Washington DC – The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has been the target of several erroneous, maliciously defamatory opinion pieces by Kenneth Timmerman and Hassan Daioleslam in Frontpage Magazine. The articles are riddled with inaccuracies, misquotations, incorrect links and references to figures that played no role in NIAC’s inception, operations, or its development over the years.
The two articles are written by a neoconservative author (Kenneth Timmerman) and a Marxist Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) supporter (Hassan Daioleslam), whose group has been identified by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (Daioleslam’s article was initially published on a MKO website prior to be being used by Frontpage magazine).
The real reason for their unprovoked attacks on NIAC seems to be to silence an independent Iranian American voice opposing war with Iran.
Proponents of war between the US and Iran seek to equate opposition to a US-Iran war with lobbying for the Iranian government. This, however, is erroneous and disingenuous. In fact, the causality is likely reversed: War would strengthen the Iranian government, just as it did in 1980 when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Iran. NIAC’s position on this issue is clear: War between the US and Iran would devastate the region, be counter to US national interests, undermine America’s position in the region, strengthen rather than weaken the Iranian regime and lead to tremendous loss of innocent life on both sides.
As NIAC’s activities have grown and become increasingly effective at preventing a US-Iran military confrontation, naturally it has attracted the ire of people who support war. By deliberately providing a false choice between the Iranian government and the MKO, the authors assert that the Iranian-American community cannot adhere to alternative positions, independent of the Iranian government or the MKO’s militant agenda.
Opposing a military engagement with Iran has been on NIAC’s agenda since its members cast their votes in near unanimous numbers against a military confrontation. Concerned about the devastating potential for the loss of life that would stem from a war with Iran, NIAC and the Iranian American community have stepped up efforts to prevent a war. For the past 12 months, NIAC has worked to stimulate debate to include a variety of perspectives from Iranian Americans, to the dismay of certain groups on the far left and far right. Much indicates that Mr. Diaoleslam and Timmerman are sensing their influence waning and resorting to desperate misinformation tactics.
NIAC continues to promote the interests of the Iranian-American community and ensure that a multitude of voices are heard in debates held in Capitol Hill concerning US-Iran relations. NIAC believes that fringe elements in the community should not be allowed to continue to monopolize the discussion over this issue, and by that, misrepresent the multitude of views of the Iranian-American community.
Still, though NIAC disagrees with Mr. Diaoleslam and Timmerman’s support for a US-Iran war, we welcome their inputs into the debate. We are, however, dismayed that instead of intelligently contributing to the discussion with facts and reasoning, they have relied on defamation, intimidation, and personal attacks.
A list of Timmerman and Diaoleslam’s numerous misleading and false assertions can be found below.
Mr. Timmerman’s article in FrontPage Magazine, April 23, 2007
Mr. Timmerman’s article accuse Dr. Parsi of violating Federal Law by acting as an intermediary between Iran and the United States during a 2003 Iranian proposal to the US for negotiation. A Washington Note article is referenced to support the author’s dubious claim. However, the article only indicates that Mr. Parsi, as an advisor to Congressman Ney, was aware of the Congressman’s role in passing the 2003 proposal from a Swiss diplomat to Karl Rove and the Bush Administration. The authors ignore the fact that nothing in the Washington Note article asserts that Mr. Parsi was directly involved in the transfer of the proposal. Rather, the Washington Note article only reveals that Congressman Ney received and delivered the proposal to Karl Rove and the Bush Administration. Mr. Timmerman’s transparent misconstruing of these facts is very disturbing (and perhaps revealing).
Mr. Timmerman speculates about NIAC’s sources of funding. However, there is no need for speculation since, as a 501 c (3) non-profit, NIAC’s financial records are available to the public. They are a part of the public record and are available to anyone interested. NIAC’s funding comes primarily from Iranian American donors and respected foundations like the Ploughshares Fund, Tides Foundation, the Open Society Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy. NIAC does not accept any funding from any government agency, including those of Iran and the US.
Mr. Timmerman equates opposition to a US-Iran war with support for the Iranian government. Nothing could be further from the truth. 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. The images of the devastation in Iraq 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 US-Iran tensions. Misconstruing the Iraq Study Group and NIAC’s opposition to war and preference for diplomacy as “lobbying for the Iranian government” reveals more about Mr. Timmerman’s agenda than that of NIAC.
Mr. Timmerman references a February 17, 2007 C-SPAN interview as he identifies Mr. Parsi as a sympathizer of the Iranian government. On the contrary, during the interview, Mr. Parsi noted that if Iran is involved in killing American troops in Iraq, then that is a very serious accusation that “needs to be dealt with.” He later identifies Iranian Americans as “primary victims of the [Iranian] regime.” Finally throughout the interview, Mr. Parsi insists that the US should follow the Iraq Study Group’s recommendation to pursue diplomacy with Iran, a strategy that is advantageous to US interests.
Mr. Timmerman attacks Bruno Pellaud for asserting at NIAC and the New America Foundation’s conference on Capitol Hill on February 17, 2007 that the IAEA has found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Although NIAC is not responsible for the views of the speakers at its conference, we feel Mr. Pellaud, as a former IAEA Deputy Director, is an important authority on this issue whose voice is useful to this debate. We disagree with Mr. Timmerman’s efforts to stifle the debate by attacking those who disagree with him. We also find it unfortunate that Mr. Timmerman conveniently ignores other speakers at the conference who openly criticized the Iranian government, including Matthew Levitt, Senior Director at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis in the Bush Administration, who spoke extensively about “Iran’s support for terrorism.”
While NIAC disagrees with Mr. Timmerman’s support for war, it welcomes an open and exhaustive debate on this issue. In fact, Timmerman was invited to NIAC and the New America Foundation’s conference on Capitol Hill, where he actively participated on the record in the discussions. We believe that it is important to discuss these crucial issues in the open rather than resorting to personal attacks and defamation.
National Iranian American Council