The Nuclear Agreement with Iran: Is it a Good or a Bad Deal? (Part 2)

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 ap_995965368922their 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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Blessings,

Hormoz Shariat

The Nuclear Agreement with Iran: Is it a Good or a Bad Deal? (Part 1)

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 Iraniran nuclear
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.”

Related Articles:
U.S. and Allies Warn Iran Over Nuclear ‘Deception’

President Rouhani’s Visit to the U.S. Represents No Real Change

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series 5 Things About Hassan Rouhani's Visit to the U.S.

President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the U.S., while historic, represents no real change in the Iranian government since the Supreme Leader and Islamic clergy rule and run the country.

In this short video, I discuss why President Rouhani is simply a different face on the same political system that has been in place in Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  Regardless of who is elected president, the simple fact is the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, makes every high level policy decision and will never abdicate that power to anyone else until his replacement has been named, likely upon his own death.

Pray that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and truly lead a transformation of Iran unlike anything we have ever seen.

Hassan Rouhani is an Experienced, Expert Nuclear Negotiator

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series 5 Things About Hassan Rouhani's Visit to the U.S.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
If this is the way the majority of the world sees Rouhani… the world needs to take a closer look.

Rouhani’s involvement in Iran’s political landscape predates the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  As a young cleric, Rouhani regularly gave speeches against the government of the Shah of Iran, whose cooperative posture with the U.S. did not please the Islamic clergy.  After the revolution, Rouhani established himself in Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s inner circle and quickly earned prominent positions within his regime.

In 1989, Rouhani was appointed as the first Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), a position he kept for the next 16 years.  Known for his negotiating prowess, Rouhani garnered the nickname “Diplomat Sheikh” by Iranian news media.

Through the confirmation of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Hassan Rouhani was placed in charge of Iran’s nuclear case in 6 October 2003.  His objective was to lead a team that would deflect attention from Iran’s newly discovered nuclear development and run interference with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that would prevent the rapid acceleration of allegations against Iran resulting a report of Iran’s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council.

Rouhani and his team were successful in this endeavor until he stepped out of the role in 2005 as a result of the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and subsequent disagreements between the two leaders. Ahmadinejad’s antagonistic demeanor and unwillingness to fulfill his role as diplomat to the West contributed to the contentious posture, which has resulted in heavy sanctions and pressure from the U.S. and it’s allies.

It is this same Rouhani who is now representing the nuclear intentions of The Islamic Republic of Iran to a leery, yet hopeful, audience of world leaders.

Rouhani has vast experience in the art of deception.  He is a seasoned expert and adept at creating smokescreens to cover up Iran’s nuclear activities and intentions.  His skills in delay techniques may be sufficient to buy enough time for his superiors to finish the development of nuclear weaponry.

I pray that President Obama and his counterparts in the U.N. have a working knowledge of Hassan Rouhani’s resume and credentials and the wisdom to treat his statements with great caution and apprehension.

Iran has the Fastest Growing Evangelical Population on the Planet!

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series 5 Things You Didn't Know about Iran

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Operation World Chart of the Fastest Growing Evangelical Nations - 2010
Iran has the fastest growing Evangelical Christian population. Operation World, 2010.

Iran…the world’s only theocracy and home to such infamous leaders as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ali Hosseini Khamenei and the late Ayatollah Khomeini, who ushered in the brutal Islamic regime in the revolution of 1979…the same country whose government counts such countries as Lebanon, Venezuela and Syria, China and Russia as friends…the same nation that has labeled the United States as the Great Satan and Israel the Little Satan and is among the most public anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-women’s rights nations in the world…this Iran, has the fastest growing Evangelical population in the world!

You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, if the Evangelical population has grown from 10 to 1,000 people, that explains rapid growth, but it is a bit underwhelming.”  Actually, conservative estimates place the Evangelical population of Iran around 1,000,000!  Compare that with the estimated 500 Christians that were believed to exist in Iran in 1979 when the Islamic Revolution took place.  The fact is, more Persians have come to Christ in the 34 years since the Islamic Revolution than in the 1,400 years prior, combined.  Most of these have occurred in just the past decade, as satellite TV has become a pervasive tool for safely and effectively taking the Gospel into the homes of the 55 million Persians who have access to satellite dishes.

It is for this reason that I have spent the past 11 years devoting my ministry efforts into satellite TV programming and launched a 24/7 Farsi network with the objective of taking the message of Hope into the homes of these millions of hopeless and desperate people.

You can see in the chart below, taken from the research of Operation World, that the highlighted countries are Farsi speaking nations, which our satellite TV signal reaches with 24/7 Christ-centered programming.

I like to tell people that God is running a special on Muslims right now.  There has never been a more exciting or fruitful time to be about the business of Kingdom building in Iran than Right Now!

Chart courtesy of: Jason Mandryk, Operation World:  The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation (Colorado Springs, CO: Biblica Publishing, 2010), 916.