Commentary Magazine


Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Speaking at NIAC Event

Recently, two State Department officials were invited to speak at a seminar on Iranian sanctions sponsored by the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) and oil and gas companies that could profit from sanctions being lifted. NIAC, of course, is the pro-Iranian-regime lobbying group that claims to represent the Iranian American community, when in fact it has fewer than 500 members.

And now, in the latest sign that the State Department is forging a closer bond with NIAC, the deputy assistant secretary of state is listed as a speaker at one of the organization’s upcoming events on human rights.

Other speakers at the March 15 conference include the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Sarah Leah Whitson, the Human Rights Watch official who was recently criticized for writing credulous reports of Muammar Qaddafi’s “human rights reforms” over the past few years. Needless to say, Whitson may not be the best judge of the human-rights situation in Iran.

And for that matter, neither is NIAC. The organization’s president, Trita Parsi, who was accused of skirting lobbying rules in 2009, has been a defender of the Iranian regime and has lobbied to lift U.S. sanctions against the country.