Tag Archive for: Ariane Tabatabai

The IEI and Ariane Tabatabai’s Controversy

Exploring the IEI’s Global Influence and the Enigma Surrounding Tabatabai’s Role.


In the world of international diplomacy, secrets have a way of unraveling. Leaked emails and reports have recently unveiled a clandestine Iranian operation known as the Iran Experts Initiative (IEI). This covert endeavor, designed to cultivate support for Iran’s nuclear program, has sent shockwaves through the corridors of power. But that’s just the beginning.

Within this revelation, another thread has emerged — the involvement of key figures from the Biden administration with the IEI. This revelation raises profound questions about foreign influence and its implications on U.S. policy.

The IEI, previously shrouded in secrecy, has now been exposed for what it is – a covert Iranian operation. Its primary objective? To garner international support for Iran’s nuclear ambitions. This revelation adds a new layer of complexity to the ongoing global discussions about Iran’s nuclear program.

The involvement of Biden administration aides with the IEI is a central theme. These individuals, working within the highest echelons of the U.S. government, had ties to the IEI. The nature of these links and their implications on U.S. policy decisions remain under scrutiny.

The IEI was not limited to a single sphere of influence. It infiltrated academia, leveraging the credibility of scholars to propagate its agenda. Meanwhile, sympathetic journalists played their part, shaping public perception subtly. Think tanks, known for their role in policymaking, were strategically targeted. Case studies vividly illustrate the IEI’s success in influencing policy decisions. And it didn’t stop there; former government officials transitioning into advocacy roles created conflicts and ethical dilemmas that continue to raise eyebrows.

The Biden administration’s approach to Iran stands in stark contrast to previous administrations. It is marked by a commitment to re-engage with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a notable departure from the aggressive stance of the past. This shift in policy has not only raised eyebrows. Still, it has caused genuine concern among policymakers and the public, who worry about potential risks and the implications of this new direction, making it a central point of debate in the broader context of U.S. foreign policy.

Amidst these revelations, the potential for undue influence on U.S. policy looms large. The need to mitigate foreign impact is paramount, echoing concerns about the integrity of policymaking. It’s a complex issue with no easy answers.

Ariane Tabatabai’s Controversy

As this international intrigue unfolds, Ariane Tabatabai, a former Georgetown University security studies professor and current senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Defense, finds herself at the center of a heated controversy. Genuine concern has arisen regarding her purported ties to Iranian regime influence networks and her security clearance.

The acquisition of her security clearance remains a shadowy enigma, with scant details emerging. Yet, one report suggests that her connections to the Islamic Republic networks managed to evade detection during the clearance process.

The security clearance saga erupted in April 2021 when a group of U.S. lawmakers demanded the revocation of Tabatabai’s clearance, citing her involvement in an “Iranian influence network” that they believed endangered national security.

Fast forward to September 2023, and Republican lawmakers intensify the call. They demand an investigation into Islamic Republic-backed influence operations on U.S. soil, advocating the suspension of clearances for officials, including Tabatabai, potentially swayed by these networks.

In response, Tabatabai can only refute these allegations. She tries to label them “baseless and unfounded,” portraying them as part of a “smear campaign” orchestrated by lawmakers seeking to undermine the Biden administration’s diplomacy with Iran’s regime, yet providing no clear explanations for the accusations.

And yet, despite the ongoing furor, Tabatabai’s security clearance endures as of September 2023, and surprisingly, she remains a senior adviser within the U.S. Department of Defense.

It’s not just her alleged ties to Iran’s regime influence networks that have been scrutinized. The accusations against her are part of a broader discourse surrounding U.S. policy towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. Some U.S. officials and lawmakers contend that the Biden administration’s stance is overly lenient, failing to adequately support the Iranian people’s battle for democracy and human rights. Conversely, others advocate for diplomatic engagement and peaceful resolution in the U.S.-Iran relationship.

This exposure of the Iran Experts Initiative raises critical questions about foreign influence on U.S. policy. Whether through academia, media, think tanks, or former officials, vigilance is imperative to maintain the integrity of U.S. policymaking in a complex and interconnected world.

As for Ariane Tabatabai’s security clearance acquisition remains opaque, while her ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran influence networks kindle a political storm. Lawmakers’ calls for revocation have yet to bear fruit, and she continues her work at the U.S. Department of Defense. This controversy also mirrors broader debates on U.S. policy towards Iran, illustrating today’s complexity of international diplomacy.

©2024. Amil Imani. All rights reserved.

