In my last post, I wrote about how this nuclear deal will negatively impact the U.S. government and its citizens (click here), and also how it will benefit the Islamic government of Iran. Today, we’ll look at how this deal will impact the people of Iran and especially how it will affect the spiritual revival that is going on in Iran.
3) Bad Deal – for the people of Iran (physically)
The people of Iran—and specially the younger generation—have been celebrating this nuclear deal by dancing in the streets. The reason for their celebration, however, is totally different from why Iran’s government celebrates. The Islamic government of Iran rejoices because they were thrown a lifeline. It now has the resources to extend its existence and power and to pursue its goals nationally and internationally.
On the other hand, the people of Iran have been praising this deal because:
- They think the removal of sanctions and the influx of more than $100 billion will improve their economic condition.
- They think that this is the start of a normalized relationship with the U.S. Yes, most Iranians, and especially the younger generation, love and admire the United States as a country as well as its people. If it were their decision, they would want a close relationship with the U.S. You should know that “Death to America” is the goal of only Iran’s Islamic government—not Iran’s people.
The people of Iran are happy because of these two hopes. But I believe they will soon be very disappointed because:
- This money will NOT improve the economic condition of the country and will not benefit its people. On the contrary, this money will be used to oppress the people even more. The government will buy and develop a better technology to control and suppress its people. I believe that the Iranian government will use this money to establish a National Internet—just like China—to disconnect its people from the outside world.
- Since the supreme leader, Khamenei, has already declared that the U.S. is still Iran’s number one enemy, its relationship with Iran will not normalize anytime soon. Iran’s policy towards the U.S. will not change.
4) Good Deal – for the people of Iran (spiritually)
Over the last few years, Iran’s government has totally destroyed its political opposition. At the moment no political movement or leader is a threat. The only situation that alarms the Iranian government is the growth of Christianity. It is the only group out of their control. That is the reason that the persecution of Christians has increased drastically in the last two years.
I believe as the number of Christians and the house churches grows, Iran’s government will increase its persecution even more. It will allocate more money and personnel to stop this transformation of its people. As a result, more Christians will be arrested and jailed. Terrorist acts against Iranian Christians outside the United States will start. (Please pray for us as once again we are receiving serious threats.)
But this new wave of persecution will strengthen the church in Iran. First, the disappointment, hopelessness, and disillusionment of people in Iran will increase. This will make millions more Iranian Muslims open to the message of the Gospel. Second, the persecution of Christians will strengthen and purify the church. Since the rise of persecution two years ago, we have seen the rise of a generation of young leaders (under 25) who are not afraid of the government—not even afraid of dying for their faith in Jesus. We will see more Christians rise up with that type of deep relationship with the Lord and commitment to serve Him.
In spiritual terms, then, the nuclear agreement will become, with much heartache, a good deal for the Iranian people.
Please pray for us at Iran Alive as the Lord has graciously positioned us to have a major impact in Iran. Over the last 14 years, by His Grace, we have established a heart connection with millions of Iranians inside Iran, have been instrumental in bringing tens of thousands of Iranian Muslims to Christ, and had a major part in establishing hundreds of house churches in tens of cities in Iran.
We are now starting new underground house church networks. The government of Iran knows that we have such plans and understandably is not happy about it. We are already getting a new wave of threats. We need your prayer for protection. We also need your support so that we will not shrink back in ministry but will take full advantage of this opening of heaven in Iran to establish a strong church that will not be wiped out but be strengthened by persecution.
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Many have asked me, “Is the nuclear deal with Iran a good deal or a bad deal?” The answer depends on whose chair you’re sitting in. In this blog and the next, I will share how this deal will impact four people groups.
1) Good Deal – for the Islamic government of Iran
The Islamic government of Iran is the total winner in the negotiation. They got almost everything they wanted without giving up much. They are celebrating this victory. Yes, they consider the deal a victory because they are getting the immediate lifting of sanctions, at least a $100 billion release of funds, and the ability to sell their oil on the world market with merely a pledge to do and not do certain things in the future—a pledge that could easily prove to be just empty words.
How did this happen?
President Obama and John Kerry negotiated from a weak position. You know, to be a good negotiator, you should show your opponent that you are ready and willing to walk away from the negotiation table. The U.S. delegation showed that they desperately needed this deal, didn’t have a plan B, and couldn’t walk away from it. That position caused them to have a weaker hand in the negotiation game. The American delegates wanted a deal at any cost. The Iranian delegates knew this and took full advantage. As a result, U.S. delegates had to agree to a mediocre deal that will not stop Iran from making the atom bomb. At best (that is if Iran does not cheat), it will only slow down its development.
To justify this mediocre deal, President Obama has repeatedly stated that America’s two choices were either this deal or war—ignoring a third option of continued sanctions, which looked like they were working.
