Iran is at a crossroads. America is ignoring it. Germany isn’t.
In the broad scheme, Iran’s star is rising. It is ready to seize the advantage from a fading United States in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, it has effectively neutralized the long-standing threat from the U.S. It has prepared its terrorist proxies in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for a future attack on Israel. It is about to go nuclear. Many long-held dreams of Iran’s radicals appear about to come true.
And yet, trouble stirs at home. Cracks in the ayatollah’s power have appeared. After allegations of fraud sullied last month’s presidential election, the streets filled with angry protest. The government cracked down; the unrest mostly dispersed. But last Friday, Iran’s biggest group of clerics defied the ayatollah and declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory illegitimate. “It’s a clerical mutiny,” an Iranian analyst told the London Times. “This is the first time ever you have all these big clerics openly challenging the leader’s decision” (emphasis mine).
Could it be that Iran is on the verge of a transformation? What is going on here?
As we have pointed out, it is erroneous to view these events as a battle between conservative and liberal camps within Iran. Rather, we are witnessing a power struggle between rival conservative factions, both hungering for the same goal: nuclear-armed domination of a Jew-free Middle East en route to broader, global ambitions. The two sides only disagree on how to go about it.
Still, a canny enemy of Iran may view these events as an opportunity. The regime faces opposition. There is murmuring in the camp. On the street are some—perhaps many—who seek genuine liberalization and are willing to fight for it. Maybe these rifts could be exploited, pried apart, in order to rock the establishment—if not to overthrow the regime, then at least to delay or perhaps even halt Iran’s otherwise relentless drive toward achieving its nefarious goals.
That the U.S. is not that canny enemy has become patently clear. The Obama administration has no intention of rocking the Iranian establishment. President Obama wants to work with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. Formal recognition of Iran’s theocracy is a cornerstone of his foreign policy. Thus, he says preventing a nuclear Iran has “gotten more difficult” because of the popular challenge to the regime.
Radical Iran needs to be dealt with: Its nuclear program must be stopped; its support for terrorism must end. Now appears to be an unusually plum opportunity to take action that could help stabilize the entire Middle East for years to come. (Even Saudi Arabia is apparently giving its blessing to anyone inclined to knock out Iran’s nuclear sites.)
Yet remarkably, the U.S.—which is not only Iran’s number-one enemy but also still presumably the mightiest nation on Earth by several measures—has completely removed itself from contention in terms of making that happen.
The realization that America is out of the picture puts other nations in an intriguing position. Outside of Israel—which now unenviably must face the Iranian threat without its staunchest ally—the most crucial of these nations to watch is Germany.
With America paralyzed, Germany is realizing that if anything is going to be done about Iran, it will have to do it.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has sternly condemned Iranian leaders for their crackdown against election protests. She openly demanded a vote recount and warned that Germany would “not forget” the mullahs’ brutality against their own citizens. Germany’s human rights commissioner published an op-ed article saying that Germany should “openly encourage those who are calling for an end to the Islamic Republic.” Germany’s parliament is filling with calls for more confrontation with Iran. Bundestag member Philipp Missfelder proposed reducing Germany’s economic ties with Iran in order to “make our own contribution to destabilizing the Ahmadinejad regime.”
Hundreds of German companies in Iran are freezing operations there or have pulled out altogether. Some are going much further: proactively working to foment the political tension. “German organizations are trying to escalate the internal power struggles in Iran,” reported German-Foreign-Policy.com (June 22). Deutsche Welle has broadcasted Farsi-language encouragement to protesters. Politically affiliated foundations are offering to partner with those challenging the regime. Apparently these seditious activities were actually going on for months preceding the election.
The ayatollah and his agents are incensed. “The Iranians are rejecting this interference and threatening to break diplomatic relations with Berlin. Still, German organizations close to the government are continuing unabated their activities, fanning domestic protests in Iran” (ibid.).
With these bold moves, Germany is clearly taking the lead in the EU’s response against Iran. “European Union ministers may be ready to push for tougher sanctions against Iran after Germany has shown growing willingness to take a harder line,” wrote the London Times.
Yes, of all nations to seize the opportunity to undermine Iran, it is Germany that is taking advantage. Many say its brash meddling in Iranian politics will actually backfire against the Iranian dissidents, for whom any association with the West is essentially a death sentence. “Interference by the West would be extremely harmful to the movement,” said Iran expert Bahman Nirumand. The movement “would be immediately accused of being guided by the West and its leaders branded as collaborators.” Berlin doesn’t seem to care.
After years of Iranian provocations, Germany is beginning to push back. America’s disappearing act on Iran is accelerating the trend.
Germany is deeply interested in expanding its influence in the Middle East. The fact that Iran—the most dominant and prickly power in the region—is its biggest obstacle is very plain. Germany’s appetite for a confrontation appears to be growing. (Read “Look Who’s Getting Tougher With Iran” from earlier this year.)
At the same time, the fact that Iran’s supreme leader is vulnerable right now means that he is also dangerous. Challenges to his absolute authority undermine the very nature of the Islamic Republic. He could well take more extreme and brutal measures to reestablish his authority and demonstrate his power. The weapons in his arsenal include the Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, operatives in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, and many more terrorist sleeper cells around the world.
Watch Iran and Germany closely. Tension is clearly growing and could be approaching an explosive climax.
What makes this situation so important is the fact that the Bible specifically prophesied a spectacular clash between these two nations—a clash that would spark a world war!
The Prophet Daniel wrote, “And at the time of the end [the time just ahead of us] shall the king of the south [an Iranian-led, radical Middle Eastern power] push at him: and the king of the north [a German-led European power] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown …” (Daniel 11:40-41).
That we are witnessing a German-led Europe getting agitated by and taking steps to confront Iran suggests just how soon we will see the fulfillment of Daniel’s end-time prophecy! •