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’

Iran’s Nuclear Agreement: A Good Deal or a Bad Deal?

John Kerry & Javad Zarif
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif at a recent meeting

Iran will temporarily halt parts of its nuclear program and allow for more inspection; in return, the West will provide immediate relief from some of the sanctions and will impose no new sanctions for six months.

Last week’s nuclear agreement between Iran and the western powers was historical.  To some, it may even seem to be a breakthrough given the tenuous relationships shared by Iran and the West. However, reading the news is confusing as some news articles report that it was a “total victory and a great step forward,” while others surmised, “it was a total failure.”

So which is it?  Was it a good deal or a bad deal? The answer depends on the perspective from which the deal is evaluated. Below, I look at this deal and make evaluations of my own, considering 5 unique perspectives from those who will be impacted most deeply.

It was a bad deal for Israel and the Gulf countries

  1. Since 1979, Israel and the Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Emirates have been afraid of Iran. Countries in the region such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria have watched Iran aggressively increase its influence. They feel that a nuclear-armed Iran will pose a serious danger to their respected national security. They also believe that Iran will at least use its nuclear arsenal to bully them and the rest of its neighbors. Iran is already doing that now, but with a nuclear bomb, its bullying and meddling in the affairs of other countries in the region will increase dramatically.  This new deal does not remove the danger to Israel and Gulf countries, but increases it exponentially.
  2. Netanyahu has called this deal “a historic mistake” and has stated, “it turns the world into a much scarier place.” For the first time Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are agreeing with Israel.

It was a bad deal for the US and President Obama’s credibility

  1. It damaged the US’s relationship with Israel and important allies such as Saudi Arabia.
  2. Some have called it a “fool’s deal” as it seems that the West has agreed to an immediate action, (removing some of the sanctions, stopping the addition of new sanctions, and releasing 7 billion dollars of Iranian assets), in return for unverifiable promises in the future.

It was a good deal for the government of Iran

  1. As Obama is under fire and trying to defend the deal in the US, the government of Iran is celebrating their perceived victory.
  2. Iran got money and time to continue its nuclear program with little more commitment than a promise to not build new centrifuges in the next 6 months. The deal, however, left the nuclear infrastructure intact. Iran now has the money to do what it wants to continue with its nuclear program plans and goals.
  3. This deal helps Iran to prepare better for possible future sanctions. So even if new sanctions are imposed in 6 months, it will not have as much impact as it could have.
  4. Iran knows that President Obama does not want to go to war, which puts the US in a weaker position. Iran has been declaring that they are not afraid to go to war and that they are ready for it. They feel they have caused Obama to blink and agree to a favorable deal for their purposes.

It was a good deal for the lives of people in Iran (physically)

  1. It has an immediate impact in increasing the value of Iranian currency (more purchasing power)
  2. It seems to postpone the possibility of war. The possible attack on Iran, when it happens, will bring much suffering to the people of Iran and will take the lives of so many innocent Christian and Muslim people.
  3. This deal takes away the fear of imminent attack on Iran which has put stress in the hearts of the ordinary citizens of Iran for the last two years. People of Iran will live in less fear for at least the next six months.
  4. The people of Iran are happy about this deal because it gives them temporary relief. All the Iranians that I have talked to are convinced that the Iranian government deceived the West to get this deal and soon will find out that this was a deception and reinstate the strict sanctions and threats of military attacks. When I ask them what they think about this deal, many just laugh and say, “Americans are so naïve.”

It was a bad deal: for the lives of people in Iran (spiritually)

  1. This deal gives the people of Iran a false hope. They have been open spiritually because they have been living in fear and hopelessness for so many years. This new deal gives them a false hope and reduces their fear. This may cause them to be less open spiritually.
  2. It distracts them. They feel they have 6 months to secure themselves and prepare for the hardship that is coming. They will be busy making money and spending it for an unknown and unstable future. This can distract them from spiritual pursuit.

Join me in praying:

That the Lord will postpone the war and give the people of Iran a chance to know Him.

That the people of Iran will not invest in a false hope, but that their hopelessness will lead them to the true source of eternal hope: Jesus Christ.

Rouhani Came to Give a False Sense of Hope to the U.S.

This entry is part [part not set] of 4 in the series 5 Things About Hassan Rouhani's Visit to the U.S.

Rouhani came to give a false sense of hope to the U.S., while keeping his support at home with the Mullahs…both of which he accomplished.

Rouhani addressing the U.N.
Rouhani addressing the U.N.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Hassan Rouhani is an expert negotiator.  He is also a very intelligent and a savvy politician, with great skills of persuasion and influence.

Following in the footsteps of the much less prudent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani had very little work to do in order to establish himself as the more civil, if not congenial, face of Iran.  Ahmadinejad also managed to estrange himself from the Supreme Leader and Mullahs of Iran through his unpredictable public speeches and unwillingness to stay within the boundaries of his role.  Consequently, Rouhani had very little chance of being anything but a perceived conspicuous improvement over his predecessor in the eyes of both the U.S. and Iran.

The combination of his skill set as a deft negotiator, (in the international nuclear development arena no less), and the instant benefit of the doubt he has been given since he has to be better than the extremist before him, set the stage for Rouhani to please everyone.

Promising to negotiate on Iran’s nuclear program in “good faith,” Rouhani managed to commit to nothing measurable or tangible, but still give the impression of cooperation and the willingness to change.  Did I mention that he is an expert negotiator?

Having left the U.S. without committing to anything concrete and charming the world all while standing up the President of the United States of America and receiving his phone call as he left the country, Hassan Rouhani earned tremendous points with the Supreme Leader and Mullahs in Iran.

Please join me in praying for our world leaders to have great wisdom and discernment as they navigate the rocky terrain of negotiations with Iran.  Only He can steer us on the right path…that which leads to the foot of the cross.