The USA-Iran The political sphere erupted into chaos this week following the publication of reports Semafor And Iran International He claimed there were questionable connections between advisers to the recently ousted US special envoy to Iran and the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
Now a group of Republicans in the House of Representatives are sounding the alarm about the issue, using it as additional ammunition against the Biden administration’s efforts to reach out to Iran, which last week took the form of the release of seven U.S. citizens who were wrongly detained were born, bore fruit (according to the US government). US government) from Tehran.
All in all, this latest development is just another example of the chaos that now defines US-Iran relations even under the Biden administration, which promised a return to normality after four years Donald TrumpThe country’s stormy diplomacy and the immediate renewal of war in the region.
Reports from the two news outlets question the backgrounds of several people connected to the Biden administration through Rob Malley, the former U.S. special envoy to Iran. Mr. Malley’s own career with the U.S. government came to an abrupt end last summer after he came under scrutiny over his handling of classified material, and the State Department never formally addressed his removal or the appointment of his successor.
According to the news outlets, the individuals – Ariane Tabatabai, Dina Esfandiary and Ali Vaez – were all once members of a group called the Iran Experts Initiative. Descriptions of this group vary: Semafor and Iran International have jointly reported on documents purloined from Iranian government servers and described the academics and scholars in the initiative as part of a “quiet effort to reshape Tehran’s image and positions in… to strengthen global security issues”. “, either explicitly or unwittingly, to further the goals of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
In addition to their general support for diplomacy between the West and Iran – which many, including Joe Biden, believe is the best way to prevent Iran’s religious authoritarian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons – the three are known critics of the MEK, a group of Iranian dissidents now living in Albania. This group, which describes itself as a peaceful, secular and democratic alternative to the Iranian government, is not viewed by the Biden State Department as a credible political force. However, it has maintained key alliances with Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former vice president Mike Pencea sign that the MEK may experience increased legitimacy (at least in the eyes of the US government) under a Republican administration.
Those named in the report have rejected claims that they work for the Iranian government and accused journalists of falling victim to the Iranian government’s boastful deceptions, divided into hardliners opposing talks with the West and moderates opposing the nuclear deal supported by 2015, is divided with the Obama administration.
The Independent contacted both Ms. Esfandiary and Mr. Vaez for interviews to discuss their work with the Iran Experts Initiative and other allegations made in Semafor’s reporting, some of which they denied on their public social media pages and others which they did not address; The two work at the Crisis Group, which was formerly run by Mr Malley. There was no response as of Wednesday evening.
Mr. Vaez, in a lengthy Twitter thread, condemned the Semafor and Iran International reports as “hatchet journalism” and objected to the characterization of the IEI as an Iranian-controlled initiative. The reports described him as giving Mr. Malley a close advisory role while serving as an envoy to Iran, even though he himself had not passed a security clearance. His contact with the envoy was described as close, to the point that Mr. Vaez was alleged in the reports to have authored Mr. Malley’s tweets while he was still a government official.
“The Iranian correspondence on the IEI is one-sided and self-congratulatory nonsense. Either they were unaware of an initiative by European think tanks with the support of a major European government, or they distorted it beyond recognition to host occasional political discussions,” Mr. Vaez wrote.
12| The reporters, who often dismiss what Iran says as propaganda, then double down on IRI exaggerations with their own characterization that it is an orchestrated network operating in the shadows at Tehran’s behest – because the regime wants it so said!
— Ali Vaez (@AliVaez) September 26, 2023
Mr. Vaez added: “I strongly reject the view that the path to prosperity for Iranians is to increase their misery, or that containing IRI threats through pressure/force is preferable to diplomacy.”
Ms. Tabatabai, now with the Defense Department, had no publicly listed contact information. Her continued service at the Pentagon, already subject to a security clearance standard for many civilian employees at the Defense Department and other agencies, has become a sore point for Republicans who have sought to criticize the Biden administration’s approach to Iran policy.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee released a statement on Wednesday calling on the State Department to be more transparent about Mr. Malley’s removal following the publication of the stories.
The armed forces panel also sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin requesting information about Ms. Tabatabai’s hiring.