Critical: nuclear talks need prayer

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Iran’s talks with the West over the country’s nuclear programme are at a critical stage. Both sides are saying there is real hope that the comprehensive agreement can happen; however the diplomats admit there are serious gaps, and there have been hints that the talks might over-extend the November 24th deadline that both sides set earlier in the year.

In theory there should be a breakthrough: a deal is in everyone’s interest. Iran needs the crippling economic sanctions to be lifted; the West absolutely does not need another volcano of violence and mayhem in the Middle East; indeed Iran’s cooperation is vital in the fight against the Islamic State.

A breakthrough is certainly in the church’s interest. A deal will give the pragmatists and reformers more influence to bring the judiciary under the rule of law. This could slow down the many attacks on innocent Christians that are carried out in the interests of ‘national security’.

There is though no guarantee that the breakthrough will happen. Both Washington and Tehran have serious concerns about the other’s motives. These cannot be wished away.

But behind the scenes prayer can make a vital difference. Christians have a Biblical right to intercede for peace (1 Timothy 2:2). From the human point of view this means praying for the talks to succeed – that the West and Israel have complete assurance that Iran cannot build a bomb.

Pray for

  • A wise deal that makes the Middle East more stable
  • The senior diplomats: Mohammad Javad Zarif (for Iran) and Catherine Ashton (for the West)
  • The political leaders – Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and President Obama