Israel Lobby, Neocon Media Continue Campaign Against Iran
The dust has barely settled on Pres. Obama’s Congressional victory regarding the Iran nuclear deal, but the Israel Lobby and its assets in the media world refuse to give up, despite their loss.
The Washington Post, known for its hawkish editorial positions on Middle East issues and Israel in particular publishes Michael Gerson, a resident neocon evangelical (one-quarter Jewish, no less), who was George Bush’s chief speechwriter for five years.
Gerson just published a doozy of an attack piece on Iran full of exaggerations, distortions and outright falsehood. But one element in particular cries out for exposure. Ripping a page from George Jahn’s book (see below), Gerson writes this:
As President Obama was busy twisting congressional arms to prevent repudiation of the agreement, the Iranian regime has been systematically humiliating him.
Almost immediately, bulldozers began sanitizing the Parchin nuclear complex, where Iran is suspected to have researched the weaponization of nuclear technology…
Let’s unpack the lies in this passage. First, Parchin is not, nor ever was a “nuclear complex.” There were claims offered by unnamed “intelligence sources” to the IAEA that Iran did research on nuclear triggering devices at Parchin. In its report, the IAEA says such claims have been made about Parchin. But that report makes clear that there has never been any proof offered to substantiate this claim. So what we know for sure is that Parchin has been a military site for 85 years. That is all that we know.
Will @washingtonpost correct Gerson’s blatant error? Parchin is a military site, not “nuclear complex”. https://t.co/XTF48baT6e
— Jim White (@JimWhiteGNV) September 15, 2015
When George Jahn made the same claim in a story he wrote for the AP, Muhammad Sahimi and I and a dozen or more other journalists and analysts took him to task for this and other mistakes he made in his report (and this wasn’t the first time he’d made such blatantly false claims and errors). As a result, AP buried the original story by changing its original URL. That is now the link for a correction published by the news agency:
In a story Aug. 19 about an arrangement over alleged past nuclear weapons work between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, The Associated Press erroneously referred to Parchin as a “nuclear site. In fact, it’s a military site where some believe nuclear work occurred.
Apparently Gerson, stuck in his neocon bubble, never got the memo.
The op-ed further mangles the truth in this passage:
Ten days after the deal was announced, Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani flew to Moscow (in defiance of a U.N. travel ban) to meet with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin. In short order, Iranian and Russian military forces began arriving in Syria
While it’s true that Soleimani did travel to Russia and hold such meetings. And new Russian military equipment and forces began arriving in Syria after that. But there has been no escalation in Iranian involvement in Syria. Iranian forces did not “begin arriving in Syria” after the visit to Moscow. There have been Iranian forces there for several years. But there has been no increase as Gerson implies. The link he offers to support his claim is to a NY Times article which highlights Russia’s escalating presence in Syria, but says nothing about any similar Iranian development. Therefore, Gerson’s narrative that Iran is thumbing its nose at the U.S. president, who hasn’t manned up against this perfidious enemy, is ludicrous.
Here is another unsubstantiated Gerson claim:
[In the aftermath of the deal] Iran is effectively announcing that it will be more aggressive in the region after the deal, not less.
On the contrary says Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council, quoting an Iranian academic close to the Rouhani government:
Contrary to the impression many in Washington seem to have that Iran will inevitably double down on intervention in regional conflicts, some members of the Iranian policy elite are advocating retrenchment to focus on repairing Iran’s sanctions-battered economy, according to Nasser Hadian, a Tehran University professor of political science who is close to the government of President Hassan Rouhani.
In a new paper to be presented Sept. 14 at the Atlantic Council…Hadian wrote that a “pro-minimal engagement” camp is arguing that Iran should reduce its intervention in neighboring states to “a bare minimum.”
Hadian does not identify who is in this camp, telling Al-Monitor that those having these views have not yet chosen to make them public. But he said that they include “key figures … among conservatives, radicals, reformers, the military, research institutions, and secular and religious people.”
Last month, Jewish Forward editor Larry Cohler Esses traveled to Iran and interviewed Grand Ayatollahs and local Jewish leaders about Iran’s relationship with Israel and its nuclear program. The figure with the most extreme views, verging on anti-Semitism, was the former commander of Iranian forces during the Iran-Iraq war and a losing 2012 presidential candidate, Hossein Kanani Moghaddam. He echoed Hadian’s views in his interview with Cohler Esses:
Given the nation’s long-stymied domestic development imperatives and radically diminished economic position — not to mention the public’s pent-up demand for jobs, goods and government services — Iran must pull back from foreign involvements, Moghaddam believes.
“We have to try to use the money inside,” he said of the billions of dollars in unfrozen assets that would flow into Iran if sanctions were lifted…He did not mean to abandon Hezbollah or Syria. But he emphasized, “We can support them politically, not militarily.
“We have to reduce the military budget, because in the last few years we have been part of a bad competition with Saudi Arabia and the United States. This destroys the economy of Iran. It’s worse than the sanctions. Even if Saudi Arabia spends $100, we should spend just $1.”
So Michael Gerson, who knows gornisht fun gornisht about the views of Iran’s leaders tells us the Iranians want to take over the world, or at least their own little part of it. While an Iranian political scientist with close connections to the country’s leadership tells us the exact opposite. And a bastion of the Iranian military elite agrees. Gee, I know who I’d believe.
The final outrage of Gerson’s screed is comparing Ayatollah Khamenei to Donald Trump, a classic non sequitur if ever there was one:
The Iranian supreme leader and Donald Trump have this much in common: They find their opponents to be losers.
Let’s hope the editors at the Post are as diligent as those at AP in correcting their columnists errors. Especially ones like this which poison political debate on an issue critical to world peace and U.S.-Iran relations.
Gerson may want to brush up his nuclear “Shakespeare” by talking with former Israel Atomic Energy Commission director-general, Uzi Elam, who wrote a new op-ed in Haaretz, All in All, a Good Agreement (behind Hebrew paywall–there is a way to circumvent it, contact me for further information). Among the points Elam makes in favor of the agreement is that in the fifteen years it is in effect Iran, will not have enough uranium to produce “a single bomb.”
H/t to Jim White.
14 thoughts on “Israel Lobby, Neocon Media Continue Campaign Against Iran – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Thank you for comprehensive article on the lies and more lies by the lobby in favor of PM Netanyahu’s anti-Iran policy. Polls are an indication how messed up the media is, not only in western nations of the US and Europe, but also Israel:
○ Obama disliked in Israeli polls | Ynet News |
US Government spokespersons are advocates of continuous lies abut the Middle East policy by the West and the root cause of the upheaval. Does US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power believe she has an audience, or is it just the might of UNSC 5 permanent members and its veto power. How she loves her husband Cass Susstein and promotes his Social and Behavioral Science theory implemented via an Executive Order by Obama’s White House. Who watches over the behavior of the US Government?
The Iran Lobby.
“Parchin has been a military site for 85 years ”
Wouldn’t you expect a weaponization program to be located at a military site?
“Soleimani did travel to Russia and hold such meetings. ”
And may have traveled there a second time and increased Iranian troop strength in Syria.
@ Mitchell: A ridiculous Daily Beast article. It calls the Namazi family the “intellectual architects” of NIAC without creating any connection between the two at all. How were they intellectual architects? What did they do? Are they donors? Did they hire the staff? Did they write the mission statement? We don’t have any answers to these questions. Nor do we know how any of the alleged skullduggery presented as fact connects to NIAC. This is shoddy journalism. But I can see why you’re drawn to it since it seems to be your stock in trade.
As for Parchin’s being a site to weaponize nukes, what I or anyone “expects” has nothing to do with what Parchin IS. Iran has not conducted weaponization experiments as far as the factual record reveals. If you, the Mossad, the MeK or anyone else has concrete proof of this bring it. THe only proof offered so far, has been debunked solidly.
As for Iranian military escalation: an unnamed Israeli “security source” reported in an unspecified publication that the IRG sent hundreds of troops to fight with Hezbollah in Syria. I don’t know who’s making this claim or where it was made. Sorry, but I’ll have to ask for better sourcing before I credit anything in this report.
” It calls the Namazi family the “intellectual architects” of NIAC without creating any connection between the two at all. ”
The author states that Namazi and Trita Parsi co-wrote a white paper, and, “The white paper led to the creation two years later, in 2001, of NIAC, a Washington, D.C.-based organization … ”
That sounds like a link to me.
That was 15 yrs ago. The paper written 17 yrs ago. Is that all there is?
” Is that all there is? ”
NIAC’s current research director is Reza Marashi, an Iranian-American dual national, who worked for Atieh Bahar until 2006. Atieh Bahar was founded in the nineties by Pari Namazi and her husband, Bijan Khajehpour.
@ Mitchell: And how has Reza Marashi been tainted by sin & corruption by working for a company founded by one of the Namazi family? What terrible deeds and illegality has Marashi engaged in? What intellectual or political misdeeds is he guilty of? Does NIAC take direction from Ayatollah Khamenei? Does he whisper in Trita Parsi’s ear?
Calling NIAC the “Iran Lobby” is offensive. NIAC does not lobby on behalf of the Iranian government as Aipac and other pro Israel groups do for the Israeli government. NIAC has profound differences with many aspects of Iran’s clerical regime. Far more differences than any Israel Lobby group has with the Israeli regime.
You and your anti Iran pals are on a fishing expedition. But keep it up. It makes all of you look like fools. If that’s the way you want to go, by all means.
“Calling NIAC the “Iran Lobby” is offensive”.
NIAC filed a ‘lobby disclosure’ pursuant to the Lobby Disclosure Act, and admits it’s a lobby in it’s own internal memos.
You did open and read the PDF link to a court exhibit?
“And how has Reza Marashi been tainted by sin & corruption by working for a company founded by one of the Namazi family?”
