With his close ally Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sealing a high-profile nuclear deal, we’ve been waiting with baited breath for Seyed Hossein Mousavian to ditch his academic/pundit fascade from the safety of Princeton University.
Lo and behold, it’s happened: one of Iran’s most sophisticated lobbyists in the West since his unofficial exile in 2010 – indeed, the darling of the anti-sanctions crowd – last week finally said goodbye.
With Iranian media outlets insisting Mousavian was in Iran “to stay”, The New York Times broke the story to the English-speaking world (we actually scooped the outlet, but who’s counting). According to the NYT, the “top former diplomat” – who recently proposed that Tehran leave the NPT – had finally come home to a “more receptive” political environment after being accused by hardliners of espionage (during earlier nuclear talks with European powers back in 2009).
A reminder: Mousavian, a former nuclear negotiator under Rouhani from 2003-2005, left Iran for “research” at Princeton after hardliners accused him of espionage. In practice, he served as regime advocate in the US working to “diminish international community opposition to an Iranian nuclear program” and to “pursue a long-term strategy of turning threats into opportunities,” as he himself attested in his 2012 memoirs.
Since its inception, this blog has devoted many a post to Mousavian’s true status and the tactics he employed to convince Western influentials and readers that Iran doesn’t want the bomb. Throughout we insisted that Mousavian remained, at the end of the day, an Iranian official on US soil. We were consistent in this belief and feel our position is now vindicated by his return to Rouhani’s bosom.
Having said that, we’re also pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of Mousavian. Time will tell.