Trita Parsi Criticizes Iran: Will the Right Notice?


Trita Parsi, the head of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), has been accused by some on the right of working for the Iranian regime, despite the fact that NIAC has regularly criticized Iran for human rights abuses and its illegitimate election. Today, in the Huffington Post, Parsi continues that practice, calling on President Barack Obama to be more outspoken about abuses in Iran:

[T]he failure to make human rights a prominent part of the talks has been problematic, both in terms of support for talks inside Iran, and for the long-term prospects of finding a sustainable, positive relationship with Iran. Unfortunately, fear in the White House that a forward leaning posture on human rights could jeopardize progress on the nuclear front may have prevented broadening the agenda.

The end result is a vacuum on the human rights front from the American side with several negative effects. First, the Ahmadinejad government may have been left with the impression that it can get away with almost any human rights abuses due to America’s compromised position in the region. Second, the green movement—which represents a force for moderation in the country—is turning increasingly skeptical about US intentions. While opinions differ within the movement as to the wisdom of US-Iran diplomacy at this time, the neglect of human rights fuels pre-existing suspicions about the objectives of American diplomacy. That is, the fear that the US is solely interested in reaching a nuclear deal and may be willing to sacrifice the Iranian people’s aspirations in the process.

It will be interesting to see if any of Parsi’s critics notice his article. It’s certainly critical of the regime. It’s also critical of the US—and with some cause. There’s an abundance of evidence that when it comes to Iran, America’s main goal is reaching a nuclear deal, not helping the Iranian people. One of the many ways the nuclear program helps the regime is by drawing Western focus away from human rights issues in Iran—and towards an issue where most Iranians agree with the government. As always with Iran, there aren’t any easy answers.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate