Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


Tehran Rising

By Shawn Healy
The title of this post is borrowed from Ilan Berman's recent book on Iran's emergence as a global power and what this means to the United States. Propped up by oil exports and the elimination of historic enemies in the Middle East (the Taliban and Saddam Hussein), Iran's influence in the region and elsewhere is unprecedented, and Berman urges engagement and a strategy that extends their timetable for nuclear weapons acquisition.

The Iraq Study Group also called for US engagement with the second component of the so-called "Axis of Evil" (North Korea is a topic for another day) in an attempt to end the sectarian violence that has crippled post-invasion Iraq.

Although these suggestions are probably practical, Iran's recent shennanigans are cause for concern. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad convened a Holocaust conference in Tehran this week to debate what he considers a "myth." This from a man who seeks to wipe Israel off the map. In a wary sign of diplomacy, the US did have one representative on hand, former Klan leader and presidential candidate David Duke...

While I by no means condone the prohibition of such undertakings as would be the case if the conference were held in Paris (Germany too, but an exception is warranted), the US should be wary of any affiliation with a country who seeks the destruction of our historic ally, a lone voice for democracy in the Middle East. Moreover, must we bargain with Iran to discontinue their support of terrorist groups throughout the world? Such an olive branch will only strengthen their hand and lend credibility to disgusting undertakings like calling a conference of anti-Semites to further threaten a historically marginalized religion and country.


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Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project

Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.

Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.

First Amendment journalism initiative

The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at

Dave Anderson
Vice President of Civic Programs
McCormick Foundation

Tim McNulty
Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project

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