January 16, 2016, was a landmark moment for the Middle East and the world.
It was Implementation Day. That day America’s nuclear agreement with Iran went into effect, and economic sanctions were lifted on this terrorist-sponsoring state.
This put a stamp of finality on anointing Iran “king of the south.”
In his column last week, Charles Krauthammer said January 16 “marked a historic inflection point in the geopolitics of the Middle East. In a stroke, Iran shed almost four decades of rogue-state status and was declared a citizen of good standing of the international community, open to trade, investment and diplomacy. This, without giving up, or even promising to change, its policy of subversion and aggression. This, without having forfeited its status as the world’s greatest purveyor of terrorism.”
This is an earthshaking moment—but it completes a protracted process we at the Trumpet have closely followed for more than 20 years.
With an eye to biblical prophecy, we reported on Iran’s ascent back in the 1990s and foretold how it would come to dominate the region. We showed the acceleration in its upward trajectory in 2001, after America began intervening in the region in the wake of 9/11—launching its “war on terror” by targeting Afghanistan rather than going after Iran. “Make no mistake about it: Iran is the head of the snake,” we wrote in our November 2001 issue. “[W]e can see unequivocally that the terrorist snake will survive America’s aggression—head intact, and stronger than ever.”
That is precisely what happened. “Overnight,” Krauthammer continued, Iran “went not just from pariah to player but from pariah to dominant regional power, flush with $100 billion in unfrozen assets and virtually free of international sanctions” (emphasis added throughout). He talked about the billions Iran will receive from oil trade. About how President Hassan Rouhani is now predicting 5 percent annual economic growth, after years of financial malaise and contraction. About how contracts on military deals with European companies are already being signed.
He concluded: “Cash-rich, reconnected with global banking and commerce, and facing an Arab world collapsed into a miasma of raging civil wars, Iran has instantly become the dominant power of the Middle East.”
Krauthammer may as well have used the words “king of the south.” That is the terminology the Trumpet references all the time regarding Iran—in a phrase straight from the prophecy in Daniel 11:40.
Iran is the king! Everybody can see it.
Is it OK to say, “We told you so”?
And just as the Trumpet has reported for the past 15 years, the United States is astoundingly, shamefully responsible for a great deal of Iran’s rise.
Events surrounding Implementation Day forcefully demonstrate this truth.
The day the deal was put into effect, January 16, the Obama administration completed a prisoner exchange with Iran that brought four Americans home. Thus, media reportage on the astonishing strategic victory America gave Iran—in the form of international legitimacy and $100 billion in sanctions relief—was focused instead on a telegenic, heart-warming story about American prisoners being brought home. The White House promoted the narrative that this was wonderful evidence of the power of diplomacy, and of a new era in warmer relations with Iran.
But another event on January 16 revealed that there was more to the story. That same day, news broke that three Americans were kidnapped in Baghdad by an Iranian-backed Shiite militia. In one sense, the Obama administration wasn’t surprised: One week earlier, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq was reportedly warned that Iranian-sponsored militants were plotting to kidnap American contractors in Iraq. But in another sense, it was surprised—and cbs News explained why: “Officials in Washington had hoped the Iranian government would tell the militia group to hold off because of all the negotiations surrounding the prisoner swap .…”
(Listen to Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry discuss this development in greater detail on the Trumpet Daily Radio Show.)
Apparently, America didn’t want anything to jeopardize its Implementation Day photo op! And clearly, Iran couldn’t or wouldn’t stop one of its proxies from kidnapping the citizens of its negotiation partner. It knows Washington will let it get away with virtually anything.
If this is what happened, it is only the latest incident in a disgraceful trend from Washington. In apparent determination to prevent anything from derailing the realization of this nuclear agreement, America has been ignoring a tremendous amount of provocative, illegal and warlike behavior by Iran!
In the last couple of months, Iran has tested ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads, in blatant violation of United Nations resolutions that should have set off economic sanctions. Rather than announcing plans for new sanctions, however, the White House, announced an indefinite delay of those sanctions.
Now, in hindsight, it looks suspiciously like one of the main reasons for the delay was to avoid jeopardizing the prisoner swap. On January 17, one day after the trade, the U.S. went ahead and imposed the sanctions pertaining to Iran’s ballistic missiles.
Just this month, Iran displayed footage on national television of a new underground cache of precision-guided missiles. The Obama administration had ignored near unanimous calls by both parties in Congress to act. Then came Iran’s seizure of two U.S. Navy patrol boats in the Persian Gulf, where it took 10 sailors hostage and filmed them having to drop to their knees at gunpoint and apologize for “trespassing.” For that, the Obama administration thanked Iran for letting the sailors go without further incident and once again hailed it as an example of a diplomatic victory.
It requires an extraordinarily distorted perspective to view Iran’s current behavior as evidence of its rehabilitation. The realistic view is precisely the opposite.
(Listen to Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker discuss Iran’s implementation day on Trumpet Hour at 30:00.)
As the Hudson Institute’s Michael Pregent told Business Insider, “Once Implementation Day is announced, Iran is going to step up its provocative actions in the region and the hard-liners know this White House won’t do a thing about it for the next 12 months.”
As if to underline that analysis, immediately after the nuclear deal’s implementation, the regime in Tehran reviewed the list of about 3,000 candidates hoping to run in next month’s parliamentary elections—and eliminated literally 99 percent of them. It only deemed 33 candidates sufficiently in line with its aims to be considered for office.
This is the status quo for Tehran’s mullahs. Nothing has changed. This is how the Islamic Republic of Iran has always conducted its business. And everything the U.S. has done has encouraged and strengthened its position.
As Bret Stephens wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week, “Iran will become a ‘normal’ country only when it ceases to be an Islamic Republic. In the meantime, the only question is how far we are prepared to abase ourselves in our quest to normalize it.”
The Tablet’s Lee Smith wrote that the results of America’s capitulation “are likely to prove catastrophic for American allies and, as we shall soon see, America itself. The violence and turmoil may reach epic proportions this year as Iran races for bargains in a fire sale that it believes is coming to an end in January 2017. … In the meantime, 2016 is going to be a year like no one has ever seen in the modern Middle East.”
The United States’ waning influence and lack of willpower are on full display. So too are Iran’s terrorist activities and waxing belligerence. What we are seeing is directly in line with the Bible’s prophecy of a king of the south: an Iran that is newly dominant, stronger than ever, and ready to push as never before. ▪