Iran Is Using Interminable Negotiations as Cover to Continue Its March to the Bomb

Nov. 30 2021

Today, representatives of Russia, the EU, and Iran gathered in Vienna to resume negotiations over the revival of the 2015 nuclear agreement. Not present were American delegates, who—at Tehran’s insistence—are only participating through European intermediaries. That alone renders the talks a “pantomime wrapped in farce inside a charade,” writes Bobby Ghosh:

Since the previous round of negotiations five months ago, Iran has repeatedly signaled that it isn’t serious about the restoration of its 2015 deal with the world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If anything, it has gone out of its way to sabotage the talks.

The most obvious manifestation of this is Iran’s refusal to talk directly with the U.S. . . . Another clue is the extreme stance the regime is adopting ahead of the talks. It is insisting that the U.S. lift all economic sanctions, including those concerning non-nuclear violations of international norms, as a precondition for an Iranian return to the terms of the agreement. And it is demanding that President Joe Biden provide an ironclad guarantee that a future occupant of the White House won’t pull a Donald Trump and rescind the deal. If the first of these terms is absurd, the second is impossible.

Why, one might reasonably ask, has Iran agreed to resume talks at all? Because the regime reckons that as long as it keeps talking, the Biden administration will cling to hope that a nuclear deal can be achieved and hold off on imposing more sanctions. Intermittent and interminable negotiations give the Islamic Republic cover to keep enriching uranium at ever faster rates, in breach of its JCPOA obligations.

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Read more at Bloomberg

More about: European Union, Iran nuclear program, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter