On Jan. 13, Sens. Tom Cotton, Mike Braun, and Ted Cruz, all Republicans, sent a letter urging the Department of Justice “to investigate the National Iranian American Council and its sister organization, NIAC Action, for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.” Since then, NIAC, its founder, and its affiliates have played the victim card and claimed that they’ve been attacked due to their anti-war and pro-democracy stances.
However, a closer look reveals that NIAC is not actually an “anti-war” organization but in fact has been justifying wars and massacres perpetrated by Iran for years. In reality, the NIAC only adopts an “anti-war” position when ayatollahs and the Islamic Republic of Iran are in danger.
For instance, despite the fact that Iran has been committing war crimes in Syria, the NIAC has not condemned this but has instead, along with its founder Trita Parsi, justified the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s offenses under the pretext of “Iran’s core national security interests.”
Moreover, at the exact same time that European officials and even the Obama administration were pointing out that Iran was expanding its influence in the Middle East and thus destabilizing the region, NIAC research director Reza Marashi once again followed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s lead by distorting the truth and lashing out at Israel and Saudi Arabia. He claimed that “with the possible exception of Israel, no other country in the world shares Saudi Arabia’s extremist reading of Iran’s regional policy.”
In a similar vein, in January 2016, the ayatollah once again breached international law and, via proxies, torched the embassy and consulate of Saudi Arabia in Iran, resulting in the flaring of regional tension. However, Parsi justified Iran’s malign behaviors and regional frictions, writing that “Iran’s power or military capabilities cannot explain Saudi Arabia’s sense of insecurity.” He also claimed that “the privilege Saudi Arabia enjoyed under U.S.-led order in the Mideast is over.”
Furthermore, when Syrian dictator Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against civilians in 2013, thereby crossing then-President Barack Obama’s red line, NIAC affiliates began a misleading media campaign seeking to encourage the United States to stand down.
NIAC’s policymakers argued that if the U.S. tried to stop Assad from massacring Syrians, Iran would “retaliate for Syrian strikes with attacks against the U.S. Embassy and other interests.” However, the consequence of the Obama administration not responding to its self-imposed red line and leaving European allies on their own on this issue was Assad and Iran continuing to use chemical weapons against civilians What is revealing is that in April 2018, when President Trump and European allies responded to Assad’s use of chemical weapons with a strike, not only did Iran not dare to “retaliate” but since then, Assad has stopped using chemical weapons against civilians.
Nonetheless, before joint U.S.-European strikes on Assad, NIAC once more tried to make sure Iran and Syria would get away with their crimes by yet again spreading misleading analysis and propaganda that any strike “will trigger retaliation and a bloodier and wider war.”
The NIAC’s alarmist analysis reveals that its understanding of the regional geopolitics is ill-informed at best and deliberately misleading at worst. The organization seems to be merely manipulating public opinion in order to protect the Iranian regime.
NIAC’s key members, Parsi and Marashi, have engaged in analyses with bullying undertones. After Parsi’s failure to understand how U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations work or how geopolitics and regional dimensions function, Marashi argued that “Israel shot itself in the foot” and warned that “Israel must accept a U.S.-Iran entente in the Middle East or risk total isolation.”
The obvious irony, however, is that Iran has, in fact, been drastically weakened, and Tehran is the one isolated in the region, as well as in the international community.
More importantly, the Iranian regime has little legitimacy inside the country and is currently fighting for its survival. The current situation therefore demonstrates the fact that NIAC analyses are heavily biased. Its affiliates’ flawed understanding of the regional dynamics has resulted in its predictions and analyses being wrong.
Furthermore, NIAC and its affiliates call themselves “anti-war” and claim that they are under attack because they support the Obama-era Iran deal. However, a closer look at NIAC’s statements years before the Iran deal was signed exposes that its aim has always been to defend Iran and war criminals such as Assad.
For instance, back in 2002, when Congress considered imposing sanctions on Syria for Assad’s support for terrorist groups and Syria’s development of biological and chemical weapons, NIAC dismissed these threats and asked: “How credible are the sources indicating the country’s support for terrorism and the development of weapons of mass destruction?”
It was attempting to claim that imposing sanctions on Syria was really a way to target Iran. In reality, Assad’s support for terrorism was well known, and his control over weapons of mass destruction had been confirmed by the United Nations. He has used such chemical weapons to kill innocent civilians in Syria.
It is abundantly clear that supporting the Iran deal and taking an “anti-war” stance are only excuses for NIAC to defend the Iranian regime and its proxies. This organization has staunchly opposed any action by any administration seeking to counter Iran’s destabilizing behaviors and the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities across the world.
What is even more revealing is that despite their claims that Iranians do not want a regime change via war or by isolating Iran, NIAC’s former and current affiliates cannot cover up the fact that many Iranians do want a peaceful regime change.
For instance, when Congress and the Senate, in two different bipartisan moves, wanted to help people in Iran to obtain “a peaceful change,” on both occasions, NIAC and its members rejected any change and accused the U.S. of “Iraq-style regime change policy” and “instigating ethnic tensions in Iran.”
This organization simply opposes any act that may weaken the Iranian regime.
Furthermore, NIAC affiliates smear anyone who has a different view and wants change in Iran by fabricating reports to undermine the credibility of those who seek democracy and women’s rights in Iran. NIAC affiliates attack anyone who meets with U.S. officials but proudly post their own photos taken with rulers of one of the most theocratic dictatorships in the world.
Mortazavi is completely biased. pic.twitter.com/meOjahyDdf
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) August 16, 2019
Iranian activist Masih Alinejad who calls for regime-change in #Iran met with Mike Pompeo, days before the Middle East summit in Warsaw. The meeting caused huge backlash by Iranian public and civil society.
— Negar Mortazavi نگار مرتضوی (@NegarMortazavi) February 5, 2019
Opposing wars, which respected anti-war and pro-peace organizations actually do, is an important and ethical duty. However, pro-peace organizations should avoid being manipulated by the NIAC. It’s really little more than a lobbying organization for a heinous Iranian regime.
Source » washingtonexaminer