Our last Look Back at 2015 concerns the Iran lobby itself and the complete lack of moral fiber within them. As 2015 saw a world engulfed in violence and bloodshed borne out of Islamic extremism which sprang forth from the teachings and policies of the Iranian regime, the Iran lobby remained deafeningly silent.
Chief among the leaders of the Iran lobby has been the National Iranian American Council, which has come to symbolize all of the oddities and corruption within supporters of the mullahs.
The NIAC claims an extended mission to help promote universal human rights in Iran saying on its website:
“NIAC works to ensure that human rights are upheld in Iran and that civil rights are protected in the US. NIAC believes that the principles of universal rights – dignity, due process and freedom from violence – are the cornerstones of a civil society.”
Lofty goals, but the record of NIAC’s living up to that mission is pitiful, especially given the plight of Iranian-Americans who have languished in Iranian prisons. These Iranian-Americans seem to be outside the good graces of the NIAC and are rarely mentioned in official public statements, or even social media posts by leading NIAC staffers including Trita Parsi, Reza Marashi and Tyler Cullis.
It is on social media we often see the true nature of the Iran lobby and the allegiances these supporters of the mullahs bear; the most prolific Twitterer is Parsi himself and his political goals are often thinly veiled in his tweets.
Throughout the year, Parsi would again and again go to this basic impulse he has to ridicule American institutions and mock all things even remotely offensive to the mullahs in Tehran.
This includes his tweets through the spring and summer in support of nuclear talks between the P5+1 and the Iranian regime. Parsi often framed the debate about what the U.S. is willing to give up and not the other way around, especially as it applied to delinking contentious issues such as human rights abuses and support of terrorism.
Even after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, the NIAC was silent. For the NIAC, there was no #jesuischarlie hashtag.
Even when Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeth was burned alive in a cage on video by ISIS, NIAC made no statement condemning the hideous. Nor did the NIAC ever bother to delve into the roots of Islamic extremism, other than to attempt to make the connection in some manner to Saudi Arabia; Iran’s longtime regional rival. Again, it’s all about politics.
But considering Parsi’s past track record in losing a libel lawsuit largely on the grounds of shoddy record-keeping, making false statements and discovery abuses, it seems to be par for the course of how Parsi conducts his public business in the same slipshod manner. It is worth noting that Parsi was ordered to pay the journalist he accused of libel $184,000 to pay for the defendant’s legal expenses.
A closer look at the judge’s ruling in that case exposes many of the falsehoods the NIAC engages in when handling reality and facts, such as:
- NIAC really didn’t produce calendar records it was ordered to;
- NIAC initially hid the existence of four of its computers from the court and was not honest about what they were used for;
- NIAC misrepresented how its computer system was configured;
- NIAC didn’t explain why it withheld 5,500 emails from its co-founder and former outreach director;
- NIAC was not truthful about the nature of its record-keeping system;
- NIAC took two and a half years to produce its membership lists under court order; and
- NIAC did not turn over mountains of relevant documents and even altered an important document after the lawsuit was brought.
With that much effort devoted to hiding the truth of what the NIAC engages, is it any wonder the plight of imprisoned Iranian-Americans such as Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian is often just the tools for the regime?
Parsi, in an interview with Loyola Marymount University’s Asia Pacific Media Center, claimed the charges against Rezaian were all part of a plot to undermine nuclear negotiations with Iran and the P5+1, which is an odd statement to make. One would think Iran’s provocative attempt to ship arms to Houthi rebels in Yemen via armed convoy was enough to undermine talks, or Iran’s seizure of an unarmed cargo vessel might be enough to trouble negotiators, both acts that Parsi failed to criticize.
By August, protests held in favor of the deal resulted in crowds just as small as the staged regime protests in Tehran with Los Angeles – home to over 800,000 Iranian Americans – protests yielding a paltry 200 participants, most not even of Iranian descent; while rallies in Washington, DC and San Diego were even smaller, barely cracking 100 people.
In contrast, over 10,000 rallied in New York’s Times Square against the deal and another 1,000 gathered in Los Angeles, most of them Iranian Americans demonstrating not only their opposition to the regime, but also for the various resistance movements around the world.
While NIAC staffers such as Parsi, Marashi, Cullis and Jamal Abdi shout until veins bulge out of their collective necks that the mullahs deserve a break, they continued to blatantly ignore the incalculable human suffering being inflicted by those same mullahs on women, children, Christians, Iranian-Americans, Sunnis in Iraq, moderates in Syria or refugees in Yemen. The swatch of human suffering and misery caused by the mullahs has earned neither reproach nor condemnation by the NIAC and its allies.
And those allies pop up in some unusual places as Breitbart News discovered when it looked into the hiring of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a former NIAC staffer, as the National Security Director for Iran who sat in on several high level meetings with President Obama while discussing negotiations with the Iran regime on the nuclear deal.
The NIAC attempted to dismiss Nowrouzzadeh’s position as a mere intern, but a 2004 document uncovered by Breitbart News described her as a former “staff member” at NIAC.
But the truth about Parsi came out in a serious of journalistic pieces this year as he came under greater scrutiny, including Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic who referred to Parsi as someone who “does a lot of the leg-work for the Iranian regime.”
The crowning hypocrisy came when Parsi denounced comparisons of the Iran nuclear deal to the infamous Munich deal with Nazi Germany and labeled it “fear propaganda” when he himself has been one of the chief merchants of fear mongering by pushing the “war vs. peace” scenario for passage of the deal.
While the passage of the nuclear agreement might be making Parsi and his colleagues feeling good about themselves, the handwriting is on the wall as the presidential election cycle heats up and the rhetoric amongst virtually all of the candidates on both sides of the aisle has turned towards fighting the rise in Islamic extremism and holding the mullahs fully accountable.
In 2016, Parsi and the rest of the Iran lobby might be feeling left out in the cold come November.
By Michael Tomlinson