The Parsi-Ney relationship and the faux Iranian 'peace offer'

Periodically, George W. Bush was attacked over the years for refusing to negotiate with Iran. Promoters of engagement with Iran (who soft-pedaled Iran's nuclear program and support of terrorism) often cite the so-called Guldimann Memorandum as "proof" that Iran sought talks, only to be rebuffed by America and by Bush.

What was the Guldimann Memorandum and why should we be newly suspicious of its bona fides given the controversy swirling about Trita Parsi and the National Iranian American Council (a group Parsi established and heads and that may operate illegally as a lobby for the Iranian regime)?

The Memorandum was a purported to be a 2003 Iranian offer of a grand bargain to resolve all disputes between America and Iran. The offer did not originate with Iran but from the hands of Tim Guldimann, a Swiss diplomat with an obsession to work out a deal between America and Iran (at the time, he was stationed in Iran representing US interests, as we had closed our embassy in 1979). But this was not what Guldiman led people to believe. He promoted the fiction that it was a genuine offer that came from the Iranians.


Guldimann developed the one-page "roadmap" in conversation with Sadeq Kharrazi, the Iranian ambassador in Paris. It suggests Tehran would address Washington's concerns about its weapons programs, its embrace of terrorism, its efforts to destabilize Iraq, and its opposition to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In exchange, Washington would refrain from pressing regime change, abolish sanctions, recognize Iran's "legitimate security interests," crack down on the militant Mujahedin al-Khalq (MKO), and give the Islamic Republic access to "peaceful" nuclear, biological, and chemical technology.


Kharrazi circulated the paper to senior Iranian officials with the caveat that it did not come from Washington, and Guldimann tried to use the Iranian response as "the basis for opening bilateral discussion." The paper went nowhere; it was clear to all involved that it was Guldimann's proposal and had little to do with Tehran.


Guldimann's ruse was exposed as a fraud. US officials asked the Swiss for Guldimann to be recalled. He eventually left the Swiss foreign service.


Where does Parsi - now all but accused of running a front organization for the mullahs - come in?


Parsi worked as an aide to Congressman Robert Ney. And Ney was one of a handful of Congressman who pushed and promoted the Guldimann Memorandum as being genuine and worthwhile to pursue. 

Parsi proudly wrote of this history in his own book "Treacherous Alliance: the Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States."


Parsi writes that Ney was so taken with the Guldimann offer that he "promptly sent a staffer to hand deliver the document to Karl Rove, the president's senior adviser." A digression; Parsi writes of this action being the "first step of the operation" as if it were a strategic campaign, a mission to be accomplished by pulling the right levers. In any case, the Memorandum was shown to be a concoction and rejected (there were other efforts that the Bush administration was taking to negotiate and broaden relations with Iran, anyway).


Was it Parsi and Ney working in tandem who tried to pull a fast one on the American government, promoting this "offer" as the real thing? I think it is also illuminating that Robert Ney was later indicted and pled guilty to bribery. He resigned in disgrace in 2006.


So, Trita Parsi (a Swedish-Iranian citizen; not an American citizen) finds work as an aid to a then powerful Congressman (Ney was chairman of the House Administration Committee). Did Parsi, who runs interference for the Iranian regime in America, push Ney to promote the Guldimann Memorandum as the real thing in the halls of Congress and to Karl Rove, a friend of Ney's since college days? Did Ney, later forced to step down after admitting he had accepted bribes, have other reasons to promote a deal with Iran?


No smoking gun, of course, but one wonders.

Periodically, George W. Bush was attacked over the years for refusing to negotiate with Iran. Promoters of engagement with Iran (who soft-pedaled Iran's nuclear program and support of terrorism) often cite the so-called Guldimann Memorandum as "proof" that Iran sought talks, only to be rebuffed by America and by Bush.

What was the Guldimann Memorandum and why should we be newly suspicious of its bona fides given the controversy swirling about Trita Parsi and the National Iranian American Council (a group Parsi established and heads and that may operate illegally as a lobby for the Iranian regime)?

The Memorandum was a purported to be a 2003 Iranian offer of a grand bargain to resolve all disputes between America and Iran. The offer did not originate with Iran but from the hands of Tim Guldimann, a Swiss diplomat with an obsession to work out a deal between America and Iran (at the time, he was stationed in Iran representing US interests, as we had closed our embassy in 1979). But this was not what Guldiman led people to believe. He promoted the fiction that it was a genuine offer that came from the Iranians.


Guldimann developed the one-page "roadmap" in conversation with Sadeq Kharrazi, the Iranian ambassador in Paris. It suggests Tehran would address Washington's concerns about its weapons programs, its embrace of terrorism, its efforts to destabilize Iraq, and its opposition to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In exchange, Washington would refrain from pressing regime change, abolish sanctions, recognize Iran's "legitimate security interests," crack down on the militant Mujahedin al-Khalq (MKO), and give the Islamic Republic access to "peaceful" nuclear, biological, and chemical technology.


Kharrazi circulated the paper to senior Iranian officials with the caveat that it did not come from Washington, and Guldimann tried to use the Iranian response as "the basis for opening bilateral discussion." The paper went nowhere; it was clear to all involved that it was Guldimann's proposal and had little to do with Tehran.


Guldimann's ruse was exposed as a fraud. US officials asked the Swiss for Guldimann to be recalled. He eventually left the Swiss foreign service.


Where does Parsi - now all but accused of running a front organization for the mullahs - come in?


Parsi worked as an aide to Congressman Robert Ney. And Ney was one of a handful of Congressman who pushed and promoted the Guldimann Memorandum as being genuine and worthwhile to pursue. 

Parsi proudly wrote of this history in his own book "Treacherous Alliance: the Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States."


Parsi writes that Ney was so taken with the Guldimann offer that he "promptly sent a staffer to hand deliver the document to Karl Rove, the president's senior adviser." A digression; Parsi writes of this action being the "first step of the operation" as if it were a strategic campaign, a mission to be accomplished by pulling the right levers. In any case, the Memorandum was shown to be a concoction and rejected (there were other efforts that the Bush administration was taking to negotiate and broaden relations with Iran, anyway).


Was it Parsi and Ney working in tandem who tried to pull a fast one on the American government, promoting this "offer" as the real thing? I think it is also illuminating that Robert Ney was later indicted and pled guilty to bribery. He resigned in disgrace in 2006.


So, Trita Parsi (a Swedish-Iranian citizen; not an American citizen) finds work as an aid to a then powerful Congressman (Ney was chairman of the House Administration Committee). Did Parsi, who runs interference for the Iranian regime in America, push Ney to promote the Guldimann Memorandum as the real thing in the halls of Congress and to Karl Rove, a friend of Ney's since college days? Did Ney, later forced to step down after admitting he had accepted bribes, have other reasons to promote a deal with Iran?


No smoking gun, of course, but one wonders.