Iran, Nukes, and the End of the World

By Kersley Fitzgerald

Earlier this year, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (known as P5+1) struck a deal with Iran with the aim to provide financial incentives in return for the curtailing or postponing of Iran's nuclear weapons development program. You can read the entire text of the agreement — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — here. Alas, I must admit that I did not read it. I didn't trust that I would be able to understand the implications of the specifics or determine the real-world context. For that, I turned to other sources, which you can find here.

The key points of the JCPOA are as follows:
  • Reduction of Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%
  • Immediate shut-down and storage of 2/3 of the centrifuges used to enrich uranium
  • No production or acquisition of highly-enriched uranium or plutonium for at least 15 years
  • 8-year restriction of missile production/acquisition
  • 5-year embargo of conventional weapons, which may be decreased upon Iran's compliance with the nuclear restrictions
  • Development of a "road map" to discuss Iran's future nuclear program
  • Conversion of the Fordow uranium enrichment plant to a research only facility; redesign of the Arak heavy water plant to preclude the production of weapons-grade plutonium
  • Inspectors allowed access to suspicious sites within 24 days of request
  • Sanctions can be "snapped-back" upon evidence of Iran "cheating" in specific areas of the agreement
  • Release of $100-150 billion dollars of frozen Iranian funds upon compliance
In the background of the negotiations were such fun things as Iran making promises in the meetings then publically claiming the opposite, the UN saying we needed to get some agreement over the nuclear weapons, and Israel rolling its eyes that anyone would actually believe Iran would follow through with anything it had promised. Ideally, Iran will follow all the little points and lose interest in developing nuclear weapons. There is concern they will use its newly released cash to bolster its foreign military involvement by equipping Hezbollah, but hope that they'll get distracted and start fighting the Islamic State instead. In order to determine what will probably happen, it helps to look at the history of Iran's nuclear development, which is covered extensively in the Jewish Virtual Library.

If the entire plotline didn't include terms like "real-world," "Iran," and "nuclear," this would make for a fantastic British comedy. Possibly staring John Cleese. Find a summary here. It's a 30-year story of promises, compromises, broken promises, secrets, politics, broken promises, and an Ayatollah who contradicts everything the government promises.

Here are some of my favorite highlights:
  • Iran refusing inspectors access to Parchin nuclear base in 2014 because inspectors had been there in 2005 and found nothing.
  • The Iranian Foreign Minister offering to mediate talks between Obama and the Republican congressmen who sent a threatening letter directly to Iran.
  • The US Defense Secretary pointing out that one way to ensure Iran's secret underground nuclear facility adheres to the agreement is to melt it with a bunker-buster bomb.
  • Everyone acting surprised when it's discovered Israel has been using the surveillance equipment the US provided to them to listen in on P5+1 talks.
  • Senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi waiting a whole 8 days after the JCPOA was signed before agreeing with the Ayatollah that Iran doesn't have to comply with the conventional weapons embargo or the nuclear site inspections.
Will Iran develop nuclear weapons? Almost certainly. Do they already have them? Possibly. Will they comply with JCPOA? Of course not. Will they attack Israel?

It's unknown, but here's where we go from news and speculation to biblical prophecy. In the great battle described in Ezekiel 38-39, Israel's enemies come primarily from the north. It's possible that the Antichrist will broker a peace between Israel and its enemies before Iran uses their nukes. Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia lie between Israel and Iran; it would unwise for Iran to cover Saudi Arabia (or Egypt, for that matter) with nuclear fallout. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied that it has nuclear weapons — is Iran willing to take that chance? The End Times prophecies regarding wars in and around Israel mention armies, not necessarily faceless, bloodless nuclear weapons. That doesn't preclude a suitcase bomb, but an ICBM is less likely.

What does this mean for Israel? What does it mean for Israel's allies? How should Christians respond?

First of all, don't freak out. Be anxious for nothing. Remember that God's in control. He knows what will happen, and He's already got a plan for it. Conspiracy theories are useless. Panic is useless. Flying into a rage whenever Iran refuses to abide by the agreement is useless. Picking apart the JCPOA is an interesting intellectual exercise, but pointing fingers and angrily casting blame is useless.

There are three things we can do:
  • Support Israel. Use whatever political clout we have as Bible-believing individuals to encourage the US government to support and protect Israel.
  • Pray. Pray for cool heads and open borders that let the Gospel in. Pray that individuals in Iran will meet Christ. Pray for another Stuxnet and that Iranian officials will actually get distracted from nuclear research. Pray that UN officials will have wisdom and the fortitude to restore sanctions if need-be.
  • Be at peace. God brings the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). According to the world, we should be beside ourselves with worry about Iran. But God's not surprised. Christ is the Prince of Peace, and if He does not reign on the earth, we should at least prove He reigns in our hearts.
Our reaction to world events like this ultimately come down to what we believe and what we value. If we value things of this earth, like countries and political peace, we're going to be disappointed. If we value Christ, we've already won.

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Controversial-Issues  | Current-Issues  | End-Times

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Published 8-31-15