Tag: Iran

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-host Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Mariam Memarsadeghi, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Mariam shares remembrances from her early years spent in the Shah’s Iran, and emigration to the U.S. shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in 1979. They discuss the massive cultural and civic differences between the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its government controlled by religious leaders, and modern liberal democracies like the U.S., with constitutionally limited government, and how this difference is manifested in the treatment of women and political dissidents. Mariam describes Tavaana, an organization she co-founded that is dedicated to a free and open Iran, and how it is using the internet and other means to advance democracy, civic education, and women’s rights in Iran. They also discuss her involvement with “We the People”: The Citizen and the Constitution, a nationwide civics contest for American high school students that is run by the Center for Civic Education. She descibes her experiences as a Presidential Leadership Scholar, and one of 43 individuals chosen as a portrait subject for President George W. Bush’s April 2021 book, Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.

Stories of the Week: From Texas, California and Colorado to Tennessee and Georgia, school districts are using some federal stimulus funding to award “thank you” bonuses to teachers to prevent resignations and boost morale after COVID-19. In New Jersey, one of nine states that have mandated in-person learning, some parents are raising concerns about the poor condition of the schools their children are being forced to return to.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome the declining approval numbers for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and one poll even has her trailing her likely GOP opponent. They also hammer President Biden for not joining three European nations in condemning Iran’s latest nuclear actions and even trying to ease up on sanctions against Tehran. And they roll their eyes as the Biden administration plans to go door-to-door to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated.

Greg and guest host Chad Benson appreciate New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang being the only one to admit that mentally ill people committing violent acts are a problem for the city and that residents have the right to not be assaulted. They also cringe as Iran prepares to install a new president who is already under U.S. sanctions for leading the mass execution of political prisoners in the 1980s. And they react to Sen. Ted Cruz saying that he hopes actor Matthew McConnaughey does not run for governor in Texas because he would be a very formidable candidate.

 

Greg and guest host Rob Long celebrate a federal court in Louisiana ending President Biden’s oil and gas lease ban on federal land. They also cringe as the Biden administration considers lifting sanctions on top Iranian institutions which finance terrorism. Lastly, they roll their eyes at California Gov. Gavin Newsom for failing to relinquish his state of emergency powers despite COVID-19 numbers being at all time lows in his state.

Ex-Mossad Head to Iran: ‘We Won’t Let You Get Nuclear Weapons. What Don’t You Understand?’

 

Retired Mossad chief Yossi Cohen.

Every few months for the past several years, there’s an “incident” in Iran. A top nuclear scientist disappears. A centrifuge facility catches fire. A ship doesn’t make it to its destination. And the Israelis offer no comment.

That is, until now. Yossi Cohen, who stepped down as leader of the Mossad intelligence agency last week, provided a stunning inside look at Israel’s efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

It’s all good martinis today! Jim and Greg welcome the Senate parliamentarian making life much tougher for Senate Democrats and the Biden agenda. They also cheer the mysterious sinking of one of Iran’s largest naval ships. And they are glad to see COVID number continue to drop weeks after the CDC ended mask mandates for vaccinated people.

Member Post

 

In a sign of internal political stability, Israel has chosen its new President in the person of Isaac Herzog. Iran’s largest warship caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman.  Update: And the Ishfahan Oil Refinery operated by the Tondgooyan Petrochemical Co. near Tehran is on fire. Yesterday was a very good day for lovers […]

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The Middle East Is in Deep Trouble—and So Are We

 

How many times did the Obama Administration lie to us during Obama’s Presidency? Most of us have probably lost track. But did you realize that they lied at least 14 times about the JCPOA? President Trump removed us from this abomination of a deal and instituted sanctions on Iran for their duplicitous activities on the JCPOA; unfortunately, the Biden Administration has reversed his actions and even worse, are using most of Obama’s original team to complete the deal with Iran. These activities will not only jeopardize peace in the Middle East, but create an existential threat to Israel and most importantly, put our own national security at risk. The arrogance and naivete of Biden’s team is pathetic at best, and treacherous at worst. We are all in deep trouble.

The Biden Administration has decided that Iran is a better choice for leading the Middle East than the Saudis. They’ve demonstrated their intentions in a number of ways. Although Secretary of State Blinken has stated that the U.S. must “toe a harder line” in the JCPOA negotiations, our actions have confirmed the opposite. (This excellent article explains what is occurring in the “negotiations,” and the reasons.) A key player for the U.S. team is Robert Malley, who was on Obama’s team, and seems to be driving the Biden strategy. Biden’s people agree not only that Obama’s original agenda must be completed, but they have already agreed to a number of concessions in principle. Abbas Aragchi, Iran’s lead negotiator in Vienna, indicates the following:

The American negotiators, he claimed, had already agreed in principle to remove sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, automotive industry, financial services, banking industry, and ports—to eliminate, in other words, all of the most significant economic sanctions ever imposed on Iran. Recent statements from Biden administration officials give us no reason to disbelieve Araghchi, and the smart money is now on a full resurrection of the JCPOA in relatively short order.

In this episode of The Dave Carter Show, Ricochet Editor in Chief Jon Gabriel stops by to discuss the disconcerting similarities between the Biden Administration and that of former President Jimmy Carter. With unemployment and inflation on the rise, an emboldened Iran stirring up mischief in a once-again troubled Mideast, gas lines and an emerging energy dependent America that shows signs of weakness abroad and an increasingly centralized government at home, one wonders if bell bottoms and disco can be far behind.

Then, longtime Ricochet Member Franco calls in to talk about his latest article, “Moralism by Proxy,” and the political implications of policy morality versus personal morality. It’s a fascinating discussion you won’t want to miss. In fact, you won’t want to miss a single minute of this intriguing episode.

Join Jim and Greg as they cautiously welcome the new shifting of congressional seats based upon the 2020 U.S. Census and the opportunity for Republicans to win a House majority. They also roll their eyes as John Kerry denies telling Iran’s foreign minister about covert Israeli operations in Syria while former Obama official Ben Rhodes comes up with a completely contradictory defense of Kerry’s actions.  And they sigh as Rep. Liz Cheney says she hasn’t decided one way or another on a 2024 presidential bid.

Join Jim and Greg as give President Biden credit for correctly labeling the Ottoman slaughter of Armenians last century as a genocide, They also rip John Kerry for reportedly telling Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif that Israel was responsible for more than 200 attacks against Iranian interests inside Syria. And they shake their heads as Vice President Harris seems unmotivated to solve the border crisis yet copies of her kids book are showing up at a migrant facility in California.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome House Republicans trying to force the Biden administration to keep the effective Trump-era sanctions on Iran. They also unload on Biden for his ridiculous, non-binding goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by the end of the decade – and for his climate agenda that would really just grow government. And they have some fun with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot suggesting police officers get permission from a supervisor before chasing criminals on foot.

 

Join Jim and Greg as they update the “incident” at the Natanz nuclear site and enjoy learning how it was much more devastating than first reported. Then they feel very weird agreeing with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid but believe he right to warn the Democrats against court packing. They discuss the significance of the FDA and CDC calling for a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. And they discuss the inexplicable error of a Minnesota police officer in a recent shooting death there but also hammer Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib for suggesting this case is further proof that we need to abolish police and incarceration.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome news of a “blackout: at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran, and whether Israel is behind it or not, they’re glad to see it. They also unload on President Biden who is unconcerned about inflation following his massive spending binge because someone else will likely be in office when it gets really bad. They also call out Vice President Harris for apparently doing nothing about the border crisis since she was put in charge of it and the media who refuse to demand answers. Finally, they offer their well wishes to Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw in the wake of concerning medical news.

Will Biden Trigger War in the Middle East?

 

When President Trump pulled us out of the Iranian deal, also known as the JCPOA, it was one of the most sensible and appropriate actions of his Presidency. The deal, which was supposed to “slow” the Iranian development of a nuclear weapon, was a sham from the start: they refused to adhere to certain inspection guidelines from the beginning, then violated others as time passed; the IAEA figuratively and repeatedly threw up its hands in frustration. When we pulled out, the Iranians used our lack of support as a further excuse to continue to ignore the limitations of the agreement.

Now with the opportunity to manipulate the latest version of an Obama administration (also to be known as the Biden administration), the Iranians know that Biden has stated he will sign on again to the agreement. Biden’s goal is not only foolish but meaningless, since the Iranians have significantly progressed in their nuclear bomb development. What in the world will our re-engaging provide? Here are some of Biden’s ideas about re-joining the JCPOA:

In an op-ed in September, Biden said as president he would ‘make an unshakable commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.’ He argued the best way to achieve that was for the U.S. to re-enter the deal.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome the news that a top figure in Iran’s likely nuclear weapons program was targeted and killed and they marvel at how it was done. They also bang their heads against the table as some Trump supporters suggest opposing GOP senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for being insufficiently vocal about the alleged election fraud and believe writing in Trump in the Senate races would send a powerful message. And they groan as the media clearly intends to stay in full Joe Biden cheerleading mode, including one story featuring an animal psychic who says Biden’s dogs are convinced he will be a great president.

Join Jim and Greg as they reveal what they’re politically thankful for in 2020. From the fight against COVID to domestic politics to major events on the world stage, they each find three things they’re thankful for from this difficult, unpredictable year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all 3 Martini Lunch listeners and your families! There will be no podcast on Thursday. Please join us Friday for our special Black Friday edition, as Jim and Greg pick out gifts for various political figures.

Trump’s Disruptive Foreign Policy

 

The following began its brief life as a comment on another recent post, but after reflection I thought maybe it was cogent enough to stand on its own. On the foreign policy front, I suspect I may be the only one here who has served in Embassies, including during the Trump era. This is what I will say about that.

  1. I’m sure I won’t break any news when I say that most of the foreign policy establishment leans left and is distressed when any Republican is elected but was especially so in 2016. This is not only true of our dear State Department friends but across the entire transnational community of foreign policy elites.
  2. Continuing as Captain Obvious, DJT is a norm-breaker, and the foreign policy community seriously loves it some norms–and resents when they are broken.
  3. Of course, some norms badly needed to be broken. In particular, the national and international foreign policy consensus on China urgently needed to move, and this administration succeeded in catalyzing that movement. The 2017 National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy were masterfully done. They met a critical need to generate a global awakening about the failure of the previous consensus on Beijing, probably best summarized by Robert Zoellick’s 2005 “Responsible Stakeholder” speech. Someone had to end the charade, and it’s worth wondering whether a more conventional administration of either party could have overcome the entrenched consensus to have boldly introduced major-power competition as the new normal–so successfully that even the professionals now agree that we can’t go back to the status quo ante on China.
  4. Israel and the Middle East is the other major area where the foreign policy consensus simply had to be sidelined. I recently spoke to a State Department official who–in the context of a discussion about normalization with the UAE and Bahrain–seethed angrily about how this Administration had trashed 70 years of foreign policy consensus on Palestine. Without irony. Sometimes the conventional wisdom must be firmly rejected.
  5. Getting our allies to finally invest in their own defense is also a plus.
  6. Having said that, we are paying a price for appearing capricious and unnecessarily dismissive of our allies. Sure, they can be difficult, but they remain our allies and we do need to keep them on our side. Those same national security documents make it clear that major-power competition is a team sport, and we have to bring the team along if we’re going to win. And we must win.
  7. Also, the incessantly revolving door of senior officials (especially SecDefs and National Security Advisors) has been extremely disruptive to getting important work done in the international space.
  8. Finally, there’s been a dearth of consistently strong and vocal leadership on our American principles (democracy, rule of law, human rights, etc.), particularly since Nikki Haley stepped down as U.N. Ambassador. Foreign policy requires salesmanship, and ours would benefit from some strength, steadiness, and consistency on these themes.

Bottom line, this administration has served as a corrective to some badly flawed policy. Disruption was absolutely necessary, but at some point should start to give way to stability and focused team-building.

The World Keeps Turning

 

The secret to any good magic trick is deception. The audience’s attention is diverted up into the air, while the trick is pulled off under the table. Politics is, in and of itself, a type of magic. How do governments and high-level officials pull off the corruption they do? Everyone else is looking away.

If you could find me an American who isn’t aware of either Coronavirus or Black Lives Matter, I would be shocked. The entire nation is held captive by these era-defining moments. Important as they are, it is imperative that we pay attention to the other events happening in the world around us that have just as much potential to play into future conflicts as Black Lives Matter does.