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Latest Iran Video: Parsi & Sadjadpour on The Meaning of Ashura Protests


The Latest on Iran (29 December): A Desperate Swing of the Fist

Reader Comments (19)

angie paris - so tell me where the "regime stooge" is defending the 'regime'? or is he just faking it again?

maybe he is just in DEEEEEEEEEEEEEP cover huh?


maybe you've just ticked me off enough to stop being a lurker and actually post here haha ;)

ps. I have no issue with you personally - nor many of your other opinions which I agree with - but with this particular opinion you hold which I feel is not only false, but destructively so.

December 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAn activist Green Lurker

I have given my answer in the latest from Iran dec.29 !! :-)

December 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

I'm an American who wishes your movement well against the dictatorship you now have. Best wishes for democracy.

December 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ferrell

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards and other elite forces are in bed with Russian, Chinese, Venezuelan, and other non-Western economic and strategic interests. This is a critical issue that Western press ignores, or just doesn't know about.

Subsequently, there is presumably a nominal level of coordination between Beijing, Moscow and Tehran during not just normal economic and strategic deliberations, but also during riots like those we see in Iran today.

Don't forget: China squelched the Tiananmen Square riots of 20 years ago, and thus have valuable input on how to crack down for anyone willing to listen....

December 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDan

I gather that Trita Parsi is a controversial figure, but in the videos I've seen and pieces I've read, he may be measured, but he has never come across as a regime apologist or tool to me, quite the contrary. I'm unfamiliar with the backstory in that regard, but during the post-election protests, NIAC was a daily stop. Their reporting struck me as informed, informative, and pretty straightforward. It differed very little in substance, if not style, from most of the other sites I was following. If he leads some sort of double life, it's certainly not apparent to me in his public persona.

December 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJM Hanes

Parsi welcomes any news regarding Iran, which sidetracks the US from the topic of sanctions. Before anyone excuses his Washington, D.C., PR firm, instructed polish, google into his history. He's a slick sales person and has held our media and White House hostage for to long. But all of that is cracking and the real Trita Parsi will be revealed for the mullah lover he is.


December 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterapk

Rachel Maddow's interview with Parsi:

Based on couple of recent clips I have seen, he is making sense and is on the side of the Greens. Do others have links to past stories/interviews in which his position is otherwise?

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertheali

Trita is changing his colors again as if his Islamic republic maters have ditched him...but do not be fooled...he is a liar and a con artist...he can lie through his teeth like his mullah masters. Interesting how he is not pushing for a dialogue with a barbaric regime anymore. Maybe he senses that his employment with the regime is on its last leg...or is it just another game he is playing?.

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJames Powell

This is quite a change for Trita's usual and long effort to buy Islamic Republic more time to advance their nuclear program by arguing that the west and particularly US needs to continue talks with Iran. He now wants US to be on the side of the Iranian people? I have a hard time buying this act. I have seen Trita recently an Algazeera wanting US to give more time to negotiations.

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterparvin irandoost


To begin with- Parsi is not an American citizen (he's Swedish-Iranian), yet has proclaimed his post in the US as an expert on behalf of the Iranian-American community. Parsi's history before even coming to US is shady. He tried to set up a business related lobbying group in Sweden, however was rejected by the Swedish govt. He and his partner, a wealthy Iranian were attempting to establish their lobby for opening up business opportunities between Iran and Sweden. After the failure of this plan, he promptly moved to America, to hang his next shingle. This time his venture was an Iranian-American educational facility, NIAC. One of the ongoing controversy charges that Parsi actually participates in lobbyist activities a percentage of the time via NIAC. Yet, he has always maintained NIAC has been purely education, not a lobby. Our federal law mandates that even if a institution participates in any lobbying activities for even one minute, they must register as lobbyist and pay federal taxes. Parsi and NIAC have never paid said taxes. Word on the street is that Parsi and NIAC are currently under federal investigation for tax evasion. This info is just the tip of the iceberg. As I suggested earlier, please google this topic, as I have done, and you can make a more educated decison regarding this controversy.


December 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterapk

apk, well explained. In farsi we have an expression called "hezbeh bad" meaning the party of wind.. and the wind is turning. This guy was the same who was contacting important iranians to attend AN party in DC (of course beside gaining and lobbying for them and giving Clinton wrong advices on behalf of Iranian Americans. Facts our all documented and are part of public domain.

