NIAC boasted about the media campaign in a grant application to private foundations for a proposed “U.S.-Iran Media Resource Program.”
The application said NIAC “succeeded in putting Iran’s 2003 Grand Bargain offer onto national headlines,” noting that Mr. Parsi’s efforts had generated 37 “pieces of analysis,” a feature on CNN and 80 newspaper mentions.
The application credits NIAC for thwarting what Mr. Parsi said was “the Bush administration’s push for a military confrontation with Iran.”
In the past few weeks, Mr. Parsi has launched a new campaign to paint his critics as neoconservatives and supporters of the People’s Mujaheddhin, a Marxist-Islamic group that is on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations.
He also sought, in a letter to The Times on Thursday from his lawyer, Afshin Pishevar, to head off the publication of details from NIAC’s internal documents.
“Dr. Parsi and NIAC work tirelessly to advance the interests of Iranian-Americans and public interest. My clients take great exception to being falsely accused of representing or lobbying on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the letter said. He added, “I will add that NIAC is in full compliance with the law based on expert legal and professional analysis and the taking of partial e-mails and quotes out of context is strikingly contrary to the law and proper journalistic practices.”
On the blogosphere, Mr. Parsi’s defenders have stressed his numerous statements against the current Iranian government and its treatment of the democratic opposition.
Mr. Parsi has told reporters that his views toward Iran have changed because of its behavior since the June 12 elections and that those who oppose him have their own political agenda. Mr. Parsi has also stated that sanctions have not helped change Iranian behavior and have actually strengthened Iran’s hard-liners by giving them a scapegoat for their failures.
When George W. Bush was president, NIAC also argued against U.S. funding for the promotion of democracy in Iran, arguing that it would hurt the opposition by tainting them as U.S. tools - a position also taken by some prominent Iranian reformers including Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.
At the same time, between 2002 and 2007, NIAC received a little less than $200,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy to build the capacity of Iranian nongovernmental organizations. The partner for the initial grant was an Iranian nongovernmental organization called the Hamyarand Foundation, whose founder is Mr. Namazi’s father.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an acclaimed Iranian filmmaker and unofficial spokesman for Iran’s opposition Green Movement, told The Times, “I think Trita Parsi does not belong to the Green Movement. I feel his lobbying has secretly been more for the Islamic Republic.”
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