NIAC: End the Iran Democracy Fund

Politico's Ben Smith comes up with some interesting documents from the defamation case brought by the National Iranian-American Council and its leader, Trita Parsi, against one of the group's critics. (Said Smith: "The reporting, including some embarrassing documents, like an internal email suggesting they register as lobbyists, came from the discovery phase of a defamation case NIAC filed against a critic. Which is a lesson in filing lawsuits, if nothing else.) For Eli Lake's original story on the controversy, click here.


According to the documents, George Soros's Open Society Policy Center pays the annual salary of the NIAC staffer who heads the Campaign for a New Policy on Iran, according to an email among NIAC officials. And the minutes of a series of meetings including NIAC and other coalition members offer a glimpse of the strategy and tactics involved in the push for a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic, from an attempt to undermine the appointment of Dennis Ross as Iran envoy to a planned "Send Hillary to Iran" campaign.

The minutes include almost almost no mention of a human rights agenda inside Iran, which has more recently been on NIAC's agenda. Participants in the discussions include NIAC as well as the liberal Jewish group J Street, anti-war groups like Peace Action and the American Friends Service Committee, and the business lobby that opposes Iran sanctions, USA*Engage.

The first minutes, from last November 12, laid out an agenda for the group, which "advocates a diplomatic resolution to the conflict between the US and Iran, opposes military action against Iran, and agrees that sanctions are no substitute for diplomatic engagement."

The minutes from the following month add the goal of stopping American funding to Iranian resistance groups by "end[ing] the 'Democracy Fund' as we know it."