The Fantasy of the Ayatollah’s Anti-Nuclear Fatwa

In a 2015 speech in the Rose Garden announcing a breakthrough in nuclear negotiations with Iran, then-president Barack Obama stated that “Iran’s supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.” The same religious ruling has been cited by numerous advocates for compromise with the Islamic Republic for over a decade, and on Wednesday it was mentioned by a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry. Ruthie Blum comments:

The fatwa in question, which Iran yammered about for years until supposedly publishing its text in 2010, is a hoax. The propaganda about it was used by Iranian figures as a tool to prove to the administration of then-U.S. president . . . Barack Obama that Tehran’s intentions were honorable. It was thus music to Washington’s ears, and nobody at the White House or State Department bothered to find out whether or not it was true.

[A]t this stage, even delusional American diplomats appear to have stopped grasping at that particular straw. . . . Naturally, this hasn’t kept Iranian officials from invoking the phony fatwa every time one or another of them brags about Tehran’s military prowess. It’s their default maneuver and one that media outlets can’t resist highlighting.

It’s silly, really, since those who refer to the Islamic decree always say in the same breath that it will be moot the moment that Iran decides to violate it. This is precisely what the former Iranian deputy foreign minister Mohammad-Javad Larijani did on Sunday in an interview on Iranian TV. “Naturally, according to the [supreme] leader’s fatwa, we are religiously forbidden from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, and this includes nuclear weapons,” he stated. “Nevertheless, if we ever want to do this, nobody will be able to stop us, of course. They themselves know this.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, U.S. Foreign policy

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus