The New Theist

William Lane Craig, evangelical Christianity’s answer to the New Atheists, has his philosophical opponents on the run.

Read more at Chronicle of Higher Education

More about: Atheism, Evangelical Christianity, New Atheists, Philosophy of Religion, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Theology, William Lane Craig


Russia Is Using Holes in the Iran Deal to Undermine Crucial Safeguards

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) establishes what it calls a “procurement channel”: a series of procedures and regulations for monitoring and restricting Iran’s purchase of goods that could be used for the illicit development of nuclear technology. In theory, write David Albright and Andrea Stricker, these procedures allow the U.S. and other concerned parties to stop suspicious purchases before they are completed. In practice, however, the procedures are riddled with complexities and obstructions. What’s more, Albright and Stricker argue, Russia and China have already begun to exploit the deal’s weaknesses:

Given the short time frames to act to block a [proposed purchase], efficiency and speed in the process are critical. According to P5+1 officials, Russia attempted to exploit the lack of clarity about procurement-channel rules and functions to weaken [the JCPOA’s] effectiveness, and has been supported by China in some of those endeavors. One official accused Russia of attempting to manipulate the whole process. Russia’s action may also polarize decision making at the Procurement Working Group (PWG) [the international committee tasked with implementing the procurement-channel regulations] by creating de-facto voting blocs, with Russia, China, and Iran on one side and the United States, Britain, France, and Germany on the other. Russia’s role overall appears to be to complicate the rejection of [procurement requests] within the tight guidelines imposed by the JCPOA and isolate certain sensitive exports from the procurement-channel process. . . .

[Furthermore], Iran has tried to argue, with Russian support, that anything military-related is not the business of the PWG. This argument in essence states that the PWG does not have jurisdiction over any imports by Iran’s military or missile industries, all of which need a considerable amount of dual-use equipment. Iran appears to be arguing that it will seek to buy banned equipment under a civilian cover, and if caught by the PWG, the PWG can only send the issue to the UN Security Council for a decision. It cannot stop the sale on its own authority.

Of course, the United States would be expected to block any approval for a sale at the Security Council. So, in that sense, the Iranian effort will not be successful. But Iran, with Russian support, may be seeking to reduce the PWG’s credibility internationally and hinder its operations.

Read more at Institute for Science and International Security

More about: China, Iran, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy