The World and Everything in It: September 14, 2022

MARY REICAHRD, HOST: Good morning!

The Biden administration wants to revive the nuclear deal with Iran. But some who once supported it are now sounding the alarm.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also today, WORLD Tour.

Plus, quitting seminary to serve God.

And WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on the ties that bind.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, September 14th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Time now for news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Ukraine » In eastern Ukraine …

AUDIO:  [War]

Many Russian troops are on the run as Ukrainian forces advance.

The counteroffensive has produced major gains and dealt a stunning blow to Moscow’s military prestige.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday …

KIRBY: Clearly there’s a sense of momentum here by the Ukrainian armed forces. And so what we’re going to do is continue to support them as best we can.

Ukraine’s border guard services said the army took control of Vovchansk — a town just 2 miles from Russia. It was seized on the first day of the war.

Ukrainian officials released footage showing their forces burning Russian flags and inspecting abandoned, charred tanks.

Inflation » Lower gas costs slowed U.S. inflation for a second straight month in August, but most other prices kept rising. PNC Bank senior economist Kurt Rankin said that includes housing.

RANKIN: Not just the price of houses but services to maintain a home, utilities, appliances, basically the cost of home ownership.

Consumer prices rose 8.3% from a year earlier and 0.1% from July.

But the jump in “core” prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, was especially worrisome.

It was worse than expected and ignited fear that the Federal Reserve will have to boost interest rates more aggressively, raising the risk of a sharp economic downturn.

Railroad labor dispute » And with inflation still historically high, the White House says it would be extremely bad timing for a railroad strike.

The Biden administration and business groups are pressuring freight railroads and their unions to settle a contract dispute before Friday’s looming strike deadline.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre …

PIERRE: A shutdown would have a tremendous impact on our supply chains, ripple effects into our overall economy, on American families. A shutdown is not acceptable.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says halting rail deliveries of U..S goods right now would be a—quote—“economic disaster.”

The White House says President Biden and members of his cabinet were in touch with the unions and railroads this week as part of their efforts to avoid a strike.

The Association of American Railroads trade group estimated that shutting down the railroads would cost the economy $2 billion a day.

King Charles N. Ireland » In Belfast on Tuesday …

AUDIO: [Gun salute]

A gun salute to the newly crowned King Charles III.

AUDIO: [Gun salute]

His visit to Northern Ireland was the second stop on his tour of the UK.

A crowd gathered outside Hillsborough Castle to greet King Charles and the queen consort.

Queen’s coffin arrives in London » Meantime, a hearse carrying Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin made its way slowly through the drizzly streets of London. Large windows in the specially outfitted vehicle displayed the coffin, covered with a wreath and a royal flag.

Londoners lined the streets to catch a glimpse.

And outside Buckingham Palace…

AUDIO: [Crowd]

A crowd greeted its arrival.

The coffin remained at the palace overnight. Today, a procession will transport it to the Palace of Westminster where the queen will lie in state beginning this afternoon.

Twitter whistleblower » On Capitol Hill Tuesday, Twitter’s former head of security turned whistleblower told a Senate panel …

ZATKO: Twitter leadership is misleading the public, lawmakers, regulators, and even its own board of directors.

Peter Zatko charged that his former employer is not telling the truth about its cybersecurity weaknesses, among other things.

Zatko likened Twitter’s cyber-defenses to an unlocked door and said the company’s put users’ data at risk.

He told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Twitter ignored warnings from its engineers …

ZATKO: Because key parts of leadership lacked the competency to understand the problem, but more importantly, their executive incentives led them to prioritize profits over security.

He also charged that Twitter had intelligence agents from China and India on its payroll.

Twitter fired Zatko months ago and has disputed his allegations.

Separately on Tuesday, Twitter shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the sale of the company to billionaire Elon Musk, though Musk is currently trying to back out of that deal.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: The latest on efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal.

Plus, serving God in ordinary ways.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s September 14th, 2022 and we’re glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s Washington Wednesday.

At the White House, reviving the Iran nuclear deal remains a top priority.

But Republicans as well as the prime minister of Israel continue to warn against it.

President Biden and European partners in the original 2015 deal say it was a mistake for President Trump to withdraw from that agreement.

REICHARD: Yet European leaders have also begun to doubt that Iran is negotiating in good faith.

Leaders in Tehran are now demanding that the UN drop its probe into several nuclear sites.

And both Secretary of State Tony Blinken and the foreign policy chief of the European Union say they’re now less confident that efforts to revive the deal will succeed.

EICHER: Joining us now is Andrea Stricker. She is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. She’s also co-author of multiple books on nuclear weapons programs.

REICHARD: Andrea, good morning!

ANDREA STRICKLER, GUEST: Good morning. Thanks so much for having me.

REICHARD: Glad to have you. First of all, how close is Iran to being able to build a nuclear weapon?

STRICKER: Well, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, that’s the UN nuclear watchdog, they just issued a report that says Iran has enough enriched uranium to make weapons grade uranium for at least three nuclear weapons within one month and five total within four months. And we assess that they could use that weapons grade uranium to explode a crude nuclear device within six months or so in a demonstration test, and probably one to two years to put it on a missile.

REICHARD: From what we know publicly, what is Iran demanding in these nuclear talks?

STRICKER: Well, Iran is demanding guarantees that the United States will not back out of the nuclear deal again, and if it does, that they would get certain concessions, guarantees of revenue ties with businesses in order to gain the benefits of the nuclear deal if they were promised. And then they’re also circling back to a repeated demand that the IAEA close its investigation into undeclared Iranian nuclear work. And they’ve been investigating Iran’s activities since 2018. And they want this closed, likely because they have more to hide. There was evidence in an archive that Israel stole from Tehran in 2018 that’s the basis of the IA’s investigation that the regime is likely continuing covert atomic weaponization work. And so the IA pulling on these threads, that would potentially lead to other questions that Iran doesn’t want to answer. So those are just some of the issues that they’re focused on.

REICHARD: And what’s the Biden administration and European partners willing to offer in return?

STRICKER: They’ve tried to make various guarantees to Iran such as that there would be some sort of year and a half or even longer wind down period for businesses, if a future U.S. administration will leave the deal. They also gave technical guarantees that Iran could reconstitute its nuclear program more quickly so it would be able to keep certain equipment in-country but in storage, and that would give it a leg-up if Washington left the deal again. They’ve also offered to lift many Trump administration terrorism sanctions against Iran. So they’ve put a very sweet deal on the table. I think we have to question why the regime is not accepting it. I think perhaps the supreme leader may want to just go it alone. He may want to continue laying additional nuclear facts on the ground, and not have to make a deal with the West. But time will tell.

REICHARD: Some European leaders are now openly questioning Iran’s motives in these talks, voicing doubt that Tehran is negotiating in good faith. Do you think more nations might sign on to a maximum pressure approach if they’re convinced that Iran is just gaming the system?

STRICKER: I think we’ll see a very slow pivot back to pressure. We’ve heard that the U.S. and the E3 countries are potentially at the end of their rope over Iran’s latest demands. But maybe they’re just pretending to be. There are also reports out today that Iran may be waiting to reach a deal until after the U.S. midterm elections in November because Congress would have to review the deal. And they want to see who’s going to be in Congress at the time, a few months to review the deal. So they kind of want to see how many concessions they can get. It depends on whether the West will make it clear that they’re ready to walk away and I think Iran knows that if they just keep stringing out the process that it delays the return to this type of pressure campaign.

REICHARD: Do you seen any possibility of military action—by the United States or Israel—to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons?

STRICKER: I believe that would be a far off prospect. I think Tehran knows that if they tried to sprint for nuclear weapons, such as by creating a crisis of access to one of their uranium enrichment facilities, withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that they could probably bog Washington and Europe down and a long process aimed at delaying any kind of penalty or military strikes. They may see U.S. inaction in Afghanistan and our timid reaction to the Ukraine debacle as a sign that they should go forward at this time.

REICHARD: Critics of the 2015 nuclear deal said it would not prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But critics of the maximum pressure campaign that Trump favored say that also hasn’t worked. What’s the right approach in your view?

STRICKER: In my view, the maximum pressure campaign didn’t have enough time to have success. Likely if Trump had remained in office—whether or not you would agree with that, or any listeners would agree with that—the pressure campaign may have led to success with Iran agreeing to a stronger deal or at least reining in its nuclear advances. What we saw, unfortunately, under the Biden administration from President Biden’s willingness to go back to this failing nuclear accord, is that they took advantage and they carried out their most egregious nuclear advances while in the talks. So, I think now the best action we could do is quickly pivot back to a pressure campaign and it’s going to be more difficult this time. Russia and China are not going to enforce UN sanctions if those were brought back into place. So we would have to counter their efforts to circumvent the sanctions and then Iran’s nuclear advances. So, it’s a tough task ahead. No doubt about that. But the current path, the talks are only succeeding in having Iran advance further to the nuclear threshold.

REICHARD: We’ve been talking to Andrea Stricker is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Andrea, thank you so much.

STRICKER: Thank you so much.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Serbia protest— Today’s global report takes off in Serbia.

AUDIO: [Protesters singing]

Orthodox priests led thousands of protesters carrying crosses and icons through Belgrade on Sunday. The protesters oppose a planned LGBT pride event scheduled to include a march on Saturday.

The Serbian government banned the march, saying police cannot handle possible riots. But organizers have insisted it will go on.

Patriarch Porfirije of the Serbian Orthodox Church.


He says the community does not want anyone pushing their values or lifestyle on to them.

U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken and other European Union officials have asked the Serbian government to reverse the ban.

Jakarta fuel protests— We move to Indonesia, where a fuel price hike has sparked protests.

AUDIO: [Protesters chanting]

Hundreds of conservative Muslims chanting “freedom” and “God is great” blocked the streets of the capital city of Jakarta on Monday.

They want the government to go back on its decision to raise fuel prices. Fuel and gasoline prices rose by about 30 percent last month after the government cut subsidies. But protesters say the decision hurts people still struggling with the effects of the pandemic. The government said the move was needed to reduce a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

Ethiopia Tigray— Next, to Ethiopia, where a rebel group has shifted its stance and expressed interest in talks.

AUDIO: [Explosion aftermath in Tigray]

The Tigray forces on Sunday said they are willing to stop the violence and join discussions led by the African Union. Fighting between rebels and Ethiopian troops started nearly two years ago in the Tigray region. It has left millions of people without their basic needs.

Renewed fighting last month sparked pressure for peace from the United States and other nations. The Ethiopian government has not responded to the offer.

Queen Elizabeth II — We wrap up today in London.

AUDIO: [Flower seller]

The Columbia flower market is seeing more foot traffic since the death of Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Shoppers mill around the stalls, picking up sunflowers, hydrangeas, and other flower bunches.

Many of them took the flowers to Green Park – a designated spot near Buckingham Palace for floral tributes to the late monarch.

Georgia Gomez is a 19-year-old student who visited the market.

GOMEZ: Laying flowers is just kind of to say thank you for everything that she’s done for our country. I’ve celebrated her diamond jubilee and all of that and, you know, growing up with her being the figure at primary schools. I feel like paying my respect is something very important and it’s a moment in history that I’m getting to live through.

The queen’s official funeral will take place Monday.

That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

NICK EICHER, HOST: I know these new iPhones have some pretty effective waterproofing.

But it’s still not a great idea to take them with you, you know, for activities like paddle boarding.

Just ask New Yorker Laura Hernandez. She took her’s along with her on a recent trip to the beach in Massachusetts when, you know what happened. She dropped it.

So she came ashore, phoneless, and prevailed upon a scuba instructor nearby to ask whether any of the students might be up for the challenge of finding her phone.

Wouldn’t you know it? In her very first open-water dive, a diver by the name of Vanessa Kahn spotted the phone, 25 feet below the surface.

It didn’t hurt that it was in a bright pink case. But still pretty impressive.

Kahn surfaced, turned on the camera, snapped a selfie, and earned a $300 reward.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 14th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Serving God in the ordinary.

The government of Australia took an especially hard line on COVID lockdowns. The city of Melbourne in particular endured months of lockdowns. People were forbidden to venture beyond 3-and-a-half miles from home unless they needed to get groceries or perform jobs the government considered essential.

EICHER: It was a difficult season. But one seminary student says God used the hard times to teach him an important lesson: Full-time ministry isn’t the only way to serve him. WORLD Correspondent Amy Lewis has that story.

AMY LEWIS, REPORTER: Daniel Milford’s dining room table is upside down with its stiff legs in the air. When it’s right-side up, the table is so wobbly that drinks spill when someone bumps it.


Somewhere between the first owner and the thrift store where Milford bought it, the table’s 2-inch tall caster wheels went missing. Today’s project involves stabilizing the leg and restoring the table to its original height. Milford is using wood scraps from his job in timber manufacturing.

MILFORD: This is sapeli, we import it from the Congo. It’s a hardwood that people often use in place of oak. I think it has a nice smell. This is black wood. We get it from Tasmania…comes in every color including black.

AUDIO: [Tool prep]

Milford didn’t always want to be a woodworker. A year ago, he was working on a seminary degree to become a pastor.

He grew up going to church.

PASTOR: We’re here to glorify God. But more importantly, we’re here to see his glory go to the ends of the earth. Each and every one of us…

Milford knew what he should do when he grew up.

MILFORD:  I was maybe 12 or 13 years old, just the thought clicked in the back of my head, like, Oh, what the guy up the front is doing. I feel like I could see myself doing that one day…

AUDIO: [Skilsaw plus adjusting clamp]

Being a pastor seemed the most important thing he could do with his life. The best way to serve God.

MILFORD: Then there was this, ‘I’m kind of good at being a Christian thing…that means that I might be wasted doing something else,’ was the other kind of train of thought…

AUDIO: [Multiple drills]

He worked hard at doing what he thought Christians should do. Then he started seminary right out of high school. But then three things happened.

MILFORD: One is this girl from the Christian high school that I went to.

Her name was Hannah. They started dating seriously.

AUDIO: [Sanding, chiseling]

The second thing? He loved classes but discovered he had horrible study habits…

MILFORD: …there’s not just classes, there’s assignments, and they have due dates, and have word counts… Things went from being consistently one day late to sort of about a week late in my second year to like two weeks late or not submitted at all.

AUDIO: [Unskilled drilling]

And the third thing that happened…

MILFORD: And then the third one was like just very extended lockdowns in the city of Melbourne, through 2020 and 2021.

AUDIO: [Locking door]

Church was online. Classes were online. Everyone lived alone in their 5-kilometer bubble. Normal was gone.

MILFORD: Lots of the things that I held onto that made me think ‘this is what makes me a spiritual person is my habit of doing this, or it’s the way I’m serving at church.’ And lots of those things disintegrated.

AUDIO: [Tumble of blocks]

MILFORD: And that was sort of the beginning of a process of, I think, quite healthy deconstruction, of peeling back, all these things that I’d added on, to count on for being spiritual…

It was like Narnia’s Aslan tearing off Eustace’s dragon skin.

MILFORD: And so there’s this sense of giving up and going, ah, maybe, maybe Jesus is just enough.

AUDIO: [Skilsaw]

People talk about deconstructing their faith. Milford says he’s the one who got deconstructed. Milford and Hannah married between lockdowns. She was there to see it all fall apart.

HANNAH: I felt quite honored. I was really glad to see his unraveling. And I think it helped me to, to see my spiritual fakeness, I guess, and confront some of those things. It was kind of very heartbreaking, and very, very, like, Ah, this is a good sign, at the same time. Those things needed to make way for a different view of life, because of a changed view of who God is and who we think he thinks we are.

