Where is Trita?

Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council and leading advocate for the U.S. government engagement of Iran, isn’t exactly a household name.  However, he’s practically a rock star when it comes to writing about Iran. Prolific as they come, at times it seems as if he’s everywhere: the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, BBC World News, and even the Jewish Forward.

In the reportage and Op-Ed pages of major publications, Trita appears moderate when evaluating the rounds of failed nuclear negotiations between the West and Iran, in particular, and in assessing Iran’s objectives in general.

In his effort to come across as an objective observer, Parsi has no qualms about equating the criminal with the law enforcer in the Iranian nuclear crisis. Indeed, for him there is no difference between President Obama – the elected leader of the free world and a permanent member of the Security Council – and Khamenei, the dictator of a rogue state threatening the very global peace and security the Security Council presides over. And thus he wrote this eye-opening passage:


“What remains unclear, however, is what Obama is willing to put on the table. Thus far, White House officials have only indicated that Iran would be given fuel pads to produce medical isotopes and a promise not to impose new UN sanctions on Tehran.

This package is a non-starter to most observers – including to other P5+1 diplomats. The problem is not necessarily the demands, but the imbalance between what is demanded and what is offered.”

Sound suspiciously close to the “diamonds for peanuts” of Moussavian (see my recent post)?  You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that.

Iran’s interests dictate his agenda:  The removal of the “coercive sanctions” element from Iran-related diplomacy.

Yet recently, strangely enough, despite continued tumultuous developments on the Iranian front – the NAM summit in Tehran, the latest IAEA report, and the resumption of discussions on new sanctions – Trita Parsi has disappeared. Total silence. As if the ground swallowed him.

The New York Times and the Huffington Post seemed to have missed it, but it turns out that Parsi hasn’t had too much time lately to defend Iran – he’s been busy fighting a losing battle for his name.

For those unfamiliar with the court case, Sohrab Ahmari, an assistant editor at the WSJ,  summarizes“Hassan Daioleslam, a U.S.-based Iranian journalist, described NIAC and Trita Parsi as “key players in the lobby enterprise of Tehran’s ayatollahs in the United States” in a 2008 article. NIAC, he wrote, “is one of the Iranian regime’s Lobby arms in the US.” In response, Parsi filed suit in federal district court in 2009, alleging Diaoleslam had defamed him and his organization. The ensuing three-year-long legal and public relations battle concluded last week with United States District Judge John D. Bates’s ruling against Parsi’s claim.”

It is not just the courts who have confirmed this suspicious activity.

The NIAC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and its head, Trita Parsi, has always been adamant that they do not partake in lobbying.

Internal documents picked up by the Washington Times show, however, that even registered officials at the NIAC, such as former policy director Patrick Disney, believed they should register as lobbyists:     “I find it hard to believe that Emily [Emily Blout, legislative director at the time] devote less than 20% of our time to lobbying activity.  I believe we fall under this definition of ‘lobbyist’”.  He noted in an email.  But NIAC’s tax forms do not represent this.  In fact, the Times reported, “the group has declared that it spends none of its time lobbying.”

Trita’s lobbying has also included arranging meetings between Iran’s then serving ambassador to the UN Javid Zarif and members of Congress.  Acting as an undeclared lobby group for a foreign government, violates the Foreign Agents Registration Act as well as lobbying disclosure laws.

Trita’s history speaks for itself.  He founded an organization in the late 90s called ‘Iranians for International Cooperation’, an organization whose website stated that its aim was “to safeguard Iran’s and Iranian interests… the removal of U.S. economic and political sanctions against Iran, and the commencement of an Iran-U.S. dialogue.” A pro-Iran lobby group by definition.  They were active until the NIAC was created.

Mr. Parsi, as well as organizing visits for Iranian officials, has himself been called to the White House, lectured to the CIA, and met with Secretary of State Clinton.

Tricky Trita is, just like slippery Seyed Mousavian (see previous post), a sophisticated spokesperson.  He appears moderate.  He even criticizes the regime every now and then.  But a simple scratching of the surface again reveals the superficiality and shallow nature of this criticism.

Ahmari correctly highlights that “the court was unimpressed by Parsi’s supposed championing of human rights in Iran. “While Parsi does criticize Iran’s human rights record,” the court found, “his criticisms are tepid.” “Given the other evidence defendant amassed to support [Daioleslam’s] 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.”

Trita Parsi, who claims to represent Iranian-Americans, is not even a U.S. citizen.  The Iranian-Swede is a foreign agent and a lobbyist working, as his former website stated, to safeguard Iran’s interests.  The media – our source of information – must heed Judge Bates’ conclusions and be open and honest when they present us with Trita Parsi as an objective commentator and ‘Middle Eastern expert’. He is not.  He is a lobbyist for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Blogging & updating on #Iran related news- focusing on Politics, Human Rights & the Iranian nuclear Program. Followed by top Middle East Analysts, Reportes & think tanks.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Huffington Post, Khamenei, Military, Seyed Hossein Mousavian
10 comments on “Where is Trita?
  1. […] regime by figures such as slippery Seyed Hossein Mousavian (see previous post), Trita Parsi (see previous post) and Kaveh Afrasiabi (see previous […]

  2. […] being a lobbyist for the Iranian regime who has been dissected by my blog on a number of occasions now, he apparently feels that he too is qualified for the job of ‘Presidential Advisor for Iranian […]

  3. […] his friend Trita Parsi (see my previous blog posts here and here – one of them also cutely titled ‘It still takes two to tango’!), Marashi packages […]

  4. […] is in order regarding Iran’s unofficial spokespeople in the media (see previous posts about Trita Parsi, Reza Marashi, Hossein Mousavian etc) – as well as those whose articles often appear to be […]

  5. […] all is bad news. While our old friend Trita Parsi gets his causation all muddled up, at least he finally agrees on something with Iran Media […]

  6. […] matter.  The IISS debate was particularly perturbing as they brought three die-hard supporters (Trita Parsi’s brother Rouzbeh Parsi, Mohammad Ali Shabani) of the regime to debate with each other!  […]

  7. […] The honored guest came all the way from Washington DC to make his case: it was none other than Trita Parsi, head of the pro-Iran lobby in the US (accompanied by his colleague Reza Marashi). Since his […]

  8. […] in addition to his solidarity with anti-sanctions forces such as Trita Parsi and Flynt & Hillary Mann Leverett, Dan Joyner  is now on record as being in bed with those who […]

  9. […] off to Trita Parsi and his colleague Reza Marashi, who have  blocked us as followers of their Twitter accounts. By […]

  10. กันสาด says:

    Highly descriptive article, I liked that a lot. Will there be
    a part 2?

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