Meet Javid Zarif, the Smiling Face of the Iranian Mullahs

April 2 2015

Iran’s American-educated foreign minister has led its nuclear negotiations with the U.S., and makes himself readily available to journalists. Since his tenure as ambassador to the UN (2002 – 2007), he has presented himself as a moderate, charming, Westernized representative of the Islamic Republic. In fact Zarif is no more moderate than the rest of the regime he serves, but his act has brought him much success. Eli Lake writes:

[Zarif] has for more than a decade cultivated Washington policy elites the way an aspiring presidential candidate works over local party activists in Iowa and New Hampshire. . . .

[I]n 2006, Zarif . . . tried to persuade journalists to write about a peace offer Iran had supposedly offered the George W. Bush administration after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yet according to senior Bush administration officials, that 2003 offer was not a serious piece of diplomacy, and was not made through the channels by which the Bush administration communicated with Iran. Nonetheless, the narrative stuck that the Bush team blew a chance at a breakthrough in 2003. On the eve of the current negotiations in 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry repeated Zarif’s talking point about the 2003 offer in an interview with ABC’s This Week. . . .

It should be noted that when Zarif was cultivating these relationships out of the UN, the FBI was investigating him for his alleged role in controlling a charity called the Alavi foundation. The Justice Department claimed that the group—with several hundred million dollars in assets—was secretly run on behalf of the Iranian government to fund university programs and launder money to evade U.S. sanctions.

Read more at Bloomberg

More about: George W. Bush, Iran, Iranian nuclear program, John Kerry, Politics & Current Affairs


President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process