As our readers know, we’ve been keeping an eye on Trita Parsi and the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) for a few years now. And what we’ve unearthed has made us seriously question NIAC, its commitment to its purported objectives, and its honesty regarding its true purpose – be it in the US political arena or in the way the organization, and founder Parsi, present themselves to the public.
Now comes a new article on The Daily Beast – interchangeably titled “The Shady Family Behind America’s Iran Lobby” and “How America’s Iran Lobby Won” – asking the very same questions, and concluding that NIAC is in fact a lobby steered by groups with vested business interests in sanctions relief and rapprochement between Iran and the West.
The damning critique was written by a “well-known Iranian dissident,” who asked to remain unnamed “for fear of what might happen to his family in Iran in retaliation for this article.” And so, writing under the pseudonym “Alex Shirazi,” the anonymous contributor made the following revelations:
-That a low-profile but well-connected expat family, the Namazis, played a “key role” as the “intellectual architects” of NIAC after meeting Parsi in Cyprus in 1999;
-That this family had previously founded Atieh Bahara Consulting (AB), a Tehran-based firm coordinating between foreign firms and the Iranian regime – with pre-sanctions clients including Shell and Siemens – which had run into difficulties since sanctions were implemented;
-That Parsi wrote intelligence briefings for AB while serving as head of NIAC, but did not disclose this business relationship in subsequent years;
-That the Namazi family was behind the push for US-Iran rapprochement publicly spearheaded by NIAC, and that with the family’s backing, NIAC (which claims to serve the interests of all Iranian-Americans, many of whom are dissidents) became a “staunch institutional ally” of the White House in “selling” the deal, with the US adopting many of NIAC’s talking points;
-That AB was a fixture on the sidelines of the nuclear talks;
-That it is the Namazis’ economic interests, which would be well-served by the lifting of restrictions on business with the West, that stand behind NIAC’s pro-deal campaign;
-That in internal communications, NIAC – which has taken US taxpayer money – freely refers to its work as lobbying (as we have suggested in the past), despite purporting to represent Iranian expats;
-That while NIAC denies it is a “regime sympathizer,” it has been praised by the Iranian regime for refraining from doing “anything seriously bad against the Islamic Republic”;
-That NIAC, under Parsi’s leadership, “rarely criticizes the IRGC or the Quds Force, a US-designated terrorist entity,” but rather characterizes the Iranian regime as an ally of the US in the war against IS – despite the Quds Force’s military role in Syria, where it has targeted US-backed rebels fighting Assad;
-That NIAC accuses American Jews of dual loyalty, while the affiliation of NIAC and many of its members with the Namazi family/AB, not to mention their alignment with the Iranian regime itself, remain hidden from the public eye;
-And that now that the dark days of sanctions are over, the Namazis and associated groups stand to “make a fortune” as “go-betweens” between Western firms and the Iranian government – with NIAC as the “power-brokers” that helped the pieces fall into place.
Hate to say we told you so…