How Deep Was the Obama-Iran Relationship?
The Obama administration’s effort to engage Iran remained a matter of suspicion until the 44th American president left the White House. Concerns began mounting especially after Obama turned his back on the 2009 uprising in parallel to the revelation of secret correspondence with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
As more light is shed, the more we realize how far this relationship expanded. Known members of Iran’s lobbies and others enjoyed unprecedented access to the White House. This new knowledge calls for a complete overhaul of the corrupt U.S. foreign policy establishment.
Through the course of the nuclear talks that rendered the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Obama White House welcomed a slate of different Iranian-American so-called “experts” and organizations who agreed completely over how Washington must engage in Tehran rapprochement.
Parsi’s record was second only to Jeremy Ben Ami, President of J Street, described as a strong advocate of the Iran appeasement camp, who visited the White House on 44 occasions.
And finally, one NIAC alumni, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, National Security Council Director for Iran in Obama’s White House, reached the point of obtaining daily access to the White House and promoting a pro-Iran regime approach.
“President Obama’s NSC Director for Iran, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, apparently worked as a lobbyist for NIAC,” according to Western Journalism.
Who is Trita Parsi?
Described as having links to the Obama White House's cheerleading of the narrative in support of the Iranian regime, Parsi, head of NIAC, was able to meet with several senior Obama administration officials in dozens of White House visits, according to the logs.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security advisor, provided exclusive access to Parsi in private talks. He also arranged meetings with Colin Kahl, former Vice President Joe Biden’s national security advisor.
Various sources also indicated Parsi meeting with other senior officials including NSC director for Iran.
One instance shows West Wing intern Solomon Tarlin, known to support J Street, signed Parsi into the White House.
However, Parsi is a figure who during the Bush administration dined with Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, suggesting that he pursues the interest of the Iranian regime in its entirety, and not the so-called “moderates“.
Parsi was also pictured in conversation with the brother of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Parsi is known to brag about his access to senior Iranian regime officials.
“Few analysts in Washington have the access of Dr. Parsi to decision makers in Iran,” he described in a bio.
NIAC, a Washington-based lobbying organization founded by Parsi in 2002, focuses on influencing senior American officials and politicians. A piece written by Iranian dissident Alex Shirazi in the Daily Blaze sheds more light on NIAC’s intentions, serving completely in Iran’s interests.
NIAC was architected by the little known Namazi family in Iran, described as favoring “political interests in the Islamic Republic.”
Insight into NIAC’s background can be obtained from regrets made public by Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy. Gershman accused NIAC of misrepresenting its true nature.
“… NIAC showed itself as a lobby organization, so we have nothing to do with them anymore.”
Al Arabiya English cited the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg referring to Parsi as an individual who “does a lot of leg-work for the Iranian regime.” (Goldberg at one point retracted this description, but shortly afterward retracted his retraction.)
NIAC misleadingly presented its agenda as meeting U.S. national interests. The very regime NIAC sells is known for “Death to America!” mantras and killing at least hundreds, if not thousands, of American personnel.
NIAC goes as far as claiming to advocate “human rights” in Iran and “civil rights” in the U.S., insulting Americans by placing their country alongside the ruthless regime in Iran.
In fact, NIAC lobbies for a friendly U.S. relationship with the current Iranian regime and strongly opposes economic sanctions. All this goes while Iran state media describe NIAC as the "Iran lobby in the U.S."
NIAC and Parsi Exposed by Others
There has been abundant reporting about the true nature of NIAC and Trita Parsi.
“…Parsi admits that his group only has 2,500 to 3,000 members. Internal documents, uncovered by Lake, show that less than 500 people responded to a membership survey that the group put out last year. So, far from representing the views of any appreciable number of Iranian Americans, it is far more accurate to say that NIAC represents the views of Trita Parsi.
“…may be guilty of violating tax laws, the Foreign Agents Registration Act and lobbying disclosure laws, according to law enforcement authorities…
“… former FBI special agent in counterintelligence and counterterrorism Kenneth Piernick, said, ‘It appears that this may be lobbying on behalf of Iranian government interests.’”
The report continues:
“…the group’s acting director for policy, Patrick Disney, authored a memo last year in which he stated, “I believe we fall under this definition of “lobbyist.’” And according to other communications Lake obtained, Parsi himself used the word ‘lobby’ to describe the purpose and mission of NIAC.”
Parsi and Zarif
Released email records indicate close ties between Parsi and Tehran, especially through Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Reports in this regard are quite vivid.
According to NIAC emails released under a lawsuit, in April 2006, Zarif, then Iran’s ambassador to the U.N., gave a copy of Iran’s 2003 offer for a “grand bargain" to Parsi, subsequently released to the press and used in a campaign to prove Iran was ready for peace and dialogue. (For more information on Parsi’s role in providing a copy of Iranian offer to the press, read the Washington Post, Anti-War, and IPS reports.)
A few weeks later, Parsi launched the “Iran Negotiation Project” and began arranging meetings between Congressional members and Zarif. Then in his 25 October 2006 email, Parsi told Zarif about Congressional members who had decided to oppose George Bush’s policy on Iran and requested a meeting.
A Deeper look into NIAC
Many within the Iranian-American community consider NIAC to be a de facto lobby for the Iranian regime. In 2008 as criticism against NIAC’s pro-regime activities mounted, NIAC and Parsi raised a defamation lawsuit against one of its critics, attempting to destroy him through the financial burden of a lawsuit and as a result silence all other critics.
In 2012 a court dismissed the lawsuit and sanctioned NIAC and Trita Parsi for abuses which included false declarations to the court, ordering them to pay $184,000 towards the defendant’s legal expenses.
This lawsuit forced NIAC to release some internal documents that turned out to be devastating. The Washington Times and many others published these documents.
NIAC claims to have a goal of preventing war between the U.S. and Iran. Critics, however, affirm NIAC’s lobby has always primarily focused on business and the peace mantle it wears is nothing but a face for its lobby efforts.
In a memo sent to Washington lobbyist Roy Coffee, Parsi explained the true nature of his efforts.
Back in 2002-03, Parsi used his access to the U.S. Congress to prepare reports about the latest developments regarding Iran and send the reports to Tehran.
This newly revealed White House log shows how the Obama administration bent over backwards in hosting advocates seeking Iran’s interests, and not that of America.
Allowing Parsi into the White House more than 30 times, despite his foreign policy positions being completely in line with the Iranian regime, provides intriguing insight into how far the Obama administration went to aid the mullahs, while they continued, and continue today, to describe America as the “Great Satan”.
The access provided to the likes of Parsi and NIAC provides all the knowledge needed about the true nature of the highly flawed nuclear deal sealed by the Obama administration with Tehran.
And this is only a tip of the iceberg of how far Obama’s failed appeasement policy provided unprecedented access to NIAC, and to this end, the Iranian regime.
This signifies the necessity of the new Trump administration to completely overhaul agencies dealing with Iran, and to impose radical changes on Washington’s Iran policy altogether.