A just-retired White House National Security Council (NSC) director has written a defense of the Obama administration’s NSC Director for Iran, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, whom Breitbart News found has previously worked for an alleged pro-Iranian regime lobbying group, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
Dr. Philip Gordon, Nowrouzzadeh’s former boss, wrote a defense of Nowrouzzadeh–who now serves as NSC Director for Iran–in The Washington Post’s April 5 “Letters to the Editor” section (which is usually a platform for average readers, not government officials). Oddly enough, Gordon will be succeeded by Robert Malley on April 6, according to a White House statement. This means he presumably published the letter as a government official or during his first days as a private citizen.
Nowrouzzadeh was present in closed-door conferences with President Obama last week during America’s nuclear talks with the Iranian regime, which resulted in the agreement of a basic framework for further negotiations.
Gordon, a career-academic, served as special assistant to President Obama and White House coordinator for Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region. In his position, he was a top member of the National Security Council. During his tenure, Gordon took a pro-diplomacy approach with the Iranian regime. He was also a fierce critic of Israel, arguing last summer (while Israel was in the midst of a defensive war with Palestinian terror group Hamas) that the country should withdraw to its 1949 armistice lines in exchange for hopes for peace with the Palestinians. A prominent pro-Israel figure went as far as to describe Gordon’s 2014 speech as “pro-Hamas.”
In the WaPo “Letters to the Editor” section, Gordon defends the 31-year-old Nowrouzzadeh as a “loyal U.S. citizen.” Her qualifications are proven by the fact that she received “awards” from four different government agencies during her short stint in federal service, Gordon says in his letter to The Washington Post.
The former White House official was clearly distraught by a Washington Post article on Breitbart’s exposé of Nowrouzzadeh, which joked that she could be a “sleeper agent” for the Iranian regime.
I was distressed to see that Al Kamen, in his April 3 In the Loop column, “But it says so right there: ‘For Iran,’” cast aspersion on a loyal U.S. public servant because of her name and background — even if in the form of a lame joke about dual loyalties. As the column noted, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh has worked for the U.S. government since 2005 at the Defense Department, the State Department and now the National Security Council. She has received awards from Defense, State, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI. As her former supervisor, I’m proud of her tireless work on behalf of U.S. national security.
The former Obama assistant then downplays her role at the alleged pro-Iranian regime lobbying group. He adds, “Suggesting that she could be channeling a foreign government because of her parents’ origins and a part-time college internship she had more than a decade ago promoting political participation among Iranian Americans is deeply offensive.”
In his defense of Nowrouzzadeh, Gordon noticeably downplays the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) as a group that is “promoting political participation among Iranian Americans.” Also, Breitbart News has obtained a NIAC letter that shows Nowrouzzadeh was listed not as an intern, but as a “staff member” of the organization. The letter also showed that the alleged pro-Tehran group was lobbying against U.S. funding for Iranian opposition groups.
Top government representatives, journalists, and Iranian opposition groups have maintained for years that NIAC is working on behalf of the Iranian regime.
Senator Mark Kirk has stated that NIAC is an outfit run by “regime-sympathizers.” Former Senator Jon Kyl has made similar claims, previously demanding that the Eric Holder-led Justice Department investigate NIAC for its ties to the Iranian government.
The Atlantic journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, who maintains a close friendship with President Obama, has said that NIAC’s President does a lot of “leg-work” for the Iranian regime. Bloomberg’s Eli Lake has documented NIAC’s close ties with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
In an article last week on how the media is reporting on the Iran talks, Reuters referred to NIAC representatives that were present as “analysts sympathetic to the Iranian government.”
Perhaps most importantly, the vast majority of the non-Islamist Iranian opposition groups see NIAC as a mover and shaker for the Iranian regime, either through their words or in practice.
Furthermore, Gordon did not reveal his own bias towards NIAC in his defense of the 31-year-old’s prominent position as National Security Council director for Iran. Just last year, Gordon was the Obama administration’s representative at NIAC’s annual Washington, D.C., conference. He became the first senior White House official to address the conference, offering NIAC a level of legitimacy that the group had never before attained.
In his speech, Gordon praised NIAC and said that the Obama White House was willing to establish a “new relationship” with Tehran, should the murderous regime there agree to a diplomatic accord on its nuclear program.
Gordon’s NIAC address came the same year Nowrouzzadeh became a member of the National Security Council.
Breitbart News has uncovered a NIAC founding document that stresses how important it was for the burgeoning organization to recruit and groom young staffers in hopes to influence long-term U.S. relations with the Iranian regime.
The following paragraph from the document–which pushes an Iranian-American lobby that will advance the interest of Tehran’s Islamic Republic–covers how NIAC intended to pursue its youth development program:
Creating similar types of seminars and intern opportunities to Iranian-American youth may not improve Iran-US relations in the short run, but it will help integrate the Iranian-American community into the political life of America. In the long run, a strong and active Iranian-American lobby, partly established through these seminars and by the participants of these programs, may serve to ensure that the US and Iran never find themselves in violent opposition to each other again. Arguably an Iranian-American lobby (which is different from a lobby group purely pursuing the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran) is needed in order to create a balance between the competing Middle Eastern lobbies. Without it, Iran-bashing may become popular in Congress again.