Following a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency released in November, it is now widely accepted that before the end of 2012 Iran will be in possession of nuclear weapons. In each of the years 1997, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2011 we were warned that the point of no return had been reached with regard to a nuclear armed Iran.

This time the threat appears more real although some believe that it will take 3 or 4 years before they have refined the weapon to the point where it can be launched at the end of a missile.

The Government of Israel has on a number of occasions said that if the world will not respond to the threat of a nuclear armed Iran then they will be forced to act on their own. According to, last autumn the USA released 55 bunker buster bombs to Israel. These laser guided 2000 lb bombs could be used against Iranian underground facilities. Even with these weapons many doubt that Israel has the military capability to do any more than delay the Iranian nuclear programme.

The USA in an attempt to ensure that Israel does not act alone has said that they will act if certain red lines are crossed. What those red lines are has not been made public.

To steer Iran away from the creation of a bomb the West has threatened sanctions. The main sanction proposed is an oil embargo. But most Iranian oil goes to China and India not the USA and Europe. Anything done by the West which causes a disruption of oil supplies to China will bring that nation into the conflict. China has pledged to aid Iran in the event of war.

In response to threatened sanctions Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned that, “If sanctions are adopted against Iranian oil, not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” Most of the crude oil from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, UAE and Kuwait passes through the Straits, as well as all the liquefied gas from Qatar. On the 27th December, as part of a naval exercise, Iranian planes dropped mines into the Persian Gulf. Later Iran claimed that it was part of a mock exercise for closing the straits.

A major disruption of oils supplies which forced up the price of crude oil would be devastating for the economies of Europe and the US which are already reeling under the burden of mountains of debt. It could be the event which pushes the West over the brink of total economic collapse. It is said that Iran recognises due to the pressures of potential economic collapse the West can’t contemplate even a limited war.

Rationalists argue that Iran will think hard before closing the Strait of Hormuz as that would do serious damage to their own economy. The Iranian leadership is not viewing the world from a western rationalist perspective. Theirs is a religious frame of mind which sees a time of chaos as a necessary precursor to the return of the Mahdi.

Many Christians also believe that a time of international chaos will precede the rise of the man of lawlessness [2 Thessalonians 2: 3]. But there the comparison ends. Extreme Islam believes that this Mahdi will be the saviour of the world. He will usher in an age of peace as all peoples will accept the god of Islam. Christians believe that the man of lawlessness will be a cruel dictator and enemy of those who trust in Christ.

We do not know the future or how close we are to the return of Christ. But we live in a world which could be plunged at any time in to chaos. It is time to be among those who know their God and are able to stand firm in their faith.