On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled against the Colorado civil-rights commission, which had tried to fine a baker for declining to make a custom wedding cake for two male customers. In conversation with Jonathan Silver, Yuval Levin examines the competing claims of equality, religious freedom, and freedom of speech this case involved and urges Jews to take its implications seriously. He suggests that the effort to punish the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop can be understood as an attempt to punish heresy against a certain kind of progressive liberalism that threatens to become a sort of state religion. (Audio, 12 minutes. Options for streaming and download are available at the link below.)
What the Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision Means for the Constitution, and for the Jews
The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return
After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:
Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.
Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.
With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?