A human rights group has recorded nearly 700 executions, including those of members of ethnic and religious minorities convicted of "enmity against God," in just a little over six months in the Shiite Muslim nation of Iran, which put people to death even during the holy month of Ramadan.
In its new report, Amnesty International says Iran put to death 694 people between Jan. 1 and July 15, which is equivalent to executing more than three people per day.
"Iran's staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale," Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme, says in the report. more >>
Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy, criticized leaders of the Evangelical Left for supporting the Iran nuclear deal, calling their pacifistic tendencies "not reassuring or relevant" counsel on the topic of national security.
Tooley singled out Jim Wallis, founder and president of Sojourners, and Quaker political activists, who were some of the signers of the "Hope but Verify" letter in April, which called for the approval of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 nations, which includes the United States, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The plan was approved this month, but awaits verification by the U.S. Senate for official approval by the United States.
"Pacifists like Jim Wallis and the Quakers have hailed the Iran nuke deal," Tooley told the Christian Post, "Since they, like most of the evangelical and religious left, reject all lethal force, their counsel is not reassuring or relevant. more >>
One expert claims that terror group ISIS will reap benefits from the Obama administration's nuclear weapons deal with Iran, while others disagree.
The landmark foreign policy arms control deal, struck between six world powers and Iran, is primarily designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. However, international and American critics have heavily attacked the agreement for a myriad of reasons.
An article in The Wall Street Journal titled "Iran Deal Worries Mideast Neighbors," quotes Hassan Hassan, an associate fellow at London-based think tank and independent policy institute Chatham House and co-author of a recent book on ISIS, as saying that the Iranian deal is beneficial to the terrorist group. more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini, one of the four Americans imprisoned in Iran, said in a letter that he feels threatened and targeted following the announcement of the nuclear deal between the United States and the Islamic Republic earlier this week.
"I want you to know that as I wrote the thank you letter to President [Barack] Obama after he had visited my family in January of this year (which he read at the national prayer breakfast), that God is in control of all countries and leadership in the world when the body of Christ comes together in united prayer. He is in control and He is the One who beautifully writes the history over all governments, presidents, and any P5+1 negotiating team," the pastor said in a letter.
"We are all looking for a safer, more friendly world and because of this desire many of us are happy and others un-happy about the deal. Please join me in using these emotions that have been awakened to give fervor to united prayer for God's chosen people, America, and for the whole world." more >>
While the recent nuclear deal between Iran and six major world powers has stoked debate in the U.S. over the Obama administration's negotiating tactics, Iranian Christians are reportedly "thanking Christ" and view the agreement as an "answer to prayers," one Iranian priest has said.
"I can certainly say that all Christians, along with all the Iranian people are rejoicing because their prayers were answered," Chaldean Iranian priest Hormoz Aslani Babroudi, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Society of Iran, told Fides News Agency.
"From now on it will be easier for the world to have a positive outlook toward Iran, the desire for harmony will prevail and it will be easier to show everyone that Iran is not what some media networks report. We can work and use science for the good of the country, we can develop technologies to live better." more >>
Pastor Behnam Irani, who's been held in an Iranian prison since 2011 because of his Christian ministry work, has received a temporary release and is now visiting with his wife and children at home for the first time in more than four years.
Irani, a 43-year-old former Muslim who is now an evangelical Christian leader in the Islamic Republic, was originally sentenced to serve six years in prison for reportedly forming an evangelical congregation in the city of Karaj.
But in September of last year, Irani was accused of 18 new charges, including "spreading corruption on Earth," which is punishable by execution. more >>