Iran’s efforts to create another Islamic nuclear power with the express purpose to establish hegemony over the Middle East have continued for years. While some covert activities appear to have taken place to slow the advance of a nuclear Iran, diplomatic efforts by U.S. and European nations have mostly been met with derisive dismissal by Iranian mullahs. Strong sanctions sought in the U.N. Security Council against Iran for its nuclear program have been vetoed by Russia and China.

On Saturday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran will soon unveil “big new” nuclear achievements. Ahmadinejad did not say what the nature of the “big new” achievements will be, but he did insist that Iran will never give up its uranium enrichment, which is needed to make material for weapons, as well as for reactors.

Of course, the world believes that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at producing atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies. But in the midst of this “big new” story, there are some tragic stories that are mostly unknown. Many of us are familiar with the plight of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death by an Iranian court in Rasht for his refusal to recant his conversion to Christianity. Pastor Nadarkhani has been in prison since October 2009. The court in Rasht found him guilty of leaving Islam and handed him the death sentence in September 2010. Pastor Youcef is presently appealing the judge’s decision.

Behnam Irani, who belongs to the same denomination as Pastor Nadarkhani, The Church of Iran, has been in prison in Karaj, Iran, since May 2011. According to the human rights group, Middle East Concern, Mr. Irani turned himself in after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. Mr. Irani was previously arrested in April 2010 and released on bail after a few months. In January 2011, a court found him guilty of “crimes against national security” and sentenced him to one year in prison. Authorities then told him he must also serve a five-year sentence issued in 2008.

Then, according to Compass Direct, on February 8, Iranian authorities arrested six to ten Christian converts from Islam while they held a worship meeting at a home in the city of Shiraz. The arrested Christians are being held at an unknown location. The name of only one of those arrested is known: Mojtaba Hosseini. Iranian authorities arrested Mr. Hosseini in 2008 along with eight other Christian converts on charges of being Christians.

This made me wonder if I, like Pastor Nadarkhani, Mr. Hosseini or the unnamed victims of the Iranian police state, were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict? Please pray for these Christian believers that they might stand strongly when entire nations seek to force them to recant their faith in Jesus Christ. If you want to let Iranian officials know your views on these matters, please contact the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations at the following address:

The Honorable Mohammed Khazaee

Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

622 Third Avenue

New York City, New York 10017

Fax: 1.212.867.7086

Email: iran@un.int