How the Iran lobby sidetracked the nuclear talks: part 2

Photo by: Vahid Salemi FILE - In this Sunday, April 12, 2015 file photo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a ceremony to commemorate the late Khadijeh Saghafi, wife of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran. Rouhani has dismissed pressure from the U.S. Congress over a preliminary deal on Iran's nuclear program, saying that Tehran is dealing with world powers not American lawmakers. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Photo by: Vahid Salemi
FILE – In this Sunday, April 12, 2015 file photo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a ceremony to commemorate the late Khadijeh Saghafi, wife of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran. Rouhani has dismissed pressure from the U.S. Congress over a preliminary deal on Iran’s nuclear program, saying that Tehran is dealing with world powers not American lawmakers. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

– – Thursday, April 16, 2015:

In the previous article, we saw how the Iranian regime’s panic over the 2002 outing of its theretofore clandestine nuclear weapons program drove its subsequent decisions about how to deal with the publicity and mollify, or at least occupy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and the United States (U.S.).

Having been well-trained by its mentors at the Soviet KGB, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) quickly established a two-tier system: those nuclear sites, such as Natanz, Isfahan, Arak, and later Fordow, that had been exposed were turned into show sites. IAEA inspectors were invited in, and the so-called EU-3 (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), later joined by the rest of the UNSC to form the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, UK, and U.S.), began negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.

The haggling went on for a decade and counting. At no time from 2003 to this day, however, did Iran itself willingly offer up (as obligated under its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory status) any information about other clandestine sites in its sprawling nuclear weapons program. For unexplained reasons, nor did the IAEA, P5+1, or UNSC compel it to despite an international sanctions regime ostensibly aimed at getting Iran to comply with six UNSC Resolutions demanding it halt all nuclear enrichment and come clean about its past nuclear activities with “possible military dimensions.”

While international trade relationships, intra-UNSC rivalries, and a reluctance to alienate Iran right out of the talks altogether might explain some of the failure to press Iran about the clandestine elements of its nuclear weapons program, at least for the U.S., there was another player involved in the game: the Iran Lobby.

As discussed in a February 2009 occasional paper by this author and published by the Center for Security Policy under the title, “Rise of the Iran Lobby: Tehran’s Front Groups Move On—and into—the Obama Administration,” “a complex network of individuals and organizations with ties to the clerical regime in Tehran” had organized by the early 2000s to influence U.S. government policy towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A follow-on paper, “The Iran Lobby: Alive, Well, and Changing the Face of the Middle East,” published by the Center in October 2014, chronicled what I termed “the disastrous fruits of that network’s efforts.” The term “Iran Lobby,” by the way, was first noticed in the Iranian media itself, in 2007. It seemed a most apt description of the circle of influence operators that were pursuing and achieving positions of influence at the upper levels of U.S. national security then, and certainly all the more so, now.

After more than a dozen years of maneuvering behind the scenes of Washington, DC policymaking, the Iran Lobby today has succeeded in infiltrating the Department of State, National Security Council (NSC), and the nuclear negotiations themselves. Led by NIAC (the National Iranian American Council) and its founder and president, the Iranian-born Trita Parsi, the Iran Lobby counts among its affiliates and supporters a Who’s Who list of influential individuals and organizations ranging from former ambassadors and oil executives, to a bevy of Middle East and Iran experts from leading NGOs and think tanks.

The objective was always clear: shift official U.S. policy on Iran to a position supportive of Tehran’s agenda that sought protracted negotiations to buy time for its nuclear weapons development, financial concessions that eased sanctions and released frozen assets, and a conciliatory posture that eschewed any discussion of military options to deal with Iranian intransigence, ignored Iranian support for Islamic jihad (terrorism), pretended its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program didn’t exist, turned a deaf ear to non-stop genocidal threats against the Jewish State of Israel, and generally acquiesced in its regional geo-strategic ambitions.

Above all, there was to be absolutely no discussion of Iran’s parallel clandestine nuclear weapons program. Astonishingly, today, the Iran Lobby has achieved all of this and more.

Not surprisingly, the Iranian leadership mocks the Obama administration, especially Secretary of State John Kerry and his hapless negotiating team. In January 2014, just weeks after the supposed landmark ‘breakthrough’ of the November 2013 “Joint Plan of Action,” Kerry’s Iranian counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, actually laid a wreath at the tomb of Imad Mughniyeh, the Hizballah terror chieftain responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans from the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing to 9/11.

The same month, Iran’s ‘moderate’ president Hassan Rouhani tweeted about how, in Geneva, the world powers “surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.” A senior Iranian TV commentator noted with rare honesty that the Geneva agreement was but “the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.” Following the 2015 April Fool’s Day ‘framework’ agreement, Iranian leadership figures were quick to describe the U.S. version as a “U.S. version” “lie” and declare it “not acceptable to Iran.” Meanwhile, Iran’s Bassij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi declared that “erasing Israel off the map” was “non-negotiable.”

And yet, the American team practically begged the Iranians to keep talking and give them something, anything to hold up as a ‘success.’

To understand this sorry state of affairs, it is only necessary to understand the function and purpose of hostile influence operations and how the Iran Lobby in America has finessed its way to turning U.S. foreign policy with Iran completely on its head. As described above, maneuvering Tehran-regime-friendly figures into positions of power and influence is the name of the game.

One Sahar Nowrouzzadeh could be Exhibit A for how this works: apparently a former NIAC employee, she now appears on a list of senior White House aides who attended a secure video conference on 31 March 2015 with the U.S. negotiating team in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is listed as the National Security Council Director for Iran.

Meanwhile, her former boss, NIAC’s Trita Parsi, appears in a photo published by the Iranian Fars News Agency, greeting Fereydoon Rouhani (the president’s brother) at the Lausanne talks. Parsi’s Facebook page shows another photo of the NIAC leader smiling at the talks alongside his Research Director, Reza Marashi, and NBC reporter Ann Curry. Marashi’s NIAC bio lists his former employment at the State Department’s Office of Iranian affairs. According to reports, at least Parsi has been present at previous nuclear negotiations in Geneva and Vienna, as well.

This is what a successful infiltration operation looks like. Apparently, Parsi thinks so, too, because on 2 April 2015, he posted the following on his Facebook Page:

“Trita Parsi

“April 2 at 5:22pm ·

“Oops. Just realized I haven’t eaten lunch today. Been too busy gloating…”

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

The Persian Hustle: Iran Dupes Clueless US State Dept in Nuke Talks and Moves to Dominate the Middle East

Source: townhall.com

Source: townhall.com

April 1, 2015 /

On Sunday the Iranian regime backed away from a critical part of the nuclear agreement the Obama administration is desperately trying to get them to agree to. The part they walked away from was the proposal for them to send a large portion of their uranium stockpile to Russia, where it wouldn’t be accessible for use in a weapons program. The Iranian Foreign Minister’s abrupt announcement on Sunday shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, yet the US State Department (DoS) is still at the negotiating table talking about giving them even more concessions – such as taking inconvenient things off the table like “intrusive inspections” for instance.

Intrusive inspections are a key part of ensuring that the Iranian regime isn’t continuing to move forward with obtaining a nuclear strike capability. The inspections themselves are designed to keep the regime honest and deter any covert activity. Unfortunately, our sources are suggesting that the Obama administration was already moving towards taking intrusive inspections off the table in order to keep the regime engaged. The regime – which smells the Obama desperation to get a deal done as well as some semblance of a “victory” in Iraq – had ordered IRGC-Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani to pull his Ramazan Corps personnel and Shia proxies off the front-lines in the Tikrit offensive in order to apply even greater pressure on the Obama administration, forcing them into making more concessions during the negotiations. As of this writing, those forces remain nearby and are currently holding territory seized from the Islamic State (IS) in the outskirts of the city. They can quickly move back into the fight, but like we said in “Tikrit OP Shows Signs of Falling Apart Despite US Airstrikes,” whether Suleimani orders his forces back into the fight while the US military continues to provide air support will depend entirely on what happens during these nuclear talks. Further south the Iranian regime has dramatically increased their direct support to their Houthi proxies in Yemen in order to gain control of that country’s key port cities – which would enable the Iranian military to potentially disrupt oil shipments in addition to forcing Saudi Arabia to redirect resources originally meant for the anti-Assad war effort in Syria back closer to home.

Tikrit OP Shows Signs of Falling Apart Despite US Airstrikes

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5887

The Yemen Octagon: GCC vs Iran vs Houthis vs AQAP vs Islamic State

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5931

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/world/middleeast/iran-backs-away-from-key-detail-in-nuclear-deal.html?smid=tw-bna&_r=0

Iran talks stretch into the night hours before deadline

http://news.yahoo.com/iran-talks-blocked-three-issues-western-diplomat-105135826.html;_ylt=AwrBJR7z2RlVmTMARYTQtDMD

The hidden truth about Iran’s nuclear program

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/03/29/hidden-truth-about-irans-nuclear-program/

Inspections_The_Weak_Link_in_a_Nuclear_Agreement_with_Iran

Sensing they could get even more concessions from the Obama administration, the Iranian regime walked away with a promise of a “final agreement” being reached by the end of JUN 2015. What the west got out of all the time they wasted was a “framework understanding.” Along with intrusive inspections being taken off the table, there was no serious talk about the ICBM program that is a key part of this nuclear weapons program. If the Iranian regime has a “peaceful program” as claimed, then why are they rushing to advance their ballistic missile technology? In fact, why are they working so closely with the North Koreans in joint-nuclear and ballistic missile projects? We wrote back in NOV 14 in “How the North Korean Regime Affects the Middle East” the aspects of these joint endeavors and how they were designed to circumvent the sanctions placed against the two rogue nations. These joint programs have been going on for years where Iran shares their know-how in ballistic missile technology in exchange for DPRK expertise in the nuclear-arena. In fact, the DPRK’s front companies have been instrumental in bringing in equipment to Iran that have been targeted by sanctions. With the DPRK sending officials to Iran for ballistic missile development and Iranian researchers sent to Pyongyang for work on the nuke program, we see how this problem is worsening – and it won’t get better if we give them everything they want like the Obama administration is proposing.

How the North Korean Regime Affects the Middle East

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3038

Exclusive: Iran pursues ballistic missile work, complicating nuclear talks

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/15/us-iran-nuclear-missiles-idUSBREA4E11V20140515

IRAN-NORTH KOREA-DIPLOMACY

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and DPRK ceremonial head of state Kim Jong Nam
Source: Forbes Magazine

The Obama administration will charge that the Iranian nuclear weapons program isn’t “that advanced” right now. Although true at the moment, what they neglect to mention is how the Israeli MOSSAD has been the only reason that they don’t have a nuclear strike capability already. As previously stated in “Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Nuclear Weapons Program,” Iran’s current efforts are simply the resurrection of the Shah’s old program – which was designed as a counter-measure to the Soviet’s nuclear strike capability. All the Ayatollah’s regime did was reconstitute that program once the Shah’s regime collapsed. If it was a weapons program then – what suddenly makes it “peaceful” now? The Israelis – led by their dynamic leader Bibi Netanyahu – fully understand the threat for what it is and have been actively waging a cold war of sabotage and assassinations to roll back the program enough to buy them some time. We assess that even if a deal is reached by JUN 15, it won’t keep the Israelis from escalating their operations against the Iranian regime, and we don’t blame them.

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Nuclear Weapons Program

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2640

Mr. Netanyahu Goes to Washington

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5316

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 5.54.13 AM

Bibi has sacrificed much while serving in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and fully knows what it will take to defend his people. Wouldn’t it be nice if President Obama had the same understanding regarding the American people?
Source: collegeinsurrection.com

There’s a very strong pro-Iran lobby in the Beltway led by Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) asset Trita Parsi and the MOIS front that he runs known as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). This organization was set up by the MOIS to conduct an IO campaign in America in order to influence American politicians enough to get them to push for the lifting of sanctions against the regime. Parsi serves as the primary lobbyist for the regime’s agenda on Capital Hill and has seen the most success from 2009-the present with several Democrat lawmakers having been wined and dined by the man and his cronies, which is probably why we haven’t seen a whole lot of pushback coming from that side of the aisle. But its not just the members of Congress, its also CIA officials, former-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and former-Secretary of State -now likely 2016 Democrat Presidential nominee – Hillary Clinton. The reason the American people – and their allies – should care is that this implies that Parsi’s organization possibly had a hand in the US government’s current Iran policy (Parsi defended Hagel’s stance on Iran in multiple Op-Eds). Parsi has been invited to the White House on numerous occasions by Valerie Jarrett, for instance. More disturbing is the fact that the Democrat Party’s first choice for President in the 2016 election has been cultivating a relationship with Parsi directly since SEP 09 – which set the stage for the current situation regarding the nuclear talks. Although we haven’t seen a “smoking gun,” we have strong suspicions that these ties to a known MOIS front is the primary reason for her secrecy surrounding the foreign contributions being made to the Clinton Foundation and why she chose to only do email correspondence on a privately-held server. That, our dear readers, would be far more explosive than anything pertaining to Benghazi – and more dangerous. The fact that none of the legitimate Iranian expat groups in the US or Europe wants anything to do with the NIAC should be a huge red-flag on their true intentions. Unfortunately, we doubt that the mainstream media will ever seriously cover this serious charge. To our Republican readers, this is also a good gauge to see if Congressman Trey Gowdy is truly a man of integrity and substance or just another grandstander a la Rand Paul who talks a great game but really stands for nothing other than his own personality cult.

vjcard

The card the NIAC sent to Valerie Jarrett after their first visit to the White House
Source: NIAC homepage

You can find more on the MOIS’ IO campaign right here:

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Charm Offensive

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2676

parsi

Trita Parsi
Source: NIAC homepage

The Obama administration claims that any push for more sanctions against the Iranian regime would “undermine” their efforts at achieving “peace” with Iran. They couldn’t be more wrong. How so? The Iranian regime’s actions are quite easy to read – they’re maneuvering to dominate the Middle East and view a nuclear strike capability as being the “golden ticket” that will keep the west from intervening as they tighten the noose. They’re fully aware of the fact that nothing happened to India, Pakistan or the DPRK after they announced that they have “the bomb,” so when they make that announcement themselves they fully intend to exploit their newfound immunity. Who’s going to stop them? It won’t be the US since our leadership is too weak and flaccid to do anything to Iran even it wanted to. We may be able to do business with the Iranian people – but the Iranian people aren’t the runs running the current regime. As long as Khameini’s people remain in power there will be no peace. The regime’s interpretation of “peace” is a Middle East that’s purged of all Sunni and non-Muslim influences. In other words, when they say they want to “wipe Israel off the map” – they mean it. All one has to do in order to get a taste of what’s coming is to see how the IRGC-Qods Force is fighting in the Syria, Iraq and Yemen fronts. In each case we’re seeing the Qods Force and their Shia proxy groups waging a very sectarian campaign where the civilian population is targeted just as much as IS and AQ fighters. Its also worth noting that this campaign and the increased targeting of Americans and Israelis living abroad is occurring while a so-called “reformist” occupies the Iranian President position, which adds further weight to what we’ve been saying about Rouhani being nothing more than a “smiling face” that the regime presents to the public while they further their agenda.

The Iranian regime already controls the Arab capitals of Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sanaa, and yet we’re being told by the US government that Iran is a “willing partner of peace.” The truth is that Iran has outmaneuvered the Obama administration from the start and are now on the verge of reaching the culmination point of being targeting Saudi Arabia and Israel. Turkey is also learning that they’re no longer immune from the hand of GEN Suleimani (which we’ll discuss in another article to be published in the near future). The new “Arab Army” that the Saudis have been pushing for has the rising Iranian threat in mind. But it won’t stop there. You see, Saudi Arabia will also be pursuing a nuclear strike capability of their own, and don’t be surprised if a back-room deal is made with the Israelis to “deal” with the Iranian nuclear weapon problem with the Saudis granting the Israeli Air Force use of their airspace to launch airstrikes. Yemen is the point from which all the different factions – al-Qaida, IS, Iran and the Arab nations converge in a massive regional war. This is no longer just about Syria or Iraq, no matter how much the US DoS will attempt to dismiss how serious the crisis has become. Don’t get it twisted, the Obama administration isn’t intentionally trying to bathe the Middle East in flames – they’re just really that naive and ignorant on how the world works. Remember, most of the people occupying the most senior positions of the Obama administration are academics who never really held a real job or actually applied any of the things they talk about in lectures in real-world settings until 2009 – and we’ve seen the painful results. Here, the saying of “those who can’t do – teach.” With the possibility of a Saudi-led ground operation being launched against the Iranian proxies in Yemen getting closer to reality with each passing day, we need to reverse course by maintaining sanctions against the Iranian regime, repair the damage done to US-Israeli relations and shutdown the NIAC. Unfortunately, these are academics we’re talking about here, so forget about them ever admitting to being “wrong” an correcting their deficiencies…

Other Related Articles:

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the “Reformers”

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2635

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Southeast Insurgency

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2689

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Kurdish Insurgency

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4068

Iran Spy Network 30,000 Strong

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security

BY:

Iran’s intelligence service includes 30,000 people who are engaged in covert and clandestine activities that range from spying to stealing technology to terrorist bombings and assassination, according to a Pentagon report.

