Why You Don’t Want an Iranian Nuclear Referendum

A look back at the destructive referendums of Iran’s past

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has suggested that the nation hold a referendum on its nuclear program. He referred to the vote as “a deadlock breaker” that “could be a problem solver at any junction,” reported the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency on May 25.

With the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal nearly dead, a referendum would shape the future of Iran’s nuclear program—and thereby Iran itself. This would set the stage for major conflict with the West, something the Trumpet has forecast for decades.


A Clever Disguise

Rouhani has been enduring harsh open criticism from both the political class and general populace over the collapse of the nuclear deal. Iran’s clerics are upset because they feel negotiators conceded too much to America. The Iranian public is upset because the promised windfall from the deal never came. Meanwhile, the United States has applied sanctions and moved military assets closer to Iran.

Rouhani hopes to shield himself from international and domestic condemnation by putting the question to the people directly in a “democratic” vote. Some argue that a referendum would be a chance for the moderates to wrest control of the nuclear program from the hard-liners. Whatever Rouhani’s motivations are for the referendum, the truth is that nothing happens to the nuclear program in Iran unless it is supported by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

If Khamenei allows the referendum to happen, the result is already determined.

The proof is in Iran’s previous two referendums. Both were decided before a single vote was cast. Both led to the radicalization of the nation. And both ceded power to religious fanatics.

Referendum #1

Iran’s first referendum was held March 30-31, 1979. Iran voted to establish an Islamic republic. The vote was rigged from the beginning.

First there was the wording. The question was, “Should the old system be replaced with an Islamic republic?” With the nation in uproar against the previous Pahlavi dynasty, a binary choice between the “old system” and anything new could only go one way.

Other laws changed at the same time. Voting age was dropped to 16. Impressionable children with no life experience or understanding of politics were now involved.

Even the voting process itself was called into question. A four-man delegation of international jurists from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers monitored the vote. The Washington Post quoted the head of the delegation, saying, “[T]his is not the way we do things in the West, and it does not meet our criteria of democracy.”

The overwhelming majority of Iranians voted for revolution. Then came the “now what?” Returning from exile in France, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was ready to answer. Iran’s second disastrous referendum was set for December that same year.

Referendum #2

The second referendum was to approve and amend Iran’s constitution. Since the March vote, three main groups had emerged: the Communists, the Islamists and the nationalists. Scared of the Communists, the Islamists and nationalists banded together and drafted a constitution.

Of course, the two had very different ideas of what the constitution should be. The nationalists wanted something based on a European model. The Islamists wanted something based on Ruhollah Khomeini’s sermons.

The end result was a bit of both: some democratic institutions overseen by unelected religious fanatics—a bizarre compromise that was never going to work. And Khomeini knew it.

But it was good enough for the supporters of both parties, and in December 1979, the referendum passed.

But Khomeini had no intention of sharing power. Thanks to the second referendum, he found himself constitutionally plonked at the top of the political heap. Indicating what was to come, he said, “What the nation wants is an Islamic republic, not one word more and not one word less. Not just a republic, not a democratic republic, not a democratic Islamic republic. Do not use the word ‘democratic’ to describe it. This is the Western style.”

An Islamic republic is what they got.

Just a few months later, Iraq invaded. It was perfect timing for the ayatollah. Iran cried out for a strong leader, and Khomeini never looked back. During the eight years of conflict, he consolidated power to himself and the clerics. By voting to give a little power to the religious leadership, the people had unintentionally relinquished it all.

Unelected bodies, such as the judiciary, started barring reformists from elections. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps dragged protesters from the streets. Newspapers and media outlets were shuttered. The nationalists never stood a chance.

In just one decade, Iran transformed from a pro-Western monarchy to a radical state sponsor of terror. In no small part thanks to two hijacked referendums.

Nuclear Referendum, Nuclear War

In light of this history, would a vote on the nuclear program be any different? How would it be posed? Would citizens get a say in determining where the program went after the vote? History says no.

Iran’s radical leaders are spoiling for a chance to kick the nuclear program back into high gear. They recently quadrupled uranium enrichment production capacity. They stress that it is only to the 3.67 percent outlined in the nuclear deal.

Referendum or not, Iran will likely forge ahead with the nuclear program. How fast it proceeds likely depends on the strength of the United States’ deterring power.

Bible prophecy indicates, however, that Iran will eventually plow ahead with its program.

Few consider what the Bible says regarding world events. But God has much to say about the rise and fall of nations. It is, after all, God who places kings and rulers in their positions (Daniel 2:21).

Through the Prophet Daniel, God announced the rise of a pushy future world power known as the king of the south. Daniel 11:40-43 indicate that this power will include Egypt and Ethiopia. But who leads this power? For years, the Trumpet has forecast that this will be Iran. (Request our free booklet The King of the South for proof.)


Thankfully, that rule will be short. Verse 40 indicates this radical Islamic power will provoke a far stronger power—the king of the north—into battle. The result is nuclear world war.

Notice what is written in Habakkuk 3: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls” (verse 17). Why are the trees not blossoming? Not even the destruction of World War ii stopped that from happening. Never until the proliferation of nuclear bombs could such an event come about. Amos 5:1-3 speak of widespread destruction; up to 90 percent of people wiped out from cities. Again, it points to nuclear war. God prophesies it will happen.

This war sparks to life in the Middle East. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in “The Unthinkable Will Happen!” about Daniel 11:40 and Iran triggering world war:

Looking at current events, I believe this will happen after Iran gets the nuclear bomb. And that prophecy tells us that Iran is going to provoke a mighty European empire—a nuclear-armed power—into a war. From there, the destruction will only escalate.

Iran’s actions today are leading to a nuclear World War iii!

To read about this in detail, please order Mr. Flurry’s free booklet The King of the South.