When Terrorism Isn't Terrorism

Sohrab Amhari highlights what, to simple-minded folk, would seem to be a bit of hypocrisy at the National Iranian American Council, which has functioned, on occasion, as a kind of AIPAC for the Iranian regime. NIAC is arguing that the MEK, an anti-mullah group (some, including friend-of-Goldblog Elizabeth Rubin, say it's a cult), should remain on the State Department terrorism list. But NIAC previously had lobbied to keep the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, arguably a much more brutal organization, off the list:


On August 2, dozens of Iranian-American luminaries and their allies took to the pages of the "Financial Times" with a joint statement denouncing the proposed move. "The [MKO], an organization ... that enjoyed the support of Saddam Hussein lost any following it had in Iran when it fought on Iraq's behalf during the 1980-88 war," they wrote. "Widespread Iranian distaste for the [MKO] has been cemented by its numerous attacks against numerous innocent Iranian civilians."

Which is all very true. The MKO is indeed a bizarre, Islamo-Marxist cult with a long record of gruesome terrorist attacks against civilian targets and little support among Iran's young democrats.

Yet the statement's authors -- which include many prominent proponents of the failed "engagement" strategy for dealing with Tehran -- have missed the bad faith of the outfit spearheading their campaign: the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), often accused of serving as an unofficial lobby for the Islamic republic and led by the enigmatic Trita Parsi.

The NIAC is the last organization Iranian-Americans -- not to mention Washington -- should turn to when it comes to moral clarity on the issue of terrorism.

After all, just a few years ago, Parsi and the NIAC were busy urging the State Department not to add another, far worse organization to its list of FTOs: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), often called the mullahs' Praetorian Guard.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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