Iran Presses Its Advantage in Vienna

Negotiations in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal have dragged out for more than a year; as Prabhat Jawla notes, “the Biden administration’s hopes for a quick restoration of the 2015 agreement, unilaterally abandoned by Donald Trump, have been hampered from the outset.” Jawla examines some of the reasons behind the prolonged discussions, along with the possible consequences for domestic constituencies in both Iran and the United States.

By simply stating its intent to negotiate [based] on the original [2015] deal, the Biden administration squandered the leverage left by Trump’s Iran policy, which had seen Iran’s oil revenues plummet and the country’s economy experience recession for consecutive years. Biden, during the campaign, pledged, “I would rejoin the agreement and use our renewed commitment to diplomacy to work with our allies to strengthen and extend it.” Tehran, for its part, saw this as an opening and has since pressed for more from the negotiations, such as guarantees against future sanctions and the removal of the terrorist label from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), none of which were part of the original deal.

Concessions to Iran have already been greeted by a furious response from Biden’s detractors. First was the release of Iranian funds frozen in South Korea in cooperation with the United States in a trade-off for payment of approximately $18 million (which Iran owed the United Nations in arrear dues), and then a restoration of Iran’s voting rights in the UN General Assembly.

Critics have also pointed to Iran’s release in March of two British hostages—Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori—in return for releasing almost £400 million in debt from Britain held up by U.S. sanctions (although the U.S. State Department has denied involvement).

Read more at RealClear Defense

More about: Donald Trump, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy


Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus