Trita Parsi and his colleagues at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) simply can’t tell the truth, and do not have the honor to make corrections. In a decade in Washington, I have never seen people more prone to dishonesty.
First, NIAC blogger Artin Afkhami fabricated a quote — and when caught was not honest enough to give his source or retract. Artin, you may think as time passes, folks will forget your dishonesty. Your mistake isn’t the issue, though. It’s your refusal to correct it that is. It’s never too late to do the right thing.
Now, NIAC’s Twitter says “Michael Rubin calls Iranian people ‘irrelevant.’” Umm, no I didn’t. Here is what I said: “That the Iranian people are far more moderate and cosmopolitan than their leadership is irrelevant under the current structure of power.”
There’s a difference, Trita. The Revolutionary Guards and Office of the Supreme Leader have more influence over Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs than the man on the street. The election on June 12 was fraudulent. This is why, perhaps, when you saw which way the wind was blowing, you decided to change your public position. With this NIAC tweet, perhaps you slipped up. Anyway, I hope you agree that Iran isn’t a democracy, and the representatives of the Iranian people are not the Revolutionary Guards, the Supreme Leader, or President Ahmadinejad. The reason the Iranian people are rising up is because of the disdain their government shows for them. And the reason we have such diplomatic difficulties with Iran is because the Islamic Republic does not represent the moderation of its citizenry.
Indeed, as I have always argued against bombing Iran — something you also lie about — I have also always advocated strategies to empowerment of the Iranian people and Iranian civil society, at a time both the National Iranian American Council and you, its leader, argued against such assistance and shunned human rights issues. This is perhaps the reason Mohsen Makhmalbaf, unofficial spokesman for Iran’s Green Movement, said, “I think Trita Parsi does not belong to the Green Movement. I feel his lobbying has secretly been more for the Islamic Republic.”
Trita, the reason many policymakers and the vast majority of Iranian Americans no longer take you or the National Iranian American Council seriously is because of your habit of fabricating numbers, quotes, and spinning conspiracy theories. It’s clear that the tendency to fabricate and dissimulate is the one thing NIAC and the Mujahedeen al-Khalq have in common.
Trita, if you do have the integrity to correct or respond, here’s a challenge: Try to respond to the arguments made, rather than simply vent neocon-this and neocon-that. Your tendency to make strawman arguments is another reason why no one in Los Angeles, and increasingly few people in Washington take you seriously. Even your honorary board members and friends in the blogosphere have gone remarkably quiet when it comes to defending you, after they saw the discrepancy between your public rhetoric and private positions.