Russia moves to push forward conference to eliminate WMDs in Mideast. Is this a Kremlin ploy to shift focus from Iranian nuclear program to Israel?

putin-rouhani

(Washington, D.C.) — Even as Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with President Obama in Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin is suddenly signaling a major new international move that could shift the focus off of Iran’s nuclear threat and place enormous international focus and pressure on the State of Israel to disclose and dismantle its own strategic weapons.

“Russia wants to revive plans for a conference on ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction now that Syria has pledged to abandon its chemical arms, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments published on Monday,” Reuters reported on Monday.

“Such a move could put Moscow at odds with Washington which announced the conference would be delayed last year,” notes Reusters. “Analysts said it feared the event would be used to criticize its ally Israel, believed to be the region’s only nuclear-armed state.”

“Russia has been pushing to extend its influence in the Middle East. It initiated a UN deal to get Syria to abandon its chemical arms after Washington threatened military strikes to punish Damascus for a sarin gas attack on rebel areas,” notes Reuters.

“We will seek to have this conference take place,” Lavrov said.

This is a striking development, coming as it does on the heels of the Russian gambit that prevented a U.S. military intervention in Syria and ostensibly a deal with Bashar al-Assad to disclose and destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

It’s also a scenario ripped from the pages of The Ezekiel Option. In the novel, the Russian President calls for an international coalition to force Israel to disclose and dismantle her WMDs, or face an invasion not unlike the invasion of Iraq in 2003. [See excerpts from the novel below.] 

Is this what we are about to see play out in real life? A similar international effort was set into motion in May 2010, but then ran aground. At the time, however, Russia was not in the lead. Other countries were. Now, the Kremlin seems to be ready to lead the initiative.

Israel is already increasingly isolated from the international community. The “charm offensive” by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been dazzlingly successful in shifting the debate and putting Israel on the defensive. The likelihood of an Israeli first strike on Iran appears to have receded significantly if President Obama is eager to engage in diplomacy with Tehran and pressures Israel to hold off on an attack.

And as amazing as it is to say it, the events of this week could theoretically set into motion the fulfillment of the End Times Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 38-39 — i.e, the “War of Gog and Magog” — if the leader of Russia begins to emerge as the leader of the anti-Israel coalition and requires Israel to comply with the treaty or face an international military coalition prepared to force her to comply.

Meanwhile, “Vladimir Putin has accepted an Iranian invitation to visit the country and meet with newly elected President Hasan Rouhani, a spokesman for the Russian president confirmed,” reports the Times of Israel. “Putin has been invited to Iran, and he will certainly take advantage of this kind invitation,” the Interfax news agency quoted spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday. “The dates of the visit will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.”

This will be the second time Putin has traveled to Iran. The first was a two day trip on October 16-17, 2007

Developing…..

——————————————————-

EXCERPTS FROM THE EZEKIEL OPTION (published by Tyndale House, copyright 2005)

Russian President Yuri Gogolov rose to speak.

“Mr. Secretary-General, distinguished delegates, and ladies and gentlemen: As we gather together on September eleventh, the anniversary of the attacks upon this great city, let me begin by assuring all Americans—and reassuring each of you—that the Russian Federation is fully committed to being a member in good standing of this global community and to helping the world win the war on terror once and for all.”

The General Assembly erupted in thunderous applause.

Bennett watched the speech in his West Wing office.

Joining him were Indira Rajiv of the CIA’s NAMESTAN desk and Ken Costello, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs. Bennett had invited them both to help him analyze the Gogolov speech and European and Islamic reaction to it.

“Many are the pressing issues that confront us,” Gogolov continued.

His pace was measured, confident; his proficiency with using a teleprompter rather intriguing given that this was his first international address.

“Some are regional. Some are economic, cultural, or social. But I believe we can all agree that the most pressing issue of our time is ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction and keeping them out of the hands of terrorists.”

More applause.

“Regretfully, some would seek to divide the great powers. Some would seek to pit the United States against Russia on the great issues of our time, but they must not be allowed to succeed. Yes, we have our differences. Yes, the debate over whether the United States should have gone to war against Iraq was one of them. And yes, there is much work to do to repair relations strained so badly by the unfortunate U.S. response to the perceived threat of Aeroflot flight 6617.

“But let there be no confusion: the Russian Federation never disagreed with the objective of the United States to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. To the contrary, we have always shared the vision of making the Middle East a nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons-free zone.

“Perhaps it is time to concede that regardless of our differences, the world is much safer now that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power and can no longer threaten the peace.”

The great hall was silent for a moment. The delegates were too stunned to know how to react.

“Today, however, I would submit that another Middle Eastern country is known to possess weapons of mass destruction. She operates in defiance of multiple U.N. resolutions. She has repeatedly attacked and invaded her neighbors. She has repeatedly violated the human rights of the people entrusted to her care. And she is widely seen as a threat not only to regional peace but to world peace. Regretfully, of course, I speak of the modern State of Israel.”

The General Assembly of the U.N. had never been so utterly silent.

“We must be honest. Only one country in the Middle East refuses to become a signatory to the landmark Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—the State of Israel.

“Moreover, only one country in the Middle East is known to actually possess nuclear warheads—the State of Israel. They are not dreaming of them, designing them, or developing them. Israel has already deployed nearly three hundred nuclear warheads.

“Which begs the question: if the United States was able to persuade this body that Saddam Hussein was a threat worthy of international action, how can we allow a double standard for Israel?

“Some will argue that India, Pakistan, and Cuba have not joined the NPT either. They are right, and this is a great concern of mine. I am determined we can make tremendous progress in these areas if we work together. Indeed, we have already done so.

“I have the great privilege of announcing to you that over the past few days I have been in talks with the Cuban government. I have been able to convince Havana to drop her long-standing concerns, and for the good of the global community and in the interests of world peace, I can now announce that the esteemed president of Cuba will join me immediately following this speech to officially become the NPT’s 188th signatory.”

The General Assembly exploded with a standing ovation.

“And this is just the beginning,” Gogolov continued, raising his hands and asking for everyone to please retake their seats. “I am also pleased to announce that the presidents of India and Pakistan have agreed to a summit in Moscow in January. Together, we will discuss a de-escalation of tensions between the two countries. And it is my personal mission to persuade both India and Pakistan to become members of the global community of NPT signatories within the next twelve to eighteen months.”

This brought the house down—another standing ovation, which lasted for almost four minutes.

And now the Russian shifted gears. “Which brings us back to Israel—a rich country; a powerful country with a strong army, an impressive air force, and the strength of the American superpower at her side. With all these assets, I ask you: why should such a country refuse to sign a treaty aimed solely at making the world a more peaceful and prosperous place for all mankind?

“When the United States went to war in Iraq, she did so, in part, because the regime of Saddam Hussein had defied sixteen U.N. Security Council resolutions. What, then, shall we say of Israel, which has defied ninety-seven such resolutions since 1948?”

Gogolov moved in for the kill.

“Israel has answered decades of U.N. demands with decades of defiance. Are these resolutions to be enforced, or cast aside without consequence?

“Russia helped to give birth to the United Nations. We want the resolutions of the world’s most important multilateral body to be enforced. And right now those resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by Israel.

“If the Israeli regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally foreswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all related material. Further, the Israeli regime must immediately allow IAEA and U.N. inspectors into its nuclear reactor at Dimona as well as all other nuclear, chemical, and biological research facilities.

“Toward this end, this afternoon Russia will introduce U.N. Security Council Resolution 2441, giving the State of Israel thirty days to comply with the steps I have just outlined. If Israel does comply fully, a new era of peace and prosperity will sweep the region, and the world will be more secure.

“But let there be no doubt: if Israel continues to go down the road of defiance, the international community will have no choice but to join together to enforce the U.N. resolutions related to Israel, just as the United States and her allies enforced the U.N. resolutions related to Iraq.”

Bennett watched as Gogolov left the platform.

For a moment an awkward silence filled the great hall, but then the General Assembly erupted in a standing ovation that went on minute after minute. Nearly all the delegates were on their feet, applauding wildly. Then the camera caught the Israeli ambassador storming up the center aisle. As he exited, the view switched to the U.S. ambassador, who sat in stunned disbelief.

Bennett, too, sat motionless. The gauntlet had just been laid down, and Bennett was in shock….

Tracking Netanyahu’s US visit — Full text of Obama & Netanyahu statements now posted.

PM Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, arriving in NYC on Sunday.

PM Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, arriving in NYC on Sunday.

Israeli PM arrives at White House on Monday for 11:15am meeting with the President.

Israeli PM arrives at White House on Monday for 11:15am meeting with the President.

Israeli PM Netanyahu (left) and President Obama speak to the Press in the Oval Office. (photo credit: AP)

Israeli PM Netanyahu (left) and President Obama speak to the Press in the Oval Office. (photo credit: AP)

White House releases photo of handshake. How did the meeting really go?

White House releases photo of handshake. How did the meeting really go?

>> Damascus Countdown novel releases nationwide in paperback.

(Washington, D.C.) — Throughout the next several days, I’ll be Tweeting and blogging about the latest developments. Please check back regularly for updates and analysis.

Also, please pray that the Lord would give great wisdom to Prime Minister Netanyahu and his senior advisors, that they would be like “the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (I Chronicles 12:32)

UPDATES (all times eastern, unless otherwise noted)

4:00pm:

2:30pm:

1:30pm:

  • The White House just released a photo of a firm handshake between President Obama and PM Netanyahu.
  • So far, the optics of the Obama/Netanyahu meeting in the Oval Office look friendly.
  • But what’s being said behind closed doors?
  • Has Netanyahu come with new intelligence to share with the President?
  • Does the PM believe Iran has reached or crossed the “red line”?
  • How close is the PM to making a decision on military strikes?
  • What new developments may the President be sharing with the PM?
  • Does the President have a plan and a timetable for diplomatic talks with Iran?
  • Still waiting for details….developing.

1:20pm:

1:00pm:

First news flashes emerging from Oval Office meeting coming from an Israeli correspondent traveling with the Prime Minister….Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, reports: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the White House for a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday evening, just days after the historic phone call between Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Obama will attempt to utilize the meeting and the press conference afterward to assuage both Netanyahu’s concerns over the ongoing thaw in relations between the U.S. and Iran.”….Live blog by Haaretz (noted in Israeli local time):

  • 7:52 P.M.: Netanyahu: I remain committed to peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • 7:51 P.M.: Netanyahu: Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction, it must be forced to fully dismantle its nuclear program.
  • 7:49: P.M.: Netanyahu: We say in Hebrew the bottom line is important – and the bottom line is that Iran does not get nuclear weapons. Netanyahu also called for strengthening of sanctions and other pressure on Iran.
  • 7:47 P.M.: Obama: Because of the sanctions, Iran is ready to talk and we have to test their willingness in good faith. We won’t take any options off the table including military action to make sure Iran doesn’t get nuclear weapons.
  • 7:44 P.M.: Obama: We agreed it is paramount that Iran doesn’t achieve nuclear weapons.
  • 7:43 P.M.: Obama: We continue to have concerns about Egypt but remain committed to preserve Camp David accords.
  • 7:43 P.M.: Obama: We are pleased we have the possibility to get the chemical weapons out of Syria. We share the need to verify that chemical weapons are removed from Syria.

12:45pm:

  • The President and PM have concluded their morning meeting. They are now making statements to the press in the Oval Office.
  • Media told no questions will be taken.
  • Will post details as they become available…..developing.

10:30am:

  • Netanyahu to extend trip in U.S. an extra day
  • Here’s the latest on the schedule (from the Times of Israel):
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just landed in Washington.
  • He will meet with US President Barack Obama, after which he will have lunch with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden before heading to Foggy Bottom for a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • Netanyahu and Obama are expected to make a statement after their meeting, at about noon, but reporters will not be given the chance to ask questions.
  • Tonight, the prime minister will go back to New York for his speech tomorrow at the United Nations General Assembly, the last by a world leader at the session.
  • UPDATE: Netanyahu has “extended his trip an extra day to conduct interviews with the American press, a possible sign that he is trying to counter Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s charm offensive with one of his own.”

9:25am:

  • New CNN poll finds 75% of Americans support direct negotiations with Iran — “Large majorities in all major demographic categories favor negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program, including 87% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans. This is nothing new for the U.S. public — in 2009, virtually the same number of Americans said they favored negotiations with Iran,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
  • Question: How will US government on the verge of a shutdown affect the Netanyahu visit?

9:15am Monday:

Update: 10:00pm Sunday — Here’s a snapshot of what’s ahead.

  • On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu, his wife Sara, and his senior advisors, arrived in the United States — VIDEO of PM’s arrival, motorcade into NYC.
  • On Sunday, the PM will meet with the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, and John Baird, the Foreign Minister of Canada.
  • On Monday, the PM will meet with President Obama.
  • Later on Monday, the PM will also meet with Vice President Biden at the White House.
  • The focus of these talks will be the Iran nuclear threat, the Rouhani charm offensive, the Syrian crisis, and the next steps in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
  • Monday will mark the last day in office for Michael Oren as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States.
  • On Tuesday, Netanyahu will be the final speaker of the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.
  • Tuesday will mark the first day in office for Ron Dermer, Israel’s new Ambassador to the U.S.

Update: 9:45pm Sunday — LATEST NEWS COVERAGE:

——————————————–

>> I will be speaking at a major conference in New York City this week on the future of Israel. Please join us.

>> Track the latest developments and analysis on Twitter — @JoelCRosenberg.

An historic Christian awakening is under way in Iran. I discuss the inside story in this 20 minute interview with Dr. Hormoz Shariat.

On the set, recording a TV interview with Dr. Hormoz Shariat, "the Billy Graham of Iran."

On the set, recording a TV interview with Dr. Hormoz Shariat, “the Billy Graham of Iran.”

(Washington, D.C.) — An historic spiritual awakening is under way inside Iran.

More Iranians have renounced Islam and come to faith in Jesus Christ in the last three decades, than in the last 14 centuries combined. There is now an estimated one million followers of Christ inside Iran, and there continues to be a great hunger amongst Persian-speaking people to hear and understand God’s Word and the power of the Gospel message.

In recent days, a new TV interview has just been posted online. In the program, Dr. Hormoz Shariat, the foremost Iranian evangelist and Bible teacher in the world, and I discuss the revolutionary movement of the Gospel inside Iran and its implications for the Church.

In this 20 minute interview, we discuss:

  •  how satellite television is enabling Christians to beam the Gospel over the heads of the ayatollahs and mullahs and secret police to the homes of millions of Iranians
  • some of the prophecies concerning the future of Iran
  • why I describe Hormoz as “the Billy Graham of Iran”
  • how you and I and other Christians around the world can make an historic impact for the Gospel on the people of Iran

To watch the interview, please click here.

Also, here’s what Hormoz writes on his new blog  — http://hormozshariat.com/ — which I follow, and would encourage you to follow, as well:

  • I recently had the privilege of sitting down in our studio with my dear friend, Joel Rosenberg.  You may know Joel through his many NY Times bestselling books, his educational and charitable organization, The Joshua Fund, or his blog and Twitter account, both of which I follow and strongly recommend you do as well (https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/  @joelcrosenberg).
  • I know Joel as passionate follower of Jesus Christ, whose heart for the Gospel to be proclaimed and embraced in the Middle East, even in Iran, is unmatched and genuine.
  • During his visit, Joel and I sat down and had a wonderful conversation about the Middle East and specifically his thoughts related to Iran in the Scriptures and the unique role the Lord has in store for this dangerous, beautiful and spiritually open country.

>> Recent blog: Dear President Rouhani, Jesus Christ loves you. But judgment is coming, the Bible warns in Jeremiah 49:34-39. Let me explain.

>> Another resource: What does Bible prophecy say about the future of Iran? Click here to listen to an address I recently delivered to the “Iran Alive Ministries” banquet. This message goes more in-depth in analyzing the prophecies found in Jeremiah 49:34-39.

——————————————–

>> Track the latest developments and analysis on Twitter — @JoelCRosenberg.

I will be speaking at a major conference in New York City this week on the future of Israel. Please join us.

WebSaveTheDate.inddPrime Minister Netanyahu has just arrived in the United States. He will meet with the President and top U.S. leaders in Washington. He will also address the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

Then, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday — October 3rd through the 5th — I am honored to be participating in a major conference in New York City focused on “The People, The Land, and The Future of Israel.”

Some of the leading theologians in the Western world on the subject of Biblical and prophetic Israel will be speaking. Among the questions we will be addressing:

  • What does the Bible teach about the role of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel at the present time?
  • What is God’s plan for the future of Israel and her neighbors?
  • How can believers in Jesus be part of God’s peace process in the Middle East?

I will be speaking several times, including delivering the final message at the close of the conference on Saturday evening. My focus will be understanding current trends in Israel, Iran, Syria, and the Mideast peace process in light of Bible prophecy. The pastor of Calvary Baptist Church has also asked me to preach during their Sunday morning services. There I will be focusing on Israel and key elements of Bible prophecy, as well.

To see the full conference schedule, please click here.

This conference will focus on the Bible’s account of the role of Israel and the Jewish people, both now and in the future. This event will also help you develop a deeper understanding of both current and future events in the Middle East as described in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.

Even if I wasn’t speaking at the conference, I would be attending just to hear the caliber of the scholars who will be presenting. This will not be spiritual snack food. This will be meat and potatoes, genuinely in-depth Biblical teaching hard to find in a single conference.

The occasion is a CPM conference that will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan. If you live anywhere near Manhattan, I hope you will register today and join us. Yet even if you don’t live near New York, I’d strongly encourage you to prayerfully consider attending any way. It is that solid and important.

For more details, please click here.

To register online, please click here.

Palestinian leader Abbas: “Time is running out. Window of peace is narrowing. This appears to be a last chance.”

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas address the UN General Assembly.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas address the UN General Assembly.

(Washington, D.C.) — “Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will result in recognition of Israel from 57 Arab states, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on  Thursday,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Let us envision another future… in which Israel will gain the recognition of 57 Arab and Muslim countries and where the  States of Palestine and Israel will coexist in peace, in order to realize each people’s hopes for progress and prosperity,” he said.

“Abbas spoke at length about the peace process, warning that the window of opportunity for peace is closing,” the Post noted. “Time is running out, and the window of peace is narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing. The current round of negotiations appears to be a last chance to realize a just peace,” he said.

The Post also reported that “Abbas met with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday afternoon following Obama’s speech to the UN, in which the American President also struck a tone of encouragement and renewed optimism in the face of the restarted peace process, and said that the Israel-Palestinian conflict would be one of his top two foreign policy priorities for the remainder of his term.”

Let us be praying for the Palestinian people, their leaders, and for Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They have been through much difficulty over the years. God loves the Palestinian people. Jesus Christ loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. Jesus said, “The thief comes to rob, kill and destroy, but I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Let’s pray for the Lord to show much grace and mercy to the Palestinians. Let’s pray for peace, and hope that time is not running out. Let us pray that Israelis and Palestinians can find a way, by the grace of God, to live in freedom, opportunity, hope and religious liberty. Only the coming of the Prince of Peace will cure all ills. But let’s a pray for a season of rest and quiet and a measure of healing in the meantime.

The following are excerpts from the text of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s September 26, 2013 address to the UN General Assembly, as prepared for delivery (via the Times of Israel)

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, I assured you last year that our quest to raise Palestine’s status does not aim to delegitimize an existing State – Israel, but to consecrate the legitimacy of a State that must exist, which is Palestine. I have also affirmed in front of you that our quest does not aim to affect the peace process, nor is it a substitute for serious negotiations. To the contrary, our quest is supportive of the path of peace and has revived a comatose process. As we have repeatedly affirmed, and as we have proven in practice, the State of Palestine, which abides by the United Nations Charter, by international humanitarian law and by the resolutions of international legitimacy, will exercise its role and uphold its responsibilities in the international system in a positive and constructive manner, and in a way that reinforces peace.

A new round of negotiations began a few weeks ago thanks to the appreciated, tireless efforts of the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, and of the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry. I affirm before you that we have begun these negotiations and that we shall continue them in good faith and with open minds, strong determination and an insistence on success. I assure you that we shall respect all of our commitments and foster the most conducive atmosphere for the continuation of these negotiations in a serious, intensive manner and provide the guarantees for its success, aimed at reaching a peace accord within nine months.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, As we engage in this new round of negotiations, we must recall and remind that we do not start in a vacuum or from point zero, nor are we lost in a labyrinth without a map, nor do we lack a compass so as to lose sight of the finish line and of the destination. The goal of peace that we seek is defined and the objective of these negotiations is clear to all, and the terms of reference, basis and foundations of the peace process and of the agreement we seek are longstanding and are within reach. As for the goal of peace, it is embodied in redressing the historic, unprecedented injustice that has befallen the Palestinian people in Al-Nakba of 1948, and the realization of a just peace, the fruits of which can be enjoyed by the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as by all the peoples of our region.

The objective of the negotiations is to secure a lasting peace accord that leads immediately to the establishment of the independence of a fully sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, so that it may live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and the resolution of the plight of Palestine refugees in a just agreed upon solution, according to United Nations resolution 194, as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative.

Here, we reaffirm that we refuse to enter into a vortex of a new interim agreement that becomes eternalized, or to enter into transitional arrangements that will become a fixed rule rather than an urgent exception. Our objective is to achieve a permanent and comprehensive agreement and a peace treaty between the States of Palestine and Israel that resolves all outstanding issues and answers all questions, which allows us to officially declare an end of conflict and claims.

The terms of reference and parameters of these negotiations, its goals, and the basis of the agreement we seek are found in your historic decision to raise Palestine’s status, as well as in the countless resolutions of this august body and the resolutions of the Security Council, and in those of the Arab League, of the European Union, of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. In fact, over the years, these parameters have come to form an international consensus….

…….Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people were born in Palestine and in exile after the 1948 Al-Nakba. But after the passage of 65 years, they are still its direct victims. Since the start of this year, 27 Palestinian citizens have been killed and 951 have been wounded by the bullets of the occupation, and 5000 fighters for freedom and peace are held captive in occupation prisons. So, does anyone deserve more than the Palestinian people ending this occupation and realizing a just and immediate peace? This year and in the last few years, Palestine refugees continue to pay – despite their neutrality – the price of conflict and instability in our region. Tens of thousands are forced to abandon their camps and to flee in another exodus searching for new places of exile. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to obtain justice, like the rest of the peoples of the world?

Since the beginning of the year, construction continues on thousands of settlement units and construction tenders have been issued for thousands of others on our occupied land, while yet more, large areas of land are expropriated or declared off limits, and 850 homes and structures have been demolished. Palestinians are forbidden from planting their own land and from using the majority of the area of our country. They are prevented from using the water of their own country to irrigate their crops. The wall and checkpoints continue to tear apart the lives of the Palestinian people and to destroy the economy. The siege grows tighter, along with attacks and oppressive discriminating measures against Occupied Jerusalem, its holy places and its citizens. In Gaza, an unjust blockade continues to be imposed on our people. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to gain freedom and independence now? Since the beginning of the year, 708 terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by settlers against our mosques and churches, and against olive trees, farming fields and homes and property of Palestinians. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Palestinian people are the most in need of security?

Is there a nobler mission on the international community’s agenda than realizing just peace in the land of the monotheistic faiths, the nativity of Jesus Christ – peace be upon him, the ascent of the Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him, and the resting place of Abraham, the father of the prophets, peace be upon him?…..

To read the full text of the speech, please click here.

Dear President Rouhani, Jesus Christ loves you. But judgment is coming, the Bible warns in Jeremiah 49:34-39. Let me explain.

God loves you, President Rouhani, but you must repent. Time may be short.

Dear President Rouhani,

While you are here in the United States, I would like to take a moment to share with you two very important truths:

First, the Bible makes clear that God loves all the people of the world, including the people of Iran.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob loves Persians. Jesus Christ loves you. He loves all Muslims. He wants to forgive you and your people and save you and adopt you and your family into His family to be His children and to go to heaven forever and ever.

The Lord Jesus Christ said, “For God so loves the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

Anyone who truly repents and receives Christ by faith as Savior and Lord will be saved. “But as many as received Him [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

This is the Gospel, the good news.

Second, the Bible also warns that judgment is coming to the Iranian regime in the last days.

Speaking of “Elam,” an ancient name for the nation we know today as Iran, the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “That which came as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, I am going to break the bow of Elam, the finest of their might.  I will bring upon Elam the four winds from the four ends of heaven, and will scatter them to all these winds; and there will be no nation to which the outcasts of Elam will not go.  So I will shatter Elam before their enemies and before those who seek their lives; and I will bring calamity upon them, even My fierce anger,” declares the Lord, “And I will send out the sword after them Until I have consumed them. Then I will set My throne in Elam and destroy out of it king and princes,” declares the Lord. But it will come about in the last days that I will restore the fortunes of Elam,” declares the Lord.'” (Jeremiah 49:34-39)

The prophet tells us that there is coming a day when the Lord will have “fierce anger” against “the king and princes” of Iran and “will bring calamity upon them.”

When will this judgment come? I cannot say for certain.

But in the name of Jesus Christ, I urge you to take these and all the Scriptures to heart. I implore you embrace God’s love, repent of your sins, and receive Christ as Savior and Lord by faith.

More Iranians have left Islam and come to faith in Christ since 1979 than at any time in the last 14 centuries. More than one million Iranian Muslims have become Christians in the last three decades.

I pray that you will become one of them. Time may be short. Do not delay.

“Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the Day of Salvation,'” says the Bible. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

I recently gave an address explaining God’s love for the people of Iran, and explaining the prophecy of Jeremiah 49 concerning the people of Elam (Iran). My prayer is that you will take time to listen to it to understand the prophecy and its implications more fully.

My family and I are praying for you, President Rouhani. Many Christians are, as well.

>> What does Bible prophecy say about the future of Iran? Click here to listen to an address I delivered to the “Iran Alive Ministries” banquet.

Rouhani’s 3-part strategy to beguile the world & buy enough time to build a nuclear arsenal.

iran-flag(Washington, D.C.) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is working hard to convince the world his government only desires peace and security and in the Middle East. He’s also working hard to make Israel look and feel more isolated than ever before.

To beguile the world and buy enough time to build Iran’s nuclear weapons arsenal, Rouhani is employing a three-part strategy:

  • First, Rouhani is calling for a lightning round of nuclear negotiations, telling the Washington Post he wants to wrap up a deal with the West to lift the sanctions within three months — this makes him looks reasonable and eager for a deal.
  • Second, Rouhani is trying to turn the tables by demanding Israel sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty “without delay” to create a “nuclear free zone” in the Middle East — this is designed to shift the attention from all the UN Security Council resolutions Iran is defying on the nuclear issue to focusing international attention and pressure on Israel to disclose and dismantle its (alleged) nuclear warhead arsenal, even though Israel has never threatened to wipe Iran “off the map.” (It’s also a strategy ripped right out of my novel, The Ezekiel Option, in which Iran and Russia create an international coalition at the UN to force Israel to disclose and destroy its nuclear weapons or face an international military operation to force Israel to comply).
  • Third, Rouhani is trying to be careful not to look or sound like his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — he is not talking about the coming of the Shia Islamic messiah, the “Twelfth Imam”; he did not pray during his UN speech; he is working hard to make himself and his regime sound friendly, moderate, reasonable, rational.

So far, the Iranian president’s strategy is working like a charm.

Here’s the latest on his new attempt to turn the tables on Israel:

“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced the proliferation, use and stockpiling of nuclear weapons on Thursday, in his first extensive speech on nuclear arms since assuming office,” reported the Jerusalem Post. “Calling for a ‘nuclear-free zone’ in the Middle East, Rouhani said that Israel was the only country in the region that had not yet signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and requested that it do so ‘without delay.'”

“The developed world focuses on preventing states without nuclear weapons from acquiring them, Rouhani said, but the international community should also focus on disarming countries that have stockpiled hundreds or thousands of them since Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” the Post noted. “‘Nonproliferation derives its legitimacy from the larger objective of nuclear disarmament,’ he said, calling for a ‘high-level’ conference within five years geared toward the ‘complete elimination’ of the greatest weapons. In a veiled reference to a Russian-brokered deal that will rid Syria of its massive chemical weapons stockpile, Rouhani said ‘all weapons of mass destruction’ should be eliminated in the Middle East.”

Excerpts from the article:

  • Addressing the General Assembly in his capacity as the head of the Non-Aligned Movement, Rouhani commended the “valuable contribution” of nuclear weapon-free zones to international peace and security. “A peaceful and secure world remains a shared ideal for us all,” he said. “We have an architecture of treaties and norms that aim to achieve this agreed goal, yet thousands of these weapons continue to pose the greatest threat to peace.
  • “Almost four decades of international efforts to establish nuclear weapon-free zones have regrettably failed,” he said. “Urgent, practical steps toward the establishment of such a zone are necessary. The international community has to redouble efforts in support of the establishment of this zone.”
  • Rouhani further said that taking steps to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world “is no substitute for destruction.”
  • “Nuclear weapon states have the primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament,” he said. “Threatening non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons should end. The modernization of these weapons undercuts efforts for their total abolition.”

——————————————–

>> Track the latest developments and analysis on Twitter — @JoelCRosenberg.

Analysis of Rouhani’s UN speech. Plus, why did Iranian leader snub meeting with Obama? And Netanyahu warns U.S. not to fall into Iran’s “honey trap.”

US President Barack Obama, left, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Photo: AFP/REUTERS

US President Barack Obama, left, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Photo: AFP/REUTERS

>> Netanyahu’s official statement, responding to Rouhani’s speech

(Washington, D.C.) — It was an odd day at the United Nations. In some ways, it went as planned. In other ways, not so much.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered his first address before the General Assembly today, and it was just what we had expected. Rouhani did everything he could not to look or sound like his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He sounded like a moderate, he vowed Iran was a peaceful country, he insisted Iran would never build nuclear weapons, he called for economic sanctions to be removed from his country, he seemed to hold out an olive branch to the United States, and he didn’t pray to Allah asking for the Twelfth Imam to come soon and set up an Islamic caliphate.

No big surprise. I had noted that the Iranian “charm offensive” was going to be kicked into high gear, and it was.

What was a surprise was that fact that in recent days the U.S. opened the door for Rouhani to meet briefly with President Obama, yet Rouhani snubbed Mr. Obama. The Iranian leader refused to attend the luncheon that the American leader was attending. This was the very place where the suggested “encounter” between the presidents of the two countries — what would have been the first in decades — was supposed to have taken place. Yet Rouhani did decide to meet and shake hands with French President Francois Hollande.

Why did Rouhani stiff arm Obama in the midst of the “charm offensive”? Perhaps because Rouhani is not actually playing for American sympathy, but that of the rest of the world. Perhaps Rouhani is trying to isolate Obama and make his seem weak and foolish and irrelevant. After all, the Iranian leader made the American President and his political team at the White House and State Department — all tripping over themselves to embrace this new Iranian “moderate” — look ridiculous today. The Obama administration is practically begging Tehran to get cozy and cut a deal. Yet thus far, Rouhani does even want to shake Mr. Obama’s hand, or have his picture taken with the leader of the “Great Satan,” much less cut a real and trustworthy deal to get rid of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his team are warning the White House not to fall into Iran’s “honey trap.”

But no one in the Obama entourage seems to be listening. They seem determined to pursue Iran, even if the centrifuges in Iran keep spinning, Iran keeps gaining enriched uranium, and keeps moving towards not just one nuclear weapon but a whole arsenal.  Indeed, one leading Israeli newspaper made the case that there were so many similarities between the Obama’s speech and Rouhani’s speech that there is likely much more back-channel contact between the two countries than previously reported.

More on all that in a moment.

First, let’s note that the media was full of glowing coverage of Rouhani, the man who presides over the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the entire world.

“In what may have been the most widely awaited speech at the United Nations, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, preached tolerance and understanding on Tuesday, decried as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and said nuclear weapons had no place in its future,” reported the New York Times. “Mr. Rouhani, whose speech followed President Obama’s by more than six hours, also acknowledged Mr. Obama’s outreach to Iran aimed at resolving more than three decades of estrangement and recrimination, and expressed hope that ‘we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences.'”

