Follow by Email

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Washington Post, "As an Iran deal nears, the lobbying, pro and con, intensifies": A Glaring Omission

In a lead Washington Post article entitled "As an Iran deal nears, the lobbying, pro and con, intensifies," Karen DeYoung writes:

"Many believe the deadline will not be met. 'My own view is that it’s highly unlikely,' said Thomas R. Pickering, a former top U.S. diplomat who has met with numerous members of Congress to build support for the agreement."

Regrettably, Ms. DeYoung does not mention that Pickering is listed as a member of the Advisory Board of the National Iranian American Council.

This information should have been included in DeYoung's article. Pickering is anything but a disinterested party.

I have written to Martin Baron, WaPo's editor. Let's see what he has to say.

[Mr. Baron responded, "if you've read what that organization is, I have no idea why you'd think his comment on whether a deadline might be met requires mention of his participation on its advisory board."

My response to Mr. Baron:

"Although you might disagree with the conservative politics of American Thinker, you might still want to have a look at a March 5, 2014 article entitled "The Ayatollah's Lobby on K Street?" [by Jordan Schachtel]:

"Has the National Iranian American Council and its founder, Trita Parsi, inserted itself into the debate over Iran sanctions under false pretenses? Has the left been duped and psychologically disarmed by Parsi and the folks at NIAC, who have seemingly tried to appeal to the left's dove-like idealistic sentiments? Substantial evidence points to the conclusion that NIAC’s agenda, far removed from the actual interests of the Iranian-American community at large, displays almost zero daylight between itself and the docket of the “supreme leader’s” theocratic regime.

Trita Parsi and the staff at NIAC have penned articles in several left-wing mainstream media outlets, including The New York Times and The Huffington Post, among many others. Parsi recently lectured at CIA headquarters and has personally met and lobbied former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Parsi, along with the staff at his disposal, claim to be "the voice" of the one million Iranian Americans in the United States, with the stated mission of “advancing the interests of the Iranian American community."

If NIAC’s mission is truly to serve the best interests of the Iranian-American community, it has epically failed to meet that objective. When polled, 99% of Iranian Americans who support a pro-democracy trajectory for Iran expressed that NIAC did not in any way represent their interests. Furthermore, a staggering 99% of respondents also believed that NIAC are simply a lobby for the Ayatollah’s Islamic Republic.

Mohsen Makhmalbalf, an established leader in Iran’s Green Movement, said of Parsi, “I feel his lobbying has secretly been more for the Islamic republic.” When reached for comment, Amir Fakhravar, an Iranian jailed dissident and recipient of the Annie Taylor Journalism Award, said of NIAC, “You cannot find any difference between their statements and the Iranian regime’s statements. Either officially or unofficially, they are following the path of the regime.”

NIAC came to fruition in 1999, when Trita Parsi was at a conference in Cyprus being held under the auspices of the Iranian regime. During the conference, Parsi laid out his plan to introduce a pro-regime lobbying group to counteract the sentiments and influence allegedly purported by America’s pro-Israel and anti-regime advocacy groups.
Internal documents, unveiled as a result of the National Iranian American Council’s failed defamation lawsuit against an investigative journalist, reveal that Parsi had been maintaining a close relationship with Iranian defense Minister Javad Zarif for several years."

Also consider the following from a Haaretz (left-wing Israeli) article entitled "Nuclear deal divides Iranian community in America" [by Dan Shadur]:

"Parsi has been following the nuclear deal negotiations closely and clocked many hours talking with U.S. and Iranian negotiators. He supports the deal unreservedly. He believes the deal being cobbled together is the only way to peacefully prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and that it creates a framework for a U.S.-Iranian dialogue, something he views as a positive development."

In short, NIAC has a dog in this fight, and Pickering, who is listed first among its advisory board members, is not a mere "former top U.S. diplomat."

Query: If a former US diplomat was now a leading advisor to AIPAC and lobbying against a deal with Iran, wouldn't her/his association with AIPAC be relevant and deserve mention?"

I subsequently sent an additional email to Mr. Baron:

"And from Commentary, Is NIAC the Iran Lobby?' by Michael Rubin:

'There has been a lot of controversy back-and-forth about whether the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) lobbies for the Islamic Republic of Iran. After an Iranian-American journalist referred to NIAC as a lobby group, NIAC sued him for defamation but ended up losing its case. While at the Washington Times, Eli Lake used documents revealed during that lawsuit’s discovery phase to suggest that NIAC was, indeed, illegally lobbying. Lake’s story apparently forced NIAC to amend its tax returns.

Jamal Abdi, NIAC’s policy director, now appears to push aside any pretense that NIAC is something other than Iran’s lobby. Speaking at the forthcoming “Expose AIPAC” conference, Abdi is featured on the “Training: Constituent Lobbying for Iran” panel. Oops.

Then again, in his university days, NIAC founder Trita Parsi made no secret of his goals.'

Again, if a former US diplomat was now a leading advisor to AIPAC and lobbying against a deal with Iran, wouldn't her/his association with AIPAC be relevant and deserve mention?"

Let's see if WaPo will now be willing to correct the omission . . .]

No comments:

Post a Comment