The first labor of Trump 3

… undoing Obama’s “deal” with Iran?

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On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 countries finalized a nuclear agreement with Iran. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani announced: “Today major world powers recognized Iran’s nuclear program. Our dreams have come true.”

Of all the bad that Obama has wrought upon the world, the worst may be his empowering of the Islamic regime of Iran.

Secretary of State John Kerry, under the orders of Islam-loving President Obama, concluded a “deal” with the Iranian regime.

This is what they brought the United States to agree to.

The quotations and information come from Discover the Networks:

The key elements of the deal were the following:

Iran will be permitted to keep more than 5,000 centrifuges, one-third of which will continue to spin in perpetuity. (Note: Pakistan created a nuclear bomb with just 3,000 centrifuges.)

Iran will receive $150 billion in sanctions relief. (In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice conceded the following: “Yes, it is real, it is possible, and, in fact, we should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now.”)

Russia and China will be permitted to supply Iran with weapons. Indeed, Russia has agreed to sell Iran S-300 anti-missile rocket systems in exchange for 500,000 barrels of oil. As the InternationalBusiness Times reports, “Russia and China will continue to make weapons deals with Iran under U.N. procedures.” According to political analyst Charles Krauthammer, “the net effect of this capitulation will be not only to endanger our Middle East allies now under threat from Iran and its proxies, but to endanger our own naval forces in the Persian Gulf.” “Imagine,” he added, “how Iran’s acquisition of the most advanced anti-ship missiles would threaten our control over the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways we have kept open for international commerce for a half century.”

Iran will have the discretion to block international inspectors from military installations and will be given 14 days’ notice for any request to visit any site. If Iran in fact denies access to any suspected site, that denial is then adjudicated by a committee on which Iran sits as a member. Next, the matter goes through several other bodies, on all of which Iran likewise sits. All told, the entire process may take up to 24 days.

Only inspectors from countries that have diplomatic relations with Iran will be given access to Iranian nuclear sites. Thus there will be no American inspectors. The embargo on the sale of weapons to Iran will be officially lifted in 5 years, though in reality it has not been enforced at all in recent years under Obama.

Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program will remain intact and unaffected; indeed it was never even discussed as an issue in the negotiations.

The heavy water reactor in Arak and the underground nuclear facility in Fordo will remain open, violating the “red lines” that Obama has repeatedly cited.

Iran will not be required to disclose information about its past nuclear research and development.

The U.S. will provide technical assistance to help Iran develop its nuclear program, supposedly for peaceful domestic purposes.

Sanctions will lifted on critical parts of Iran’s military, including a previously existing travel ban against Qasem Suleimani, leader of the terrorist Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Suleimani was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in the Iraq War.

Iran will not be required to release American prisoners like Iranian-American Christian missionary Saeed Abedini, Iranian-American Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, or U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati. The P5+1 nations “and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices”. This would include “co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems“.

Last and worst – we must add – the “deal” allows Iran to make nuclear weapons freely ten years from the date of the “deal”.

What, you may ask, does the US get out of the “deal”?

Answer: Nothing but enmity, hatred, and threats.

The ruler of Iran, [the Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini] Khamenei, is quoted as saying that Iran needs to plan to fight the US regardless of whether there is an agreement. The president of Iran, Rouhani, stands at the head of the march of hatred in the streets of Tehran, in which US and Israeli flags were burned, and in which many chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

Concessions [were made by the US] even on issues that had been marked as red lines … which is a bad deal in its own right.

It [the deal] paves Iran’s way to many nuclear bombs and gives it hundreds of billions of dollars for its terrorism and conquest machine, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world.

(The full text of the “deal” may be found here.)

Zikr versus Fikr 1

Poetry is taken very seriously in Iran.

It is taken very seriously by the rulers of Iran, who stand high among the rulers of the darkness of this world.

And have been further elevated by the president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, who has bowed deeply to them, and crawled at their feet, and grovelling there has begged them to use him as their footstool.

The highest of them all, the Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, writes poems.

They know what a poem is. What it should be. What it must be: a hymn to Allah. If it is not that, it is not a poem.

And if anyone writes something about anything else and dares to call it a “poem”, he or she deserves at the very least to be flogged and flogged and flogged again, and shut away for many years, and have their writings banned. Some deserve nothing less than to be shot or bled to death. 

Amir Taheri writes at Gatestone:

Does a seminar on reforming the meter and rhyme schemes of Persian poetry violate “Islamic values” and threaten the foundations of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

That is the view of the Islamic Court in Tehran, which last month sentenced two poets, Fateme Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mussavi, to nine and 11.5 years in prison respectively, plus 99 lashes of the cane for each in public.

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One of the two, Mrs. Fateme Ekhtesari, was sentenced to 11.5 years for “undermining the security of the Islamic state” by composing and reciting in public a number of “poems full of ambiguity and capable of being read in deviant and dangerous ways”.

So if any of her images turns the devout reader’s imagination to blasphemy, flog her, imprison her, and ban the evil poem.

Ekhtesari is a surrealist poet whose verse could, and indeed is intended to, be read in many different ways. One of her diwans (collections of verse), for example, is called Crying on the Shoulder of An Egg. Another comes under the title A Feminist Discourse Before Baking Potatoes.

In the case of Iranian women – of all women under the yoke of Islam – we understand the need for a “feminist” movement; a movement to set them free, whatever it may be called.

And we do not argue with any poet’s subject matter, even if it is religious.

Feminism is a strong theme with Ekhtesari, who insists that, as God created both men and women from the same “red mud” mentioned in the Koran, there is no reason to prevent the latter from enjoying any freedoms available to the former.

In Islam, for a woman to claim equality with men is a sin, a crime, an enormity.

The Tehran Islamic Prosecutor insisted that Ekhtesari’s “ambiguous poems” were meant to pass “dangerous political messages that could encourage people to distance themselves from the True Faith”.

“She writes something but means something else,” the prosecutor claimed. “Her trick is to avoid saying anything in a straightforward way, creating space for all manner of dangerous thinking.”

The prosecutor based part of his case on the claim that what matters in Islam is “zikr,” that is to say, a constant remembrance of God by repeating, if necessary in silence and to oneself, the formula “There is no God but Allah”. Those who abandon “zikr” for its opposite — which is “fikr”, that is to say, thinking — move away from the Path of Faith.

Zikr versus Fikr. Faith versus Reason. The aim of Islam is to smother the world in Zikr. Snuff out Fikr. Put an end to Reason – the most dangerous thing in the universe. 

The irony in all this is that Ekhtesari is not a political poet. In fact, she has written that those who try to use poetry to advance political ideals betray both.

As editor of the monthly literary magazine Only One Tomorrow, Ekhtesari offered space to writers and poets across the ideological spectrum, including some Khomeinists. Her magazine was shut down soon after Hassan Rouhani became president.

However, as a poet, Ekhtesari cannot but be affected by the ambient social and political order in her homeland. She cannot turn her face the other way when she sees ugliness, oppression and terror – themes that force their way into some of her poems.

Ekhtesari is also an original theoretician of poetic modes. Her collection of essays entitled Linguistic Tricks in Postmodern Sonnet [Ghazal] is both intriguing and instructive.

Ekhtesari’s fellow convict-cum-poet is Mehdi Mussavi, who received a six-year [or nine-year?] sentence. Mussavi is the founder and principal animator of a poetry workshop in Tehran where Ekhtesari has often spoken and recited her poems. The workshop is supposedly dedicated to developing a new form that Mussavi calls “postmodern ghazal”.  The classic form of Persian sonnet, ghazal, has been the subject of numerous attempts at modernization, notably by Simin Behbahani, one of Iran’s greatest contemporary poetesses.

To call the ghazal a sonnet is misleading. It is a traditional form with rules, as is the sonnet, but its form is nothing like that of the sonnet. But we’ll let that pass.

What matters here is Mehdi Mussavi’s moral wickedness as a poet and the danger it poses to the Iranian state.

Like Behbahani, Mussavi argues that, having experimented with modern forms, including European-style prose-poetry, for almost a century, Persian poets need to return to traditional forms, albeit with changes to reflect modern realities.

Mussavi rejects the argument of the older generation poets such as Ahmad Shamlou, who claimed that the traditional ghazal is so beholden to the musicality of its meter and rhyme schemes that it cannot relay any meaning in a powerful way.

According to Mussavi, once the Persian poet has learned to play by the traditional rules, he could invent virtually countless meters and rhymes capable of expressing any sentiment.

Just literary controversy, you might say. Insiders chat. But in Islam, the literary is political, every idea is political, because Islam is a totalitarian religio-political ideology. 

Literary opponents of Mussavi’s theories, especially on the left, argue that he, like Behbahani and other reformers of the ghazal before them, suffers from a sense of insecurity in a changing world where the Iran they knew is being remolded into something repulsive in the name of Islam.

The Islamic Court charged Mussavi with propagating “immoral images” in his poetry and thus “insulting sacred values of the Islamic ummah”. 

Equally painful is the Islamic Court’s decision to impose a blanket ban on the publication and recital of any poems by Ekhtesari and Mussavi. Under an edict issued by the Islamic Guidance Ministry in 2003, people like Ekhtesari and Mussavi, who are found guilty of “insulting Islam” and thus put on the official index, become “non-persons” – even their names and pictures are banned.

Both Ekhtesari and Mussavi had spent several months in prison two years ago, but were released after the Islamic Prosecutor Ayatollah Ra’isi failed to prove any political crime.

That is why this time, the prosecutor focused on a claim that the poets had attacked “the sacred tenets of the faith”.

The sentencing was made easier thanks to a recent lecture by “Supreme Guide” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei laying down the rules of what he believes “good Islamic poets” should observe when writing poetry.

Iran is one of the few countries in the world where poetry has always been regarded as the highest form of literary creation. In Iranian cities, streets and parks were more often named after poets than conquerors or empire-builders or, until the mullahs seized power, Islamic saints and/or theologians. If an Iranian home has at least one book, it is likely to be a collection of poems.

And yet, with the seizure of power by mullahs in 1979, Iran has experienced one of the most dangerous phases in its long history, as far as poets – and intellectuals in general – are concerned.

Another irony is that both the founder of the regime, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his successor as “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, cast themselves as amateur poets. Khomeini banned publication of his own divans while he was alive, believing that appearing as a poet might soften the dour persona he was building as leader of a revolution that could execute 4000 people on a weekend.

Since his death, however, hundreds of his poems, most of them traditional-style sonnets (ghazals) have been published by the foundation bearing his name.

Ali Khamenei does not publish his poems, but organizes private readings with a few dozen “appreciators” once or twice a year and is reportedly “in seventh heaven” when his entourage quote one of his verses.

Ekhtesari and Mussavi have been sent to jail, not killed. Other poets have not been so lucky.

Hashem Shaabani was hanged on the eve of President Rouhani’s visit to Ahvaz in 2014. Shaabani was not the first Iranian poet to be murdered by the mullahs. The left-wing poet Sa’id Sultanpour was abducted on the day of his wedding on Khomeini’s orders, and shot dead in a Tehran prison. Rahman Hatefi-Monfared, writing under the pen-name of Heydar Mehregan, had his veins cut and was left to bleed to death in the notorious Evin Prison. Under President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a plan to kill a busload of Iranian poets on their way to a festival in Armenia failed at the last minute. Nevertheless, Rafsanjani succeeded in eliminating more than a dozen writers and poets. The worst spate of killings happened under President Khatami, when more than 80 intellectuals, including the poets Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad-Ja’far Pouyandeh, were murdered by the Islamic regime’s security agents.