Yet another “deadline” for the concluding of a deal with Iran passes today, so a new “deadline” will be set, and that one too will pass, and so another …
Or if a deal is made -
The impending deal is an embarrassment: the world’s greatest power prostrate before the world’s most patently expansionist, terror-sponsoring, anti-American theocracy.
So Stephen Hayes writes at the Weekly Standard.
He’s right, of course. It is an embarrassment. But what matters a lot more is that it will be a catastrophe. A huge unprecedented historic catastrophe.
It will ensure that Iran has nuclear weapons and that none of the major powers will do a thing about it.
The article goes on:
One week before the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a series of demands about the final terms. Among them: He called for an immediate end to all United Nations Security Council and U.S. economic sanctions on Iran; he said Iranian military sites would not be subject to international inspections; he declared that Iran would not abide a long-term freeze on nuclear research; and he ruled out interviews with individuals associated with Iran’s nuclear program as part of any enforcement plan.
The New York Times headline read “Iran’s Supreme Leader, Khamenei, Seems to Pull Back on Nuclear Talks.” That’s one explanation. The more likely one: Khamenei understands that Barack Obama is desperate for this deal and will agree to just about anything to make it a reality. In private remarks caught on tape, top White House foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes likened the Iran deal to Obamacare in its importance to the administration. And on April 2, the president held a press conference to celebrate the preliminary “historic understanding with Iran” that, he said, was “a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.”
But the impending deal is not a good one. It legitimizes a rogue state, shifts regional power to the world’s most aggressive state sponsor of terror, strengthens the mullahs’ hold on power, and guides Iran to nuclear threshold status. Those are not our “core objectives.” They are Iran’s.
A steady stream of news reports in the weeks before the deadline has brought into sharp focus the extent of the administration’s capitulation. Among the most disturbing new developments: the administration’s decision to offer relief on sanctions not directly related to Iran’s nuclear program and its abandonment of hard requirements that Iran disclose previous nuclear activity, without which the international community cannot establish a baseline for future inspections.
From the beginning of the talks, the Obama administration has chosen to “decouple” negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program from the many other troubling aspects of Tehran’s behavior. It was a bit of self-deception that allowed the United States and its negotiating partners to pretend that concerns about the Iranian regime’s possessing nuclear weapons had everything to do with nuclear weapons and nothing at all to do with the nature of the Iranian regime; it was an approach that treated Iran as if it were, say, Luxembourg. The Obama administration simply set aside Iran’s targeting of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, its brutal repression of internal dissent, its provision of safe haven and operational freedom for al Qaeda leadership, and its support for terrorists sowing discord throughout the region and beyond.
Now we learn that the administration is effectively ending this decision to “decouple” nuclear talks from broader regime behavior, not in order to hold Iran to account for its many offenses but as something of a reward for its supporting a nuclear deal. It is a swift and stunning reversal. …
Likewise, the U.S. capitulation on Iranian disclosure of previous nuclear activity is both hasty and alarming. As recently as April, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Iranian disclosure of past activity was a red line for U.S. negotiators. “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.” But on June 16, Kerry cast aside those demands. “We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”
We can’t yet know all the concessions the United States has made in order to secure a deal, but the list of those that are known is long and embarrassing.
Iran has conceded and will concede nothing. The US administration concedes everything.
On decoupling nuclear negotiations and sanctions relief on nonnuclear items
Then: “We have made very clear that the nuclear negotiations are focused exclusively on the nuclear issue and do not include discussions of regional issues.”
March 10, 2015, Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokesman,
email to The Weekly Standard
“Other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced.”
April 2, 2015, Barack Obama, statement in the Rose Garden
“Iran knows that our array of sanctions focused on its efforts to support terrorism and destabilize the region will continue after any nuclear agreement.”
June 7, 2015, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, remarks to Jerusalem Post conference, New York City
Now: “Administration officials say they’re examining a range of options that include suspending both nuclear and some non-nuclear sanctions.”
June 9, 2015, Associated Press
On the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and disclosure of past activities
Then: “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. . . . It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.”
April 8, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry interview with The NewsHour
“The set of understandings also includes an acknowledgment by Iran that it must address all United Nations Security Council resolutions—which Iran has long claimed are illegal—as well as past and present issues with Iran’s nuclear program that have been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This would include resolution of questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, including Iran’s activities at Parchin.”
November 23, 2013, White House fact sheet, First Step: Understandings Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program
Now: “World powers are prepared to accept a nuclear agreement with Iran that doesn’t immediately answer questions about past atomic weapons work. . . . Instead of resolving such questions this month, officials said the U.S. and its negotiating partners are working on a list of future commitments Iran must fulfill.”
June 11, 2015, Associated Press
“We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”
June 24, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry, remarks at a press availability
On shuttering the secret nuclear facility at Fordo
Then: The Obama administration and its partners are “demanding the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling” of the nuclear facilities at Fordo.
April 7, 2012, New York Times
“We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program.”
December 6, 2013, Barack Obama, remarks at the Saban Forum
Now: “Under the preliminary accord, Fordo would become a research center, but not for any element that could potentially be used in nuclear weapons.”
April 22, 2015, New York Times
“The 1044 centrifuges [at Fordo] designated only for non-nuclear enrichment will remain installed, so they could potentially be reconverted to enriching uranium in a short time regardless of technical or monitoring arrangements.”
June 17, 2015, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Olli Heinonen, former IAEA deputy director-general for safeguards, and Simon Henderson, director
of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at WINEP
A draft copy of the final agreement allows Fordo to remain open, “saying it will be used for isotope production instead of uranium enrichment.”
June 24, 2015, Associated Press
On suspension of enrichment
Then: “Our position is clear: Iran must live up to its international obligations, including full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
April 7, 2012, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, New York Times
Now: “Agreement on Iran’s uranium enrichment program could signal a breakthrough for a larger deal aimed at containing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities.” The tentative deal imposes “limits on the number of centrifuges Iran can operate to enrich uranium” but allows Iran to continue enrichment.
March 19, 2015, Associated Press
On ballistic missile development
Then: Iran’s ballistic missile program “is indeed-something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.”
February 4, 2014, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
“They have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program that are included in the United Nations Security Council resolution that is part of, explicitly, according to the Joint Plan of Action, the comprehensive resolution negotiation.”
February 18, 2014, White House spokesman Jay Carney, White House press briefing
Now: “We must address long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. So, it’s not about ballistic missiles per se. It’s about when a missile is combined with a nuclear warhead.”
July 29, 2014, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
These specific concessions matter. So do the ones we’ll learn about in coming days. Together they make the path to an Iranian nuclear weapon easier and the prospect of preventing one ever more remote.
But we don’t have to wait until Iran’s first nuclear test to see the damage done by the negotiations. Last week, the New York Times reported that the administration resisted confronting China on its authorship of the hacking of sensitive U.S. personnel information partly out of concern about China’s role as a negotiating partner on the Iran deal.
No doubt the Iran negotiations contributed to Obama’s reluctance to confront Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. And to Obama’s tacit acceptance of continued Iranian support for the Taliban and al Qaeda; his passivity as he watched the unfolding slaughter in Syria; his acquiescence in [Iran’s] expansive role in Syria, Iraq, and beyond; and his refusal to provide arms directly to the Kurds and to the Sunnis.
Obama is begging Iran to sign a deal. He is paying Iran to sign a deal. He is holding Secretary of State John Kerry’s nose to the conference table until Iran signs a deal. Any deal. At any cost.
What will the representatives of the American people in Congress do about it?
Obama, through his lackey John Kerry, continues to woo the hellish regime of the Iranian Ayatollahs. He longs for a “deal” at any cost.
He is doing everything possible to help them become a nuclear-armed power.
This really is, without exaggeration, the worst threat, the gravest danger, the world as a whole has ever faced. The threat of the imposition of world control by Communist Russia was grave, but the Russians were not willing to die in massive numbers when a retaliation to their attack descended on them. The Muslim Iranians “love death”, and reckon that Muslims would be happy to die and go to their brothel in the sky; and that, however heavy the retaliation, there would still be a lot of Muslims left alive to dominate – perhaps exclusively occupy – this world.
Either Obama does not realize that he is putting the world in extremest danger, or he must want what the Ayatollahs want.
What is that? The destruction of Israel, certainly,and he’s cool with that. But he cannot believe that Israel is the Iranians’ only target. They continue to scream “Death to America!” loud and clear while the charade of “negotiations” for the “deal” is in progress. He must be cool with that too. Do his P5+1 claques feel the same way? Seems so.
Their latest move is to HELP Iran get “the bomb”.
George Jahn writes at AP:
Western powers are offering Tehran high-tech reactors under a proposed nuclear agreement, a confidential document says, but a defiant speech by Iran’s supreme leader less than a week before a negotiating deadline casts doubt on whether he’s willing to make the necessary concessions to seal a deal. …
Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday rejected a long-term freeze on nuclear research and supported the idea of barring international inspectors from military sites. Khamenei, in comments broadcast on Iranian state television, also said Iran would sign a final deal only if all economic sanctions on the country were first lifted. The preliminary deal calls for sanctions to be lifted gradually after an agreement is finalized.
Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed Khamenei’s remarks, saying Wednesday they were [only] for “domestic political consumption”. …
In another sign the Islamic Republic may be toughening its stance, Iran’s Guardian Council on Wednesday enacted legislation banning access to military sites and scientists, according to state TV. …
The West has held out the prospect of providing Iran peaceful nuclear technology in the nearly decade-long effort to reduce Tehran’s ability to make nuclear weapons. But the scope of the help now being offered in the draft displeases U.S. congressional critics who say Washington is giving away too much.
“These continued concessions only emboldened Iran’s leaders to press for more,” Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “The way these negotiations are moving, it is increasingly difficult to see the administration striking a meaningful, lasting agreement that would be acceptable to Congress.” …
[A draft annex] entitled Civil Nuclear Cooperation, promises to supply Iran with light-water nuclear reactors instead of its nearly completed heavy-water facility at Arak, which could produce enough plutonium for several bombs a year if completed as planned. …
Outlining plans to modify that heavy-water reactor, the draft, dated June 19, offers to “establish an international partnership” to rebuild it into a less proliferation-prone facility while leaving Iran in “the leadership role as the project owner and manager.”
The eight-page draft also promises “arrangements for the assured supply and removal of nuclear fuel for each reactor provided,” and offers help in the “construction and effective operation” of the reactors and related hardware. It offers cooperation with Iran in the fields of nuclear safety, nuclear medicine, research, nuclear waste removal and other peaceful applications. …
[But] because isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can be quickly re-engineered, the compromise has been criticized by congressional opponents of the proposed deal.
Scott Johnson comments at PowerLine:
This is no longer a deal to stop the Iranian nuclear program. It’s a deal to let the Iranians perfect their nuclear program with international assistance and under international protection. …
Some country in the P5+1 will be helping the Iranians develop next-generation centrifuges in a facility impenetrable to American and Israeli bombs. Conversely, any country that wants to sabotage that development will be unable to do so, because the program will be protected and maintained by a major power.
As the centrifuges are being developed they’ll be spinning non-nuclear elements, but once they’re perfected the Iranians will be able to use them to enrich uranium. The international community will literally be investing in helping Iran achieve a zero breakout.
A couple of obvious points. First, it means the P5+1 will be actively providing the Iranians with the tools to break out while a deal is in place. The Iranians will already have 300kg of 3.67% uranium on hand, and they’ll be able to scale up production as they need because the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] lets them keep 5,000 centrifuges enriching uranium at Natanz and lets them keep another 10,000 centrifuges in storage available to be installed. They can bring low enriched material to Fordow and quickly enrich it to weapons-grade levels in the next-generation centrifuges they’ll have developed with P5+1 assistance. Second – again – it means that the P5+1 will be actively ensuring that Iran will have the technology to go nuclear at will the instant the deal expires. The technology the Iranians learn to develop at Fordow will be applied on a mass scale.
To that end, the draft, entitled Civil Nuclear Cooperation, promises to supply Iran with light-water nuclear reactors instead of its nearly completed heavy-water facility at Arak … [and] offers to “establish an international partnership” to rebuild it into a less proliferation-prone facility while leaving Iran in “the leadership role as the project owner and manager.”
Light-water reactors are significantly more proliferation-resistant than heavy-water reactors (in fact there’s no reason to build a heavy water reactor – of the type that the Iranians have been working on – unless you want to produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon). But even LWRs are not proliferation proof, and a plutonium bomb isn’t the only concern.
Imagine that 15 years from now the Iranians have built a dozen LWRs with help from a P5+1 nation. One concern is indeed that they’ll kick out inspectors, keep the spent fuel, and start reprocessing on the way to creating a plutonium bomb. But a more subtle concern is that they will use the existence of the LWRs as a pretext for industrial-scale uranium enrichment – because they’ll say they need the uranium fuel for their plutonium plants – which can serve as a cover for breaking out with a uranium bomb. The P5+1 would be actively providing the Iranians with diplomatic leverage to use against the P5+1 in the future.
Remember, Americans, your dear leader wants you to respect this religion:
Listen to this inspirational song that is sung continually by white men, capitalists, Israelis, and American conservatives:
In the course of a CNN interview between Chris Cuomo and Pamela Geller, about her being targeted for beheading because she promoted the drawing of cartoons of Muhammad, this exchange took place:
Pamela Geller: Drawing a cartoon warrants chopping my head off? … I just don’t understand this. They’re going to come for you, too, Chris. They’re coming for everybody and the media should be standing with me. Where are the mainstream Muslims teaching in the mosques against the blasphemy laws, against Islamic law, the Sharia, the jihadist doctrine?
CNN’s Chris Cuomo: Sharia is not mainstream Muslim thought.
Andrew G. Bostom quotes this “breathtakingly ignorant falsehood” uttered by the TV host with “supreme confidence” and writes at PJ Media:
Mr. Cuomo and other media figures across the political spectrum would do well — before issuing such embarrassing, factually challenged pontifications — to study the serious work of Joseph Schacht (d. 1969), who was the most authoritative modern Western Islamic legal scholar.
The sharia, or “clear path to be followed,” as Schacht demonstrated, is the “canon law of Islam,” which “denotes all the individual prescriptions composing it.”
Schacht traced the use of the term “sharia” to Koranic verses such as 45:18, 42:13, 42:21, and 5:48, noting an “old definition” of the sharia by the seminal Koranic commentator and early Muslim historian Tabari (d. 923) as comprisingthe law of inheritance, various commandments and prohibitions, and the so-called hadd punishments.
These latter draconian punishments, defined by the Muslim prophet Muhammad either in the Koran or in the hadith (the canonical collections of Muhammad’s deeds and pronouncements), included:
(Lethal) stoning for adultery; death for apostasy; death for highway robbery when accompanied by murder of the robbery victim; for simple highway robbery, the loss of hands and feet; for simple theft, cutting off of the right hand; for “fornication,” a hundred lashes; for drinking wine, eighty lashes.
As Schacht further noted, sharia ultimately evolved to become “understood [as] the totality of Allah’s commandments relating to the activities of man.”
The holistic sharia, he continues, is nothing less than Islam’s quintessence:
The Sharia is the most characteristic phenomenon of Islamic thought and forms the nucleus of Islam itself.
