When ambassadors of Western nations in Iran recommended early last month that all “nonessential” personnel and their dependents leave the country, the international airport in the capital city of Teheran was jammed. Anxious foreigners needed little prodding to leave the strife-torn Middle Eastern nation of 34 million.

Violent demonstrations against Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi had threatened the safety of all Iranians, but particularly persons from the West whose governments supported the Shah and his program of modernization that is opposed by conservative Muslims. Christian mission agencies from Western nations also were affected, and in some cases their personnel were evacuated or advised not to return to the country. Campus Crusade for Christ International, which has its Middle East headquarters in Teheran, temporarily removed some of its staff members to the safety of Cyprus, and consideration was being given to the future of the Crusade’s Iranian ministry.

Certain Iranian missions groups with headquarters in the United States were holding on last month, though the continuing violence threatened to curtail their programs. Syngman Rhee, missions official in the U.S. office of the United Presbyterian Church, said his denomination had no plans to evacuate its dozen U.S. personnel from Iran. Henry Turlington, a Southern Baptist who pastors an English-speaking church in Teheran, had sent word to his home office that he and his wife would stay. Other Southern Baptist couples, who were outside Iran during the worst of the violence early last month, were advised not to return.

No Western missionaries had been physically harmed. (An American oil executive was killed in Ahwaz in late December, however.) For the most part, anti-American ...

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