“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” 1 Pet 4: 7
IRAN PROTESTS: Protests have swept Iran in the last few days leading to clashes with security forces and the first three protester deaths reported on 30 Dec. 2017. The state TV report said 10 were killed during clashes Sunday night 31 Dec. 2017, without elaborating. Videos have emerged from inside the country showing protesters in the streets and the government has sought to shut them down by warning against “illegal gatherings.” Train service and schools were ordered shut on 30 Dec. 2017. The antigovernment protests were sparked by a surge in prices of basic food supplies, such as eggs and poultry. Demonstrations quickly spread to many cities where protesters have been chanting slogans against the Islamic establishment and the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They began in earnest on Thurs. 28 Dec. 2017 in a series of cities across the heartland of Iran. They spread on Friday to at least a dozen cities and continued on Saturday, reaching Tehran.
Iran’s regime has alleged that social media has been used to spread the protests. A variety of chants have been heard in videos of the protests. These include “Death to the dictator.” They have called on the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to step down and also spoken out against economic woes and inflation. The protesters have targeted government involvement in Syria, calling on the government to “leave Syria, and think about us,” and also condemned the government’s obsession with supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. Videos show protesters ripping down posters of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani who is in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s operations abroad. They have also removed posters of the Ayatollah. At Tehran university they condemned the “oppressive” government on 30 December 2017 and protesters chanted, “Independence, freedom, Iranian Republic.” (J.Post) Intercede for Iran’s oppressive leadership to crack and fail as they have opposed Israel and Jerusalem and are quickly trying to prepare for war against Israel on its borders with armies and groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Syria, Lebanon and the Revolutionary Guards. Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.
PROTESTERS IN IRAN: ‘NEVER MIND PALESTINE, THINK ABOUT US’: As opposition to the current regime mounts in Iran, protesters in the Islamic Republic urge their government to turn its attention from Israel to domestic issues. On Saturday 30 Dec. 2017, college students and other anti-government protesters gathered to denounce Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. These demonstrations followed gatherings on Friday 29 Dec.2017 in the western city of Kermanshah during which protesters chanted phrases such as “never mind Palestine, think about us,” “death or freedom” and “political prisoners should be freed.” On Thursday, thousands began this wave of protests in Mashhad, Iran’s second-largest city, outraged by inflation, the rising cost of basic necessities, and the current regime’s repressive policies. Social media coverage showed police using tear gas and water cannons on the protesters. (World Israel News)
TRUMP RESPONDS TO PROTESTS IN IRAN: In response to the protests throughout Iran, USA President Donald Trump tweeted, “Many reports of protests by Iranian citizens fed up with the regime’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt. should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves.” Trump warned Tehran, “The world is watching!” Following Trump’s message, Iranian state television reported on the protests for the first time, stating that their failure to do so was based on security officials’ orders. State television blamed the unrest on “foreign media” and “counterrevolution groups,” deeming the protests “unlawful gatherings.” Iran lacks a free press and its government has banned citizens from accessing social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. (World Israel News)
IRAN PROTESTS: HOW TRUMP CAN STRIKE A FATAL BLOW AGAINST A DANGEROUS, TYRANNICAL REGIME: President Trump should take decisive action in 2018 to support the ouster of the virulently anti-American theocracy that has ruled Iran with an iron fist and threatened its neighbors for the past four decades. The president’s first step should be to throw American support behind the brave anti-government protesters who have taken to the streets in mass demonstrations across the Islamic Republic since 28 Dec. 2017. In a good first step, the USA State Department announced Friday 29 Dec. 2017 that America “strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.” The United States should next impose crippling economic sanctions targeting key institutions that act as a lifeline for the Iranian regime, in particular the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The USA should also make it clear that Iran will face serious consequences if protesters are suppressed violently. Slogans targeting the Iranian regime’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, show that resentment is giving way to anger and that the regime is more vulnerable to losing the consent of the governed than many Western analysts may have thought. The latest nationwide demonstrations are indicative of fierce discontent and growing frustration with the Iranian regime’s corruption, incompetence and badly misplaced priorities. The demonstrations have proven that the welfare of Iranians was never going to improve after the 2015 agreement that lifted worldwide economic sanctions against Iran in return for actions designed to halt the nation’s development of nuclear weapons. (Fox)
