July 15, 2015
After years of talking about it, a deal was finally struck on Tuesday morning regarding Iran’s nuclear program. As could be expected, not everyone agrees with it. The news of the deal struck some as the best thing ever, others felt it was the best that could be done under the circumstances, and others are calling it the words deal in the history of bad deals. So let’s take a look at what actually happened and what it might mean.
WHAT THE DEAL DOES:
In the briefest of explanations, the deal prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon – at least today. And for probably for a decade. According to the deal:
- Iran has to reduce its 19,000 centrifuges down to 6104 with only 5060 allowed to enrich uranium over the next 10 years.
- Iran can only enrich uranium to 3.67% – not enough for a bomb.
- Under the deal, Iran now faces a “one year break out period” to build a nuclear bomb. (Supposedly enough time to stop them if they start.)
- Inspectors will have access to all declared nuclear facilities including Parchin, a military facility related to Iran’s nuclear program.
- Economic sanctions will be lifted by the international community (in time) as Iran proves that it has taken the key steps towards limiting its program. (That’s going to be worth at least 100 billion dollars.)
So, if Iran plays it straight, their nuclear weapons program is kicked down the road a bit, but their nuclear program is certainly not dismantled – it’s just sort of “paused.”
WHAT ARE THE CRITICS REALLY WORRIED ABOUT?
While President Obama is celebrating his historic deal, there are many others who are not – especially the Republican Party and Israeli Prime Ministry, Netanyahu. President Obama, however, ensures that this is the most comprehensive inspection deal in history – and that it will provide more than enough evidence if Iran chooses to cheat. And then of course sanctions will be “snapped back” into place.
SOME OF THE BIGGEST CONCERNS ARE:
- The deal does nothing to change Iran’s behavior in the Middle East.
- In 5 years conventional weapons can come into and out of Iran; In 8 years ballistic missile can be bought and sold.
- Probably Iran will cheat on the deal – they do have a history of doing as they please.
- The inspections give too much power in the hands of the Iranians being inspected. There are 24 day warnings before inspections, there can be challenges as to whether or not the inspections are warranted and military sites have the most protection from inspections.
- Iran gets billions of dollars that have been previously held up in sanctions. What will they do with this money? Many believe that some of it will be used to continue support of international terrorism – to organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah and the continued support of Syria’s president Assad.
- It will be difficult to get current levels of sanctions back in place – China is itching to buy Iranian oil and Russia is salivating to start trading in conventional and ballistic weapons (in a few years). Even Europe and India are excited to resume Iran as a trading partner. It will be impossible to “snap back” sanctions at this point. If Iran wants a nuke, it can and will inch its way towards one.
DOES IRAN DESERVE TO HAVE A NUCLEAR PROGRAM, EVEN IF IT INVOLVES WEAPONS?
Eventually Iran will possess nuclear weapons. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day within the next decade, the game will change. Would that be the worst thing in the world? Other nations have achieved nuclear weapons and the world has gone on. Some, in fact believe that a nuclear armed Iran would actually bring stability to the region. Some believe that Israel’s nuclear capability creates instability in the region and that another nuclear armed state would balance that power.
In 1964, after China became a nuclear power she became less volatile in her rhetoric. When India and Pakistan both became nuclear powers, they became more cautious. In the 70 years of the nuclear age, fears of rapid proliferation haven’t really materialized. Not yet. But there’s already street talk about Saudi trying to buy weapons from Pakistan, and talks going on in Turkey and Egypt about nuclear programs. So, time will tell.
Of course one valid concern is that Iran has actually suggesting using nuclear weapons against the US and Israel – and while some say that’s just “political rhetoric,” others do not dismiss the threats so easily. And even if Iran stops short of using a nuclear weapon, will having nukes embolden them in the region and increase their terrorist activities? Probably. Even President Obama acknowledges that Iran is a threat to Israel. And Saudi Arabia is none to happy abut the situations either – if the US doesn’t guarantee military safety to Saudia, you can expect they will go their own route and find their own nuclear solution.
IS THIS THE END OF THE WORLD?
Well, it depends on who you talk to. Many religions have views of “the end of the world events” that often shape how they view the world, politics and current events.
With ISIS running rampant in Syria and Iraq and with Iran’s new “nuke deal,” you can expect lots of talk about the “apocalypse.” ISIS believes they are living out the end days and are major players in Islamic prophecy. Iran’s Shiite religious leaders are waiting for the appearance of al-Mahdi, (who is already on earth and in hiding) a redeemer-like figure that will lead a great victory against Christians in a battle called al-Malhamah, al-Kubrah or Armageddon. Some say al-Mahdi was never mentioned in the Koran, but that the Prophet Mohammed prophesied about him. Many Sunni Muslims believe that al-Mahdi hasn’t been born yet.
On the Christian side, expect more chatter about prophecies in Ezekiel 37-39 where the Bible speaks about an alliance that forms between Turkey, Russia and Iran in the last days and instigate a major battle against Israel and ushers in another chapter of the end of the world as we know it. With the US’s continual withdrawal from the region – it becomes easier and easier to envision this prophecy being fulfilled in the not-too-distant future.
There’s nothing like the world of rocky geopolitical events to spark conversations about what’s next, where the world is going and how it’s all going to end. So I’ll end this blog with a quote from Corrie ten Boom – a concentration camp survivor who knows all about an unstable world. She says, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”