“But the Iranian leader also asserted that the ‘shortsighted interests of warmongering pressure groups’ in the United States had resulted in an inconsistent American message on the nuclear dispute and other issues,” noted the Times. “Mr. Rouhani restated Iran’s insistence that it would never pursue nuclear weapons in its uranium enrichment program, saying, ‘this will always be the position of Iran.’ But he offered no specific proposals to reach a compromise on the nuclear dispute, which has led to Iran’s severe economic isolation because of Western sanctions that have impaired its oil, banking and manufacturing base. The sanctions, he said, are ‘violent, pure and simple.'”

>> Full text of Hasan Rouhani’s speech at the UN

“The speech by Mr. Rouhani, a moderate cleric who is close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appeared partly aimed at his own domestic audience and was his most prominent opportunity to explain his views, following his election in June,” the Times stated, noting that Mr. Rouhani’s “ascent came after eight years of pugnacious saber-rattling by his hard-line predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who regularly railed against the United States and Israel, questioned the Holocaust and provoked annual walkouts by diplomats at his General Assembly speeches. There was no such mass walkout this time. ‘We believe there are no violent solutions to world crises,’ Mr. Rouhani said. Mr. Rouhani’s visit to the United Nations has been widely anticipated for any signs of the moderation and pragmatism that he said his administration was bringing to Iran. But his speech still provoked skepticism and criticism.”

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s speech to the UN General Assembly Tuesday, calling it ‘cynical and full of hypocrisy,'” noted the Times of Israel. “He said he was vindicated in ordering the members of Israel’s UN delegation not to be in the hall when Rouhani spoke, since their presence ‘would have given legitimacy to a regime that does not accept that the Holocaust happened and publicly declares its desire to wipe Israel off the map.’ As Israel’s prime minister, he said, ‘I won’t allow the Israeli delegation to be part of a cynical public relations charade by a regime that denies that Holocaust and calls for our destruction.'”

“Rouhani, said Netanyahu, ‘spoke about human rights at a time when Iranian forces are participating in the slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria. He condemned terrorism at a time when the Iranian regime carries out terrorism in dozens of countries worldwide,” the Times noted. “‘He spoke of a peaceful nuclear program at a time when the IAEA has established that the [Iranian] program has military characteristics, and when it’s plain to all that one of the world’s most oil-rich nations is not investing a fortune in ballistic missiles and underground nuclear facilities in order to produce electricity.’ Netanyahu, who had earlier Tuesday urged the world not to be ‘fooled’ by Iran’s new moderate rhetoric, said that it was no coincidence that Rouhani’s speech featured ‘no realistic offer to halt Iran’s nuclear program and contained no commitment to uphold the [relevant] UN Security Council resolutions.’ This, the prime minister said, precisely reflected Iran’s plan: ‘To talk, and buy time, in order to advance Iran’s capacity to attain nuclear weapons.’ Rouhani was a past master of such tactics, said Netanyahu, recalling that the new president ‘has boasted about the way in which he misled the world a decade ago [as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator], when Iran was negotiating while simultaneously advancing its nuclear program.’ The international community, Netanyahu said, ‘must judge Iran by its actions, not its words.'”

That said, a front-page analysis by a leading Israeli newspaper suggested that Presidents Obama and Rouhani’s speeches were so choreographed as to strongly indicate significant back-channel discussions have been underway for quite some time between the U.S. and Iran.

“Take away the boasting and the bluster and what you have is this: U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rohani have presented a nearly-identical two-point plan aimed at resolving the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program,” notes Chemi Shalev, a reporter and analyst for Haaretz, a prominent and well-respected Israeli daily newspaper. “If you are a suspicious type, there is no way that you are going to ascribe this to coincidence. It is, in effect, a declaration of principles for any future accord on Tehran’s nuclear program.”

“The trade-off, which can be dubbed a ‘peace for rights’ formula, is almost certainly the result of hitherto unknown backdoor coordination between the two countries,” asserts Shalev. “It includes US recognition of an inherent Iranian “right” to nuclear energy in exchange for Iranian willingness to ‘prove’ that its nuclear program is meant for peaceful purposes only. Obama actually said as much in his speech: ‘These statements made by our respective governments should offer the basis for a meaningful agreement.’ He then went on to keep the American side of the bargain by declaring: ‘We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people while giving the world confidence that the Iranian program is peaceful.'”

“Rohani was even more explicit,” Shalev notes, “speaking of ‘two inseparable parts of a political solution for the nuclear dossier of Iran.’ The transcript of his speech actually highlights the two elements of the equation and presents them in bullet form. The first part includes Rohani’s declaration of Iran’s peaceful intentions but also his offer, in the name of ‘national interests,’ to ‘remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.’ The second objective, he said, is ‘acceptance of and respect for the implementation of the right to enrichment inside Iran and enjoyment of other related nuclear rights.’ In order to achieve these two goals, Rohani added that Iran ‘is prepared to engage immediately in time bound and result-oriented talks to build mutual confidence and removal of mutual uncertainties will full transparency.'”

Was the Holocaust a myth? Iranian President Rouhani refuses to answer the question. Oh, wait. That was last week’s strategy. Now he has a new and improved approach.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani being interviewed by Ann Curry of NBC News.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani being interviewed by Ann Curry of NBC News.

UPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — Brace yourself. The Iranian “charm offensive” is about to go into overdrive.

Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has arrived in New York City for meetings at the United Nations, and he is doing everything he can to convince U.S. and Western leaders that he comes in the name of peace, even as the centrifuges keep spinning, Tehran keeps enriching uranium, and the mullahs keep moving closer to an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Yet in recent days, Rouhani has made an important mistake. He was interviewed by NBC News and asked if he agrees with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust is a “myth.” Yet Rouhani dodged the answer. He couldn’t say no. He couldn’t part company with his Radical predecessor. He couldn’t admit what all the world knows, that the Nazi regime in German in the 1940s systematically murdered six million Jews, including 1.5 million Jewish children.

