Leave it to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to pull the wool over the eyes of his people by letting them believe that they have just elected a reformist president. And count on the United States to welcome the hoodwink.

Contrary to the cautious and not-so-cautious optimism expressed by the White House, the outcome of the June 14 Iranian election, in which Shiite cleric Hassan Rohani emerged victorious, is very bad news.

In the first place, Rohani is no moderate. This is evident not only in his past history as a loyalist of the Islamic revolution that ousted the shah in favor of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 or in his many subsequent top-tier positions in Khamenei-led governments. It is also a fact that Rohani would not have been approved by Khamenei as a candidate had his credentials or campaign been too liberal.

Secondly, Rohani is no friend of popular protests. In July 1999, during Rohani’s tenure as secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, students at Tehran University demonstrated against the closing of the reformist newspaper, Salam. Though the demonstration began peacefully, it ended with a clash between students and police at one the university’s dorms. During the clash, a student was killed. This sparked a week of rioting throughout the country, leaving a number of people dead and hundreds injured. After that, more than 1,000 people were detained by authorities. Dozens of students “disappeared,” and their whereabouts are unknown to this day. The violent quelling of the demonstrations and the harsh detentions were spearheaded by Rohani.

These events occurred seven years after the suicide of Rohani’s eldest son, who left a note in which he attacked his father’s ideology and tactics. “I hate your government, your lies, your corruption, your religion, your double-dealing and your hypocrisy,” he wrote in the letter, excerpts of which were published in the Asharq-al-Awsat newspaper and reported Monday in the Israeli website Ynet.

“I am ashamed to live in an environment in which I am forced to lie to my friends every day and tell them that my father is not part of all this — to tell them that my father loves the nation and to know that the reality is far from this. I get nauseated when I see you, father, kissing Khamenei’s hand.”

BRUCE THORNTON: JOHN McCAIN’S SYRIA DELUSIONS Following the president’s announcement that we will provide small arms and ammunition to the rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Senator John McCain has intensified his drumbeat for war and demanded even more extensive U.S. involvement, particularly a no-fly zone. But McCain has not indicated any awareness of the risks and complications of such […]


“Let us not delude ourselves. The international community must not become caught up in wishful thinking and be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet in response to Hassan Rouhani’s clear-cut victory in Iran’s presidential elections.

Netanyahu’s fears are, unfortunately, well founded. There is nothing the West loves more than another round of appeasement and deluding itself that the wolf has magically turned into a sheep.

Rouhani, on Monday, already spoke what appeared to be conciliatory words. He promised “greater transparency” in Iran’s nuclear program that would “make clear for the whole world that the steps of the Islamic Republic of Iran are completely within international frameworks.” He said Iran would engage in “constructive interaction with the world through moderation.”

The Wall Street Journal had already reported that “the Obama administration and its European allies” were “surprised and encouraged” by Rouhani’s win and “intend to aggressively push to resume negotiations with Tehran on its nuclear program by August to test his new government’s positions….”

These eager plans come just as Israeli intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz has been warning that Iran is now “very close” to the nuclear finish line and that its nuclear industry is already “many times larger than that of either North Korea or Pakistan.”

ANDREW HARROD: GERMAN LEFT RAMPS UP ATTACKS ON ISLAM CRITICS National parliamentarians from Die Linke, Germany’s post-communist Left Party, recently presented the federal German government with a Minor Inquiry (Kleine Anfrage or KA) concerning the government’s policy towards the conservative German website Politically Incorrect (PI).  This is only the latest effort by left-wing multiculturalists to quash open discussion, and criticism on Islam by designating […]

JOSEPH RASKAS: MOSQUES EXCLUDED FROM SURVEILLANCE….HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING? A recent article in Investor’s Business Daily makes the claim that mosques are excluded from the wide-ranging surveillance dragnet that is being operated by the United States government. If this report is true, then that begs the obvious question: If surveillance is purposed to stop terrorism, then why would the government exclude mosques from […]

Lincoln, America, and Opportunity :Kathryn Jean Lopez Interviews Rich Lowry

National Review editor Rich Lowry’s new book, Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream — And How We Can Do It Again, is about the “why” of Lincoln. “A commitment to the fulfillment of individual potential — his own and that of others — was Lincoln’s true north, the bright thread running from his first statement as a novice political candidate in his early twenties to his utterances as one of the world’s greatest statesmen,” Rich writes. Lincoln hated “isolation, backwardness, and any obstacles to the development of a cash economy and maximal openness and change,” he observes. Lincoln’s standard “advice to aspiring lawyers, to discouraged friends, and to penurious relatives came down to exhortations to work, and then to work some more.”

Rich talks more about Lincoln Unbound with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Should “Lincoln” be synonymous with “opportunity”?

RICH LOWRY: Yes. In Lincoln’s telling, America exists to give all people the chance to rise. We are, by birthright and through our free institutions, a nation of aspiration. He believed this in the marrow of the bones with which he had labored all during his youth. It suffused his determination, as a boy and into his early adulthood, to read and to learn, so he could do something besides chop and plow all his life. It was the touchstone of his politics as a Whig and then as a Republican.

If there is one thing to know about Lincoln, it is this belief. His war leadership and his martyrdom get so much attention, understandably. But Lincoln’s vision for the country goes deeper than either of those things.

LOPEZ: Should we associate a half-dollar with Lincoln more than the axe?

LOWRY: This is a major irony of Lincoln’s image (and my subtitle). In the normal course of things, he never would have wanted to be known as a rail-splitter. He got that moniker when Illinois Republicans made him their favorite son for president in 1860, and hauled out some rails he had supposedly cut decades ago. This was genius marketing. But he wasn’t an ax (or maul) person. He was more a half-dollar person.

He told a story in the White House that captured this. When he was a teenager, Lincoln had built a little boat that idled at an Ohio River landing. Two men approached in carriages. They wanted to meet a steamboat coming down river. Seeing Lincoln’s boat, they asked if he’d take them and their trunks out to meet the steamboat. Lincoln obliged and, when they were about to steam off, yelled out that they had forgotten to pay him. They each tossed a silver half-dollar onto the bottom of his little boat. Lincoln had, as he put it, “earned my first dollar.”

Santorum’s Quiet 2016 Campaign : Robert Costa…..see note please

Two Ricks don’t make it for 2016. Rick Perry, my absolute fave in 2012 is a very successful conservative governor with a real record, but he is a klutzy debater, and even though all his ideas are now being claimed by those who pelted him in the primaries, he can’t be a candidate again. Rick Santorum, has no record of success- nada-zilch- defeated as incumbent senator in Pennsylvania-lackluster, charmless, and not very likeable. Make way for 2016 without recycled candidates…..rsk

Almost everybody has written off Rick Santorum as a 2016 contender — everybody, that is, except Rick Santorum.

Behind the scenes, the former Pennsylvania senator is quietly preparing for another presidential run. Trips to Iowa are in the works, he’s meeting daily with his advisers, and he’s already fine-tuning his message for the early primaries.

Hints of that pitch came last Thursday during a fiery speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s summer conference. Santorum cast himself as a populist conservative. “When all you do is talk to people who are owners,” he warned, the GOP becomes nothing more than a social club for entrepreneurs.

For Santorum, it marked the start of his unofficial campaign. He tells me he plans to build upon his speech’s theme in the coming months, positioning himself as a conservative outsider.

“Some of the Wall Street folks have hijacked the party,” he says. “But we can’t just be a party that’s aligned with where the money comes from.”

Every city is by necessity a tyranny. Density determines how people live and how they do not. Freedom is in part inefficiency and city living is fed by the need to achieve social efficiency. Bloomberg’s much denounced nanny state tactics are only an extension of the same drive to maximize social efficiency.

Bloomberg may have become the poster billionaire for such behavior, but the majority of cities have their own solutions to the problems of people that come at the expense of individual freedom. The same efficiency that compresses the maximum number of people into an existing space is also applied to every other area of their lives. In cities of strangers, there is no area of life too intimate to be examined and made more efficient.

Unlike the country, the city is its own frontier. Its great adventure is not exploration, but existence. The city is always changing, mutating, falling apart and coming together under assault from waves of new immigrants and social challenges. Its spaces are inner spaces; whether those of the mind of the individual on a crowded bus, the meaning of the squiggles in a piece of abstract art or that club hidden at the end of an old alley.

Cities are never stable. That is what makes them exciting. Truly old cities become fossilized, but they still always seem on the verge of being tipped over. The city is a social breakdown in motion and the authorities are always scrambling to apply emergency measures to salvage it. There are always poor people somewhere and other people on the verge of rioting. A criminal underclass haunts its towers and slums. And most of all there are too many people.

RON RADOSH: OLIVER STONE DISGRACES HIMSELF-AGAIN Our old friend Oliver Stone is at it again. This time, as The Hollywood Reporter [1] informs us, he is being feted and wined and dined in the People’s Republic of China, where he is the star attraction at this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival. The festival will be screening his big flop Alexander, […]

Moonlight Serenade Whom does Mrs. Weiner work for?

Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress two years ago this Friday in a side-splitting social-media scandal, is running for mayor of New York? We don’t know why, but we’re now pretty sure it’s not for the money. The New York Post reports that Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, “hauled in as much as $350,000 in outside income on top of Abedin’s $135,000 government salary.”

Far be it from this columnist to begrudge the Weiners their financial success. What’s eyebrow-raising about this, though, is that Abedin, who works for the State Department, is the source of some of that outside income:

Abedin, who served as [Hillary] Clinton’s deputy chief of staff when Clinton was secretary of state, later became a ‘special government employee’ who was able to haul in cash as a private contractor. . . .

One of the clients she did consulting work for while on the government payroll was Teneo Holdings, a firm founded by longtime Bill Clinton aide Doug Band.

The Post reports that Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican the paper describes as “one of the Senate’s most aggressive investigators,” is looking into the matter. In a letter to Abedin and now-Secretary John Kerry, Grassley “wrote that he was concerned Abedin’s status ‘blurs the line between public- and private-sector employees, especially when employees receive full-time salaries for what appears to be part-time work.’ ” Grassley also “suggested Abedin was providing clients ‘political intelligence,’ ” a claim denied by an unnamed “person close to Abedin.”

New York’s Daily News reports that white-knight Weiner “defended his wife” during a Saturday campaign appearance. “I’m proud of my wife and I’m proud of the work she’s done,” he said, adding that “she has done everything completely above-board with approval of the State Department.”

That may well be true–in which case the scandal here may be what’s above board rather than what’s below it. The Post reports that an unnamed State Department official “noted there were 100 such consultants at the agency.”

A hundred Abedin-size salaries would add up to $13.5 million–presumably not counting benefits–being paid to people whose work for the department has to compete with their outside gigs for their time and attention. Are they thoroughly screened for conflicts of interest? If so, that’s an additional expense for the taxpayers. If not, we can’t rule out the possibility that some State Department workers are trading on their access to what Grassley calls “political intelligence.”