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).

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Read more at RealClear Defense

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

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority