Italy’s Misplaced Deference to the Iranian President

When the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, visited Rome earlier this week, ancient nude statues in the Capitoline Museum—where he and the Italian prime minister held a press conference—were concealed behind large partitions out of deference to Rouhani’s sensibilities. Franck Salameh comments:

The symbolism of [Rouhani’s] January 26 meeting with Pope Francis in Vatican City, both lurid and grandiose in its optics, must have sent chills down the spines of disappearing Near Eastern Christians; dwindling, bruised, besieged “first nations” who owe in no small part much of their decline to Iran’s decades-long aggressive illiberal practices throughout the region.

Yet in an abject gesture of cultural genuflection—or abdication, or diplomatic etiquette, depending on the universe one wishes to live in—Italian officials opted to reward Rouhani for the harm that his government continues to breed around the world, [even going so far as] removing alcohol from the menu of the state dinner given in his honor. . . .

Ought Hassan Rouhani’s “religious special needs,” in the capital city of Christendom no less, be seen as the innocent sensitivities of an innocent Muslim cleric, or might there be something more nefarious afoot? Is Rome’s yielding to Rouhani’s antics in line with common diplomatic courtesies, or is this a form of submission, . . . a Muslim cleric’s thumbing his nose at practitioners of a creed he considers inherently inferior? This all may very well be a tempest in a teapot, but the optics are supremely emblematic, especially to those “once bitten twice shy.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Hassan Rouhani, Iran, Islam, Italy, Politics & Current Affairs, Vatican


How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy