March 7, 2008

Eli Lake misquotes NIAC

On March 6, Eli Lake, a self-described neo conservative writer for the New York Sun, falsely reported that the National Iranian American Council, when “queried” about Parnaz Azima, had “no comment.”

Last week, a revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced Azima, an Iranian American journalist, to a year in prison for spreading “anti-state propaganda.”  Lake’s story, ‘Filthy Trick’: Iran Targets 95-Year-Old Mother of Journalist, is about the Iranian government’s abuse of power.

Lake’s story also includes —oddly enough— a paragraph about NIAC.

Lake’s assertions about NIAC are factually incorrect. Lake states that NIAC opposes “American aid for democracy in Iran.” NIAC has never opposed aid for democracy. Rather, we oppose a very specific set of politicized funds allocated by Congress (the Iran Democracy Fund).

These funds have proven not only counter-productive and ineffective, but have also remained unspent. Lake’s intentional distortion is reflected in the fact that he does not call out any of the other 23 organizations who oppose this funding; nor does he claim that Human Rights Watch is “anti-democracy” because it also opposes this funding.

As head of NIAC’s new communications effort, I want to express my deepest disappointment for Lake’s behavior as a journalist. Lake’s faulty reporting casts a shadow on The New York Sun.

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