Mentioning an “Iran nuclear deal” may resurrect scary memories of a terrorist state flushed with billions of dollars to send to its worldwide proxies. Or Iran flagrantly breaking the deal without repercussions. Or the United States Congress being completely sidelined. This is what Barack Obama’s 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (jcpoa) brought about—and more. Since last spring, reports have emerged of a mysterious “mini nuclear deal” the United States is trying to make with Iran. Some have wondered if this means the jcpoa is making a comeback.
The answer is no: The 2023 nuclear deal is not the 2015 deal. It’s much worse.
One of its worst aspects is that we don’t know with certainty what’s in it. A new Iran nuclear deal is in the works; the public found out in June. But the government is so tight-lipped about it that few people know any details for certain. We can’t even know if it’s in force yet or not. That’s because the regime of Joe Biden—or rather, Barack Obama, the power behind the throne—is deliberately concealing information about it. With the jcpoa, there was at least published text the public could read and compare Iran’s—and America’s—actions with. With the current agreement, the public gets next to nothing.
“[T]he U.S. spearheaded an international effort to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote about the initial nuclear deal in his 2016 booklet Great Again. “When the agreement was concluded, many people were elated, but there should have been no celebration. What is at stake is nothing less than human survival. The world needed something that would have pulled us away from the brink of annihilation, but this deal did just the opposite.”
These words, written in regard to the 2015 deal, apply even more to this new negotiation. The original jcpoa was controversial both inside and outside of America. From the few details we can glean, the new deal appears even worse. Far from making the world a safer place, this deal all but guarantees Iran will obtain nuclear weapons, as well as huge sums of cash with which to continue sponsoring global terrorism.
What We Do Know
On April 3, Axios reported that the U.S. was discussing with Israel, the United Kingdom, France and Germany a planned “interim agreement” with Iran that would entail partial sanctions relief for partial freezing of Iran’s nuclear program. The proposal called for Iran to halt nuclear enrichment at 60 percent. Iran at the time rejected the proposal. Axios cited 10 anonymous “Israeli officials, Western diplomats and U.S. experts with knowledge of the proposal,” suggesting the ins and outs of the plan were common knowledge among the Western governments.
On May 8, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk made a secret trip to Oman, an Arab state on the southeastern end of the Arabian Peninsula that has good relations both with the West and Iran. At about the same time, Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s main nuclear negotiator, also arrived in Oman. The Iranian government confirmed on June 12 that talks had taken place in Oman.
Comments from a former Iranian politician shed some light on these talks. Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh has led Iran’s parliamentary Foreign Policy and National Security Committee. Though no longer in government, he still commentates on nuclear issues. In remarks translated by Iran International on June 12, he claimed Iran and the U.S. were close to agreeing on an “unwritten deal.” He told KhabarOnline, an Iranian news agency: “This means that the American side will no longer enforce the ‘maximum pressure’ policy [of the Trump administration], close its eyes to some of Iran’s energy deals, and [allow] the release of Iran’s frozen funds in return for Iran refraining from expanding its nuclear program more than the current level.”
Falahatpisheh also stated neither party was interested in reviving the jcpoa because they both see it as no longer desirable: “A return to the 2015 deal, he said, will force Tehran to give up much of the advancements it has made in its nuclear program at a very high cost, that is, giving up its new and more advanced centrifuges and a stockpile of 60 percent-enriched uranium …. Also, the pressure of public opinion in the U.S. has made a return to the deal impossible for the Biden administration, he argued.”
A Friend and a Foe
Around the same time details like these were being leaked, the Israeli government made some interesting moves.
As the so-called little Satan that Iran has vowed to “wipe off the map,” Israel has never supported any agreement that would empower Iran. Five Israeli lawmakers confirmed to Axios that the details Falahatpisheh mentioned were correct, along with a prisoner swap. In a June 18 cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said he told the U.S. “that even … ‘mini agreements,’ in our opinion, do not serve our goals, and we oppose those as well.”
