A Christian charity mobilised an international day of prayer for Iran on Sunday as unrest continues over the death of Mahsa Amini.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died in the custody of morality police after being detained for "improper attire". Protests erupted at her funeral on 17th September in the Kurdish town of Saqez before spreading across Iran. Rights groups say more than 250 people have been killed in the crackdown.
Women have played a prominent part, waving and burning veils. The deaths of several teenaged girls reportedly killed during protests have fuelled more anger.
Elam Ministries, which works to strengthen and expand the church in the Iran region, has responded by organising for churches across the globe to pray for the country.
Joe Connor from the charity told Premier: “Iran is at a tipping point. The church is growing incredibly, incredibly fast, and the people are so disillusioned with their government that they are protesting, and it's very dangerous.
“We want these people inside Iran, whether they're Christians, part of the house churches or not, we want them to know that there is a Church around the world that sees them and is praying for them. So already, we've got 55 churches from different countries who have sent videos… just giving the people of Iran a message saying we love them, and we see them. It's been very powerful.”
Videos posted on social media over the weekend, which could not be independently verified, showed protests continuing in Iran at several cities including Tehran, northeastern Mashhad, northwestern Mahabad, Dezful in the southwest and a number of universities across the country.
Videos showed protesters chanting in Tehran's western Sadeghieh neighbourhood and lighting fires in the streets of the capital's Lalehzar district. Another showed cars in Mashhad honking their horns and demonstrators chanting "Death to the dictator".
Social media videos said to be from Dezful showed youths chanting "Freedom, freedom, freedom" as they confronted police in the predominantly ethnic Arab, oil-rich province of Khuzestan on the Iraqi border.
Connor told Premier that prayer is needed for many aspects of the situation.
“The ultimate prayer we want is for people to find total freedom in Jesus. These people, many of the women, are crying out for freedom and justice. So we pray for freedom for the land, we pray for justice for the land, we pray for people to encounter Jesus.
“I have many friends, and people I know and work with, who have encountered Jesus in very incredible ways, and so we want them to find hope and love. [Pray for] grace, peace, justice, hope, freedom, all the things that we would pray for most people.”
Listen to Premier’s interview with Joe Connor here: