What has the author Salman Rushdie to do with nuclear weapons?
Consider the article that appeared today in The Guardian. Here are the opening paragraphs:
Forty state-run media outlets in Iran have pooled together to raise $600,000 (£420,000) to add to the fatwa on writer Salman Rushdie, 27 years after Iran’s first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called for Rushdie’s assassination following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses.
According to the state-run Fars news agency, the media outlets have pooled together to raise a new bounty, in the largest coordinated effort surrounding the fatwa since it was issued in 1989, when Khomeini declared The Satanic Verses blasphemous against Islam and offered a bounty for the novelist’s assassination. The total funds theoretically available to reward Rushdie’s murder now run into millions of dollars.
This is the Iran we actually face, behind the smiling face of Foreign Minister Zarif as he poses with a smiling John Kerry.
Zarif doesn’t run Iran; the ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guards do. Iran is a country whose actual leadership thinks it fine and dandy to raise money publicly to murder the author of a book they don’t like. This is the Iran with which the P5+1 concluded a nuclear deal based in part on faith, rather than on the full disclosure of past nuclear weapons activities and the full openness to inspections that the Obama administration initially promised. But the regime’s own "faith" leads it to use government-run stations to raise money for murder.
It’s worth recalling the nature of this regime as it heads for "elections" in which the vast majority of possible candidates were ruled out and virtually every true reformer was forbidden to run. That should not be surprising, from the guys who are still trying to kill Salman Rushdie. And it is a reminder why this repressive and aggressive regime must at all costs be kept from developing nuclear weapons.