How Israel plans to “oppose” the “mini agreement” remains to be seen. But analysts speculate Netanyahu is deliberately letting his comments behind closed doors leak to the press to pressure Biden to abandon the nuclear deal. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in a June phone call with Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi accused the Israeli government of such.
Israel is a tiny country that could be wiped out with a single nuclear bomb. It knows its survival rests on being able to contain Iran. But even though Israel has a formidable military of its own (including nuclear weapons), it cannot counter Iran if the U.S. government is actively helping Iran. The Israeli government has little leverage to use against the U.S., but it knows public opinion could put pressure on the White House. Leaking details to the American public that the American government doesn’t want known risks alienating what support the U.S. still gives Israel. But Netanyahu doesn’t have much choice.
Silence in America
Iran apparently confirms the existence of this “unwritten deal.” So does Israel. But the U.S. government publicly denies it. In a June 13 press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller called the news of an interim agreement “completely false.” He said the “vast majority” of those reports on the Iran deal “have been either wrong or completely misleading, and that includes reports of an interim deal.” On June 28, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that “there is no agreement in the offing, even as we continue to be willing to explore diplomatic paths.”
Why the silence? The answers lie with Congress and public opinion.
Barack Obama sidestepped Congress when forcing through the jcpoa in 2015. Congress has oversight on treaties and other diplomatic agreements. In response to Obama’s actions, Congress that same year passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which not only obligated the executive branch to keep the legislature informed on Iran’s progress in nuclear disarmament but also gave Congress power to vote down any proposed new or amended nuclear deal with Iran.
Today, the House of Representatives, Congress’s lower chamber, is controlled by Republicans hostile to any Biden-negotiated Iran nuclear deal. If a nuclear deal finds its way to the House floor, it is almost certain to be torpedoed. The jcpoa itself was controversial with the American public. Any nuclear deal now—when Iran is on the cusp of nuclear breakout—would be even more controversial. With an election cycle coming up, the last thing Democrats want is electoral poison like a bad nuclear deal.
However, a “nonofficial understanding”—without an authorized text spelling out the provisions of the deal—could fly under the radar. The U.S. government doesn’t have to make anything public and doesn’t have to hold itself accountable to anything. Neither does Iran.
While the U.S. is not admitting to any sort of unofficial deal, it has made some interesting policy decisions in recent weeks mirroring reports about the deal’s provisions. At the very least, America may be sending Iran olive branches to get a deal going.
The reports on the unofficial deal suggest part of the deal includes America waiving sanctions. The U.S. waived sanctions on Iraq on June 8, allowing it to pay about $2.8 billion to Iran in energy debts. On July 18, the U.S. gave Iraq permission to pay Iran for electricity through non-Iraqi banks for 120 days. South Korea is also holding about $7 billion worth of Iranian assets that the U.S. is trying to get unfrozen. Anonymous sources who spoke to the Korea Economic Daily said the conditions for the release include spending the money on public expenses like covid-19 vaccines—even as the world finally moves on from public health emergencies and vaccine mandates.
Will an Official Deal Come?
Iran suggested that the “mini-agreement” is a stepping stone toward an official, more comprehensive nuclear deal. With this in mind, notice the following from Axios’s April 3 article:
“The approach is similar to one led by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and [Central Intelligence Agency] Director Bill Burns, who were senior members of the Obama administration in 2013 when Iran and world powers signed the 2013 Joint Plan of Action (jpoa), which included a short-term freeze on parts of Iran’s nuclear program in return for partial sanctions relief. The original interim agreement was for a period of six months and was renewed several times until the full nuclear deal was reached in July 2015.”
The same men who negotiated the 2015 deal are running America’s security and foreign policy today. Obama’s envoy to Iran during the negotiations was Robert Malley, whom Biden appointed to the same role. (Malley has mysteriously disappeared from public view since April amid the fbi removing his clearance to view classified documents. We know even fewer details of Malley’s dismissal than of the unofficial nuclear agreement. But the implication is that Malley shared sensitive information.)
