Published on November 21st, 2009 | by Daniel Luban3
Sahimi: the extremist roots of the anti-NIAC campaign
By Daniel Luban
Iranian-American academic and human rights activist Muhammad Sahimi has written an excellent piece that fleshes out the background to the campaign against NIAC, describing the tactical alliance between neoconservatives and Iranian-American hardliners that aims to marginalize the views of the moderate majority of the Iranian diaspora. Sahimi notes that there are two main groups of Iranian-Americans that have joined the push for war against Tehran: monarchists who hope to bring back Reza Pahlavi as shah, and supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK, or MKO) terrorist group. He argues that despite being greatly outnumbered within the Iranian-American community, these two groups of hawks have managed to exercise a disproportionate influence — due both to their media and economic clout and to their willingness to tell American hawks what they want to hear. “The rise of the NIAC as a moderate voice of reason,” he writes, “has naturally worried the Israel lobby and the neocons, and their allies in the Iranian community, namely, the monarchists and the MKO” — hence the attacks.
Sahimi also provides still more evidence that Hassan Daioleslam, who has served as the public face of the anti-NIAC campaign while coordinating his activities with leading Washington neoconservatives, has ties to the MEK. Particularly interesting is the question of where Daioleslam, whose professional activities are mostly limited to writing occasional pieces for obscure right-wing websites, is getting the money to devote himself full-time to research — not to mention how he can afford the likes of Sidley Austin LLP, the white-shoe law firm that is defending him in his lawsuit with NIAC. Sahimi’s piece adds to the already-extensive collection of evidence of Daioleslam’s MEK ties, and raises once again the question of what Iran hawks — who like to portray themselves as champions of democracy and human rights — are doing in bed with associates of a brutal terrorist group like the MEK.