The Challenge of the Iranian World
The Persian empire emerged in Biblical times and dominated the world scene for over a thousand years. It was the arch-enemy of Greece and later the Byzantines, and ultimately the battle between the two of them paved the way for the Islamic empire. In the fifth century it would have been unthinkable that the sand-dwelling, nomadic Arab tribes would suddenly unite for the first time and rise up to defeat two of the greatest kingdoms in history. These kingdoms so weakened one another militarily, they were not able to stand up to the relatively small armies of Arabia in the 7th century.
The world would never be the same. The Iranian peoples adopted Islam and long after the Arab armies were gone this Arab religion remained. It is interesting to ponder what Persia might have been like if this had not happened. We saw a glimpse of this in the 1960s and 70s during a period of relative freedom in their society. The arts and fashion flourished, women were empowered, and the economy boomed. With the return of shariah law in the 1980s has come a national depression that has led to widespread drug abuse, unemployment and social discontent.
It is only a matter of time before the Persian people rise up and throw off the Arab chains which bound them over 1200 years ago. Certainly the vast majority of the younger generation of Iran is ready for such a change. They have seen the negative effects of Islam and want no part of it. Millions have been secularized as a result.
What the Iranian regime wants and hopes for is continual crisis which keeps them in power. The revolutionary guard wants a war with the West. They need this distraction to maintain their hold on power. Western powers understand this and have held back from military strikes within Iran. The hope is to keep up enough social pressure from within to force regime change. This is wishful thinking. Totalitarian regimes do not turn into democracies on their own. They are simply replaced by other totalitarian regimes in a different form, under a different banner. The only hope for Iran is Jesus and the Cross, and thankfully millions within the Iranian world are starting to look here for answers.