Schacht also delineated additional characteristics of the sharia which have created historically insurmountable obstacles to its reform:
Allah’s law is not to be penetrated by the intelligence . . . i.e., man has to accept it without criticism, with its apparent inconsistencies and its incomprehensible decrees, as wisdom into which it is impossible to inquire.
One must not look in it for causes in our sense, nor for principles; it is based on the will of Allah which is bound by no principles, therefore evasions are considered as a permissible means put at one’s disposal by Allah himself.
Muslim law . . . has always been considered by its followers as something elevated, high above human wisdom, and as a matter of fact human logic or system has little share in it. For this very reason, the Sharia is not “law” in the modern sense of the word, any more than it is on account of its subject matter.
It comprises without restriction, as an infallible doctrine of duties the whole of the religious, political, social, domestic and private life of those who profess Islam, and the activities of the tolerated members of other faiths so far as they may not be detrimental to Islam.
Most importantly, Schacht elucidated how sharia — via the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad war – regulated the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. These regulations make explicit the sacralized vulnerability of unvanquished non-Muslims to jihad depredations, and the permanent, deliberately humiliating legal inferiority for those who survive their jihad conquest, and incorporation into an Islamic polity governed by sharia.
Saudi Arabia? Yes. Religious tolerance? Yes.
But the Saudis don’t really mean it, do they? Of course not, but a little thing like that won’t stop them.
The Independent reports:
Saudi Arabia has hosted an international conference on human rights, attended by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, and resolved to combat intolerance and violence based on religious belief.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – which has its headquarters in Jeddah – convened the fifth annual meeting of the Istanbul Process as the kingdom’s Supreme Court prepared to rule on the case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through religious channels”. It later upheld the sentence.
The UN HRC recently faced criticism over Saudi plans to head up the council from 2016, in what critics said would be the “final nail in the coffin” for the international body.
And the Geneva-based human rights campaign group UN Watch accused HRC president Joachim Rücker of giving “false international legitimacy” to the two-day conference on religious freedoms held in Jeddah on 3 and 4 June.
According to a report in the Saudi Gazette, the participants in the conference “began with an agreement to put [HRC] resolution 16/18 into effect” – a pledge by all member states to combat “intolerance and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief”.
“In addition, participants agreed on the importance on providing human rights education and encouraging religious and cultural diversity in communities.”
Invited to make the opening statement at the conference, Mr Rücker told the summit: “Religious intolerance and violence committed in the name of religion rank among the most significant human rights challenges of our times.”
But Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said: “It’s bad enough that the oppressive and fundamentalist Saudi monarchy was elected to sit on the UN Human Rights Council.
“But for top UN human rights officials to now visit Jeddah and smile while human rights activist Raif Badawi languishes in prison for the crime of religious dissent, still under threat of further flogging, is to pour salt in the wounds. It’s astonishing.”
Astonishing? Astonishing hypocrisy, yes. But what can be expected of the Saudis’ contemptible regime? It’s very existence is a mockery not only of tolerance, but also of truth, decency, honesty, humanity.
It should inspire not astonishment but outrage and fury – if anyone in the flabby West is still capable of righteous anger.
Saudi Arabia is probably the most monocultural and intolerant country in the world. (Comparable only to Communist regimes.)
Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and its law requires that all citizens be Muslims. Neither Saudi citizens nor guest workers have the right of freedom of religion.The official and dominant form of Islam in the kingdom – Wahhabism – arose in the central region of Najd in the eighteenth century. Proponents call the movement “Salafism”, and believe that its teachings purify the practice of Islam of innovations or practices that deviate from the seventh-century teachings of Muhammad and his companions.
Saudi Arabia has “religious police” (known as Haia or Mutaween), who patrol the streets enforcing dress codes, strict separation of men and women, attendance at prayer (salat) five times each day, the ban on alcohol, and other aspects of Sharia (Islamic law). (In the privacy of the home behavior can be far looser, and reports indicate that the ruling Saudi Royal family applies a different moral code to itself, indulging in parties, drugs and sex.) [Including, to our certain knowledge, homosexual sex (often with under-15-year-old boys), which is punishable by death under sharia – TAC.]
Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Businesses are closed three or four times a day for 30 to 45 minutes during business hours while employees and customers are sent off to pray. The weekend is Friday-Saturday, not Saturday-Sunday, because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims. As of 2004 approximately half of the broadcast airtime of Saudi state television was devoted to religious issues. 90% of books published in the kingdom were on religious subjects, and most of the doctorates awarded by its universities were in Islamic studies. In the state school system, about half of the material taught is religious. In contrast, assigned readings over twelve years of primary and secondary schooling devoted to covering the history, literature, and cultures of the non-Muslim world comes to a total of about 40 pages.
Public support for the traditional political/religious structure of the kingdom is so strong that one researcher interviewing Saudis found virtually no support for reforms to secularize the state.
Because of religious restrictions, Saudi culture lacks any diversity of religious expression, buildings, annual festivals and public events. Celebration of other (non-Wahhabi) Islamic holidays, such as the Muhammad’s birthday and the Day of Ashura, (an important holiday for the 10-25% of the population that is Shīʿa Muslim), are tolerated only when celebrated locally and on a small scale. Shia also face systematic discrimination in employment, education, the justice system. Non-Muslim festivals like Christmas and Easter are not tolerated at all, although there are nearly a million Christians as well as Hindus and Buddhists among the foreign workers. No churches, temples or other non-Muslim houses of worship are permitted in the country. Proselytizing by non-Muslims and conversion by Muslims to another religion is illegal and punishable by death. And as of 2014 the distribution of “publications that have prejudice to any other religious belief other than Islam” (such as Bibles), was reportedly punishable by death.
Atheists are legally designated as terrorists.
Saudis or foreign residents who “call into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based” may be subject to as much as 20 years in prison. And at least one religious minority, the Ahmadiyya Muslims, had all its adherents deported, and they are legally banned from entering the country.
Next the UN will consider Saudi Arabia the ideal venue for an international conference on “diversity”. And after that, why not one on women’s rights?
Iran will concede nothing. Obama will concede everything.
The most reliable and accurate reporter of what is going on at the US-Iranian talks to “prevent” Iran becoming a nuclear power is Omri Ceren. Read his reports here.
This is what went on today when an AP reporter questioned the State Department about the latest news from the scene of -
The Great Humiliation of the US at the Hands of the Mullahs of Iran
The administration is trying to move the goalpost from “the Iranians have to resolve past issues” to “the Iranians have to provide the access that could be used to resolve past issues”. And instead of trying to sell the collapse as necessary they’re trying to insist that their stance has never changed. State Department Press Office Director Jeff Rathke tried to convince the State Department press corps at today’s briefing that the Obama administration never promised lawmakers and journalists that the Iranians would have to resolve the PMD issue before they got sanctions relief.
What followed was a 10 minute back-and-forth …
The videos are here – http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4540775/state-dept-vs-associated-press-iran-disclosure-12 – and here – http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4540777/state-dept-vs-associated-press-iran-disclosure-22. There are 2 parts because at first the discussion sort of ended with Rathke telling the Associated Press’s Matthew Lee that the administration has never changed its position, but then later Lee brought the conversation back to the topic and literally read Kerry’s PBS interview out loud off his phone.
LEE: But does your unwillingness to even characterize the –you know, where the talks are and that they’re at a difficult phase with 2-1/2 weeks left, does that extend to not commenting on various reports that have come out this week and the last about concessions that the P5+1 appear to be making to Iran in terms of both sanctions relief and on the PMD issue?
RATHKE: Well, I think we’ve spoken a bit to this yesterday. But on the PMD issue, you know, we’re — we’ve seen the reports that — I think that you’re referring to. You know, I think our position on this hasn’t changed. We’ve always made clear to the Iranians that they will have to reach agreement with the IAEA on providing the necessary access to address the concerns about the possible military dimensions of their program. And without that agreement, you know, we will not be able to move forward with sanctions relief. That’s been our position throughout these negotiations.
LEE: Right. But that means — that suggests that the actual questions don’t have to be answered and the concerns resolved in order to get the deal, correct?
RATHKE: Well, again…
LEE: They only have to agree to — at some point, whatever that might be, but at some point — after an agreement is reached, to, to deal with this. Is that correct?
RATHKE: Well, the point is that Iran has to provide the necessary access to the IAEA for them to address these concerns.
LEE: Yeah, but does that have to happen to get to a deal? Or can that happen after a deal?
RATHKE: Without — without — without agreement on the access, we will not — needed to resolve this, we won’t be able to reach, you know…
LEE: So if Iran agrees to give access to the sites that the IAEA wants, but doesn’t actually — but hasn’t actually given the access by June 30th, that’s still OK. Is that correct?
RATHKE: Well, there I think we’re getting into details that I will leave in the negotiating room. I think what I’m trying to convey, though, is that our — our position on the possible military dimensions issue and the necessity of Iran working with the IAEA, that position remains the same and hasn’t changed.
LEE: Is it — is it correct that there is a difference between me, if I’m Iran, saying to you: “OK, you can have access in 50 years,” and me as Iran saying, “OK, come on in now and give — and ask all the questions you want, and we’ll — we’ll address your concerns.” There’s a difference between those two, correct?
RATHKE: But the distinction you’re trying to say is 50 years versus zero?
LEE: Well, when does Iran have to give the access?
RATHKE: Again, those — those are details that…
LEE: Well, they shouldn’t be. They shoudn’t, I didn’t…
RATHKE: …in the negotiating room, and I’m not going to speak to those.
LEE: Well, but they shouldn’t be up for negotiation, because the whole idea in the JPOA was that Iran would resolve these issues in order to get to — in order to get to a comprehensive deal. And now you’re saying they don’t have to resolve them at all. All they have to do is say, “OK, at some point in the future, and we don’t know when that might be, that we’ll give access.” And giving access doesn’t mean that you’re — that the IAEA or yours — your concerns have been resolved or addressed.
RATHKE: Our position on this hasn’t changed, Matt. And you can go back and look at what we said at the time. But our position remains that, you know, it’s about the access that the IAEA needs to address our concerns.
LEE: But that’s not what it was at the beginning. At the beginning of this, it was they have to resolve the PMD issue to the satisfaction of the IAEA or there isn’t going to be a deal.
RATHKE: Again, I’m saying there’s not a — there’s not a difference.
LEE: Well, that’s a big difference between that and saying that they just have to agree to at some point down the road give access, and not even resolve the concerns.
RATHKE: Again, the…
LEE: There is a difference there. I mean, am I wrong?
RATHKE: Look, the focus is on addressing — addressing these concerns and that’s one of the issues that we’re dealing with in the negotiating room.
QUESTION: So would the IAEA first have to resolve this, well, would the deal have to include that the IAEA has resolved this already before we sign it. I mean, because if you sign the deal without that being resolved, isn’t it just something left open?
RATHKE: Again, I go back to what I said initially in response to Matt’s question. That it has consistently been our position that Iran has to reach agreement with the IAEA to provide the necessary access to address the concerns about the possible military dimensions of their program. That’s been our position throughout the negotiations. And without that agreement, you know, we’ll not be able to move forward with sanctions relief. And, you know, the — the discussions in the room, I will leave in the room. But that’s been our position and that’s — and it remains.
LEE: So it has never been the U.S. position that Iran must resolve the PMD concerns to get to an agreement. That’s never been — that’s never been a condition?
RATHKE: Look, if we want to go back and — and look at what was said at the time, again, our position on this.
LEE: I wish this wasn’t, I mean.
RATHKE: It remains the same.
LEE: It doesn’t remain the same, Jeff. It’s — it’s — it’s changed. I mean, Secretary Kerry even said that it had — they had to be resolved in order for there to be a deal.
RATHKE: You’re trying to draw a distinction between the words address and resolve.
LEE: No. You’re lowering it — you’re lowering the bar even further from address to just agree to give access to, which means, I mean, if they give access…
LEE: If they give access and the IAEA — your version now says that if they give access, the IAEA goes in and finds some huge secret bomb-making thing, that’s OK. Then — they’ve given access and that’s alright.
RATHKE: I think you were listening to what I said.
LEE: I was.
RATHKE: I said that Iran has to provide the necessary access to address the concerns about the possible military dimensions of their program.
LEE: But what if the concerns aren’t addressed? What if the access that they give doesn’t address the concerns? You’ve already got the deal, they’re already getting sanctions relief. Or are you saying that if the concerns aren’t addressed at some point down the road, then they’re not going to get the sanctions relief that they would’ve gotten for that
RATHKE: I’ve laid out our position clearly, Matt. It hasn’t changed.
LEE: Alright, well, I’m very confused, because it does seem that — that — that — that the goal posts seem to be moving.
RATHKE: No. The goal posts haven’t moved.
LEE: I want to go back to Iran and this whole PMD thing. All right. In April, the secretary was on PBS Newshour with Judy Woodruff. And she asked him: “The IAEA said for a long time that it wants Iran to disclose past PMDs. Iran is increasingly looking like it’s not prepared to do this. Is the U.S. prepared to accept that?”
Secretary Kerry: “No. They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done.”
Woodruff: “Because it’s not there right now.”
Kerry: “It will be done.”
Woodruff: “So that information will be released before June 30th. It will be available?”
Secretary Kerry: “It will be part of the final agreement, it has to be.”
Now you’re saying that all they have to do is to agree to provide access at some date in the future to address that? That certainly — that’s…
RATHKE: No, that’s…
LEE: That’s a walk-back…
LEE: Or am I completely misunderstanding what the secretary said?
RATHKE: Our position remains, as Secretary Kerry outlined it, that — and, you know, as you quoted from the secretary’s…
LEE: He said there, in a response to a question, “Does Iran have to disclose its PMDs?”, in other words, do they have to address the — address the concerns or resolve the concerns, and he said, “Yes, before June 30th.” Was he wrong?
RATHKE: He said yes, that’s part of — that would have to be part of the — part of the deal.
LEE: And now you’re saying it doesn’t have to be part of the deal.
RATHKE: No, I’m not saying it’s part of the deal (sic), Matt. You’re trying to draw distinctions here where there aren’t distinctions. What Secretary Kerry in that — in that interview…
RATHKE: … is consistent with our policy…
LEE: There is no distinction between them having to open up and…
RATHKE: No, see — you’re offering your interpretation of what these words […] mean. What the secretary said in that interview, what I’ve said, and what our position’s been throughout these talks is entirely consistent.
The prevarication on the part of the State Department is so obvious and shameful that this exchange should be used as an example of “How to Slither Out of Answering a Question” in all Schools of Diplomacy from now on.
An outraged Briton makes a point about Islam and asks a question that needs answering:
The Social Justice Warriors – now apparently so established as to be commonly alluded to as the SJW – are an enemy army. The enemy of justice. They are a worse threat to our civilization than Islam (with which they are tacitly allied).
The feminists are the worst of the army’s regiments.
The SJW – aka the Left, or “progressives” – must be constantly engaged in battle until totally defeated.
Some rational thinkers have been fighting them for years. May they be heard above the weeping and gnashing of teeth of the self-pitying enemy!
The academies are major battlefields. There the young, quiveringly sensitive warriors are falling spitefully on their “progressive” elders who launched the war in their own student days.
In a splendidly stinging article atFront Page, Bruce Thornton fights the good fight. He does not name the SJW, but his attack hits the warriors – especially the feminists – hard. Here is most of it:
Recently several progressive professors have publicly complained that their students are hounding them for failing to consider their tender sensibilities by straying beyond the p.c. orthodoxy on sexual assault, sex identity, linguistic correctness, and a whole host of other progressive shibboleths. Northwestern “feminist” professor Laura Kipnis found herself in a Title IX star chamber for an article she wrote decrying the immaturity of her legally adult students. … Another progressive confessed (anonymously, reminding us that academics are an invertebrate species) he was so “scared” and “terrified” of his “liberal” students that he self-censors his comments in class and has changed his reading list.
These incidents follow the complaints of other progressives like Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Chait that the intolerant ideology at the heart of progressivism is now getting out of hand – something that many of us have been writing about for nearly 3 decades. That these progressives should now be shocked at such intolerance and persecution after decades of speech codes, disruptions of conservative speakers, campus inquisitions which ignore Constitutional rights, cancellations of commencement speakers, and ideological litmus tests imposed on new hires and curricula, bespeaks not principle, but rather indignation that now they are on the receiving end of the bullying and harassment long inflicted on conservatives …
Indeed, the campus intolerance progressives are now whining about is the child of the progressive ideology many of the complainers still embrace. Modern progressivism is at heart grievance politics, the core of which is not universal principle, but identity predicated on being a victim of historical crimes like sexism and racism, and on suffering from wounding slights defined as such by the subjective criteria of the now privileged victim who is beyond judgment or criticism. Once acknowledged by the state, victim status can then be leveraged into greater political, institutional, and social power. The mechanism of this leverage is the state and federal laws that empower students whose feelings have been hurt by their teachers’ challenging or provocative questions and ideas.
Sexual harassment law, for example, with its “intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment” language, guarantees that subjective, irrational, or even lunatic standards of what constitutes an “offense” will be used to justify limits on academic freedom and expression, and to punish transgressors. The overbroad and elastic language of Title IX, the law used to haul Kipnis before a campus tribunal, likewise has invited subjective and fuzzy charges from anybody who feels that “on the basis of sex” she has been “excluded from participation in” or “denied the benefits of” or “subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”. Finally, the Department of Education’s 2011 “dear colleague” letter, which instructed schools investigating sexual assault complaints to use the “more likely than not” or “preponderance of the evidence” standard of evidence rather than the “clear and convincing” one, ensures that any complaint no matter how preposterous or irrational will have to be investigated, and the “guilty” punished.
Yet the obsession with the victim and his suffering, and the need for everybody else to cater to his sensitivity, reflects wider cultural trends. … In this therapeutic vision, the cultural ideal now is Sensitive Man, who revels in his superiority to others based on his sensitivity to suffering, and his public displays of what Alan Bloom called “conspicuous compassion” for state-anointed victims.
Consequently, as Charles Sykes writes in A Nation of Victims – which in 1992 detailed the cultural shifts that have led to today’s hyper-sensitive and litigious students: “One must be attuned to the feelings of others and adapt oneself to the kaleidoscopic shades of grievance, injury, and ego that make up the subjective sensibilities of the ‘victim’. Everyone must now accommodate themselves to the sensitivity of the self, whose power is based not on force or even shared ideology but on changeable and perhaps arbitrary and exaggerated ‘feelings’.”
In my 1999 book Plagues of the Mind, I drew out the implications for higher education of this cult of sensitivity, which has made “infants of people, particularly college students, who are led to believe that the world should be a place where they will never feel bad or suffer disappointment, where they will be coddled and indulged and mothered, and where their already overinflated estimation of themselves will be continually reinforced . . . No one seems concerned about what will happen to these adults when they have to enter the real world and discover that it can be a cold, uncaring place where their anxieties and psychic fears are not the prime order of business”. Sixteen years later Kipnis made a similar point in her article when she observed, “The myths and fantasies about power perpetuated in these new codes [of sexual behavior] are leaving our students disabled when it comes to the ordinary interpersonal tangles and erotic confusions that pretty much everyone has to deal with at some point in life.”
As Kipnis’s troubles show, today this obsession with the feelings of students and their demands that they be protected from anything unpleasant or “hurtful” has manifested itself in the hysteria over an alleged epidemic of sexual assault of female college students. (Professor Kipnis got into trouble for calling this phenomenon “sexual paranoia”.) Yet this is nothing new either. In the late 90s commentators were warning of the “New Puritanism”, and the “New Victorianism” – the title of Rene Denfeld’s 1995 analysis of this corruption of feminism.
In our view, feminism is a rotten ideology to start with. It can only go from bad to worse.
… The proliferation of “codes” governing courtship and sexual encounters in order to protect fragile women, the ever expanding list of prohibited words that might traumatize the “oppressed”, the establishment of tribunals judging the accused without the benefit of Constitutional protections, and the noisy protests, shaming, and invective like those aimed at Professor Kipnis, are all in order to enforce orthodoxy through fear and self-censorship a la the poltroonish professor mentioned earlier.
