Ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has been the world’s number one supporter of terrorism. Whether it’s Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, or the Houthis in Yemen, the money trail always seems to go back to Iran. In Iran’s political rallies it has become common to hear, “Death to the little Satan (Israel) and death to the big Satan (the United States).”
When it became obvious Iran was moving toward obtaining a nuclear weapon, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China—plus Germany, referred to as the P5+1, and Iran reached the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Under JCPOA, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. The agreement provided that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran would receive relief from U.S., European Union and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related sanctions.
When JCPOA was enacted and the sanctions lifted, money began to flow once again into Iran’s coffers. Before long, Iran was again funding terrorism around the globe.
Trump Withdraws from JCPOA
In May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the Iranian nuclear deal and in November he reinstated economic sanctions targeting both Iran and states that trade with it. Trump mandated that nations and businesses who traded with Iran could not trade with the United States. Since the U.S. economy is 50 times that of Iran, most nations chose to forsake Iran so they could maintain ties with America.
President Trump had put the Iranian government in an economic headlock. The economy of Iran was soon spiraling downward. The religious leaders of Iran would have to submit to negotiation with the United States, face possible regime change, or begin to wage war against America and its allies.
Iranian-American Tensions Escalate
On June 20, Iran shot down a U.S. military drone claiming it had violated Iranian airspace. The U.S. confirmed a drone had been shot down but said the incident had occurred in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. President Trump ordered an airstrike in retaliation but countermanded the order at the last minute when told the action would result in up to 120 Iranian deaths.
Great Britain Seizes Grace 1
On July 4, 2019 British marines seized the Iranian vessel Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar. The British claimed the ship was carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Iran denied the ship was going to Syria but to another country, which Iran has not been willing to disclose. Iran claims the seizure was done in cooperation with America’s boycott against Iran.
In the meantime, the U.S. has been calling on Iran to release a Panamanian-flagged tanker and 12 of its crew, which was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on July 14, claiming the vessel had been smuggling fuel.
Then on Thursday July 18, President Donald Trump said a U.S. warship, the USS Boxer had destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. said the drone came too close to its ship and after several unheeded warnings to turn away, was shot down. Iran has denied losing a drone.
Iran Seizes British Ship
On July 19, Iran seized a British ship the Stena Impero along with 23 crew members as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz. The action was seen as retaliation for the seizure and continued holding of Grace 1 with its cargo of up to 2.1 million barrels of oil.
America Sends Troops to Saudi Arabia
In response to increased tensions with Iran, the United States is sending 500 soldiers to Saudi Arabia. It is understood these troops will man the Patriot air defense missile batteries that have been deployed at the Prince Sultan Base.
The Prophesied Euphrates River War
As we watch tensions escalating in Iran, we are reminded that Revelation 9:13-16 prophesies a war which will begin from the Euphrates River area. The war will spin out of control killing one-third of mankind. The Euphrates River forms the border between Iraq and Iran before emptying into the Persian Gulf.
Could we be on the brink of the Sixth Trumpet War?