The United States has crowned a new king of the Middle East. Not a liberal democracy. Not a stable ally. Not a respected hegemon. A nuclear-pursuing terrorist threat whose slogan is, “Death to America.” How did we get here?
In most ways, this historic nuclear back-and-forth with a rogue nation is unprecedented. But in some ways, it’s not.
Back in 1994, President Bill Clinton spoke about a historic deal the United States had just made with North Korea: “This is a good deal for the United States. North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons …. The United States and international inspectors will carefully monitor North Korea to make sure it keeps its commitments.”
Eight years later, North Korea revealed it had been secretly developing a nuclear weapons program. Then it proved it by test-detonating its first nuclear weapon in 2006, another in 2009 and another in 2013. Today, North Korea is armed to the teeth. It has hundreds of ballistic missiles aimed squarely at its neighbors. And it has the bomb.
In the situation now unfolding with Iran, we are told it will be different. It has been said that the P5+1 deal (with the UN Security Council’s five permanent members—the U.S., the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France—plus Germany) will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. President Barack Obama said, “Under this deal, Iran will reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent, remove two thirds of its installed centrifuges—the machines necessary to produce highly enriched uranium—and store them under constant international supervision.”
But let’s rewind just a few months. We were told that Iran would do all of this during the negotiations. This was supposed to be Iran’s concession to just come to the table in the first place. It refused. Now that the deal is done, why expect it to dismantle everything?
In January, President Obama said: “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.”
But the International Atomic Energy Agency’s May 29 report stated that in reality, under the Obama administration’s watch, Iran actually increased its nuclear fuel stockpiles by about 20 percent in the 18 months of negotiations.
Let’s rewind to what the administration asserted in December 2013. At the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, Secretary of State John Kerry said: “[W]e will have ensured that Iran’s program will not advance while we negotiate. As we negotiate, Iran will forfeit its entire stock of 20 percent enriched uranium …. As we negotiate, Iran will be unable to grow its stock of 3.5 percent enriched uranium, or unable to stockpile or increase the number of centrifuges that are operating at Fordo and Natanz. We will for the first time be able to inspect and go into the workshops and the storage facilities for these items. As we negotiate, international inspectors will have unprecedented access to Iran’s key facilities, which we don’t have today. We will have daily access to Fordo, daily access to Natanz, and regular access to the Arak heavy-water reactor site. And they are required to give us the plans for that site.”
None of this happened. No wonder they were cheering in Tehran when this deal was announced! As Con Coughlin wrote, “You only had to look at the beaming smiles on the faces of the Iranian negotiating team to see who had emerged as the undisputed winners” (Telegraph, July 14).
“Tehran entered these talks, let us not forget, out of sheer desperation to escape the crippling effects of the economic sanctions,” Coughlin wrote. Two years ago, Iranian leaders were desperate for a deal. Today, they are celebrating—and with good reason!
What Iran Gets
It is important to understand everything Iran receives from this landmark deal.
After it was announced, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “Negotiators have reached a good agreement, and I announce to our people that our prayers have come true.”
Here is what the Iranians said, through the nation’s state-controlled news agency, about the deal: “Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said his country has achieved all its four goals in the agreement that his foreign minister Zarif signed with the six world powers in Vienna on Tuesday. President Rouhani said his nation started talks with the world powers in a bid to remove all sanctions while maintaining its nuclear program and nuclear progress as two main goals” (Fars News Agency, July 14).
The Iranian agency continued enumerating the reasons why it was clear Tehran had gained everything and lost nothing: “All sanctions, including the financial, banking, energy, insurance, transportation, precious metals and even arms and proliferation sanctions will be, not suspended, but terminated according to the Tuesday agreement as soon as the deal comes into force, he said, adding that Iran will only be placed under certain limited arms deal restrictions for five years.
“Meantime, Iran will inject gas into its highly advanced IR8 centrifuge machines, continue its nuclear research and development, and keep its Arak Heavy Water Facility and Fordo and Natanz enrichment plants under the agreement, he said, elaborating on Iran’s gains.”
Besides sanctions relief, the Islamic Republic also gets around $150 billion in frozen assets released. Billions of dollars that had been funding unsettling or dangerous Iranian operations will now flow again.
On another front, the deal gives Iran enormous international legitimacy. Far from pushing the mullahs from power, it solidifies their position. For all those in Iran and around the world hoping for a regime change—you won’t get one.
“Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday unsurprisingly hailed the nuclear agreement struck with U.S.-led world powers, and derided the ‘failed’ efforts of the ‘warmongering Zionists.’ His delight, Iran’s delight, is readily understandable,” Times of Israel editor David Horovitz wrote. “The agreement legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, allows it to retain core nuclear facilities, permits it to continue research in areas that will dramatically speed its breakout to the bomb should it choose to flout the deal, but also enables it to wait out those restrictions and proceed to become a nuclear threshold state with full international legitimacy” (July 14).
For the United States, this represents a total surrender.
We Saw It Coming
Rewind to 2001. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush identified Iran as part of an “axis of evil,” and told Congress that the war against terrorism wouldn’t end “until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
The Trumpet said that U.S.-led effort was doomed from the start because America lacked the will to face the problem head on.
Astute analysts often called Iran the head of the terrorist snake. But America chose to call that campaign the “war on terror.” It chose to fight against a battle tactic rather than against radical Islam or the top sponsor of terrorism.
Within weeks of 9/11 the Trumpet wrote that Iran would emerge from the war “stronger than ever.” Today, the Iranian head of the snake is unquestionably stronger than ever. It hasn’t even really suffered from a war on its terror.
In our booklet He Was Right, we wrote about the folly of America’s approach to combating terrorism: “As a result of this confusion in defining the enemy, the U.S., in the years since 2001, has effectively donenothingto target Iran or degrade its support of terrorism. The ‘war on terror’ has actually left Iran stronger. Its president is pushing to build nuclear weapons and threatening to wipe Israel off the map. Iranian agents fuel an insurgency in Iraq that kills American and allied soldiers. Iran has directed, funded, armed and personally assisted in the Hamas and Hezbollah attacks that transformed Israel and Lebanon into battlegrounds.
“Even if the U.S. had won a decisive victory in its campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, it would still be far from winning the war on terror. As long as the chief sponsor of Islamist terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is still in existence, the war on terror has not been won.”
‘King of the South’
Since the end of World War ii, the United States has been the power maintaining security and order in the Middle East. For nearly 70 years, the U.S. has been the strongest force for stability in this region.
But with this nuclear deal, the U.S. effectively ceded control of the region to the top state sponsor of terrorism! The U.S. crowned Iran as king!
Back in 1994, more than 20 years ago, the Trumpet identified Iran as the nation likeliest to become king—the dominant power—of the Middle East. How did we know? Because Bible prophecy labels it that way: the “king of the south.” You can read about this “king” warring against a “king of the north” in “the time of the end” in Daniel 11:40.
Other prophecies and modern history and current headlines identify the king of the north as German-led Europe. It is extremely significant that America is not even mentioned in this prophecy!
Sobering clues are everywhere as to why it is so conspicuously absent. For the past several years, for example, it has been desperately working to get out of the Middle East and to hand over control to the king of the south.
Go back to 2009. That is when President Obama delivered his infamous Cairo speech in an effort to reach out to the Muslim world. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry responded: “How much did America’s president help the terrorist cause? Probably far more than we imagine” (August 2009).
In that article, he said the president’s speech would powerfully impact the flow of prophetic events: “President Obama’s speech is a great turning point in this world. It is going to play a major role in terrifying prophecies of your Bible being fulfilled.” How true that statement was.
The Response From Israel
They are celebrating this deal in Iran. But in the nation of Israel, the reaction is the opposite.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said July 14: “The world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday. The leading international powers have bet our collective future in a deal with a formal sponsor of international terrorism. They’ve gambled that in 10 years’ time Iran’s terrorist regime will change while removing any incentive for it to do so. In fact, the deal gives Iran every incentive not to change. In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, aggression in the region, and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing. Amazingly, this bad deal does not require Iran to cease its aggressive behavior in any way.”
The U.S. has just unleashed a monster.
Netanyahu continued: “The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly what Iran’s President Rouhani said today. The international community is removing the sanctions, and Iran is keeping its nuclear program. By not dismantling Iran’s nuclear program in a decade, this deal will give an unreformed, unrepentant, and far richer terrorist regime the capacity to produce many nuclear bombs. In fact, an entire nuclear arsenal with the means to deliver it. What a stunning historic mistake.”
This is the kind of mistake you only make once. And it’s not like all the blame falls on President Obama’s shoulders. In April, the Republican-led Senate made a landmark capitulation to the executive branch that effectively rewrites a key part of the U.S. Constitution. Article ii, Section 2, Clause 2, the “treaty provision” of the Constitution, states that two thirds of senators must vote to ratify any treaty a president makes.
But now the Corker bill is undermining the intent of this provision. Under that bill, the Senate needs a two-thirds majority to block the treaty. Speaking about the Senate’s capitulation, nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin called it “rewriting the Constitution,” which is effectively what it is. He said: “The Republican Senate has no more respect and faith for our Constitution than the Democrat president. They’re in it together.”
Watch and Pray
How has America become a country that empowers its worst enemies? Why are we torturing our Constitution for the sake of a nation that chants “Death to America”? How have we come to support terrorists rather than democracies, oppressors rather than the oppressed, dictators rather than the free?
And how will this turn out?
The answers are found in the same place: The Bible. The Bible tells us why America and the West are so weak and stupefied: It is because we are drenched in decadent, mind-wrecking sin. And it tells us what the result will be, for ourselves and for the world: Bible prophecy says America is heading for a meteoric fall!
Jesus Christ Himself was a prophet. His ministry was full of prophecies, and regarding some of these, He said, “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33). Bring God into your watching, in other words. “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping” (verses 35-36). The word watch means to be awake and be vigilant! It means to pay attention and be active.
The pace of prophetic events is accelerating. Mankind’s experiment with self-government is about over. How do we know? Because the events Jesus Himself prophesied to be a sign of the end of the age and His soon-coming return are now coming to pass—exactly as He said they would.