NIAC Calls for Firing of Official for “I hate all Iranians” Remark
Contact: Trevor Fitzgibbon
Washington DC – The National Iranian American Council is demanding the immediate dismissal of Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs for a comment she made to a visiting foreign delegation: “I hate all Iranians.”
Ms. Cagan made the comment earlier this month during an official meeting with British MPs discussing coalition efforts regarding Iraq and Iran; the comment was confirmed by three of the parliamentarians who attended the meeting, who later expressed alarm at the remark and questioned their country’s alliance with the United States.
“This high-level Pentagon official’s blatantly hateful remark has dealt a severe blow to the administration’s objective of maintaining an international consensus on how to deal with Iran,” said Dr. Trita Parsi, NIAC’s President. “While the Administration says it is pursuing diplomacy, Cagan’s approach seems to belie an intention to go to war.”
Cagan’s remark risks further undermining the core of America’s diplomatic efforts to differentiate between the Iranian people and the government in Tehran. Polls show that the Iranian people are one of the most pro-American populations in the Middle East, demonstrated by the spontaneous and popular outpouring of sympathy in Iran after the terrorist attacks of 2001 in the United States.
Cagan’s comments have the potential to be devastating to America’s soft power in Iran. The Bush Administration must make clear that under no circumstances is such inappropriate behavior tolerated, nor are Ms. Cagan's sentiments shared by the US government.
Americans of Iranian descent have been particularly alarmed by Cagan’s remark.
“To hear a government official say ‘I hate all Iranians’ gives Iranian Americans the impression that they are under attack by their government,” said NIAC Board Member Prof. Mohamad Navab. “No minority group in the United States should be subjected to this type of treatment by a US government official. It goes against everything this country stands for.”
“If she is allowed to stay in her post, the US Defense Department and the Bush Administration will have condoned hate toward minorities in this country,” said NIAC Board Member Dokhi Fassihian. “Her behavior has brought disgrace to the US government. She must be immediately relieved of her duties.”