December 3, 2009
Trita Parsi Reports to TehranBy Hassan Daioleslam
In 2008, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and its president Trita Parsi filed a defamation lawsuit against me. The discovery process has unearthed very valuable documents that clarify the working of NIAC and the relation of its president to influential people connected to the Iranian regime. Some of these documents raise serious concerns about the possible threat that Parsi's connections has on U.S. national security. Some examples follow.
On September 28, 2006, Trita Parsi sent an e-mail to Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian ambassador at the United Nations. The e-mail contains a press report that the "UN Envoy Bolton Unlikely to Get US Senate Vote." In addition to the AP report, Parsi added his personal note informing the Iranian regime's representative in the U.S. that "from what I hear, the below article still stands." Parsi did not reveal in that e-mail who his sources are or how they are aware of what the Senate vote will be!
A few weeks later, Parsi reported to Zarif about the lawmakers who had decided to oppose George Bush's policy on Iran. This October 25, 2006 e-mail included:
The next day, Zarif responded to Parsi: "I am always open to these meetings. Your help is always welcome. I leave the modalities to your discretion."
While we can bet on the Iranian regime having many people in the United States reporting to them, it becomes particularly alarming when a man with extensive access to congressmen and women, senators, and the governmental officials looks like the Tehran's ears in Washington.
A few months later, Siamak Namazi from Tehran asked Trita Parsi to report to him about what was happening inside Congress with respect to Iran. Namazi was at the time the managing director and a partner at Atieh Bahar Consulting. The Atieh group has had multiple business partnerships with the government and provided IT services for many Iranian governmental entities, including the most security sensitive institutions. The group also assisted the regime in its business deals with foreign multinationals. (Because of Atieh Bahar's close ties to Rafsanjani's clan, some of Atieh's leaders have been the subject of the regime's anger in the past few months.) Parsi sent two reports to Namazi in Tehran as per the latter's request.
The related e-mail exchanges between Parsi in Washington and a man in Tehran who was connected to the Iranian regime is baffling. On March 1, 2007, Parsi sent the first report about the U.S. Congress to Tehran and by e-mail asked Siamak:
A day later, Siamak responds:
On March 3, Parsi sends him the second report by e-mail and writes, "Let me know your thoughts."
Through the discovery process, we have received the second report, titled "Lobby Groups," that you can read here. Obviously, there are not too many people in Washington who send Tehran detailed reports on what happens inside the U.S. Congress. The first report that apparently details the congressional policy toward Iran is still missing.
As we have noted in the communications between Parsi and the Iranian U.N. ambassador, the exchange of information is followed by action to influence U.S. policy toward Iran. This coordination of action is even more astonishing with Namazi. See how they coordinated a "game plan" to influence the U.S. Undersecretary of State. In 2005, they planned to meet Burns and brief him on U.S. policy toward Iran. Once again, the communications are baffling:
At the same time that they were planning to meet with Burns, Namazi and Parsi were also getting ready to hold their regular private policy discussions with a few close friends who are considered Iran experts in Washington. Namazi wrote in his e-mail on 12.23.2005:
Parsi e-mailed Siamak back and talked about their "game plan" with Burns:
And Namazi on 1.20.2006 wrote in his e-mail:
It strikes me as naïve to believe that all communications between Trita Parsi and the Iranian officials or their associates in Iran have been disclosed. To report the goings-on of Washington's politically influential circles back to the Iranian regime is quite disturbing in and of itself, but more so when one considers that the reporting individual often frequents the halls of Congress, as well as the CIA and the State Department. There is no indication that Trita Parsi has briefed NIAC members or directors on his communications with the Iranian regime. Therefore, it is safe to assume that even Parsi was aware that regular NIAC members would not stomach such a cozy relationship with the Iranian regime's associates.
Hassan Daioleslam is an independent Iranian Analyst and writer. He is well-published in Farsi and English and has appeared as an expert guest on the Voice of America-TV as well as other Persian media. His website is english.iranianlobby.com.