Men like Obama, Sullivan, Burns and Malley crafted the 2013 deal as a precursor to the 2015 deal. Some wonder if an official deal will surface soon. But Iran may have little incentive to pursue such a deal, because it doesn’t need one. The U.S. has already given Iran billions of dollars’ worth of sanctions relief without a deal. Last winter, the State Department even waived sanctions regarding Iran’s nuclear program, allowing Russia to invest in a nuclear power plant suspected of being used for weapons research. In all likelihood, such cash would keep flowing Iran’s way even if they developed a bomb and publicized it.
It is important to remember Iran is giving nothing up with the unofficial agreement. While the United States promises billions, all Iran must give is its word that circumstances will stay as they are. Iran has promised a lot regarding its nuclear program in the past, and it has constantly broken its word. There is no evidence Iran’s leaders have had a sudden change of heart. And there is much Iran, for obvious reasons, keeps secret regarding its nuclear program. For all we know, Iran could have already reached 90 percent purity.
With the current mini deal, Iran can have its cake and eat it, too. Khamenei couldn’t have asked for anything better.
America Making Iran Great Again?
It’s one thing for the U.S. to let Iran have the bomb out of incompetence and weakness. But America’s policies go beyond that. The White House could still look the other way to Iran’s nuclear program without giving it billions in sanctions relief. America’s actions suggest the government is actively helping Iran get a nuclear bomb.
Iran is a radical Islamist regime bent on perpetual war with the West and spreading its Islamic revolution. If it gets nuclear weapons, it has the will to use them. Even some policymakers’ desire for America to leave the Middle East can’t explain the support the U.S. is giving. By helping Iran get nuclear weapons, America is bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.
There is a spiritual dimension to America’s problems. Late theologian Herbert W. Armstrong proved in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy (request your free copy at theTrumpet.com/go/usbp) that the American people are descended from the ancient people of Israel. Historically, God made a covenant with Israel to bless them, conditioned on Israel’s obedience to His laws (Leviticus 26:1-13).
But for disobedience, God promised myriads of curses (verses 14-46). Verse 17 shows America would be ruled by those with an agenda to destroy the country. Verse 19 shows God would break America’s will to use its power. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says “break” means “to break to pieces … used of ships broken by the wind.” Verses 31-33 show the end result of these curses: “And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation …. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”
America is ruled by a regime that does not have the country’s best interests at heart. Lying leaders are bringing these prophetic fulfillments closer and closer. Other prophecies show this is part of a satanic attack to, as 2 Kings 14:27 states, “blot out the name of Israel from under heaven.” (Request a free copy of America Under Attack for more information.) Helping an extremist regime bent on gaining nuclear weapons for destroying America, the “great Satan,” is a huge part of this agenda.
But America’s problems—including the Iran nuclear deal—go beyond a few rotten apples at the top. Solving them means going well beyond removing certain individuals from authority. These problems are ultimately caused by the nation’s sins—its rejection of God and disobedience to His laws.
“America’s problems are spiritual—and solving them requires spiritual solutions, starting with repentance!” Mr. Flurry writes in Great Again. “But Americans are too entrenched in their sin to do that. So the national curses are going to get far worse before the situation ever gets better.”
America’s founders set up the country to be a “city on a hill” showcasing a right way of life. But America has failed in this; today, the U.S. is a beacon of immorality, corruption and defiance. The curses described in biblical passages like Leviticus 26 are the result.
But there is cause for hope. Mr. Flurry continues: “[T]he Bible also explains God’s ultimate purpose for allowing these curses to descend on the U.S. Whenever God punishes, He does so to turn people back to Himself. Scripture prophesies that the curses America is experiencing today are actually a prelude to national revitalization and restoration! America will, in fact, one day soon become great again!”
God is letting these curses fall on America not because He is a harsh taskmaster or enjoys seeing people suffer. America’s problems are ultimately meant to turn the nation back to Him. And once this lesson is learned, the Bible likewise promises the solution to these problems. Unlike the murky words coming from Washington, these promises are clear. They are iron-clad. And they will ensure America—and Iran and the whole world—will have the blessings of peace they so desperately need.