The report concluded that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, known as MOIS, is “one of the largest and most dynamic intelligence agencies in the Middle East.”

The ministry actively supports Iran’s radical Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) that has been involved in terrorist bombings from Argentina to Lebanon, according to the report produced by the Pentagon’s Irregular Warfare Support Program and published last month by the Library of Congress Federal Research Division.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the 64-page unclassified report.

“MOIS provides financial, material, technological, or other support services to Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), all designated terrorist organizations under U.S. Executive Order 13224,” the report said.

The spy service operates in all areas where Iran has interests, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Central Asia, Africa, Austria, Azerbaijan, Croatia, France, Georgia, Germany, Turkey, Britain, and the Americas, including the United States.

Iranian activities in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela have raised alarm among U.S. government officials.

The effort appears part of “Iran’s strategy of establishing a presence in the backyard of the United States for purposes of expanding Shi’a and revolutionary ideology, establishing networks for intelligence and covert operations, and waging asymmetrical warfare against the United States,” the report said.

“In Latin America, Iran’s intelligence agencies—MOIS but mostly the Quds Force—use Hezbollah to achieve their goals.”

Israel also is a major target of the MOIS and support for Hezbollah in Lebanon is a major Tehran intelligence objective.

The ministry is under the direct control of Iran’s theocratic dictator, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and all its ministers must become Islamic clerics as a precondition for the post. However, the agency recruits foreigners, including British nationals and Israeli Jews.

“To advance its goals, MOIS recruits individuals regardless of their beliefs, including Arabs or Jews to spy in Israel,” the report said.

One MOIS deputy minister, Saeed Emami, was appointed to a key post despite being Jewish by birth.

According to the report, Iranian intelligence is expanding operations in the Middle East and Mediterranean by setting up electronic eavesdropping stations.

“Two Iranian-Syrian [signals intelligence] stations funded by the IRGC reportedly have been active since 2006, one in the al-Jazirah region in northern Syria and the other on the Golan Heights,” the report said, noting that additional stations were planned for northern Syria.

“The technology at the two established SIGNIT stations indicates that Iran’s capabilities are still limited, with little scope for high-level strategic intelligence gathering,” the report said, noting they “appear to concentrate on supplying information to Lebanese Hezbollah,” Iran’s main proxy for terrorism and intelligence-gathering in the region.

Iran also has formed a “cyber command” to conduct both offensive and defensive cyber warfare operations following the June 2010 Stuxnet virus that crippled Iran’s uranium-enrichment infrastructure.

“The success of this virus is an indication of the weakness of Iran’s cyber development,” the report said.

The spy agency was linked to a series of assassinations in the 1990s called the “Chain Murders” that exposed it to western criticism.

According to the report, Russia was active in training Iranian intelligence operations beginning in the 1990s.

The Russian SVR spy service, the successor to the Soviet KGB, trained hundreds of MOIS operatives despite the two agencies’ different doctrines.

The cooperation was based on both nations’ goal of limiting U.S. political influence in Central Asia and efforts to stifle ethnic unrest.

“The SVR trained not only hundreds of Iranian agents but also numerous Russian agents inside Iran to equip Iranian intelligence with signals equipment in their headquarters compound,” the report said.

Iran’s intelligence is also cooperating with al Qaeda despite the Sunni-Shiite differences in religious ideology.

“Cooperation between Iran and al Qaeda is based on their shared opposition to U.S. hegemony in the region—Iraq and Afghanistan, chiefly—and dates to the 1990s,” the report said.

Iran helped a number of al Qaeda terrorists travel safely from Afghanistan to Iran after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“The fact that al Qaeda operates in many countries helps Iran achieve its goal of diverting U.S. attention away from Iran’s immediate neighborhood,” the report said. “In return, al Qaeda uses Iran as a place where its facilitators connect al Qaeda’s senior leadership with regional affiliates.”

“Iranians engage in two types of terrorist attacks,” the report said. “One type includes sabotage, espionage, and bombing of target locations, while the other involves the assassination of dissidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both are perpetrated inside and outside of Iran.”

Read more at Free Beacon