Responsible Statecraft for the Quincy Institute, has been criticized by many. In April, a very well-researched piece by Armin Rosen on TabletMag, called Quincy the “weirdest think tank in Washington, DC.” The piece revealed who its big “donors” are, which revealed duplicity and contradictory views on a range of topics, including Iran and China.
The founder, and “real” leader of the group, Trita Parsi, has been known as a lobbyist for the regime in Iran. NIAC, National Iranian American Council, which he was its founder and president for many years continues to lobby for the Islamic Republic agenda in the US by pursuing Javad Zarif’s talking points. Surprisingly enough, Mr. Parsi, is not even an American citizen and only holds a green card (permanent residency). He has Iranian-Swedish citizenship but pretends as if he champions for US interests in his multi-million dollar “think tanks.” In fact, it has been proven in the US courts system, that he is a shill for the Islamic Republic.
Eli Lake, in November 2009, after examining emails and documents NIAC provided to the courts during a defamation suit by Hassan Dai, made this assertion:
“Law enforcement experts who reviewed some of the documents, which were made available to The Times by the defendant in the suit, say e-mails between Mr. Parsi and Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations at the time, Javad Zarif – and an internal review of the Lobbying Disclosure Act – offer evidence that the group has operated as an undeclared lobby and may be guilty of violating tax laws, the Foreign Agents Registration Act and lobbying disclosure laws.”
Parsi’s back and forth emails with Islamic Republic officials and inviting them to meet with Congress members to have an impact on laws pertaining to the barbaric regime in Iran, specifically lifting sanctions, exposed his true mission in the US further.
More recently, in January 2020, three Republican senators urged the US Department of Justice to look into NIAC and investigate the group for possible violation of Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and Mike Braun quoted former F.B.I. associate deputy director, Oliver Revell, saying: “to arrange meetings between members of Congress and Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations would, in my opinion, require that person or entity to register as an agent of a foreign power.” NIAC is neither registered as a lobby nor a foreign agent, but as a “nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advancing interests of Iranian-American community,” despite the fact that NIAC’s former policy director, Patrick Disney, had admitted in their internal emails that they spend “more than 20% on lobbying activities.”
Trita Parsi has also made excuses for the Islamic Republic’s antisemitism. In his book, he blamed the rivalry between Iran and Israel as two regional power was the reason behind the theocratic regime killing 85 people in the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires in July 1994, the biggest terrorist attack in Argentina to date, and not the heavenly beliefs that Jews and Israelis must be killed. On the other hand, his own antisemitism is exposed when he criticizes Kenneth Timmerman for being a Jew in a comment he posted on Google forums in 1997! More recently, his support for Islamic Republic’s stance against Israel is visible in his tweets concerning Vienna talks and Israel-Palestine conflict.
Mr. Parsi, is not even an American citizen but pretends as if he champions for US interests in his multi-million dollar “think tanks.”
Meanwhile, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations invited Prince Reza Pahlavi to speak to its members in an “off-the-record” session on July 8, 2021. The meeting prompted the Quincy Institute to write a hit piece on the prince, blaming him for his father’s actions and claiming other Iranian-American groups and Jewish communities oppose the invitation, because “Appearing to rally around the reinstating of a repressive non-democratic regime is not a great look for Jewish American leaders,” Lara Friedman, a known anti-Israel activist told them! In his piece, Eli Clifton quotes 2 other activists too, one of them being the current president of NIAC, Jamal Abdi. The other one is an unnamed “official” whom his role is also a “secret”, apparently.
However, since the article has been published, Iranians and Jewish communities’ pouring support for Reza Pahlavi is undeniable. On Twitter alone, Ellie Cohanim, a former State Department official in Trump administration raves about Pahlavi’s support of Iranian Jews.
This support is not newly found. Iranian Jews have raved about Pahlavi and how they were prosperous under Mohammad Reza Shah’s rein. The largest Iranian-American community outside Los Angeles and the larges Iranian Jewish community in the US settled in Great Neck, New York after Islamic Revolution in 1979. In interviews in 2010, they cannot say enough good things about pre-revolution time in Iran. The Iranian-Americans living in Los Angeles, as the largest Iranian immigrants society, praise Israel while “despise the Islamic Republic.”
Natali Amiri, head of Germany’s ARD network in Tehran for several years, describes Iranians feeling towards Mohammad Reza Shah as “romanticized nostalgia” and “many wish to return to that time.” In an interview about her book, she said:
“From the Islamic Republic’s perspective, he is the most dangerous figure in the opposition. I once interviewed his mother, Farah Diba, in Paris. After that interview, my press card was confiscated for three months and I was not allowed to work as a journalist. Obviously, he does not want the return of the monarchy, but he is trying to establish democracy.”
Clifton also claims Prince Reza Pahlavi is the “monarch-to-be” of Iran. That is either one of his shenanigans or of his ignorance. The prince has mentioned multiple times that he is not interested in a “one-man” governance and advocate for democracy, whatever the people of Iran choose in a free and fair referendum.
Iranians boycotted the regime’s sham election as the last nail in the coffin of the brutal regime.
In another part of the article, a 12-year-old survey is referenced saying Pahlavi or any opposition figure for that matter, has no base in the country, implying the Islamic Republic is the Iranians’ choice! Another misleading claim by the Quincy clan.
“A 2009 analysis by the Brookings Institution observed that Pahlavi lacks an organized following within Iran, later adding, “[Iranian opposition figures], like Pahlavi, have little in common with the intellectuals and students who make up the core of the reform movement.””
The most recent “elections” held by the Islamic Republic was a perfect example of how illegitimate the regime is in the country. And as for Reza Pahlavi, Gamman, the most reliable Iranian pollster, published its “political aptitude survey of Iranians in 2018,” in which he is the most popular leader among both “republic seekers or monarchists!” In the same poll, more than 70% would vote the current regime out if there was a free referendum then, before Nov 2019 massacre and recent developments in the country.
Additionally, here is a compilation of several videos from nationwide protests in recent years. People, especially the youth, chant: “Reza Shah, God bless your soul,” “Reza Shah, forgive us, “ “Iran’s Shah, come back to Iran,” “Iran without its Shah, is chaos,”… These are just few examples.
As a side note, I am sure, Eli Clifton knows very well that “off-the-record” meeting is very different from “behind closed doors” which he claims this meeting was. As the invitation shows, everybody was invited to register to attend the meeting.
Iranians have long been seeking regime change, but it has become apparent since 2017 when people shouted “Mullahs must get lost”, “Death to dictator” and “Hardliners, Reformists, this is the end!” In November 2019, slogans became even more radical, targeting Khamenei and IRGC. After the massacre, execution of Navid Afkari and Ruhollah Zam, downing of PS752 Ukrainian passenger airliner by IRGC killing 176, widespread corruption, poverty, blackouts, mismanagement of COVID-19 crisis and so much more… Iranians boycotted the regime’s sham election as the last nail in the coffin of the brutal regime.
According to Iran International news agency, in the meeting with the presidents of American Jewish communities, Mr. Pahlavi has asked for help supporting the nationwide strikes, including financial aid for workers participating in most peaceful civil disobedience activities. He also requested for assistance in being the voice of Iranians and workers in international stage.
The Islamic Republic officials’ recent statements and current nationwide strikes in oil, petrochemical, power plants and other industries, indicate the regime knows the end is near. However, as their last resort, they are trying to denounce the opposition in exile, telling Iranians there is “no alternative after us.” NIAC, Quincy Institute and other “Iran experts” in western media have been entrusted with this mission. Right before this hit piece, Prince Reza Pahlavi’s YouTube channel and a Twitter account close to him were taken down after orchestrated bogus reports. He was able to get his YouTube back. Other opposition voices were not immune from the attacks either. But, all their efforts have been futile since people are determined this regime does not represent their interests.
It is evident that Trita Parsi, NIAC, and the rest of Quincy Institute are against the will and demands of Iranians, even though they claim they “represent” the people of Iran. They are on a mission to stand against Iranians and advance Islamic Republic agenda, period.