Worst of all, the spread of this intolerance throughout universities makes impossible the very purpose of higher education: to broaden students’ minds by allowing what Matthew Arnold called “the free play of the mind on all subjects” and by familiarizing them with the “best which has been thought and said in the world”. That ideal has now become scarce on our campuses. As Sykes wrote over 20 years ago, “Once feelings are established as the barometer of acceptable behavior, speech (and, by extension, thought) becomes only as free as the most sensitive group will permit.” This is precisely the state of affairs in American universities today, where the old notions that truth is a liberating force and that suffering teaches, and the great classics that embodied these and other verities of the human condition, have been sacrificed on the altar of victim politics and its aggrandizement of institutional power. So our universities now produce “snowflakes”, as some have called them, students with fragile psyches and empty minds. …
Now the progressives’ children are devouring their creators, the inevitable outcome of revolutionary passions and utopian goals that lack coherent principle and intellectual rigor. That’s why progressives suffering the wages of their ideology deserve no sympathy.
The UN must be destroyed.
The US must stop funding the UN – headquarters of international political evil.
Senator Ted Cruz is serious about it. He has sent this letter to the Secretary-General of Evil HQ:
June 3, 2015
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
I write to you to convey my outrage that the State of Israel may be added to your list of “parties to conflict who commit grave violations against children.” This designation would falsely and shamefully equate Israel with some of the most barbaric terrorist organizations around the world. The decision to add Israel is solely your decision to make and, therefore, is entirely in your power to prevent from taking place.
As you are well aware, this list is part of your annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. It is my understanding that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) may be added for the alleged violations described below. The 2014 report on Children and Armed Conflict listed more than 59 parties including terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram, Taliban, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Al Qaeda who “recruit or use children, kill or maim children, commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, or engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals in situations of armed conflict.”
Such deplorable atrocities rightfully should be condemned by the United Nations. But there is absolutely no legitimate basis for adding Israel to such a list that includes parties which only represent the greatest of evil, honor death over life, and deliberately massacre women and children. Unlike those parties on your list, Israel cherishes life and goes to extraordinary lengths to minimize civilian casualties during a conflict. In fact, Israel’s careful warfare tactics set an example for other nations to emulate, including the United States, which, according to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, recently sent a team of senior military officers over to Israel to learn more about these tactics.
As the entire world observed last summer, Israel began its justified military operation in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas, two of whom were 16 years old and another 19 years old. As Israel engaged in an operation to find the Hamas terrorists responsible and bring them to justice for this heinous act, the conflict further escalated when Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad began to launch rockets and use underground tunnels deliberately targeting Israeli civilians, in an indiscriminate attempt to murder as many Israelis as possible. These terrorist groups are motivated by the stated desire to destroy Israel within any borders, not by any legitimate interest in making peace with Israel.
Acting in self-defense, Israel targeted only areas in Gaza that posed a threat and where members of Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad were located. The IDF took such steps as dropping leaflets, making announcements, placing telephone calls, and sending text messages directly to residents in Gaza to provide advance warning of an imminent attack to minimize civilian casualties. Members of Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad purposefully hid themselves and stockpiled weapons in densely populated areas including UN facilities, schools, hospitals and mosques. They used civilians, including children, as human shields. Hamas’ main command center was located underneath the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, which made the primary source of medical care to Gaza residents a legitimate military target if Israel’s objective was to destroy Hamas’ terrorist leadership. These terrorists even encouraged residents in Gaza to ignore the IDF warnings and remain in their homes in an attempt to use them as pawns in their ongoing propaganda war to demonize the Jewish State. The very lives of Gaza residents are of no concern to Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad, for whom casualties are not an unintended consequence of war, but rather a deliberate objective. The United States Congress unanimously passed a resolution last year condemning their actions.
Meanwhile to Israel’s northeast a civil war wages in Syria. In an action completely alien to the parties on your list, Israel has offered medical care, free of charge, to the casualties of this action. Israeli physicians have treated and saved the lives of more than a thousand Syrians injured in that conflict, including children. The contrast could not be more clear: Hamas and other terrorist groups exploit medical facilities as human shields to launch operations against Israel, while Israel uses theirs to provide cutting-edge medical care to people whose government’s avowed goal is to destroy the Jewish State.
Mr. Secretary-General, I submit that, should you determine to add more parties to your list, you should focus on those who actually exploit their own children as human shields, indoctrinate and raise their children to glorify violence and martyrdom, and target the children of others to achieve their destructive goals who should receive priority consideration, such as Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad. There is absolutely no moral equivalence between radical Islamic terrorists, who are motivated by these factors, and Israel, which is justifiably motivated solely by the defense of her people.
Mr. Secretary-General, under no circumstances should Israel be added to your list. As the largest contributor to the United Nations, Congress will have no choice but to reassess the United States’ relationship with the United Nations and consider serious consequences if you choose to take this action.
United States Senator
 “Listing Parties to Conflict Who Commit Grave Violations Against Children,” Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Accessed June 2, 2015, https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/our-work/sg-list/.
 “Report of the Secretary-General: Children and Armed Conflict,” United Nations, May 15, 2014, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/68/878&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC.
 Lisa Ferdinando, “Chairman Says Israel Acted Responsibly in Gaza Operation,” Army News Service, U.S. Department of Defense, November 7, 2014,http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123589.
 H. Con. Res. 107, Agreed to December 10, 2014, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hconres107enr/pdf/BILLS-113hconres107enr.pdf.