasting two new programs for each day – that’s 730 TV programs this year!
Lets join hands and pray, ‘Let Your will be done and Your Kingdom come!’
Rev Lazarus Yeghnazar