Biden’s Iran Envoy Robert Malley Helped Fund and Direct Iranian Intel Operation to Influence U.S. and Allies

What is the definition of “treason” again? Oh yeah, giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

High-Level Iranian Spy Ring Busted in Washington

by Lee Smith, Tablet, October 1, 2023:

The Biden administration’s now-suspended Iran envoy Robert Malley helped to fund, support, and direct an Iranian intelligence operation designed to influence the United States and allied governments, according to a trove of purloined Iranian government emails. The emails, which were reported on by veteran Wall Street Journal correspondent Jay Solomon, writing in Semafor, and by Iran International, the London-based émigré opposition outlet which is the most widely read independent news source inside Iran, were published last week after being extensively verified over a period of several months by the two outlets. They showed that Malley had helped to infiltrate an Iranian agent of influence named Ariane Tabatabai into some of the most sensitive positions in the U.S. government—first at the State Department and now the Pentagon, where she has been serving as chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, Christopher Maier.

On Thursday, Maier told a congressional committee that the Defense Department is “actively looking into whether all law and policy was properly followed in granting my chief of staff top secret special compartmented information.”

The emails, which were exchanged over a period of several years between Iranian regime diplomats and analysts, show that Tabatabai was part of a regime propaganda unit set up in 2014 by the Iranian Foreign Ministry. The Iran Experts Initiative (IEI) tasked operatives drawn from Iranian diaspora communities to promote Iranian interests during the clerical regime’s negotiations with the United States over its nuclear weapons program. Though several of the IEI operatives and others named in the emails have sought to portray themselves on social media as having engaged with the regime in their capacity as academic experts, or in order to promote better understanding between the United States and Iran, none has questioned the veracity of the emails.

The contents of the emails are damning, showing a group of Iranian American academics being recruited by the Iranian regime, meeting together in foreign countries to receive instructions from top regime officials, and pledging their personal loyalty to the regime. They also show how these operatives used their Iranian heritage and Western academic positions to influence U.S. policy toward Iran, first as outside “experts” and then from high-level U.S. government posts. Both inside and outside of government, the efforts of members of this circle were repeatedly supported and advanced by Malley, who served as the U.S. government’s chief interlocutor with Iran under both the Obama and the Biden administrations. Malley is also the former head of the International Crisis Group (ICG), which directly paid and credentialed several key members of the regime’s influence operation….

Read more.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Chief of Staff of the Pentagon’s Counterterrorism Office Served Iranian Government

Senior adviser worked on secret Iranian government propaganda campaign.

In 2016, Ariane Tabatabai co-wrote an article arguing that the United States should ally with Iran against ISIS. The Iranian immigrant suggested the United States Air Force could “provide air cover for Iranian-backed militia” and “the US and Iran can share intelligence on targets”. Finally she warned that “excluding Iran, the region’s major Shia state, from the international coalition built to fight ISIS worsens the regional sectarian conflict, ultimately playing into ISIS’ hands.”

Tabatabai’s bio now describes her as the Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. Up from a Senior Advisor last year. The ASD(SO/LIC) office advises the Secretary of Defense on counterterrorism and it’s hard to think of a better place for a woman accused of being an Iran regime apologist to find herself in.

Almost as good as her former role representing the United States in the Iran negotiations.

In 2021, when the State Department had brought in Tabatabai as a senior adviser to the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, a congressional letter urged that her security clearance be pulled. The letter stated that Tabatabai “has echoed Iranian regime talking points and has made excuses for Iran’s oppressive government.

“Why would we hire someone… who has access and security clearance to some of the most sensitive and important issues there [and] who obviously has had a relationship with the administration in Iran?” Rep. Van Drew asked.

Biden’s State Department Spokesman Ned Price claimed that she “was thoroughly vetted and investigated before being granted the position. Any suggestion of security-related concerns about Dr. Tabatabai are baseless and illegitimate.” He fumed that, “we will not sit idly by as our employees—dedicated public servants—face personal smears and slander.”

Now a Semafor article by former Wall Street Journal chief correspondent Jay Solomon based on materials gathered by Iran International’s dissident media channel has revealed emails showing Tabatabai’s participation in a secret Iranian government to influence the United States.

In 2014, a year before Tabatabai began working as a NATO consultant, she joined an initiative by the Iranian Foreign Ministry to mobilize “Iranians who have established affiliations with the leading international think-tanks and academic institutions, mainly in Europe and the US.”

Tabatabai, along with Dina Esfandiary, her co-author on the proposal to have the United States ally with Iran, who is currently a senior Middle East advisor to George Soros’ Crisis Group, allegedly became members of the “core group” of Iran’s influence operation.

