- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Billionaire George Soros, the deep pockets of the political left, has come under fire from Iranian dissidents for putting out the welcome mat for Javad Zarif, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Zarif delivered a speech last week in New York to Mr. Soros’ Open Society Institute, titled “The View from Tehran.”

The speech has not been posted on the institute’s Web site, and Soros aides did not return phone calls yesterday about the envoy’s remarks. At one level, this is certainly understandable. Judging from his frenetic efforts on behalf of John Kerry’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, Mr. Soros wants to be a player in American politics. But his efforts will be undermined if he takes too high profile a role in providing a forum to representatives of rogue states that murder their own people, support terrorism and lie about their efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Mr. Soros might have been able to quietly provide Mr. Zarif with a platform were it not for an organization of exiles called IranianVoice.org. Last week, the group sent an open letter to OSI and a sister organization, the George Soros Foundation, protesting the decision to provide a platform for Mr. Zarif. In the letter, they cited a “systematic worsening of human rights” in recent years. The Iranians noted the sharp contrast between Mr. Soros’ actions (providing Tehran with a New York propaganda forum) and the Reagan administration’s efforts in the 1980s to question the legitimacy of Soviet Communism. They also asked Mr. Soros why he has yet to host any conferences featuring victims of the brutal regime that Mr. Zarif represents.

Mr. Soros has yet to respond to the Iranian resistance movement’s complaints. But, judging from his previous writings and public statements, he’ll probably attempt to spin things so he can blame President Bush for the lack of freedom in Iran. In his 2003 book, “The Bubble of American Supremacy,” Mr. Soros blamed the president’s decision to include Iran as part of the axis of evil for the current wave of repression by the mullahs. As the aforementioned open letter shows, Iranians who have been oppressed by this brutal regime for a quarter-century see the world very differently from Mr. Soros.w

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