Denouncing NIAC’s charade against Senator GrahamMay 31st, 2015
Iranian American Forum, 5.31.2015
The National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), a Washington based organization considered by many as the Iranian regime’s lobby in the US, has launched a campaign against Senator Lindsey Graham accusing him of racist remarks against Iranians. In a speech on May 22, Senator Graham allegedly called Iranians “liars”, according to NIAC. However, upon a closer look Graham never made such a statement, his actual quote as seen on the video was “I met a lot of liars, and I know the Iranians are lying.” NIAC attempted to spin the statement as being directed towards all Iranians, however in this context it appears that Graham was in fact referring to the Iranian regime, and not Iranian people.
The Iranian-American Forum denounces NIAC’s charade in the strongest way. This is not the first time that this pro-Tehran organization has targeted a US politician who has worked hard to neutralize the threat posed by the Iranian regime to US national security. NIAC’s smear campaign had previously targeted Senator Mark Kirk, Senator John McCain and Senator Robert Menendez.
Following its first statement against Senator Graham, NIAC initiated a joint letter signed by several other groups, all of whom are affiliated with NIAC, with the exception of PAAIA.
The Iranian-American Forum emphasizes that NIAC’s initiated campaign is in no way representative of the views held by the majority of Iranian-Americans. The combined number of members affiliated with NIAC and other groups participating in this campaign does not exceed several hundred, compared to an Iranian-American community that exceeds one million and half members. The Iranian-American Forum clarifies several element regarding NIAC campaign:
1- While NIAC pretends to be outraged by Senator Graham’s declarations, it remains silent regarding the Iranian leaders’ systematic insults and racial declarations against the American people and American politicians. For example, the Iranian Supreme Leader made a speech on May 11, 2013 and called the European races “the barbaric and savage races”. The speech was broadcast on TV and posted on his website: “The domestic violence against women in the US and Europe is very common and it is not surprising because the people in the West and especially the European races are barbaric (savage) races. This is the reason why they (Westerners) can easily kill people, commit crimes and beat their wives.”
2- A genuine Iranian-American organization should be outraged by the Iranian leaders’ anti-Semitic declarations and policies. The Iranian regime has turned Tehran to the capital of Holocaust denying and anti-Semitism in the world. But, NIAC has always tried to blame Israel and find genuine ways to justify and pale the Iranian regime’s anti-Semitic declarations.
3- Not only does NIAC remain silent to the Iranian leaders’ racial and degrading insults against Americans, the organization feels outraged when the Iranian rulers are criticized for their actions. For example, in 2007 during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia University in September 2007, the University’s President Lee Bollinger harshly criticized Ahmadinejad for violating human rights in Iran and taking anti-Semitic positions. A genuine Iranian-American organization should have thanked President Bollinger but NIAC was outraged by his remarks.
NIAC president Trita Parsi with Iranian regime nuclear negotiation delegation, Lausanne, Marcg 2015
4- If on some occasions the Iranian-Americans are misjudged by their fellow Americans, it is mainly due to policies that the Iranian regime has pursued for the past thirty six years that include hostage taking, killing Americans, sponsoring terrorist activities around the globe, anti-Semitic policies and a declared strategy to eradicate Israel. Unfortunately, on some occasions, people do not distinguish between the Iranian regime and Iranians in general. Therefore, the best way to defend and preserve the dignity of Iranian-Americans is to emphasize that the Iranian regime does not represent the Iranian people and their cultural and historical values.
Consequently, an organization such as NIAC that acts as de-facto lobby for the Iranian regime, legitimizing its policies and presenting Hassan Rouhani or a faction of this regime as the legitimate representatives of Iranian people, harms the prestige and dignity of Iranian-Americans.
5- In attacking Senator Graham and other anti-Iranian regime politicians, NIAC aims to attain two goals: First, to discredit the anti-Iranian regime camp in the US and facilitate Tehran’s pursuit of its nuclear ambitions and its hegemonic drive in the region,
Second, it seeks to gain credit as a genuine defender of the Iranian-American community, and use this credit to pursue its pro-regime lobby activities in Washington. This is exactly what NIAC president Trita Parsi outlined in a memo to his partner in 2002. This memo was released during a defamation lawsuit involving NIAC. In 2002, after Parsi founded NIAC, he was working with two Washington lobbyists to create a parallel organization to NIAC that would undertake lobbying while NIAC continued recruiting among Iranians. In his memo to lobbyist Roy Coffee, Parsi also explained the nature of these activities and why it is necessary to give a human face to this lobby:
“Although the mission of the proposed lobby should be to improve relations between the US and Iran and open up opportunities for trade, the initial targets should be less controversial issues such as visas and racial profiling/discrimination… Despite its predominantly business oriented constituency, it is essential that the lobby creates a “human face” for its aims and goals. AIPAC successfully painted the opponents of the Iran Libya Sanctions Act as “greedy businessmen who had no scruples when it came to doing business with terrorist regimes.” The oil companies failed to characterize their campaign with “human concern for the well-being of innocent Iranians stuck with a dictatorial regime” or “support for the poor mid-Western family father who lost his job due the sanctions. The human element is essential both when it comes to attracting support among Iranian-Americans and when it comes to winning the debate and the votes on the Hill.”
6- A genuine Iranian-American organization should first and foremost focus on the plight of Iranians and therefore, condemn the human rights violations in Iran. As to NIAC, it NEVER criticized the human rights abuses in Iran until 2007 when its ties with the Iranian regime were exposed and forced NIAC to release sporadic and tempered human rights statements primarily aimed at whitewashing its pro-regime policies. This is precisely what the District Court judge in the NIAC defamation lawsuit wrote in his ruling to dismiss the lawsuit and punish NIAC for legal abuses:
“That Parsi occasionally made statements reflecting a balanced, sharedblame approach is not inconsistent with the idea that he was first and foremost an advocate for the regime. Given the other evidence defendant amassed to support his views, the Court sees no “actual malice” in defendant’s decision to disregard occasional contrary statements and assume that they were made largely to burnish Parsi and NIAC’s image in the United States. After all, any moderately intelligent agent for the Iranian regime would not want to be seen as unremittingly pro-regime, given the regime’s reputation in the United States.” (p. 12)
7- It is ironic that in a story that involves “lying”, NIAC tries to presents itself as the guardian of Iranian-American values. The organization and its President Trita Parsi’s record shows that they indeed represent duplicity and deception at its best. In 2012, NIAC lost a defamation lawsuit against one of its critics and the District court judge sanctioned NIAC and its president Ttrita Parsi for repeatedly lying to court and violating the legal procedures and ordered them to pay $184000 for compensating defendant’s legal expenses.
Again, on February 10, 2015, Court of Appeals reaffirmed the district court’s initial opinion that NIAC and Parsi engaged in systematic abuse of discovery process and repeated false and misleading declarations to the court. The appellate judges wrote:
“Throughout discovery, the Appellants (NIAC and Parsi) engaged in a disturbing pattern of delay and intransigence. Seemingly at every turn, NIAC and Parsi deferred producing relevant documents, withheld them, or denied their existence altogether. Even worse, the Appellants also misrepresented to the District Court that they did not possess key documents Daioleslam sought. Most troublingly, they flouted multiple court orders.” (Page 2)
“We have previously recognized a trial judge’s authority to punish and deter abuses of the discovery process, and we do so again today. A court without the authority to sanction (NIAC’s) conduct that so plainly abuses the judicial process cannot function. We affirm the bulk of the District Court’s sanctions as the wages of Appellants’ dilatory, dishonest, and intransigent conduct…” (Page 3)
8- The defamation lawsuit lost by NIAC showed the depth of NIAC’s deception and proved that NIAC lacks integrity and credibility to pose itself as the defender of Iranian-American values. The lawsuit obliged NIAC to release some of its internal documents that turned to be devastating for the organization and Washington Times and many other journals published some of these documents.
The documents also show that NIAC defrauded IRS, defrauded NED Congressional funds, coordinated its lobby with Iranian ambassador to the UN and collaborated with two individuals named by US Congressional report as the agents of the Iranian intelligence ministry.
Some of these documents show that Tehran-based individuals with ties to the Iranian regime helped Trita Parsi to plan and realize the creation of NIAC. After NIAC was created, Parsi continued to coordinate NIAC’s lobby with them.
The Iranian-American Forum strongly condemns NIAC’s campaign against Senator Graham, a charade designed to serve the interests of Iranian regime.
On November 13, 2013, when NIAC launched a similar campaign against Senator Kirk and sent email to Iranians asking them to sign the anti-Kirk petition, an Iranian-American civil society leader had enough of NIAC and Parsi’s slander against those who oppose Tehran’s agenda. In her poignant letter to NIAC posted on her Face book, she wrote: “How shameful that you purport to represent the will of the Iranian-American people. This email and others like it are nothing less than a morally perverse, dishonest propaganda campaign aiming to achieve the one and only mission your so called “association” has ever had: the removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran and a soft, appeasing American foreign policy with regards to this regime, no matter the human rights situation. Rather than reflecting and advancing the Iranian-American dream of a free Iran, you echo the Islamic Republic’s agenda in the US, working to discredit any voice, particularly among US policymakers, that stands with the people of Iran and firmly against their oppressors.”