ISRAELI MINISTER: DEMONSTRATIONS NO SURPRISE AS TEHRAN WASTES BILLIONS FUNDING TERRORISM: Three demonstrators were shot dead by the Revolutionary Guard Corps as protests spread across Iran for a third night on Saturday 30 Dec. 2017, intensifying their calls for an end to the government’s costly expansionist projects across the Middle East, the corruption within its ranks and the Islamic Republic itself. The state TV report said a further 10 people were killed during clashes Sunday night 31 Dec. 2017. While the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office had no comment on Saturday night regarding the protests in Iran, Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said they were no surprise. “Iran is wasting billions of dollars funding Hezbollah, Hamas, the Assad regime and terrorism throughout the world, rather than investing in the Iranian people,” Erdan posted on his Twitter account. “It’s no wonder that many Iranians are bravely standing up and speaking out against the Iranian leadership,” he said. Video clips have shown riot police clubbing and arresting protesters. (J.Post)
NETANYAHU SLAMS TEHRAN FOR MISTREATMENT OF CHRISTIANS: With demonstrators taking to Iranian streets in a series of rare protests that have continued since Thurs. 28 Dec. 2017, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu posted a video clip on Facebook on Friday blasting Tehran for its treatment of Christians, and underlining the hypocrisy of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s tweeting of a Christmas message last week. “Get a load of this,” Netanyahu said in the video showing Zarif’s tweet. That tweet, posted on 23 Dec. 2017 reads: “The angels said, Mary, God gives you glad-tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Christ, Jesus, [Yeshua] son of Mary; highly honored in this world and the next’ Quran 3:45. A very happy and peaceful Christmas to all. May Christ’s universal message of peace be embraced in the coming year”. In his video, Netanyahu said: “I wonder what the Christians, jailed this month in Iran, would say about that tweet. I wonder what Iranian youth would think about that tweet. But sadly the regime bans Twitter, unless of course you are a high-ranking official.” Earlier this month, according to Persian media reports, Iranian security forces arrested four Iranian converts to Christianity and raided six houses they used as home churches.
The Iranian government’s official news agency, IRNA, defended the arrests, saying that “elements of a devious Christian cult who were promoting it and attempting to disrupt the market and economic order have been arrested.” Netanyahu made reference to these arrests in his video. “Imagine you are praying quietly in your homes, surrounded by your family, and all of a sudden, armed thugs burst in and drag you away to prison. They torture you merely for practicing your Christian faith. Welcome to Iran,” he said. Netanyahu added that, “saying Merry Christmas while jailing Christians in your own country is the height of hypocrisy. Say a prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering at the hands of this cruel Iranian regime,” he said. “We stand with you, brothers and sisters – the world stands with you.” (J.Post) Even though persecution has threatened to wipe out the Church in Iran, the Church’s growth in the Islamic Republic has actually become one of the fastest in the world. In the last 20 years, more Iranians have become Christians than in the previous 13 centuries. Pray for courage, protection and continued growth in the Iranian Church.
AT LEAST 10 PEOPLE KILLED IN CAIRO CHURCH ATTACK: Egypt’s Health Ministry spokesman said at least 10 people, including eight Coptic Christians, had been killed in a shootout outside a south Cairo church. Khaled Megahed said Friday’s 29 Dec. 2017 attack took place when gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire outside Mar Mina church. One gunman was shot dead as was a security officer, he said. The other assailant, reportedly fled the scene and was being pursued. The spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church said that at least six people were killed in the attack: five Copts and a policeman. He also said there was a separate attack on a store in the same neighborhood of Helwan that killed two Copts. Egypt’s Christian minority has been targeted by Islamic terrorists in a series of attacks since Dec. 2016 that had left more than 100 dead and scores wounded. (NY Post) Pray for believers in Egypt who are suffering persecution daily including death, injury, property damage and loss of political rights. Intercede that Islamists attacks against Christians in Egypt, many by ISIS offshoot terrorist groups, will be a concerned focus of Egypt’s government and that it will work to protect its Christian community in all ways possible.
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The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff