The U.S. Says It Wants to Stand Up to Russia, While Trusting It in Negotiations with Iran

Aug. 19 2022

Just yesterday, CNBC reported that the revival of the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic “appears closer than ever.” Since the Iranian negotiators have refused to meet directly with their American counterparts, Russia—one of seven parties to the deal—has played a key role as an intermediary. Emanuele Ottolenghi details the close economic, diplomatic, and military relations between Moscow and Tehran, which have been evident since at least 2012, and have only been growing stronger. In fact, the two countries’ presidents met in person twice this year. Ottolenghi writes:

The problem for the Biden administration is that, for more than eighteen months now, it has expressed unwavering faith in the power of multilateral diplomacy, which includes the Russians, to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The White House is negotiating with Russia and Iran as if there were no war in Ukraine; no Russian criminal negligence regarding nuclear safety in Ukraine’s occupied areas; no Russian nuclear saber-rattling against the West; and no ongoing, documented violations by Iran [of the 2015 deal]—to say nothing of a Kremlin with zero credibility in upholding any agreement it signs. Yet when it comes to questions of nuclear war or peace, Putin is suddenly a trustworthy partner.

Washington needs to confront the deepening relationship between two paranoid dictatorships for what it is: an emerging coalition of totalitarian rogue states, backed by China, which is hellbent on reshaping the world and overturning the Western democratic rules-based order. This order, imperfect though it is, promotes human rights, democracy, free trade, open societies, and good governance. It rejects the use of force for conquest, and believes in the power of diplomacy, goodwill, and good faith cooperation between nations. This is the order that Iran and Russia, whether or not the White House considers them good-faith diplomatic partners, wish to subvert.

As far as strategic convergence goes, look no further than the respective Russian and Iranian echo chambers and the content of their disinformation ops, which are so aligned that their stated policies toward the United States have become virtually indistinguishable.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: China, Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy

 

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam