Commentary Magazine


State Department to Meet with NIAC, Oil and Gas Companies About Iranian Sanctions?

Three State Department officials have been invited to attend a seminar on Iranian sanctions sponsored by a lobby that has supported the Iranian regime and several companies that could profit significantly from the sanctions being lifted, according to the group hosting the event.

The U.S. has imposed trade and economic sanctions against Iran since 1984. The severity and  enforcement of these sanctions have drastically increased in recent years impacting both Government and ordinary citizens.

NIPOC [Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County] is hosting a seminar with 3 invited representatives from the U.S. State Department focusing on the implication of these sanctions on Iranian Americans.

The seminar is being sponsored by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a lobby founded by Trita Parsi, which has been an advocate for the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Iran since its inception. Other sponsors include Etap, IBS Electronics, and IQA Solutions — all companies that specialize in the oil and gas industries, power generation, or military equipment.

A group called the Iran Information Project has sent a letter to Congress asking that the State Department not participate in the event:

A large and diverse group of representative Iranian-Americans has asked that we write to the members of the United States House of Representatives and the Senate to request that the State Department be advised not to participate at this event. As Americans, we ask the same. For the honor of decent Iranians suffering in Iran and in honor of our fallen soldiers, we ask this. Parsi and NIAC not only do not represent Iranians in any country, but what they stand for, by supporting the regime, is morally reprehensible.

NIAC has kept a low profile since late 2009, when the Washington Times published documents indicating that the group had violated lobbying rules. Before that, NIAC had a fairly close relationship with the State Department. Parsi met with State Department representatives in Saudi Arabia last October, and if officials do end up attending this seminar, it would be yet another sign that the State Department is interested in reaching out to the lobby group.

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