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterafi

Green Activist
Have you read the two last comments ? I have also read this kind of articles !
Anyhow, I hope that you are right and Parsi will do everything to support our poor people who have suffered sufficiently ; and it's in his interest to be honest with Obama Administration, if not, he will be obliged to flee from USA letting what he has built for so long time !!

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

Please could you correct me ? I have forgotten to put "his" before interest and instead of "was obliged" it's " will be obliged" ;
Thank you and sorry .

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

I agree with JM Hanes. Trita Parsi is hated by some of the Iranina American diaspora, often the same who are for blanket sanctions against Iran, regardless of possible unintended consequences. I don't know Parsi in person but his argument about letting the regime bankrupt itself through the gasoline subsidies rather than try to limit their imports sounds very sensible to me. If indeed he helped invite guests to AN's cocktail party, that would be a stupid move, but otherwise the man seems sound, well informed and principled.
That said, the real enemies who deserve our attention and our ire are in Iran and we shouldn't get distracted from that.

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPic

These non-sense attacks on Parsi are getting out of control. I was in Iran 2007, and I spent a lot of time with the people that are now some of the key student leaders of the sabz. Parsi was their hero for his tireless efforts to prevent war. The students did notice very clearly that some of the other DC analysts refrained from challenging the neo-cons, but Parsi was the exception and he won the student's respect and admiration.

From what I understand, he has committed a few "sins" that few in Washington get away with:

1. He wrote the seminal book on Iran and Israel, showing how Israel has maneuvered to get the US and Iran into deeper conflict and prevented any path to resolution. For that, Parsi won the hatred of the Israeli right and their Washington allies.

2. Parsi also pissed of the regime by showing that Iran's posture had nothing to do with the Palestinians and that Iran often dealt secretly behind the scenes with Israel. For that, he got attacks against him in Kayhan and elsewhere.

3. He then pissed off the MKO and the Shah supporters by showing how both of these groups had collaborated with Israel and sought to begin a military conflict. He also showed how easily these groups were manipulated by the Israeli right, and how little respect Israel actually had for them.

4. Parsi has been a tireless critic of US sanctions on Iran, showing how they have strengthened the Iranian regime. See his latest testimony in Congress.

All in all, it is no surprise that Parsi is under attack. He has dared to take on powers that few dare to take on. Anyone who reads and actually listens to him know that the attacks against him are driven by the political motives of those seeking confrontation.

I have not been able to check in with the students I befriended in Tehran 2007, but based on what Parsi has been saying about the fraudulent elections since June 12, I can only imagine that he is held in even higher regard now than in 2007.

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSepehr Sia

angie - I always look forward to a great discussion and sound debate based on merits. there are MANY who disagree with the idea of 'dialogue' with Iran - irrelevant of the time... but for them to be dishonest in saying that anyone who stands for dialogue with Iran (under Khatami, during Bush/AN, or now) is a regime lobbyist or apologist is just hyperbolic BS aiming to cover their own lack of sound logic.

NIAC and Parsi have been very consistent... it is in fact NIAC's detractors who have been jumping from specious argument to specious argument trying to derail its effectiveness (to no avail in the halls of power if I may add).

as for specifics brought up here:

Tom: thanks

JM + theali + Pic: indeed!!! it does not take much to research this stuff.

apk: "holds the US hostage"? are you delusional? NIAC barely got a hearing during the Bush administration! and I presume you think the big bad Parsi can single handedly side-line AIPAC, JINSA, WINEP, and the scores of other pro-sanctions anti-dialogue groups in DC. maybe Trita Parsi's duel persona is actually Superman... holy cow! he's been found out.

