On March 11, Trita Parsi testified before the House International Monetary Policy Subcommittee. He was invited to “enlighten” the lawmakers about the “futility” of sanctions against the Iranian regime. In his testimony, Parsi started to pose as a defender of human rights and the Iranian-Americans. This new posture is obviously an attempt to repair his deep discredit inside the Iranian community. Meanwhile, he reached to the same conclusion that the US should lift the pressure off the Iranian regime.
For Trita Parsi, whatever happens in Iran, the US should be nicer to the Mullahs and eventually, as he put it, Sooner or later, “Iran and the U.S. must learn how to share the region.”
He also repeated the Mullahs’ fabricated claim that the Iranians blame more the US for their economic hardship than they blame the Middle Age Iranian regime:
“While the hope has been that the people’s anger for their economic duress would be directed towards the Iranian government in order to pressure it to change its policies, this has clearly not happened. Instead, much of the people’s anger has been directed towards the United States itself.”
(Parsi’s full testimony)
Parsi’s appearance came a day after Chas Freeman was forced to withdraw his name as the NIC chairman partly because of his alleged relation to foreign oil companies with investment in Iran.
Regarding Parsi, the list of alleged connections to the Iranian regime seems longer and more serious. Trita Parsi and his National Iranian American Council have been supported, promoted and trusted by the Iranian regime. When in April 2007 a first report about his activities was published, six newspapers in Iran, all related to the regime, came to support NIAC and defend Parsi. The Ghods daily, a radical web journal called NIAC the Iran lobby in Washington.
See the five following Iranian regime controlled newspapers. *
On December 28, 2006 the governmental newspaper Aftab in Iran published an interview with Trita Parsi. In his introduction, the editor underlined the role of Parsi’s lobby on behalf of the Iranian regime. Next to Parsi’s photo, the article’s title seems interesting: “The Iranian Lobby Becomes Active”. The translation of parts of the paper follows:
(Aftab newspaper and Parsi’s lobby 12.28.2006)
“The conflict between Iran and the West on Iran’s nuclear file has entered a critical state. The government must now utilize all the possible resources to defend the national interest. In this, we have not paid enough attention to the potentially significant influence of the Iranian American society in moderating the extremist policies of the White House. In comparison of this untouched potential to the influence of the Jewish lobby in directing the policies of Washington in supporting Israel, we see the difference between what is and what could be. The role of unofficial diplomacy (lobbying) has been correctly underlined by experts”
On September 19, 2006, the former head of the Iran Interest section in Washington, Ambassador Faramarze Fathnejad thrilled about Trita Parsi and NIAC’s efforts underlined “the importance of relation with Iranian organizations in the U.S. and specially pointed to NIAC and his young leader who is a consultant to CNN and has been very successful in his efforts”.
(Fathnejad’s declaration about Parsi)
The long list of Tehran’s support to Trita Parsi underscores the need to evaluate the Iranian regime’s web of influence in the US and its impact on US policy toward Tehran. A few months ago, Trita Parsi’s former employer, Hooshang Amirahmadi was in Tehran and told the “Etemad” newspaper that the “Iran’s friends” should act quickly to influence the Obama administration. He talked about the Washington bazaar:
( Etemad newspaper, taken by Emrooz, Nov. 12, 2008,)
“There is clash between various regional [Middle East] lobbies. Israelites will fast gather around Obama . Arabs will also spend their money to get close to Obama. Unfortunately, Iran is very lonely in Washington, and those few, like us, who defend the Iranian rights, are subject of unkind hostility in Tehran. These gentlemen [in Iran] do not truly understand what they do, and how they weaken our position. As a result the field is left wide open for Israelis and Arabs and enemies of Iran. Firstly, Iran should realize that, and empower its friends in Washington, especially in the next one to two months, which is the time [to do it].
Iranian leaders should pay attention to what is going on, and strengthen their friends. They [Iranian leaders] should have confidence in, energize, and trust their friends [in Washington] so they enter the arena. This is very important. Therefore the next two or three months are the time to conquer Obama’s heart and mind and that of his teams. Anyone who acts faster will rest trouble free for the next 8 years. Anyone who does not go to that bazaar [marketplace] now, will have a tough time entering that bazaar in future.”
Far from a Bazaar, the Congress is shaping US strategic interests and they are serious enough to impose vigilance and precaution about possible foreign influences. Nevertheless, Parsi’s invitation to the House Subcommittee contradicts the US Congress mission and could be read as an insult to the Iranian community.