Larison joins me in defending Trita Parsi:

If Goldberg had any interest in being fair to Parsi, he would have to acknowledge that Parsi has also argued for a pause in pursuing any engagement with Tehran in the wake of the June crackdown. That means that Parsi has changed his position on engaging Tehran to take a somewhat harder line than he once held. Whether or not this is the right move, this put him among those opposed to engaging the Iranian government under its current leadership at the present time. As far as I know, this remains Parsi’s position today. Obviously, he is nothing like “the AIPAC of Iran,” and referring to him as a lobbyist for Tehran is false and reprehensible.

Reihan differs:

[W]hile Parsi is undoubtedly a believer in democratic liberalism who wants to see Iran radically reform its institutions, he objectively serves Iranian interests insofar as he discourages Western efforts to exert pressure on the regime. This doesn't make Parsi a bad person. Plenty of Iranian dissidents believe that a democratic Iran should have a nuclear deterrent. Plenty want a denuclearized Iran, yet believe that Western pressure amounts to a kind of imperialism that should be actively resisted. This isn't that complicated.

It just means that in taking the nuclear issue as our prime focus, we are essentially cutting off most of the Iranian opposition.

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