James Powell: "lie through his teeth..." "mullah masters", "employment with the regime"... you are either delusional or projecting. do you even know what you are writing? maybe you dont know the definitions of the words you write... but in essence you provide zero proof or even logic to back-up your claims. post ONE video or article where he defends the regime?

no - your problem with him is simple. His prescription for US-Iran relations differs with yous. He has more sound arguments and he has more influence because of his arguments. He has managed to gain the trust of the US Media, Congressmen, White House, and many sound-thinking Iranian-Americans who had been cowed into silence by the dirty word of 'politics' for over two decades... but no more. And THIS really pisses you off. how DARE he convince others of his opinion when you cant.

too bad for you and your ilk.

parvin - now this is a legitimate critique of his position - somewhat hyperbolic, but acceptably so. Parvin, your may interpret his position as buying time for the regime - but that is your opinion not fact. His argument, with which I agree to a great extent, is that unilateral sanctions have not worked for 30 years, and they wont work for another 30 years. that more bellicosity and war-rhetoric (as we saw under Bush) only helps the hardline elements inside iran extend their hold on power. my personal belief is that despite what us more secular westernized iranian americans want for Iran, the people inside iran have shown very clearly they would prefer reform or 'refolution' instead of revolution and we have to respect them.

the biggest intellectual problem people have with Trita is that they perceive NIAC as a pro-reformist group (and thus to them, by definition pro-IRI) but they cant articulate that because then their readers will realize that NIAC is speaking the language of the majority of people in Iran. and the fact is that NIAC is not so much pro-reformist as pro-sound US/Iran policy. and sound policy drives a lot of people mad (see 8 years of Bush). On top of that, NIAC is an AMERICAN organization. its not an Iranian opposition group. different vantage point.

apk: any evidence for your drivel? didnt think so. its easy to make things up (see the birther movement claiming Obama was born in Kenya). furthermore, you seem to have ZERO clue about US lobbying laws. allow me:

a 501c3 is allowed to engage in "advocacy" which is legally (but not materially) different from "lobbying". furthermore - even a 501c3 is allowed to utilize up to 20% of its resources for "lobbying" without registering as a 'lobby' organization.

a 501c4 on the other hand has no limits on 'lobbying' and has to register its 'lobbyists'

a PAC can donate money, but can not do advocacy nor lobbying.

now i know these are somewhat complex differences and that you might prefer whatever simple interpretation that helps your precarious argument at the time, but hopefully the above will help you at least sound more informed.

afi - these "facts" of yours... in the 'public domain' no less - please share. considering NIAC was not even founded until 2002 (two years after Clinton) I wonder if you have anything to regurgitate besides Hassan Dai's discredited claims.

angie - "AN parties in DC"? you know better - for example, when was AN in DC? that would be news to the State Department. as for what you have 'also read'. check your sources. Hassan Dai is the Orley Taitz of Iranian Americans. A guy with apparently a ton time on his hands and nothing else to do except have his drivel posted on neo-con websites like, Newsmax, and NRO. The Iranian sites that post his stuff like PAIC Iran (Progressive American Iranian Committee) are mostly self-avowed 'opposition' group that explicitly support Rajavi or Pahlavi (what a partnership). again - check your sources.

the fact of the matter is this - in the IA community, from 1980 to about 2005, the only 'politically active' groups were "opposition groups" which in essence not only wanted the overthrow of the regime, but also wanted to replace it with themselves (MEK, Monarchists, and Communists). The problem these groups faced during these 25 years is that they had minimal credibility inside Iran or within the diaspora and that their 'advice' to western governments were self-serving rather than helpful to actual foreign policy. in 2002 when NIAC was founded, and later in 2006 when it engaged in foreign policy for the first time, it was such a fresh voice and SO different than the strident screeches of these previous groups that it was able to succeed quite fast.

In fact, I would argue that "human rights in iran" had become synonymous with 'opposition group' during the 80s and 90s to the point where groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch refused to work with any Iranian organization. I have heard directly from high-ranking officials in AI and HRW that before NIAC, they did not have a single reliable Iranian American partner.

But like most issues in this day and age - the extremists and their sensational claims end up getting front-page press... see for example how the Tea-baggers in the US get so much attention despite their lowly numbers? I see it as my personal responsibility to respond when I can.

and Scott - Thank you for providing all the links as well as the forum to discuss and debate these issues.

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAn activist Green Lurker

@An activist Green Lurker and others
What I find amazing about the "arguments" against Hassan Daioleslams critique of Parsi is its non-argumentation. It is enough to say that he does not like the Iran-policy of Obama and link him to the MKO (even without any proof) - than every fact about Parsi is "discredited". This position claims of course to be "anti-totalitarian" - against Communists, MKO and Monarchists. But it sounds more like stalinist or mccarthy witchhunt - just link the critic to the "wrong" organisation or ideology (and, I repeat, there is no proof needed) and every exchange of arguments stops.

