Iran Promises Retaliation Following Assassination
Iranian Regime Takes Posture of Aggression Toward Non-Muslims
01/03/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on January 2, 2020, an airstrike targeted senior Iranian and Iraqi leadership within the vicinity of Baghdad’s airport. General Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force, was one of the men killed in the airstrike. Iran was quick to declare his assassination as a war crime against Muslims and has promised reprisals. The other men killed were militiamen supported by Iran.
As head of the Quds Force, Soleimani’s job description primarily involved organizing Iran’s proxy militias in the region. However, as a key leader within the IRGC structure, his role also included protecting the ideology of Iran’s Islamic government. He was just as ruthless within Iran as he was outside of the country. Soleimani was a celebrity figure within the Iranian regime, and his speeches were famous among IRGC’s leadership.
“For many Iranians, Qassem Soleimani was a warmonger,” tweeted Iranian human rights activist Masih Alinejad. “Unfortunately, Western media misses the point by glorifying Soleimani. He was the common enemy for people in Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.”
In response to the regime’s threats of retaliatory violence, several Iranian people have voiced a different message. “Officials will say the Iranian people want revenge,” tweeted one Iranian Christian activist. “No! We want to see a good life and peace!”
“People are smarter and wiser. They can see through the fog of confusion created by the Iranian government,” said an Iranian church leader. “The clergy has filled their pockets and left Iran battered.”
Christians are often heavily targeted by the regime, since they are unjustly viewed as a national security threat. It is common for Christians to experience an increase in scrutiny from the regime during times when the government feels under increased pressure.
“The regime specializes in fear,” said a Christian ministry leader working in Iran. “They make you look over your shoulder.”
An Iranian pastor further explained, “It is the policy of the Islamic government not to put thousands of Christians in jail [even though they easily can]. Their policy is to arrest a few and put [a] maximum sentence on minor offenses [like just gathering in a home]. They then publicize it in order to put fear in the hearts of Christians. Their strategy is causing fear and isolation.”
A former IRGC member, who is now a Christian, advised, “In my opinion, Christians need to know their position, where they are. We need to walk through the right path by awareness and not to be surprised by anything.”
Iran is designated as a Tier 1 Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has promised retaliation. They always seek to sow seeds of fear wherever they are present, and they are quite active in the persecution of Christians, who are falsely labeled as a national security threat. At a time when Iran’s Islamic regime feels its security is threatened, we must keep the Christian community in prayer for their safety.”