Congress Can Stop a Disastrous Nuclear Deal with Iran. Here’s How

April 19 2022

Citing Iranian noncompliance, in May 2018 the Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear agreement its predecessor had made with Tehran. The Biden administration seeks to negotiate a renewal of the original agreement, and appears willing to make serious further concessions in order to succeed. But the ayatollahs—having been burned once before—are asking for “inherent guarantees” that the deal will remain in place regardless of who wins the 2024 presidential elections. However, since negotiations won’t result in a formal treaty sent to the Senate for ratification, no such commitment is possible. Gabriel Noronha explains:

Because the U.S. negotiators are unable to provide such a guarantee, the Iranians are said to be seeking some form of economic compensation to be held in trust by a third party that would be paid to Iran in the event that U.S. sanctions are reimposed. In other words, the United States would pay into a giant trust fund to protect the regime from future sanctions presumably triggered by Iran’s own malignant behavior. One U.S. government official close to the negotiations told me they doubted the demand would ever be accepted or could even be fashioned in the first place in any way that wouldn’t cause even more Democrats to jump ship and oppose the deal.

As Noronha points out, the fact that the agreement now under discussion would provide Russia with a $10 billion line-of-credit, it’s likely that several Democrats will join Republican in opposing it. If so, they can torpedo the deal even before it goes into effect:

The pending deal is an extremely fragile patchwork containing several concessions from the United States unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program, which are meant to appease various gripes related to the Trump administration’s [economic] pressure campaign. While risk-compliance firms are already advising international businesses that Republicans have pledged to reimpose sanctions on Iran in 2025 if they retake the White House, companies and individuals should also know that members of Congress will force the issue even sooner by attaching amendments to must-pass legislation required to fund the government and reauthorize Department of Defense spending.

The Iranians should understand that while Biden may pledge to provide sanctions relief for the regime’s terror apparatus, the U.S. Congress is unlikely to let that relief stand. Going by current midterm polling, such concessions are likely to last no longer than next year before Congress forces Biden to renege on his commitments and reimpose sanctions.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Congress, Donald Trump, Iran, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden, 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