It’s been months since we last wrote about the comeback of Seyed Hossein Mousavian under the presidency of his friend Hassan Rouhani, but that’s not to say he’s stayed out of the spotlight. On the contrary – he’s been quite busy speaking to US audiences about the nuclear talks and harshly critiquing the Western position on them.
In fact, Mousavian has been quite active in the public sphere since his return to Iran from the US. In early June, he attended an Atlantic Council conference on US-Iran relations in early June, where he was interviewed by Barbara Slavin. On the program, Mousavian was touted as both a “diplomat and author.” From this position of authority, he told Slavin, among other things, that Washington’s mistrust of Iran stemmed from its inability to put the 1979 hostage crisis behind it, with no mention of more recent events.
Mousavian’s been wearing both a scholarly hat and a political one – both that of an official representative and that of an external source – for a while now, and we wonder under which hat he is cited by media outlets in the West. For example, in a June report on Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the West, Al-Monitor’s Laura Rozen quoted the “former nuclear negotiator” as telling a New York audience that a final nuclear deal would not be reached without direct bilateral talks between the US and Iran. Rozen didn’t note if Mousavian was speaking as an official-turned-scholar/analyst, or as an active diplomat close to Tehran’s ruling political elite.
Back in 2012, the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari noted that even Mousavian’s book editor has said he “parts company with the public record,” for example by suggesting that Iran’s nuclear disclosures had “left no major gaps in knowledge” by 2003, but neglecting to note that in 2009 the US would uncover a secret enrichment plant near Qom. And yet, Mousavian is still a sought-out speaker on Iranian issues in the West, and his integrity as a “scholar” and “former” official is rarely questioned.