Myths vs. Facts

An unfortunate reality in Washington is that groups and individuals often resort to baseless smears to try to discredit those who disagree with them. This is true in political elections and in many policy debates, especially anything related to Middle East policy.

Opponents of NIAC’s work on behalf of Iranian Americans who support peace, diplomacy, and human rights have used these same tactics to try to silence NIAC and our grassroots supporters.

Below is NIAC’s response to these politically motivated smears.

 

red x-1  Myth: NIAC is a lobby for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

green check  Fact: This is a false accusation spread by opponents of our work supporting diplomacy with Iran to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue and other issues of concern.

NIAC is an American organization that represents the majority viewpoints of Americans of Iranian descent, as reflected in numerous polls. NIAC is funded exclusively by the Iranian-American community and grants from major U.S. foundations, such as the Ploughshares Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. NIAC does not receive funding from the U.S. or Iranian governments.

NIAC has repeatedly condemned the Iranian government’s human rights abuses and we were a leader in the campaign to establish an independent UN human rights monitor on Iran. NIAC has also been on the forefront calling for Washington to address Iran’s human rights record in its diplomatic engagement with Tehran.

 

red x-1  Myth: NIAC’s opponents are concerned Iranian-American supporters of democracy in Iran.

green check  Fact: Actually, the campaign against NIAC is coordinated by far-right neoconservative activists and figures associated with the Iranian terrorist organization the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).

Opponents of NIAC’s work have been working for a resurgence of the heavy-handed, pro-war, and anti-diplomacy approach of the Bush years – an approach that is sure to fail and destroy any real chance of democracy in Iran – and have undermined Obama’s presidency to pave the way for their own return to power.The attacks against NIAC have further intensified as NIAC has grown and groups have increasingly seen NIAC as a threat to their agendas to win back political influence by any means necessary. Nearly all smears against NIAC have originated from just a handful of individuals opposed to the work NIAC does in support of a diplomatic solution to the conflict with Iran:

  • Daniel Pipes – Pipes is an advocate for war with Iran and ardent critic of diplomacy who heads of the far-right Middle East Forum.
  • Pam Geller – Geller is an anti-Islam activist, executive director of “Stop Islamization of America”, a designated hate group, and advocate for U.S. military action in Iran.
  • Robert Spencer – Spencer is an anti-Islam activist and blogger who co-runs the designated hate group “Stop Islamization of America” with Pam Geller, and whose writings were cited 162 times in the xenophobic manifesto of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.
  • Seid Hassan Daioleslam – Daioleslam is the author of numerous fictitious accusations against NIAC that were published on Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) websites in Persian and then on neo-conservative blogs in English. Former MEK members have identified Daioleslam as a MEK member and operative.
  • Clare Lopez – Lopez is former Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee, a group that lobbied to get the MEK removed from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list and that continues work in support of the MEK.
  • Michael Rubin – Rubin is resident scholar at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and a strong opponent of diplomacy with Iran who has pushed for confrontational U.S. policies towards Iran.
  • Kenneth Timmerman – Timmerman is a member of the hardline Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs who has strongly opposed diplomacy with Iran and encouraged Daioleslam to attack NIAC as a means to undermine the White House’s diplomacy with Iran.

 

red x-1  Myth: NIAC doesn’t speak out about the Iranian government’s human rights abuses.

green check  Fact: In reality, NIAC has been a vocal critic of the Iranian government’s human rights abuses for years, and was a leader in the campaign to establish an independent UN human rights monitor on Iran.

NIAC has actively worked to support human rights and has condemned the Iranian government’s record on human rights, including both prior to and after the June 2009 post-election crackdown. When NIAC made the decision to support peaceful solutions to the US-Iran conflict in 2007 based on a vote of our members, NIAC also decided to educate lawmakers and the general public on Iran’s human rights abuses.

NIAC’s latest work on human rights can be found here.

 

red x-1  Myth: Hassan Daioleslam proved in court that NIAC and Trita Parsi lobby for the Iranian regime.

green check  Fact: This is false.  In the words of the judge in the case: “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as a finding that [Daioleslam]’s articles were true. [Daioleslam] did not move for summary judgment on that ground.”

As the Judge’s statement makes clear, Hassan Daioleslam retreated from his outrageous claims when challenged to back them up in court.  The simple truth is that despite being given access to thousands of NIAC documents and even NIAC’s computer systems, Daioleslam was unable to produce a single shred of evidence to substantiate his discredited allegations.  Daioleslam instead hid behind the argument that NIAC could not prove that he knew what he was saying was false — the extremely high legal standard NIAC had to prove. 

By hiding behind this very high legal threshold, Daioleslam escaped a jury trial.  Nevertheless, there is still strong evidence that Daioleslam knew he was lying, based on his systematic disregard for the truth, neglect of readily available information that contradicted his conspiracy theories, his self-declared aim of “destroying” NIAC as part of “an integral part of any attack on Clinton and Obama,” and his support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist organization.

For further background on the court case, read this article from MJ Rosenberg (a former senior AIPAC employee) in Al Jazeera.

 

 red x-1 Myth: NIAC must pay the majority of Daioleslam’s legal fees.

green check  Fact:  Daioleslam and his neoconservative backers were left with the vast majority of the legal costs.

After Daniel Pipes, a neoconservative advocate for war against Iran, helped Daioleslam acquire a massive legal defense team headed by George W. Bush’s former White House lawyer, Daioleslam and his lawyers engaged in an extensive fishing expedition costing nearly a million dollars — above and beyond the cost of Daioleslam’s multi-million dollar legal team. As revealed by Daioleslam’s emails, his goal has always been to “destroy” NIAC. Their (failed) legal strategy to destroy NIAC appears to have been to convince the judge to make NIAC pay for this enormously expensive fishing expedition.  But since the judge did not conclude that NIAC had acted in bad faith during the fishing exercise, in which Daioleslam’s massive legal team tried to manufacture numerous issues, the strategy backfired, and Daioleslam (or perhaps his wealthy neoconservative backers) were left to pay the vast majority of the bill for this fishing expedition — over half a million dollars.  In fact, during a press call organized by his neoconservative backers, Daioleslam actually pleaded with reporters to donate to help pay these costs.

For further background on the court case, read this article from MJ Rosenberg (a former senior AIPAC employee) in Al Jazeera.

 

You can find facts about other myths here.