Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated, “Treasury is taking action to hold the Iranian regime accountable for ongoing human rights abuses, censorship, and other despicable acts it commits against its own citizens.”
Prisoners held at Evin Prison are subjected to brutal treatment such as sexual assault, physical assault, and electric shock.
Mike Ansari with Heart4Iran explains, “Evin Prison is one of the world’s most brutal prisons. It houses about 15,000 inmates including killers, rapists, drug dealers, and thieves. It additionally holds journalists, intellectuals, politicians, and dissidents. During the first decade following the Iranian Revolution, thousands of political prisoners were systematically executed there.
“There are also Christian prisoners held captive because of their faith. For years, human rights activists and advocacy groups have been trying to get the international community to put diplomatic pressure on Iran to ease these human rights violations.”
Iranian authorities are livid at these new sanctions following the US’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has even restarted the manufacture of centrifuges in response.
Also, Ansari says, “They will continue to divert national resources that [are] rightfully entitled to the people and continue to fund and expand their influence in the region. We see that happening in Syria, in Iraq, and in the neighboring countries.”
As for the fallout at Evin Prison, it will be difficult to know what happens behind closed doors. However, it’s not hard to speculate how these sanctions on Evin Prison could bring backlash down on inmates — especially those deemed sympathetic to the West, such as Christians and political prisoners.
“It will be tough for all the prisoners, especially the political and religious ones. In an act of defiance, Iran may even resort to more violence and torture of its prisoners. Currently, we know of three Christians held at Evin, but there may be [many] more held without trial, typically charged with ‘compromising national security’ — which is a catchall phrase they use, usually punishable by death.”
Ansari says really, anytime Iran suffers in the realm of international politics, the trend is Iranian citizens feel the brunt of the blow.
“It’s important for us to understand that these changes that are taking place in the world of politics [are] really affecting the people of Iran. Living under the totalitarian Islamic regime of Iran is not an easy thing and the poor people of Iran, having been living under that situation for 38 years,…they are very much fed up and they are very much tired. They feel that Islam is bankrupt.”
As Iranians struggle with disillusionment in Islam, Heart4Iran is hearing stories of Iranian people having miraculous dreams and visions of Jesus Christ and embracing Him as their Savior. The Iranian Church is even growing at one of the fastest rates in the world.
“It’s very important to note that a lot of Iranians are organically and independently coming to know Jesus and following Him as their Savior. So we need to pray for their protection,” Ansari encourages.
“We also need to pray for all of those non-Christian people at Evin and other prisons across Iran whose human rights are being violated.”
Finally, he says, “We can pray for God to soften the hearts of Iranian leaders. That is one of the very important ways that we can pray for change in Iran. We are not seeking a change of regime as Christians or a change of government. We are fighting against the principalities.”
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(Header photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)