December 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteriransol

i like this discussion - more info than most others on this topic i see elsewhere, even on I wish more ppl were reading it. I do have a couple of observations in answr to iransol

1) legitimacy of Trita Parsi vs. Hassan Dai...

A) where do they write or do interviews?
Parsi - BBC, CNN, PBS, quoted in every major paper, editorials i've seen in IHT, Daily Beast, National Journal, CSPAN Washington Journal, quotes everywhere

Dai -,, National Review, his own websites, only interviews I've seen are on VOA Persian - maybe I'm missing other sources, anyone have any more?

B) who defends them?
Parsi - Congressmen, Senators, former Ambassadors, Amnesty International, J Street, Journalists like Sullivan, Rozen, MJ Rosenburg (from TPM), others like Scott here. nevermind all the professors, analysts, former US and even Israeli government officials he's co-written articles with.

Dai - Kenneth Timmerman, Daniel Pipes, Jonah Goldberg, Eli Lake, David Frum (of "Axis of Evil" fame - Bush speechwriter)

C) Professional background?
Parsi - PhD from Johns Hopikn's SAIS (Brezinski and Fukiyama on his dissertation panel), Two masters from Sweden, worked at UN, has run an organization with clear trackrecord (you can like or dislike - but clear track record) for 7 years, A multiple-award-winning book, hundreds of articles on various elements of the same subject he seems to know in-depth

Dai - a self-described "independent journalist" that does not even use his real name when he writes (Hassan Dai is his pen name). anyone know his educational background or relevant work/analysis experiences?

D) connections?

Parsi - accused of connection to Siamack Namazi, whose brother started Atieh Bahar in Iran (a legitimate company? dunno, but look at their website for a list of their western clients), whose father runs Hamyaran (a quasi-NGO inside Iran at worst). his connection to Namazi is that they co-wrote a paper in 1999 (when Parsi was 25/26), that they are friends and exchanged emails with ideas.

Dai - accused of being an MKO member whose brother and sister both are/were in the central command committed of MKO INSIDE Baghdad/Ashraf. accused of being a neo-con because he seems to be only published by neo-con websites and he seems to be only defended by neo-cons and various anti-regime Iranian-American opposition figures

E) positions?

Parsi - has taken very public positions - clearly explains his logic and reasoning - stands against sanctions, stands against war, stands against Human Rights abuses. Every argument he has made is about the efficacy of policy choices facing American policy makers. very cerebral, very intellectual, very logical. a bit too 'real-politik' maybe.

Dai - only position he has taken is anti-Trita Parsi, anti-NIAC - has not said where he stands on sanctions. has deflected questions about MKO and never said he is or is not a member (someone asked him this question in an event in DC that I attended, he ignored the question twice). does not take a public position in his articles about Human Rights or about Regime change (though I could be wrong, someone can post a link if he has)

what other parameter should we look at?

as for it being a witchhunt on Dai - I would say this is a witch-hunt on Parsi. poor guy's name is being dragged through the mud as a lobbyist for the regime and a mozdoor with absolutely ZERO evidence. I have actually gone through and read all of the documents that Dai has been publishing - the email exchanges etc that have come out of the lawsuit - all of it is circumstantial...

the only thing that I think might even remotely apply is that NIAC has lobbied on specific legislation - but even that is not illigal for a c3. And that in 2003/4 NIAC seems to have indeed worked with Hamyaran NGO and got NED money - which it does not deny and it actually published itself in its website. from my perspective, in 2003/4, Khatami was still in power and there was genuine hope that empowering the Iranian NGO sector could help Civil Society networks grow and prosper inside Iran - quite a bit of forsight on the part of NIAC I think. Much of the Green protest networks are based off of those SAME NGO linkages inside Iran that started under Khatami.

also - iransol - keep in mind that Dai is being sued by NIAC for "defemation" which is very hard to prove in the US (because I think you have to prove not only intent to defame/lie knowingly, and also show harm was done). so NIAC is sueing Dai because Dai claimed "NIAC lobbied for the Iranian Government". Whereas Dai's evidence is simply that NIAC did some lobbying.

I just do not see any clear evidence or linkages to the IRI.

the 'arguments' are not against Dai so much as they are are arguments against "Dai's claims".

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAyandeye Sabz

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