The mullahs' regime in Tehran seems to be in dire straits: according to the Christian information site Mohabat News, the priests of the Chaldean Catholic Church have been warned against participating in, or even supporting, the protest movement that is currently shaking the country.
The priests confirmed the news in a video message in which they warn their faithful to “refrain from taking any position contrary to the interests of the regime,” and of the “risks of arrest incurred in the event that social networks reveal any participation in the demonstrations.”
To review: it was in mid-September 2022 that social unrest became widespread in Iran, starting with the death, while in police custody, of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old young woman arrested for having violated the women’s dress codes.
Amplified by social networks, the violent death of Mahsa Amini quickly became a reflection of the general anger of Iranians at the economic difficulties, social restrictions, and the sclerosis of the regime in place.
Although the Islamic Republic of Iran has often been shaken by bouts of popular sedition, this movement is unprecedented in its duration and scope. The protest now extends to all the provinces of the country and includes the participation of different ethnic groups and social classes directly calling for the end of the regime.
On the side of the mullahs, their agreed-upon rhetoric accuses hostile foreign powers of stirring up, even of fomenting “riots,” in particular the United States, sworn enemy of Tehran, but also other nations such as the United Kingdom or France, as well as opposition groups in exile.
In this context, the situation of Christians hangs more than ever by a thread. In Iran, they form a heterogeneous group composed mainly of Armenians and Assyrians and, more marginally, there is the presence of Roman Catholics, Anglicans and other Protestants.
This community is mainly concentrated in the cities: in Tehran and in the region of Isfahan, it is estimated, in 2009, to be nearly 200,000 faithful, all confessions combined, or about 0.4% of the population at the time.
For many years, these Christian entities have been under such unrelenting pressure from the regime in place, that it has caused many to leave Iran over the years. Under these conditions, many faithful hope for the fall of the Islamic republic. The question is whether the chaos that will follow will really help Christians recover some peace and freedom.