For the Iranian government, this deal throws them a lifeline. It injects fresh life and money that they needed desperately. They limped to the negotiation table, took the offered head chair, and received the winning lottery ticket—a windfall of $100 billion in cash. Before, they were in trouble existentially; now they have exactly what they need to maintain power for at least the next 15 years.
As for their required responsibilities, they paid for their lottery windfall with “credit”—a pledge to behave. Iran has broken UN agreements in past years, building enrichment facilities in the desert. Nothing will stop them from doing the same thing again, this time under their cities.
How will this money help the Iranian government?
The Islamic government of Iran will use this money to oppress its people, strengthen its military and its defense system, advance its goals around the globe (such as Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain, Syria, and Palestine), develop new nuclear facilities (this time in cities where they cannot be detected), and buy the nuclear technology it needs in the black market—hence speeding up its goal to develop a nuclear bomb.
2) Bad Deal – for the US government and its people
Even if the Iranian government follows through with its pledges, does not cheat, and does not develop nuclear bomb, this deal does not solve the problem of Iranian’s threat to the peace in the world, and specifically to U.S. and Israel. It only delays it. So President Obama will not have to face Nuclear Iran, but his successors will.
The supreme leader, Khamenei, has declared with very clear words that “there would be no change in the country’s hostile relations with the US or its anti-Israel approach in regional policies, regardless of the fate of the breakthrough nuclear deal with world powers.” We have to understand that in the Iranian government’s organized rallies, when they chant “Death to America, Death to Israel,” they are not just badmouthing the United States and Israel; rather, they are declaring their plans and intentions. If the Iranian government had the power to do so, it would bring death to the U.S. and Israel even this afternoon.
I believe in the next few months and years, the billions of dollars that are given to the Iranian government will come back and bite the U.S. around the world. The U.S. government and its people will pay for it. Iran will continue to oppose U.S. policies in the Middle East with a greater capacity. The fading presence and influence of the United States in the Middle East will almost vanish all together. Even worse, unfortunately, we will
see that the Iranian government will finance increased terrorist attacks against U.S. establishments and its citizens around the world and even inside the United States. With this money, they will try literally to bring “Death to America.”
U.S. and Allies Warn Iran Over Nuclear ‘Deception’
In Iran, there are no above ground churches. Even underground churches, while effective and growing, are only accessible to 1% of all believers due to fear and security. That is where our Global Church for Iran, or Church 7 strategy, provides a lifeline for the estimated 2 million believers who have no other option for church of any kind. No option for fellowship, discipleship, training or encouragement that is readily available and enjoyed by those of us in the West.
Watch this exciting video to see what Iran Alive Ministries is doing about this problem.
5. Will the US and Iran partner in Iraq to stop ISIS?
- Both have similar interests: to help the current Shiite Government of Iraq maintain control and stop the Sunni ISIS from taking over Iraq.
- They may partner in some ways to help stop ISIS but will never acknowledge it publicly.
- Iran has a major influence in Iraq where the majority of the population is Shiites and the government is led by Shiites.
- Iran’s goal has been to get the US out of Iraq and be the sole influencer of the Shiite Iraqi regime. They are happy that the US has pulled out of Iraq and do not want to see the US’s influence and presence increase. Therefore, they may work with the US for the short time but will want the US out of Iraq as soon as ISIS is stopped.
- Christians in Iraq and Syria have been persecuted and have been leaving as refugees.
- Under ISIS, the killing and persecution of Christians will dramatically increase. It has already started and there will be a mass exodus of Christians.
- The brutality of ISIS will cause millions of Muslims to have an objective look at Islam. Many of them will come to reject Islam and become open to the message of the Gospel. This is what happened in Iran. Millions of Syrian refugees have seen the brutality of Islamist “freedom fighters” of ISIS. Many of them are coming to Christ in refugee camps in Turkey.
3. Who is ISIS?
- ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and (greater) Syria.
- They are the coalition of Sunni forces in Iraq and Syria.
- Their immediate goal is to topple two Shiite governments in Iraq and Syria.
- Their intermediate goal is to have a unified Sunni state that covers the whole region including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel.
- Their long-term goal is to bring back a worldwide rule of Caliphates. They believe that they are mandated by the Quran to do so and use as much violence as needed to accomplish that goal.
- They are much stronger than Al-Qaeda in numbers, unity, and finances. They have performed mass executions, even including women and children. They are so violent and brutal that Al-Qaeda looks conservative and moderate comparatively.
- When in power, they will be the number one source of terrorism in the world.
2. What is the difference between Shiites and Sunnis?
- Their differences go back to 632 AD when Mohammad died.
- The issue that divided them centered around whom must rule the Islamic Empire after the death of Mohammad.
- Sunnis believe that the Caliphs should rule, which is historically what happened.
- Shiites believe that the family bloodline of Mohammad should rule and the Caliphs were evil people who unrightfully took over the power after Mohammad.
- There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. 85% are Sunnis and 15% are Shiites. Shiites are the majority only in Iran and Iraq.