Well, Rouhani could have, but he didn’t. Rather, he dodged the question like the wolf in sheep’s clothing that he really is.

“I’m not a historian,” Rouhani replied. “I’m a politician.”

“If you watched the portion of Ann Curry’s interview with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that aired last night during NBC Nightly News, you may have come away with the image of a reformer who wants to work with President Obama and vows never to build nuclear weapons,” reports the website, Mediaite. “But a slightly different picture emerged in remarks shown this morning on the Today Show. Curry asked Rouhani point blank about comments his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made in the past about the Holocaust being a ‘myth.’ She asked Rouhani, ‘Do you agree?’ The answer he gave may not exactly be comforting to Jewish people in America, Israel or anywhere else in the world. ‘I’m not a historian,’ Rouhani began. ‘I’m a politician. What is important for us is that the countries of the region, and the people, grow closer to each other and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice.'”

“Curry did not press Rouhani for a firmer answer on that question, but rather went on to ask if he, like Ahmadinejad, wants to ‘wipe Israel off the map,'” Mediaite noted. “Again his answer avoided specifics in favor of generalities. ‘We do not seek war with any country,’ Rouhani responded. ‘We seek seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region.’ He took a similar tack when Curry asked about Iranian access to websites like Twitter and Facebook. Rouhani did not say specifically whether his government would remove its censorship, but rather that ‘people must have full access to all information world wide.’ Before signing off, Curry told Today’s Savannah Guthrie that Rouhani’s ‘non-answer’ about the Holocaust ‘will likely raise a lot of eyebrows.'”

As I’ve reported before (see here, here, and here), Rouhani is no moderate. He is a dangerous man trying to buy time for Iran to build not just one nuclear warhead, but an entire arsenal. He and his regime must be stopped before it is too late.

UPDATE: Dodging the Holocaust question was last week’s strategy, apparently. This week is different. Now Rouhani finds the whole Holocaust business “reprehensible.”

“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the Nazis committed a ‘reprehensible’ crime against the Jewish people, when he was asked in a television interview whether he accepted that the Holocaust occurred,” Reuters reported. “Unlike his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani said he does not deny that the Holocaust has happened. ‘I am not a historian and when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust it is the historians that should reflect,’ Rouhani told with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during a visit to New York where he spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. ‘But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created towards the Jews, is reprehensible and condemnable,’ he said, according to CNN’s translation of his comments. ‘Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews we condemn,’ Rouhani told CNN. ‘The taking of human life is contemptible. It makes no difference if that life is Jewish life, Christian or Muslim. For us it is the same.’ But Rouhani went on to take a swipe against Iran’s archfoe Israel, which was founded after World War Two as a Jewish state in part of what had been British-mandate Palestine. ‘This does not mean that on the other hand you can say “Nazis committed crimes against a group, now therefore they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it,”‘ he said. ‘This too is an act that should be condemned. There should be an evenhanded discussion.'”

Sneak preview: Here are snippets of what Netanyahu will say to U.N. Fear in Jerusalem: Israel will emerge more isolated than ever in Iran showdown.

Netanyahu-KnessetchamberUPDATE: PM instructs Israel’s UN delegation to walk out for Rouhani speech — After Obama agrees to ‘test’ diplomatic path to solving nuke crisis, Netanyahu says he ‘won’t be fooled’ by Tehran’s smokescreen ‘and the world shouldn’t be fooled either’

“Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to warn the international community to learn from its mistakes with North Korea and not to be fooled by Iran’s new conciliatory attitude toward its nuclear weapons program, when he speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, October 1,” reports the Jerusalem Post.

“Netanyahu will be the last of the world leaders to address the assembly’s opening session,” the Post noted. “He will speak one week after Obama and Rouhani.”

“Iran must not be allowed to repeat North Korea’s ploy to get nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu is expected to say, according to an Israeli official who provided The Jerusalem Post on Monday with some of the quotes from the most recent draft of the prime minister’s UN speech for next week.

Excerpts from Post article:

  • By 2007 North Korea had become a nuclear power after engaging in diplomatic negotiations with the West aimed at preventing it from developing such weapons.
  • Netanyahu is expected to tell the UN that “just like North Korea before it, Iran professes to seemingly peaceful intentions. It talks the talk of nonproliferation while seeking to ease sanctions and buy more time for its nuclear program.”
  • Last year Netanyahu made headlines at the UN when he held up a diagram of a bomb and drew a red line to illustrate the point at which force should be used instead of diplomacy to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
  • His speech this year comes as diplomatic hostilities appear to have lessened between the US and Iran.
  • Washington has been a stanch ally of Israel in its battle to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
  • But US President Barack Obama in the past week displayed a new sense of optimism that a diplomatic solution can be found, now that there is a new administration in Tehran.
  • It was expected on Monday that US Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Jayad Zarif later in the week. It is the first such high level meeting between the US and Iran since 1979.
  • On Monday, the EU announced that Zarif would join the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany later this week to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program.
  • But Netanyahu next week is likely to warn the UN that “a bad agreement is worse than no agreement at all.”
  • Israel believes that US optimism is premature and that Iran should be judged on its deeds, not words. Netanyahu has said that the Iranian threat will be halted only once Tehran has agreed to halt uranium enrichment and remove that material from its country. It must also dismantle its nuclear facility in Qom and stop building a nuclear reactor at Arak.

ARTICLES WORTH TRACKING: