Excellent catch by Barry Rubin who has just uncovered the latest example of the Obama administration’s seriously misguided “outreach” to Muslims! As Rubin notes, the U.S. Consulate-General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia played host to Trita Parsi, founder and President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). During his taxpayer-underwritten visit, Parsi chaired a roundtable discussion hosted by Consul-General Tom Duffy.
The astounding part: Trita Parsi has been identified by Iranian state-controlled media as part of “the Iran lobby.” In that role, Parsi featured prominently in an expose of Tehran’s influence operation published late last year by Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Clare Lopez in a monograph entitled Rise of the Iran Lobby.
Among other devastating findings, Lopez, a former CIA operations officer, reported that:
…When U.S. taxpayer dollars provided to [the National Endowment for Democracy] are granted to NIAC, the ultimate beneficiary is actually an organization closely affiliated with the Iranian regime. And NIAC, which channels these funds to Iran, is itself called an Iranian lobbying organization by that regime, whose purpose is to promote the positions of Tehran to Washington, policymaking circles.
Under the leadership of Trita Parsi, and amply funded by a host of generally left-wing foundations, NIAC conducts an active agenda of interviews, lobbying, and outreach that has succeeded in developing a complex network of influence throughout the Washington academic, legislative, media, NGO, and policymaking communities. Thanks as well to an echo chamber it enjoys from a retinue of prominent American Middle East experts, an authority on Iranian matters has been conferred on NIAC that is unmatched by any opposing organization in the United States.
The evidence continues to accumulate of that the Obama administration insists on “reach out” to all the wrong sorts. It is hard to imagine, though, a more benighted diplomatic initiative than using an Iranian lobbyist to represent the United States in contacts with the Saudis. We need a new Congress ASAP – one that will provide adult supervision over and real accountability concerning Team Obama’s dealings with Muslims who are not on our side.