EXCLUSIVE: Iran advocacy group said to skirt lobby rules
Washington Times / Eli Lake

Shortly before Barack Obama took office, leaders of a prominent Iranian-American group in Washington began to fret. If the new president were to tap former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross to oversee the nation's Iran policy, they feared their long-running effort to persuade American officials to lift sanctions could wind up in tatters. Patrick Disney, acting policy director of National Iranian American Council (NIAC), summed up the strategy: "Create a media controversy" concerning Mr. Ross, whose support for a tough line on Iran was well known. "Those groups that feel comfortable being more aggressive in opposing Ross publicly (possibly Voters for Peace, [Friends Committee on National Legislation] , Physicians for Social Responsibility, others) will do so," Mr. Disney wrote in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Times, "while others who may have less latitude on the matter will declare their preference for a more agreeable envoy."

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