I don’t know. Marashi refused to speak to the journalist who wrote this article.
An equally good question is, ‘Why didn’t Marashi disclose his employment at AB on his NIAC bio?
“What intellectual or political misdeeds is he guilty of?”
Other than using the ‘dual loyalty’ canard to smear Senior Senator Schumer, I can’t say.
@Mitchell: You’re being disingenous. The issue I have with yr lies is not yr use of the word “lobby” but yr linking it to “Iran.” It is a lie to claim that NIAC lobbies for the Iranian regime. There is absolutely no proof ever offered to support such lies.
There’s another lie in the DB article which you’ve regurgitated. NIAC is not a lobbying group. In fact, under U.S. law it may not lobby given its non profit registration. NIAC has created a separate entity, just as hundreds of other DC based groups have done, which does lobby and is registered so. This political action group is registered as a U.S. lobby, not an Iranian lobby. IN other words, it lobbies within the U.S.. It does not lobby for Iran nor is it registered to do so. It is perfectly legal under U.S. law to do this.
You will read the following evisceration of this Daily Best piece of crap: http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/09/16/the-flaws-in-the-daily-beasts-hit-on-the-nation/205602. You will read every word of it. If you write another word on this subject without doing so & absorbing the facts in this piece I will ban yr ass. That’s how seriously I take this issue.
As for Reza Marashi: why should he speak to a hit man who didn’t even have the courage to use his real name in reporting this story?
As for “smearing” Chuck Schumer with “dual loyalty” charges, I’m afraid Schumer brought that on himself. He’s the one who’s doing Israel’s bidding in voting against the deal. He’s the one more concerned about serving his pro Israel donors than what’s right for America. He’s the one who never says a bad word about Israeli government policies.
As for dual loyalty charges, it’s you & your ilk who are accusing NIAC of being agents for Iran, which is the grossest form of dual loyalty smear. Pot’s calling the kettle, I’m afraid.
The Daily Beast story is a sack of lies (in Hebrew chatichat chara). I don’t permit lies to be published here. You have been warned.
I have duly read and digested your Media Matters link. Now please consider the following.
As revealed by Wikileaks, a document shows that the Iranian regime’s envoy Salman Safavi met with US embassy officials in August 2007 in London, and advised the White House not to designate the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
A day earlier, Trita Parsi published an article and used exactly the same arguments to prevent the IRG designation. Salamn Safavi is the brother of Rahim Safavi who was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards in 2007.
Trita Parsi’s message was published on August 14th 2007 in an article on NIAC’s website, and
Safavi’s message was delivered on August 15th 2007 to American’s officials in a secret meeting in London.
Precise timing aside, consider and compare the wording and the tone of Trita Parsi’s threat to US with that of Safavi’s message:
“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.”
Salman Safavi’s threat was delivered in very similar tone and words: “a USG designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization would effectively end all interest, or political ability, of the IRGC to cooperate with the USG on Iraqi or Afghan security.”
An odd coincidence, or two? Whose to say.
@ Mitchell: That’s it? That’s all you have? That Parsi is an Iranian plant because he warned the U.S. against designating the IRG as terrorists & because an IRG commander said something similar a week (not “a day,” as you claim) earlier? I’ll tell you what. I wrote here that I’m opposed to sanctions against Iran and on the same day Iran’s leaders said the same thing. So did 1,000 other people in the world. That makes all of us paid lobbyists for Iran too, I guess.
NIAC and Trita Parsi have regularly denounced Iranian policies. Show me one instance in which Aipac has denounced an Israeli policy.
“one instance in which Aipac has denounced an Israeli policy.”
I can’t, but comparing AIPAC to NIAC serves no practical purpose.
More to the point. What do you think about the odd coincidence of Trita Parsi’s and Salman Safavi’s August 2007 policy warnings to the USG? Don’t these coincidences raise an eyebrow?
“That’s all you have? … because he warned the U.S. against designating the IRG as terrorists & because an IRG commander said something similar a week (not “a day,” as you claim) earlier? ”
No. I’m sorry, but you’re mistaken. Trita Parsi’s published on Tuesday, August 14, 2007, and the Safavi’s secret meeting in London was on August 15, 2007, one day apart.
Also, the Parsi warning and the Safavi warning, are not merely ‘similar’, the warnings are nearly identical.
USA used to have (and certainly declared that it had) a “war on terror” and especially on Al-Qaeda and those who aid and abet it. Now we hear that Israel is aiding and abetting an AQ affiliate in Syria (presumably as part of an anti-Iranian effort).
But what of the USA’s war on AQ? doesn’t it warrant either a total rethink (ho ho) or a word or two about Israel as a promoter of a terrorist group (or maybe that AQ in Syria — Al Nusra):
The most egregious example of such aid in recent times has been Israel’s support for Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida’s franchise in Syria, as witnessed by UN peacekeeping forces stationed in the occupied Golan Heights. ND QUOTE see: https://electronicintifada.net/content/why-has-israel-embraced-al-qaidas-branch-syria/14619