February 18, 2018

Trita Parsi: Remove Revolutionary Guards fromTerror List

In recent weeks NIAC (National Iranian American Council) and its president Trita Parsi have embarked on an intense, concentrated, and forceful campaign in Washington, and on the cyber space, against People´s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOIMEK). This campaign includes tens of Op-eds and articles, dedicated web pages, petitions, letters to legislators, seminars and webinars, and thousands of tweets in a matter of 4 weeks. To understand why NIAC, an organization that was founded based on the claim that it is “a non-profit, non-partisan, non-political and non-sectarian organization”, has so hysterically rushed to take a partisan, political, sectarian, and perhaps for-profit side, let´s systematically, and very briefly, review some background information.

The focus of NIAC and Parsi´s recent campaign is to prevent removing PMOI from the State Department´s list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO). The terrorist listing was the prime justification [1] for two separate assaults by the Iraqi army in July 2009 and April 2011, on Camp Ashraf, residence of the nearly 3,400 members of the PMOI in Iraq. These attacks left more than 50 unarmed residents killed, and hundreds injured.

The blacklisting of PMOI was initiated in 1997, followed by the European countries, to facilitate a policy of appeasement with the Iranian regime (Norman Kempster, “U.S. Designates 30 Groups as Terrorists,” Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1997) . After thorough examinations by courts, United Kingdom in 2008, the European Union in 2009, France in 2010 and 2011, Germany in 2010 and 2011, have dismissed these allegations and removed the group from their blacklists. In July 2010, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit ordered that the State Department re-examine the decision to keep the PMOI in the FTO list. It is expected that the State Department announce their decision soon. An increasing bi-partisan group of more than 130 members of US Congress and high ranking officials from four US administrations, are unified in their opinion that there is no basis for continued listing of PMOI, and have called for their removal from the FTO list. 

This campaign is not NIAC or Parsi´s first lobbying campaign to influence the FTO list of the State Department. In the summer of 2007, Trita Parsi embarked on another campaign to remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) from the State Department´s Terrorist list. The designation of the Guard´s Corp was in response to Iranian´s infiltration in Iraq, and in particular their direct role in killing [2] hundreds of American soldiers through improvised explosive devices (IED). Parsi argued [3] that “The White House’s decision to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization could deal a double blow to efforts to utilize diplomacy with Iran to stabilize Iraq.” Note that the Iranian regime itself could not better fit the threat to “up the ante in Iraq”, and the pledge of “good behavior at the negotiation table” in one argument! Prior to this campaign, Trita Parsi was in close and intense communication with the Iranian regime. Evidence of these communications have recently surfaced in a court discovery. Needless to say that Parsi and NIAC´s campaign to remove the revolutionary guards, the murderers of the youth in the streets of Iran, remained futile.

Trita Parsi´s political career is solely defined (since his student days when he started working for the disgraced, pro-Iranian congressman Bob Ney) by advocating positions and actions that favor the Iranian regime´s interests. 

If the Iranian government could wish for an ambassador at large in the United States to advocate their wishes, undoubtedly they would have wished for someone who would mimic Trita Parsi. Some examples of Trita´s advocacy are listed below.

– Working with Bob Ney to block the sanctions against the Ayatollahs [4],

– Facilitating Mahmood Ahmadinejad´s reception and speech in the Columbia University [5], 

– Promoting the belief that the Iranian nuclear aspiration is strong and mature enough to a point that the United State and the world must learn to live with it, and share the region with the Ayatollahs. Parsi, in answering [6] “Is the United States ready to share the region with Iran?” suggests a “paradigm shift” in the US policy towards accepting Iran´s hegemony in the region, otherwise, it will “disable future administrations from turning political opportunities into real diplomatic breakthroughs — irrespective of their positive intentions.” 

– Promoting the belief that the Iranian Green Movement is dead now, and West must fall back again on the appeasement policy and be kind to the current regime. In his article called “The End of the Beginning” [7] , making a mockery of the analysis that the mass demonstrations in the streets of Tehran were the “beginning of the end” of the theocratic regime, Paris wrote: “Iran’s popular uprising, which began after the June 12 election, may be heading for a premature ending. In many ways, the Ahmadinejad government has succeeded in transforming what was a mass movement into dispersed pockets of unrest. Whatever is now left of this mass movement is now leaderless, unorganized — and under the risk of being hijacked by groups outside…” 

The pattern and history of Trita Parsi and NIAC, is the clearest explanation for their recent intense campaign against removing MEK from the US blacklist. 

[1] http://iranntv.com/node/5587
[2] http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/IraqCoverage/story?id=1692347&page=1
[3] http://niac.convio.net/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5710&security=1&news_iv_ctrl=-1
[4] http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=25959
[5] http://iraniansforum.com/index.php/gallery/trita-parsi-coordinated-his-lobby-with-iranian-regimes-associates/trita-parsi-coordinated01-147#joomimg
[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trita-parsi/can-the-us-and-iran-share_b_97670.html
[7] http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/06/26/the_end_of_the_beginning