Before Tabatabai testified about the Iran Deal in Congress, she allegedly checked in with the head of an Iranian Foreign Ministry think tank. “I am scheduled to go to the Congress to give a talk about the nuclear program. I will bother you in the coming days,” she wrote.

In 2015, while Tabatabai was consulting for NATO, serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Kennedy’s Atom/International Security Program and teaching at Georgetown University, the Iranian government was bragging about her propaganda. Emails containing her articles were circulated from the Iranian Foreign Ministry operation all the way to Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Ariane Tabatabai personally forwarded her propaganda articles, including one claiming that Iran really needs nuclear energy and doesn’t intend to use it as a weapon.

In one leaked message, Tabatabai emailed her handler her article, co-written again with Esfandiary, titled, “Meeting Iran’s nuclear fuel supply needs”. “Our goal was to show what is said in the West – that Iran does not need more than 1500 centrifuges – is wrong, and that Iran should not be expected to reduce the number of its centrifuges,” she allegedly told her handler.

Her handler then forwarded the email to Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif.

Before the Biden administration brought Tabatabai on board to negotiate with the Iranians, she was actually providing propaganda to bolster the nuclear arguments of Iran’s negotiators.

It’s unknown when Ariane Tabatabai stopped working with Iran’s government. Or if she ever did. The exact degree of entanglement is unclear, but Tabatabai asked for permission from her handlers before visiting or meeting foreigners which implies that she was working for Iran.

When Saudi Prince Turki al Faisal proposed having her visit Saudi Arabia, Tabatabai emailed her handler asking, “I would like to know your opinion; would you be interested in this?”

This is the language of an agent acting on behalf of an enemy nation and raises legal questions.

In 2018, she became a senior fellow at the liberal Center for a New American Security whose members typically staff incoming Democrat administrations. That same year she also joined RAND which acts as the think tank for the military. At that point it was virtually certain that the next Democrat administration would bring her into the State Department and on defense issues.

In 2021, Robert Malley, Biden’s Iran special envoy, currently under investigation for mishandling classified documents, who had turned over the negotiations to Iran lobbyists, brought Tabatabai into the negotiating team where she spent over a year before leaving over an undisclosed issue.

There were multiple red flags about her even before the release of the emails.

Iranian dissidents had repeatedly warned about her ties to the regime. And even her own article on Iran’s “counterterrorism” in which she claims that Iran is actually fighting against terrorists, draws on “several years of fieldwork in Iran, interviews with current and former officials”.

But the Biden administration chose to ignore those warnings and it has refused to address the emails, replying that it won’t comment on “purported leaked Iranian government documents.”

Even in the face of serious evidence that the State Department and the Department of Defense are employing an enemy government agent, the Biden administration is not backing down.

The speed with which Tabatabai, who had been living in Iran during the Ahmadinejad 2009 election, has been able to fully penetrate the highest echelons of our national defense in a little over a decade is a testament to the national security collapse within a disloyal bureaucracy.

Under the Obama administration allegiance to the Iran Deal came to matter more than allegiance to the United States. Anyone willing to argue, as Tabatabai was, that Iran was eager to make a deal and could be trusted to keep to its terms had a smooth glide path into the liberal defense establishment that was busy sidelining the ‘hawks’ skeptical of Iran’s intentions.

Churning out articles like “Why Regime Change in Iran Wouldn’t Work” and “Don’t Fear the Hard-Liners” didn’t make Ariane Tabatabai look like an Iranian government propagandist, but like an Obama administration propagandist. Even while the Obama administration was covertly investigating its political opponents for ties to Israel and Russia, it had so thoroughly blurred the lines that Iranian propagandists couldn’t be told apart from administration figures.

Under Biden, who was backed by Iran lobby figures and benefited from an Iranian hacking campaign, the two groups have blended together so much that they are indistinguishable.

Robert Malley was the prototype of figures like Ariane Tabatabai and others who are not merely anti-American in the traditional leftist fashion, but appear to have outright foreign allegiances. The Left, like most extremist movements, is no longer capable of making such distinctions. And neither is a government whose foreign policy ranks are being populated by Iran Deal advocates.

Tabatabai’s elevation to Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict show how deep the rot is in the Department of Defense. The DOD, entrusted with defending the nation, has allowed itself to be suborned into ignoring national security and its allegiances in order to do the bidding of the Biden administration.

Not just politics, but the most fundamental kind of national security, requires urgently cleaning house in the Pentagon. It’s either that or hand over control over our government to our enemies.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.