As more and more details of the Iran nuclear negotiations unfolded over recent months, the questions grew more and more puzzling. Why were the world’s leading powers so eager to cut a deal with an Iranian regime that:
• Has been the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism,
• Repeatedly threatens to eliminate Israel,
• Routinely refers to the United States as “the great Satan” (and supports mass rallies where people chant “Death to America!”), and
• Has leaders who believe they are divinely destined to initiate a period of worldwide upheaval that will lead to their version of fundamentalist Islam attaining dominance over the entire world.
The Western powers’ surrender to Iranian negotiating demands were equally puzzling. Why did major Western leaders so eagerly line up behind the United States to sign off on an agreement that:
• Provides a dictatorial regime a windfall of more than $100 billion (frozen when Iran took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and imprisoned all embassy personnel for 444 days),
• Relieves economic sanctions (imposed by the UN Security Council due to Iran’s refusal to suspend its nuclear programs),
• Bans American and other Western personnel from inspections of Iranian sites (and allows Iran to do its own inspections of sites where it’s suspected of carrying out banned activities!),
• Allows Iran to purchase advanced military weaponry in a few years,
• Includes secret side deals hidden from the U.S. Congress, and
• Paves Iran’s way to producing (and helps finance) nuclear weapons regardless of whether Iran abides by the terms of the agreement or chooses to cheat.
Why agree to such a one-sided deal?
Why did Western leaders not insist that Iran make concessions of its own, such as halting its support of violent terror groups, freezing or dismantling its ballistic missile programs, ending its threatening behavior toward its neighbors, or truly offering “anytime, anywhere” inspections of its nuclear facilities—especially if they really are entirely for peaceful purposes as Iran claims?
In light of such facts, why would anyone support such an agreement with a foreign power with such a track record?
Some reasons are evident. The European participants in the agreement appear to be motivated mostly by economic greed. They see lifting of sanctions on Iran as a way for European companies to enter a potentially lucrative business market, and they gain access to Iranian oil.
Russia, long familiar with the Middle Eastern adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” sees an opportunity to strengthen an enemy of the United States as an opportunity not to be missed, and it sees a huge market for advanced Russian military hardware.
Some believe U.S. President Barack Obama is motivated primarily by a desire to add a notable foreign policy landmark to his presidential legacy, and possibly another Nobel Peace Prize to cap his career.
In any case, what is really at the heart of the matter? The Bible reveals deeper issues—spiritual issues that lie beyond normal human perception.
God’s Word reveals a spiritual dimension to international affairs where unseen spirit beings are at work behind the scenes shaping the world in profound ways (see “Kingdoms at War” and “An Evil Spirit World: Where Did It Come From?).
When we see things on the international stage that make no sense on the physical level—such as an international agreement like this that defies all logic and common sense—it is virtually guaranteed that something profound is taking place on the unseen spiritual level, a spiritual dimension revealed in the Bible where spirit beings and forces shape the world to their own ends.
On the physical level, it makes no sense to provide the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism billions of dollars and a clear path to nuclear weapons—yet that is exactly what world leaders have done! Spiritual forces are at work.
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. World history has repeatedly shown that appeasing dangerous tyrants—think Adolf Hitler—leads to only greater demands and ultimate disaster.
Spiritual blindness and drunkenness
Another factor ties in closely with this. It’s an additional spiritual component that the Bible calls “drunkenness.” The biblical prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all used the same term to describe the irrational decision-making of leaders and people who have forsaken and rejected God. They lose their ability to think rationally and reason properly because they have turned their backs on the source of true wisdom.
Notice one such passage in Isaiah describing this spiritual blindness: “Go ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but not from wine! You stagger, but not from liquor! For the Lord has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries . . .
“And so the Lord says, ‘. . . Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.’ What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their evil deeds in the dark! ‘The Lord can’t see us,’ they say. ‘He doesn’t know what’s going on!’ How foolish can you be?” (Isaiah 29:9-16, New Living Translation, 2013).
Why are people who certainly should know better—especially prominent leaders—caught up in such self-destructive blindness? The answer is simple. God says it’s because they “have removed their hearts far from Me” (Isaiah 29:13).
A deeper spiritual issue is at work in the Iran treaty. Western leaders have been hell-bent on securing this deal, largely at the behest of President Obama. In the words of the biblical prophets, it is as though they have all become “drunk” and cannot discern the reality of the threat and the dangerous times we live in. Our world will grow only more dangerous as leaders and people become ever more spiritually blind and intoxicated due to sin.
May you have the wisdom and courage to heed your Creator and turn to Him before it’s too late!