There has been a lot of controversy back-and-forth about whether the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) lobbies for the Islamic Republic of Iran. After an Iranian-American journalist referred to NIAC as a lobby group, NIAC sued him for defamation but ended up losing its case. While at the Washington Times, Eli Lake used documents revealed during that lawsuit’s discovery phase to suggest that NIAC was, indeed, illegally lobbying. Lake’s story apparently forced NIAC to amend its tax returns.
Jamal Abdi, NIAC’s policy director, now appears to push aside any pretense that NIAC is something other than Iran’s lobby. Speaking at the forthcoming “Expose AIPAC” conference, Abdi is featured on the “Training: Constituent Lobbying for Iran” panel. Oops.
Then again, in his university days, NIAC founder Trita Parsi made no secret of his goals. (Of course, another question might be asked of Chuck Hagel: Hagel sits on the board of the Ploughshares Fund, which channels money to NIAC. Now NIAC’s policy director is lobbying for Iran? I wonder whether Hagel feels that investment is worth it.)