NIAC’s round table, Maziar Bahari and Barbara Slavin


NIACKambiz Assai:

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has organized a conference today Thursday August 4 to discuss why the US must continue to hamper and tie down the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the main Iranian opposition movement, by inclusion in its Foreign Terrorist Organizations list (FTO).

For months now NIAC has been engaged in a very costly campaign to force the US State Department to refrain from removing the MEK from the FTO list. They have even setup a separate website entirely dedicated to propaganda video clips and material to demonize the MEK and misinform the public.

That NIAC has links with the Iranian regime is not a secret to anyone. Documents on its current president, Trita Parsi’s email exchanges with the Iranian ambassador in New York, and its six digit invoices to Iranian authorities for “Consultation” to broker deals with the US on illusionary grounds has been well known for a while now.  NIAC’s policy positions and lobbying for the Iran regime are also well known in trying to find someone in the regime that will negotiate with the US all the time.

In response to successive major conferences in the US House of Representatives, with high-ranking bi-partisan panels of former top officials of the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations in support of the MEK, NIAC has organized a panel to defend the MEK’s listing on the FTO list featuring Maziar Bahari and Barbara Slavin.

Maziar Bahari has himself admitted in his reports that he had been praised by the Iranian intelligence officials in Tehran for writing articles against the MEK. In 2009, Bahari was arrested during the nationwide uprising after the elections, but was released and returned to Canada after some time. Another activist, Ali Saremi  – an MEK  supporter – was also was arrested at that time for similar charges. Despite massive international campaigns by Amnesty International and other rights groups, Saremi was executed in December 2010. The fact that the Iranian regime was so generous with Bahari and made an exception for him, while other protesters were brutally tortured and received long prison terms and death sentences, remained a mystery until now. Bahari’s participation in today’s MEK-bashing conference could solve some of that mystery.

Barbara Slavin who is introduced as an “expert on US Foreign Policy” seems to be losing her “expert” image even among traditional supporters of appeasement policy. Her latest article blaming US’ isolation of Iran as a reason for Iran’s increased ties with Al-Qaida published on Foreign Policy’s website, was met with an enthusiastic backlash. (Don’t miss the comments!)

NIAC has also claimed that MEK’s success in gathering US heavy-weights behind its campaign is due to the money spent by MEK supporters to get officials to speak in their favor. The suggestion that the top US officials with distinguished records of service from Howard Dean, Bill Richardson, Michael Mukasey, Rudy Giuliani, and James Jones and a host of America’s top former military officers could be bribed into expressing support for any Iranian opposition group without understanding the merit of their support is preposterous in the least. It also begs the question that if that is so easy to do with dollars why NIAC who receives vast sums from go-betweens with the Iranian regime doesn’t do the same. 

The truth is that those who support the MEK know what they are supporting, the efforts of an Iranian opposition movement aligned with human rights, democracy, decency and rule of law and international cooperation. On the other hand, they also know that the likes of NIAC who scream for the retention of  MEK on the FTO List on purely political reasons without any legal or moral basis are lobbies of an evil regime trying to whitewash its blood-stained hands.