Iranian-American Pastor Reza Safa, a former radical Muslim and founder of the Farsi-language Christian network TBN Nejat Television, has issued an urgent request for Christians around the world to pray for Iran and its people as political unrest rages in the Muslim-controlled nation. Safa, whose TBN-affiliate network reaches deep into Iran with the gospel message, notes that the protests mark the second time in less than ten years that the people of Iran have risen up against the nation’s oppressive Islamic government, which first gained control with the overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979. Iran’s economy is in shambles, with an unemployment rate that Iran’s Interior Ministry estimates may be as high as 60 percent in some areas. Safa says that young people under 30 (who constitute more than half of Iran’s population) are particularly affected, which has helped fuel the anger against the government. However, he adds, the recent uprisings differ greatly from previous ones. “Today in Iran the gospel is going forward as never before. Through outlets like TBN Nejat Television, the message of salvation through Jesus is impacting literally every major population center across the nation—despite aggressive efforts by Iran’s government to stop it,” Safa says. “Over the past several years countless thousands of Iranians have come to faith in Christ, so that today the nation of Iran is poised for positive change.” Safa emphasizes the importance of Christians around the world joining together to pray for the people of Iran at this crucial time. “It is important to think in terms of the Church and salvation of souls when we read [of] historical events and political changes,” he explains. “I believe that God is preparing an army of ex-Muslims to evangelize the Islamic world in the days ahead. If this is the time for a political change in Iran, our prayers today need to be that a proper and right government is established in this nation [whose people are] loved by God.” –Adapted from Christian News Wire .