March 15, 2011
The President of the United States of America
The Honorable Members of United States Congress
The Honorable Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton,
The Honorable Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Franz Geithner
Re: NIAC lobby invitation to State and Treasury Department to attend a seminar sponsored by Iranian-American businesses aimed at easing critical trade and economic sanctions
We, the undersigned Iranian-Americans and friends of Iran, formally request that the members of Congress ask President Obama to direct the State and Treasury Department staff to decline the invitation to participate in the upcoming National Iranian American Council (NIAC) sponsored seminar to be held in California, on April 22, 2011.
NIAC, an obvious Islamic Republic lobby group, founded by Mr. Trita Parsi, which has been an advocate for dialogue and diplomacy, as well as, the lifting of trade and economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The seminar’s business sponsors include Etap, IBS Electronics, and IQA Solutions are all companies specializing in the oil and gas industries, power generation, chemical production, sophisticated electronic technologies, telecommunication and military equipment, all the right ingredients for Iran to bolster its nuclear program, oil production, refining capabilities, and inhumane treatment of Iranian pro-democracy activists.
Mr. Parsi is a controversial character who is despised by the majority of the Iranian-American community. It is widely believed that he is a "non-registered foreign agent" clearly representing the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mr. Parsi lacks the moral character, honesty, and integrity to represent us and is frequently shunned in Iranian-American circles. To most proud Iranian-Americans, Trita Parsi represents the worst example of what the Iranian community has to offer to the United States, cloaked in the pretense of human rights, and is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
In late 2009, the Washington Times published documents, obtained as a result of NIAC’s defamation lawsuit against one of its outspoken critics, indicating that NIAC had violated lobbying rules. Law enforcement experts, after reviewing some of NIAC's internal documents, offer evidence that NIAC has operated as an undeclared lobby and may be guilty of violating tax laws, the Foreign Agents Registration Act and lobbying disclosure laws.
Other documents also indicate that NIAC intentionally lied about and ridiculously exaggerated its membership numbers to a number of the U.S. government officials. NIAC used National Endowment for Democracy funds for non-permissible grant activities, i.e., purchasing of flowers, paying for office rent and a employing a full-time staff who was already gainfully employed on a full-time basis for another organization. Mr. Parsi’s questionable grant management practices have been reported to proper authorities including the Office of Inspector General, Internal Audit of NED and Senator Kyl.
Much like a chameleon, NIAC once more has changed its color and this time purportedly as a human rights organization, focusing on non-controversial issues, such as visas and discrimination to hide its true intentions to lobby.
NIAC’s claim that sanctions hurt the ordinary Iranians, like many of its other claims, is deceptive and unfounded. Iranians are already subjected to the most horrible forms of torture, rape and oppression. Iranians cry out for the toughest sanctions possible against this medieval regime. While we agree that the State Department should not impose food, medical and humanitarian related sanctions, however, we strongly advocate for the toughest sanctions against the regime, including freezing of assets and an oil embargo.
The regime used surveillance technologies purchased from Nokia and Siemens to identify, arrest, torture and kill peaceful demonstrators during 2009 uprising. We have information from Iranian citizens that the regime has altered the chemical ingredients in teargas used against them. Once inhaled, the altered tear gas causes respiratory tract bleeding. Contrary to NIACs claims, we believe removing sanctions significantly helps the Iranian regime obtain the tools it needs to further suppress the already oppressed Iranian people.
Iranian demonstrators are writing a new chapter in their nation’s history with their blood. Most Iranians are horrified by the fact that NIAC and front companies would even entertain the idea of selling sensitive technologies and materials to Iran, knowing that the regime intends to use these weapons to crush and kill their compatriots.
It is time for the United States to change its foreign policy toward Iran and support regime change. Thirty-one years of futile attempts at diplomacy and appeasement, in large part advocated by NIAC, have failed each and every time. Instead, attempts at dialogue and diplomacy have only emboldened the Islamic regime to commit more abhorrent human rights violations against its citizens, including genocide.
We strongly urge the State and Treasury Departments to rethink their strategy and refrain from attending the April 22nd NIAC sponsored conference. We view any participation in this event as an insult, further alienating and frustrating the significantly larger Iranian-American community. We need to be heard and respected.
Dr. Arash Irandoost, Founder
Pro-Democracy Movement of Iran (PDMI)
Human Rights Activist
Human Rights Activist
Walton K. Martin III, Director
Dr. Gill Gillespie, Director
Iranian Refugees Action Network
Dr. A Samadani
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