Another Shoe Drops in the NIAC Story

By Daniel Luban

Following up on our coverage of the campaign to destroy the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), Josh Rogin at the Cable has more information on the background to the attacks. The most interesting revelation concerns Hassan Daioleslam, the Iranian-American journalist — accused by critics of ties to the Mujaheden-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group — who is being sued by NIAC for defamation and who appears to have been the source for the recent Washington Times hit piece on NIAC. Newly released documents make clear that Daioleslam (portrayed by his hawkish supporters as merely a concerned human rights and democracy advocate) has been only the public face of a group of Washington neoconservatives aiming to bring down NIAC as a way to undercut the Obama administration.

Rogin relays emails between Daioleslam and Kenneth Timmerman, in which the two plot strategy and discuss plans to leak documents to Times reporter Eli Lake. Timmerman, for those not familiar with him, is a notorious neoconservative hardliner and longtime advocate of regime change in Tehran. He founded the ultra-hawkish Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI) in 1995 with Joshua Muravchik and the late Peter Rodman, but became marginalized in mainstream circles after making a series of outlandish accusations. Notably, he accused Iran of having a role both in the September 11 attacks and the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings; he also alleged the existence of an “insurgency within the U.S. government” — a conspiracy centered on the CIA and State Department — that “sabotaged the [Bush] administration’s Iraq war plans” and was responsible for the failures of the U.S. war effort.

In one April 2008 email, Daioleslam wrote to Timmerman that he considered NIAC president Trita Parsi to be “the weakest part of the Iranian web” and that “destroying him will be the start of attacking the whole web.” Daioleslam continued (my emphasis): “This is an integral part of any attack on Clinton and Obama“. (The email was sent during the Democratic primaries, when it was not yet clear who would be the Democratic nominee.)

The email makes clear that the attacks on NIAC are simply a means to an end — the real goal being the sabotage of the Obama administration’s Iran policy. While it makes sense that the NIAC attacks have been picked up by the Weekly Standard set, one has to wonder whether the liberals who have aided and abetted them feel comfortable with participating in a campaign whose ultimate goal is to cripple a Democratic administration.

[Cross-posted at The Faster Times.]

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Daniel Luban

Daniel Luban is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. He holds a PhD in politics from the University of Chicago and was formerly a correspondent in the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks, TutuG, for the link. But it seems the key point re the MEK is that it definitely does NOT present any kind of threat to the Iranian regime. It can be no more than the smallest bit player in any U.S.-Israeli machinations, even from the PR point of view.

  2. The level of intrigue is below old Washington standards, but notable nonetheless, particularly for those who fail to comprehend how much U.S. public opinion (and, sometimes, government policy) is shaped by forces the average citizen is largely unaware of.

    I was surprised to learn that recent polling shows increasing public support for military action against Iran, should the Iranians refuse to abandon their nuclear program. Given that the threat to the U.S. is all but nonexistant, and that deterrence is a proven alternative to war, this shows just how well those in the shadows have done their work. The Obama administration will never attack Iran, but if he’s out in 2012 and a hard line Republican gets in, a U.S. ( and joint Israeli?) strike could occur. That, in my opinion, given the military/economic/budgetary strains we are under, would spell finis d’Amerique — at least as the world’s power number one.

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