The Mullahs' Washington Mouthpiece?

“Throughout the recent crisis,” the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) announced last week, “NIAC has been in contact with the White House almost daily to convey the views of our community, and policymakers have been listening.” It “strongly condemned the crackdown” in Iran “and called for new elections as the best way to end the violence.” It has also called upon the mullahs to “immediately release opposition figures, human rights defenders, and all other persons arrested for contesting the election results,” as well as “immediately halt state-sanctioned violence against the Iranian people.”

This is all to the good, especially because, as the NIAC itself puts it, “since its inception in 2002, NIAC has grown to become the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization in the country, with supporters in all 50 states.” That the largest Iranian-American advocacy group in the country would stand against the Iranian regime’s repression of the Iranian demonstrations is welcome; however, for all its apparent advocacy of freedom for Iranians, the NIAC has consistently opposed the tough measures that would truly aid genuine fighters for freedom in Iran — and has also opposed the steps that the United States and the West must take to defend themselves against the increasingly bellicose and brutal Islamic Republic.

The NIAC has consistently followed a line indicating that while it opposes the mullahs’ excesses, it does not oppose the Islamic regime itself. For example, it recently published excerpts from an Islamic cleric and former government official under Khomeini, Haddi Ghaffari. “Khamenei,” Ghaffari wrote, addressing Iran’s Supreme Leader, “your recent actions and behavior has brought shame to us clerics….Khamenei, you are wrong, your actions are wrong.” Sounds great, right? Sure. But then Ghaffari said: “I’m not preaching these messages so that I could be associated with the West. I loathe the West and will fight to the last drop of my blood before I or my land succumbs to the West.” In other words, he will fight to the last drop of his blood to make sure that the bloody Sharia rule of the mullahs does not end.

The NIAC has also criticized journalist Kenneth Timmerman for equating “opposition to a U.S.-Iran war with support for the Iranian government. Nothing could be further from the truth,” the group proclaims. “NIAC believes that Iranian Americans are double-stakeholders in attempts to avoid war — as Americans, they don’t want to see a single American life lost, and as Americans of Iranian descent, they don’t want to see their friends and family in Iran getting bombed.” One wonders if German-Americans complained in 1943 that they didn’t want to see their friends and family back in the old Nazi homeland getting bombed. “The images of the devastation in Iraq,” the NIAC continued, “should serve as a deterrent against prospective wars in the region. In this, NIAC agrees with the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations that diplomacy, not military confrontation should be the way to resolve U.S.-Iran tensions.”

Barack Obama couldn’t agree more, of course. He also agrees that, as NIAC’s Trita Parsi put it several weeks ago, “imposing new sanctions prior to diplomacy having begun will only decrease the chances of successful diplomacy.” Officials revealed Friday that the U.S. is set to oppose new sanctions against Iran that are scheduled to be considered at next week’s the G8 summit. This means that France is pursuing a tougher line against Iran than the United States, for French President Nicholas Sarkozy has come out in favor of new sanctions “so that Iranian leaders will really understand that the path that they have chosen will be a dead end.”

The NIAC has opposed sanctions for quite some time. Iranian dissident Hassan Daioleslam notes that “in 2008, when [the] U.S. Congress was showing some teeth to the Iranian regime,” a coalition of Islamic groups, antiwar groups, and others founded the Campaign for New American Policy on Iran to fight against new sanctions against Iran called for by the advisory resolution H.R. 362. This resolution was not passed, and “NIAC and Parsi,” says Daioleslam, “were on top of this event.”

No strike on Iran. No sanctions. Just diplomacy — with a genocidally-inclined and fanatically intransigent regime. It is no mystery why many wonder which side the NIAC is really on. But as long as it wields such influence in Washington and holds the ear of Barack Obama, the freedom fighters on the streets of Tehran don’t stand a chance.