Milford quit seminary and started a full-time apprenticeship. He cuts and hammers and glues wooden pieces in an assembly line. He says it feels mildly therapeutic.

MILFORD: It’s lots of just manual labor, repetitive stuff. And there’s a sense of, I’ve done a good thing. I’ve actually done what I needed to do today. Like there’s a sense of accomplishment, and there’s a sense that it’s a manageable task.

His view of work changed. But so did his sense of calling. It got simpler and more focused. On Jesus.

MILFORD: When it says that you are saved to do good works in that kind of Ephesians, two, eight thing. If your work is good, maybe that’s part of the good works. There’s lots of ordinary stuff that you can be doing that upholds God’s design and creation, that actually reflects his heart. And it was just nothing like my idealistic imagination.

With its legs on the ground, the dining room table is sturdy. The new height of the table allows people to sit and eat comfortably. Milford admits it’s not beautiful workmanship. But the table can now be used the way it was designed.

MILFORD: And so this process of, of giving up, of stopping trying so much, that has been kind of messy, and, you know, didn’t, didn’t lead to what you would call a vibrant spiritual life straightaway. But I think it gave me a much greater appreciation of the offer of the gospel is simple and plain. And all that is required is that you will receive it.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Amy Lewis in Melbourne, Australia.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 14th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney now with a story of family ties–and how God often uses them to weave His master plan.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Shortly after World War II a discharged soldier, who was visiting his mother, stopped by the local courthouse for a fishing license. He secured more than a license, namely a date with the pretty girl in the assessor’s office. One thing led to another: a proposal, a wedding, a honeymoon in New York City—and approximately nine months later, a firstborn son.

Twenty-four years later I married that son and acquired another family: seven siblings, stair-stepping down from my husband, just turned 23, to his 12-year-old brother. Six were boys, signifying multiples of Cheaneys in the future.

The future is here, and our future selves are back from a family reunion in the small Missouri town where it all began. Dad and Mom passed decades ago, leaving 22 grandchildren and 50 great-grandchildren. Reunions are a time of catching up with nieces and nephews, covertly comparing incomes, and passing around old stories.

Our generation got married in the 1970s, took what jobs were available, drove old cars, shopped at thrift stores, and struggled (some of us) with difficult partners—but created a solid platform to launch our Gen-X kids. Most of those kids earned college degrees, married well, and earned more money than their parents. We’ve seen a few divorces, and more than our share of funerals: one of my brothers-in-law died suddenly at age 36; two more died slowly at 54. One nephew came to an early end in an auto accident, another from a drug overdose.

Though larger in number than most, we’re a normal family with a crowded calendar of wedding anniversaries and birthdays. Our separate stories weave into the master plot begun in Genesis with “These are the generations” of Adam, Noah, Shem, Isaac. Years ago, while gathering the grandkids for a group picture, my father-in-law quipped, “What hath God wrought?” He took a risk, marrying that girl in the courthouse, and God wrought a harvest of immortal souls from it.

On our way home from the reunion we stopped at a convenience store. The clerk was a friendly young man who abruptly asked us for parenting advice. He had just learned that his girlfriend was pregnant—his first, her third—and admitted to being both excited and scared. The advice I gave wasn’t bad, but I should have told him that the greatest gift a father can give his children is to commit to their mother. That’s startling enough, it might have made him think.

According to numerous recent surveys, marriage is no longer “normal.” Over half of Millennials and Gen Z’s don’t consider the risk worth taking. Surveys also report an increase of loneliness among all ages. Not a coincidence, I expect. God sets the lonely in families, as Psalm 68 says, but it must be tougher to set those who don’t understand what family is.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: the water is back on in Jackson, Mississippi—but the crisis is far from over. We’ll consider what’s next.

And, grab your hiking boots—we’re on our way to a unique cave in Central Texas.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Jesus said: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5 ESV)

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.