(Central Israel) — With U.S.-Israeli relations at arguably their lowest point in history, Russia’s ties with Iran are suddenly growing much closer.
Vladimir Putin on Monday “cleared the way for the delivery of sophisticated air defense systems to Iran,” and Iranian officials say the S-300 missile system could be “delivered his year.”
This raises the disturbing question of whether the near-term deployment of an advanced Russian air defense system around Iran’s most sensitive nuclear sites — combined with growing concerns by numerous experts that the nuclear deal set on the table by President Obama and the P5+1 will put Iran on the legal path to building nuclear weapons in the not-too-distant-future — could actually make war in the near term more likely, rather than less.
Is this the case? Let’s hope not.
None of us wants to see a war between Iran and Israel (or the U.S. and Iran) unless absolutely necessary and only as a last possible resort. I certainly don’t. Indeed, I wrote a trilogy of novels about an American President pressuring an Israeli Prime Minister not to launch a preemptive strike on Iran, only to have Israel do it any way, with grave and unexpected consequences (see The Twelfth Imam, The Tehran Initiative and Damascus Countdown).
Still, a number of experts in the region are suggesting war in the epicenter is suddenly becoming more likely. Consider the following articles:
- Washington Post op-ed (written by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon): “Current Iran framework will make war more likely.”
- Time magazine column: “Obama’s Nuclear Deal Could Mean War.”
- Los Angeles Times: Israelis warn of increased risk of “horrific war.”
- Channel 7 news Israel: Israel Should ‘Seriously Consider’ Striking Iran, Expert Says
- CBN News: Egyptian Host to Israel: ‘Put Trust in God and Bomb Iran’
- New York Post: Why Obama’s Iran deal is a path to war
That said, I’m not worried. There’s reason for concern, but not fear. The negotiating process is still underway. Nothing final has been decided. And the God of the Bible remains sovereign and in control.
Still, we are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and now is a very good time to be faithful to that command. We are also commanded to love Israel as well as her neighbors and her enemies. We are commanded to strengthen our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters in the region, and strengthen and encourage the Church, and work together in love and unity to communicate the Good News of God’s love and mercy to all the people of the region. What’s more, we are to obey these commands with the hope we have in the Lord Jesus Christ who died, rose again and is coming back to reign from Jerusalem. Now is a very good time to be faithful to all these commands and the whole counsel of God in the Bible, as well.
I write these updates not to alarm you but to educate you and ultimately to encourage you. We are seeing Bible prophecies come to pass. We’re also seeing the possibility of other prophecies to be fulfilled in the near future (i.e., the “War of Gog and Magog” described in Ezekiel 38-39; the destruction of Damascus as foretold in Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49; the judgment and revival of Iran foretold in Jeremiah 49; etc). Let us, therefore, live faithfully for the Lord in light of such Scriptures and geopolitical developments.
The following are excerpts from the Los Angeles Times article on the Russian-Iranian deal:
- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday cleared the way for delivery of sophisticated air defense systems to Iran with a decree that U.S. officials warned could disrupt the emerging deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
- Kremlin officials cited the April 2 framework agreement between Iran and six world powers that is expected to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons as grounds for proceeding with delivery of the S-300 missile systems, which could give Russia a jump on others in resuming trade with the long-isolated Islamic Republic….
- It was unclear whether Moscow was prepared to ship the missile systems any time soon, or what specific antiaircraft batteries might be involved. The S-300 has been out of production for five years, and the Russian output until 2010 involved an array of ranges and capabilities, analysts said, leaving it unclear whether Tehran could deter the kind of airstrikes that Israel has threatened if the nuclear deal falters and weapons production is suspected.
- Still, a senior Israeli official condemned the Russian announcement.
- This is a direct result of the legitimacy that Iran is obtaining from the deal being woven with it, and it is proof that the economic momentum in Iran that will come after the lifting of the sanctions will be exploited for arming and not for the welfare of the Iranian people,” Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement.
- Tehran’s order for the S-300s was held up by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, which banned supply to Iran of conventional weapons including missiles, tanks, attack helicopters, warplanes and ships.
- Putin’s decree, which took immediate effect with his signature, ended Moscow’s self-imposed restrictions on transport of the S-300 systems worth a total of $800 million, the Kremlin website said.
- By offering to resume arms sales to Iran, Putin has potentially positioned Russia for a head start over other nations in restoring trade links with Tehran. A deputy foreign minister recently told Russian lawmakers that an oil-for-goods barter deal with Iran also was in the works as a result of the perceived easing of the nuclear standoff between Tehran and the West.
- Special “Third Target” simulcast event for churches, small groups Bible studies and individuals set for Sunday, April 19th. Register today.
- I’m excited to announce The Joshua Fund’s 2015 “Prayer & Vision Tour of the Holy Land.” Come visit Israel & Jordan and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Here are the details.
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