Hate Triangle

Iran’s roguish nuclear program says big things about the edgy relationships among three of the most important powers in the world today.
From the January 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

The facts are clear. Iran is going to obtain nuclear weapons. Europe knows it, and has decided to live with it. The United States, utterly alone, will surely fail to follow through with its efforts to stop it.

It’s like watching a chess game headed toward an inevitable conclusion. The positions of these three major global players regarding Iran’s possession of nukes are truly astounding for how precisely they illustrate the legitimacy and reliability of end-time Bible prophecy. If you know the Scriptures, you can see the world moving toward checkmate.

Longtime Trumpet readers are well aware of the overview of end-time events provided in the Bible. It speaks of four great geopolitical entities that would bestride the globe, and provides a vivid picture of their principal interactions.

First, the Bible foretells the existence in our day of a powerful nation and group of nations descended from the 10 tribes of ancient Israel—which we recognize today as being the United States, Britain and, primarily, the English-speaking former dominions of Britain. This truth, and the prophecies of these nations’ tragic collapse during this end time, are expounded in our foundational book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. Then there is a union of nations in Europe cast in the mold of Europe’s imperial past. These prophecies are laid out in detail in our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. Concurrent with the rise of this power is another coalition of nations south of Europe, as explained in The King of the South. Finally there will emerge a massive alliance from the Asian continent, described in our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

It is the first three of these four powers that are wrangling over this nuclear issue—and their respective stances perfectly demonstrate and align with the Bible’s description of the primary exchanges we can expect from them in the time just ahead of us.

Without this biblical understanding, the spectator of these events could only guess at where they are leading.

But with this understanding, not only are we able to foresee the dramatic overview, but we are forced to marvel at the mind of the Divine Originator of these prophecies, and tremble at His word.

The King of the South

Iran—the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world and most powerful and ambitious Islamic nation—is going to fulfill the prophetic role described in Daniel 11:40 as “the king of the south.”

Many factors are working in Iran’s favor to increase its viability as a real force in the world: Its muscular Islamic leadership has the support of many hardcore Muslims who consider secular Arab leaders illegitimate; it has deftly evaded pariah status by cultivating strong diplomatic and economic relationships with several major nations; and now, its imminent entrance into the nuclear club will increase its clout and bargaining power within the region and abroad.

This is an extraordinary turn of events. Just a generation ago, Iran was bogged down in a war with Iraq that bled it of its people and treasure and was throttled by its reputation as a squalid little terrorist state. Today, however, Iran’s archenemy Saddam Hussein is gone, and Tehran has maneuvered its way into excellent position to ensure that the new Iraq is an ally.

As we will see, the whole story of Iran’s rising power is underpinned by how it reveals America’s diminishing power. The Trumpet has often drawn attention to the irony in the fact that in defeating Saddam, the U.S. essentially set up Iran to assume its position as king of the region. Early on after Saddam’s ousting, the U.S. insisted Iraq would not be transformed into an Iran-style Islamic nation. It has since been forced to abandon that position: Unable to contain the Sunni resistance, it has had to rely on backdoor deals with Shiites, who are sympathetic to, if not controlled by, Iran. Now, any semblance of democracy in Iraq will produce a Shiite-controlled government, which will be friendly to Iran at least. U.S. President George W. Bush now states publicly that he would not oppose a Shiite Islamic regime assuming power in Iraq. Astonishingly prophetic, this development.

Of course, the elimination of the Iraq threat didn’t send a now-safe Iran into repose. Quite the contrary. This is a country with real drive, and it has seized the opportunity to roar into greater prominence.

As Brendan Miniter pointed out in the Nov. 30, 2004, Wall Street Journal, it was actually Saddam’s use of chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980s that kick-started Iran’s own program of weapons of mass destruction: “The mullahs are pressing ahead with their nuclear ambitions even as Mr. Bush has removed their claim of self-defense. Iran wants the bomb, even as it no longer has a moral case for developing such a weapon.”

In last month’s Trumpet, we demonstrated that Iran is driving to build its own nuclear weapons, not in self-defense, but simply as a means of amassing power and fulfilling its ambition to be the number-one authority in the Islamic world.

Iran has spent $16 billion over the years on its nuclear weapons program, and it has no intention of stopping now, just short of the goal.

“It is therefore reasonable to wonder what they would do with this new power,” wrote Miniter. “The simple answer is that they would feel protected behind a nuclear umbrella even as they shelter and support terrorist networks. But to what end? Either from the outset or somewhere down the road, Iranian mullahs will find that their nuclear-backed state has some global influence. The authoritarian regime inside Iran will come to see itself as a power capable of checking moderate influences in the Middle East [emphasis mine].

“Indeed, there is already ample evidence that Iran sees itself as a check on America. From taking Americans hostage in 1979 through trying to destabilize the interim Iraqi government today, Iran has sought to displace the U.S. from the Middle East. In the coming year, it is likely that Iran will emerge as the nation-state antagonist in the war on terror. That much more than offering shelter, Iran will provide terrorists with a symbol of a successful Islamicist check on the West. And from Osama bin Laden on down, terrorists fighters will attribute that success to nuclear weapons.”

One can easily see how Iran gaining nuclear capability will increase its political standing and national sense of stature and destiny. Watch as it finds an ally in Iraq and continues to steamroll toward greater leadership within the Islamic world.

But the irony in this story doesn’t end with America’s compromised position and unintended help to Iran. What gives it an even greater twist is the role Europe is playing in making it happen—and why.

Isolating America

The European Union elite hate America. Allies in name only, EU leaders for many years have taken steps to undercut America’s economic, political and military dominance in the world. Developments in the Middle East have provided a prime opportunity to do just that.

Enmity between Europe and America over the Iraq war was hardly secret. France and Germany in particular stonewalled U.S. efforts to involve the United Nations in taking action against Saddam. It has since been uncovered that several European nations were deeply stained by corruption, violating sanctions against Iraq by supplying weaponry to the regime and receiving handsome kickbacks from the UN’s oil-for-food program intended to aid Iraqi citizens. Britain excepted, the strongest European nations have finagled in every way possible to ensure that America’s venture into ancient Babylon would blow up in its face.

Now, with the U.S. stretched thin in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran is seizing the moment. And, to spite the U.S., Europe is essentially giving its blessing.

Two times in two years, Europe has cut sham deals with Iran ostensibly intended to halt Iranian nuclear activities. An October 2003 agreement was trashed when Iran continued to enrich uranium and lied about it. Another agreement made mid-November 2004 with Britain, France and Germany was proven empty almost immediately with convincing evidence: “[Iran] is openly converting 22 tons of uranium tetrafluoride (yellow cake) into uranium hexafluoride, which can be enriched to weapons-grade levels and suffices to make five atomic bombs. An Iranian dissident group that has been right in the past has alleged the existence of an undeclared nuclear site, run by the Ministry of Defense, in the Lavizan area of Tehran. And then there is a 1,000-page dossier, recently delivered to U.S. intelligence by a ‘walk-in’ source, which is said to contain a blueprint for a nuclear warhead adapted to Iranian ballistic missile specifications” (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 22, 2004).

As Stratfor reported on Nov. 15, 2004, these fraudulent pacts are actually part of Iran’s larger policy—to “use the status of a country seeking nuclear technology to not only attain economic and trade benefits and security guarantees for the current regime but also to attain international recognition for the Iranian state as a major global player while, perhaps, gaining the technological know-how.” In other words, Iran can have its nukes and eat its cake too.

Brussels is not blind to these facts. Europe’s actions are actually making it more, not less, likely that Iran will gain these weapons. What these ridiculous agreements demonstrate is that the Continent is more interested in limiting American power than limiting Iranian power.

The ploy is working. The U.S. is being painted into a corner as the only nation willing to voice disapproval over Iran’s consistent double-talk. After angering most of the world for its “unilateral” action in Iraq, the U.S. administration is now much less inclined to take similar action with Iran. For the longest time, Washington talked of nothing but cooperative effort and economic punishment—not military action, certainly not unilateral action—to bring Iran into compliance. Its more recent tough talk is really ruffling feathers in Europe.

The Iranians see this infighting between the U.S. and Europe as an opportunity not only to push their own program, but to poke a stick in the eye of the Americans trying to stop them. In late November, the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) accepted as valid Iran’s flimsy, “non-legally binding” pledge to “voluntarily” halt its nuclear enrichment for a few months. This was a real setback for the U.S., which had been pushing for UN Security Council sanctions. Hassan Rohani, head of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, was elated: The “whole world has turned down America’s calls,” he said. “We have proved that, in an international institution, we are capable of isolating the U.S. And that is a great victory.”

Indeed, it was a victory, and not just for Rohani’s country. Though one can hardly call it a victory for European diplomacy in terms of limiting Iran, Europe—and the United Nations, through the iaea—have successfully employed the terrorist-sponsoring, nuke-seeking Islamic Republic of Iran as a weaponagainst the U.S.

It’s just a messy little by-product that Iran will, in the end, get its nukes. After the mid-November agreement, the Wall Street Journal commented, “That’s not to say Berlin, London or even Paris welcome the idea of a nuclear Iran. But they see it as a soon-to-be fact of international life that will have to be managed, just as other unsavory nuclear powers such as the Soviet Union and China were managed.

“By contrast, what the Europeans really seem to dread are the potential consequences of a more determined American effort to halt Tehran, especially if that effort includes a preemptive military strike against Iranian nuclear installations. No wonder British Foreign Minister Jack Straw could be heard on the bbc the other day saying, ‘I don’t see any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran. Full stop.’ Any circumstances, Minister?

“This, then, is what the latest Iranian-European deal is about. It is not mainly intended to stop Iran from getting a bomb. Mainly, it is intended to stop the U.S. from stopping Iran” (Nov. 22, 2004; emphasis mine).

That Europe would go to such lengths to assist Iran—considering the danger posed to the Continent by the Islamic extremism Iran supports—is very revealing. It frankly shows that Europe hates U.S. hegemony more than it fears Iran.

There is yet another strategic possibility Europe has considered. In mid-December, the Bush administration announced that halting Iran’s nuclear program would be a priority—that, in fact, the Defense Department has simulated war games aimed at this goal. The U.S. says it would take one day of air strikes to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program. As much as Europe would like the U.S. to stay out of Middle East affairs, essentially it is in a win-win situation. Even if all its efforts to undermine the U.S. prove to be insufficient to prevent the Bush administration from taking pre-emptive action, the result would work in Europe’s favor: EU leaders could then join the inevitable global outcry of indignation against America—blasting it for its gall and arrogance, for always going it alone, for always taking the military option. And at the same time, the problem will have been conveniently “solved”—at least for a small window of time. In some ways, Europe might consider this the best possible outcome of the current crisis.

But whatever the case, the primary battle is taking place between the U.S. and Europe. And that’s just how Iran likes it. It amounts to Iran receiving a pass from the great powers to grow into a real threat—and it is hard to underestimate the brawn that Iran is building as a result.

Bible prophecy strongly indicates that any action taken against Iran will not deter them in the long run. It shows that the threat from Iran is being woefully underestimated. In fact, Europe, by its current course of action, is helping to create its next great enemy.

An Uncomfortable Friendship

In the mid-November agreement, the European parties promised not to haul Iran before the UN Security Council to contemplate imposing sanctions. But in truth, even if the Security Council considered the option, it would never exercise it. Why? Because several of its permanent members have their hands too dirty with Iranian interests. “The aggregate value of French exports to Iran amounts to $2.4 billion, not a huge sum but double what it was five years ago. Russia is building Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. As for China, it gets 13.6 percent of its oil from Iran; the Chinese state-owned oil giant Sinopec was recently invited by Tehran to develop the huge Yadavaran gas field.

“These countries are not going to line up behind sanctions under any circumstances, no matter how conclusive the evidence of Iranian malfeasance. They worry more about losing contracts than they do about an Iranian bomb” (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 1, 2004). Little wonder the U.S. has so few supporters in its effort to isolate Iran.

Europe knows the short-term advantages of being on Iran’s good side. Muslim countries hold 75 percent of the world’s oil reserves, with Iran being the third-largest producer. The Islamic republic has cemented strong ties with a number of consequential countries; in addition to those on the Security Council is Japan, which also has penned an oil exploration deal with Iran. Europe, frankly, does not want to be left out. At this stage, having Tehran as a “friend” works.

But this is hardly a comfortable friendship.

In reality, if you take the U.S. out of the picture, Iran pretty much becomes Europe’s biggest problem. As farfetched as this scenario may sound to the casual observer, the Bible prophesies that it will become reality: America will be sidelined—violently—and Iran will rise up in a massive push against Europe that will then be answered with overwhelming military force.

The seeds of this future conflict have already been sown and are starting to sprout.

Europe’s Next Threat

In last month’s Trumpet we brought readers up to date on two epic trends to watch: the swell of Islamic terrorism—which Iran is largely behind; and Europe’s, specifically the Vatican’s, response to that menace. What we are witnessing, as we said, is the beginning stages of another Medieval-style religious crusade between Catholicism and Islam.

Surely Europe is aware of this gathering storm. It appears its leaders are simply combatting their enemies in priority order—America first.

Iran is sure to be next on the list. The religion it represents has simply become one of the most contentious issues in Continental politics today. Several political parties are incorporating anti-immigrant (read anti-Muslim) policies into their platforms, and are reaping greater support as a result.

In the last 30 years, the Continent has absorbed some 20 million Muslims—equal to the combined populations of Ireland, Belgium and Denmark. UN reports say that Muslim communities throughout Europe have grown over 100 percent in just a decade and a half. Islam has become Europe’s second-largest religion.

This transformation is widely seen within largely Catholic and secular European society as a crisis. In Germany, for example, a surge in the construction of mosques is causing widespread concern and fear, with them being seen as “caldrons of radicalism instead of places of worship” (Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2004). From 2002 to 2003, the number of traditional mosques in Germany nearly doubled—from 77 to 141—and as of March last year, another 154 mosques and cultural centers were planned. “These new mosques will make Islam more visible, and jobless and angry Muslim men will go to them,” said Werner Mueller, a typical Berliner. “They can become places infiltrated by political Islam” (ibid.). In addition to these high-profile mosques with their distinguishing minarets, there are nearly 2,400 nondescript mosques scattered across Germany. The situation is similar in other Western European countries.

Meanwhile, in Holland there has been a fierce backlash against Muslims for the murder in November of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who had directed a film considered by many as critical of Islam. A five-page letter pinned to his body called on Muslims to revolt against their “infidel enemies” in the West. The next day, a stunning 20,000 demonstrators turned out to denounce the killing, and a wave of anti-Muslim violence and arrests swept the country—the more than 20 incidents of vandalism or fires at Muslim sites within two weeks included the torching of an Islamic school and a mosque. “Dutch attitudes toward Muslims immediately and dramatically hardened,” wrote commentator Daniel Pipes. “A poll found 40 percent of the population wanting the nearly million-strong Muslim community no longer to feel at home in the Netherlands. Double that number endorsed more stringent policies toward immigrants. De Telegraaf, a leading paper, published an editorial unimaginable before the Van Gogh murder calling for ‘a very public crackdown on extremist Muslim fanatics.’ Even left-wing politicians woke up to the need to speak ‘harsh truths’ about immigration, focusing on the disproportionate criminality of Muslims” (New York Sun, Nov. 16, 2004).

As Stratfor stated, “government inaction cannot last long, especially with the increasing popularity of far-right political parties … frequent militant threats to make European streets ‘run with rivers of blood’ and the burning of mosques. … Europe is nearing a turning point where it must decide how to handle the Continent’s Muslim population. … Europeans might pride themselves on their acceptance of other cultures, but the history and racial makeup of Europe tells another story” (Dec. 2, 2004).

A historical comparison is telling. In its December 7 analysis of Angela Merkel’s anti-immigrant comments (see “From the Editor,” page 1), Stratfor made the following observation: “Germany in the 1930s had a minority Jewish population of around 500,000—just under 1 percent of the country’s total—that it blamed for all its troubles. Germany in 2004 has a foreign-born population of about 7 million (of whom an estimated 3 million are Muslim), which is around 9 percent of the country.”

The simple truth is, Europe is waking up to the Islamic threat. Surely this is not lost on the European leadership that is advancing the cause of Iran—the number-one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism. You can be sure that, while Europe’s leaders are content today to paint America as the true enemy of the Iranians—and walk the fence while allowing Tehran to grow in strength—they are at the same time contemplating their next move, and how best to deal with Iran when the time comes to do so.

Thus we recognize the twisted web of politics being spun by this hate triangle—America, Europe and Iran. We can clearly see how it flawlessly advances the fulfillment of scriptural prophecy. Anglo-America is being isolated; the king of the south is solidifying its power position; Europe—the biblical “king of the north”—is cannily pulling the strings, setting itself up to ultimately emerge on top.

And above all, we see the early development of the coming crusade described in Daniel 11:40: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” The revived “holy” European empire will exhibit none of its present feebleness in dealing with Iran; it will strike hard and fast—utterly annihilating the enemy it helped to create.

Watch as it builds to that climax. Then marvel at the mind of the Divine Originator of these prophecies—and tremble at His word.