Nicaragua strengthens Iran ties, defying US

Nicaragua strengthens Iran ties

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (Photo: Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äussere)

PRAYER ALERT on Nicaragua strengthens Iran ties. On July 22, as US-Iran hostilities increase, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif visited Nicaragua.   Both Zarif and President Daniel Ortega denounced the US sanctions that the two countries are suffering.  Zarif called the US sanctions “economic terrorism.” Ortega decried them as “unilateral and illegal” and contrary to “the framework of international law.”

The US has intensified sanctions against Iran since the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal last year. President Donald Trump called the “terrible deal” a cover for Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons development. On July 1 Iran announced it was further violating the deal—still upheld by European nations—by enriching uranium beyond the deal’s limits.

Recently incidents in the Gulf of Oman brought the US and Iran closer to direct armed conflict. In May the US blamed Iran for attacking four oil tankers operated by US allies. Trump threatened that a conflict would mean ”the official end of Iran.” Zarif replied that his “genocidal taunts” could not “end Iran”. The US sent aircraft carriers and an amphibious ship capable of assault to the region.

Strike halted at last moment

In June, further Iranian attacks on two oil tankers preceded Iran’s downing of a US drone. Trump halted a retaliatory strike already in progress. But he deployed fighter jets to nearby Qatar. Also, Trump imposed further crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

In Nicaragua, as an example of overcoming US sanctions, Zarif stressed the ways in which Iran and Nicaragua were cooperating. Specifically, they were doing business together in energy, industry, finance and and agriculture. But former Nicaraguan diplomat Julio Icaza Gallard called the revenues from that relationship “very poor”. Gallard says that Ortega only means to send a message that “the enemies of my enemies are my friends.”  

40th anniversary of Sandinista revolution

Presently Ortega is overseeing celebrations of the fortieth anniversary of his Sandinista revolution’s toppling of the dictator Anastacio Somoza. But many Nicaraguans call Ortega another dictator, who is using militias to clamp down on human rights, freedom of the press, and the Catholic Church. Efforts to topple Ortega that began in April 2018 now persist. The US opposed Ortega 40 years ago, and continue to oppose him today.

Nicaragua, as well as Venezuela, is following Cuba in defying the US while making cause with its enemies, such as Iran and Russia. Neither of those three socialistic neighbors on the Caribbean have the power to challenge the US. But they could host enemy weapons, as Venezuela is already doing. We must pray that God will defuse these conflicts.

PRAY FOR GOD TO:

1.    Move on the Iranian regime to abandon its nuclear weapons program and instead prosper as a trading partner. Also, to allow more freedom of religion so that the current revival in Iran may thrive.

2.    Turn the course of Nicaragua from authoritarianism to human rights and liberty. Also to end its repression of dissidents, who are finding shelter in the Catholic Church.  

3.    Prevent Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba from becoming conduits of terrorism and foreign military intervention in the Western Hemisphere.

DailyInsight. The stronger the enemy, the stronger the anointing available to defeat him (see 1 John 4:4).

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