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Gary Sick and Iranian regime, a case study


Since 1993 when Sick was supported by oil giants and started his advocacy for friendship with Tehran, he has remained the most constant defender of Iranian regime


Hassan Dai, 20 January 2013


Once again, the Iranian regime has found itself in the hot seat and as usual, an army of lobbyists and self-proclaimed Iran experts have embarked on damage control. In early January, the Library of Congress released a new report on Iran's infamous intelligence ministry, its operational web and its 30.000 staff. The report is supposed to help the US government and Congress to counter the Iranian threat and defend US national security.  But Gary Sick a former National Security staff and a leading voice in the pro-engagement circles, vehemently criticized the report and declared that "the entire Federal Research Division study has all the appearance of a very cheap piece of propaganda and should not be trusted."

Just a week earlier, when President Obama enacted a law to check Iran’s influence in Latin America, Sick declared that "there is some parallels with the 1950s, when many American politicians saw a communist under every bed, now they see an Iranian under every bed.”

For Sick, the threat posed by the Iranian Mullahs is exaggerated or non-existent. Regarding Iran's nuclear program he wrote in last November that "The hysteria about what might happen with a nuclear Iran — quite apart from the improbability of that actually happening — is hugely exaggerated."

A year earlier, when Iran was caught in plotting a terrorist attack in Washington, Sick was again defending the Iranian regime. He declared: “I find this very hard to believe. In fact, this plot, if true, departs from all known Iranian policies and procedures. To be sure, Iran has plenty of reasons to be angry at both the United States and Saudi Arabia. They attribute the recent wave of assassinations of physics professors and students, as well as the intrusion of the Stuxnet worm, to the U.S. and Israel. And the king of Saudi Arabia is reliably reported to have called for the U.S. to bomb Iran."

Sick is a revealing example of those who constantly mask  the danger posed by the Iranian regime and as a result, prevent appropriate policy to defend US national security. A good case is Iran's involvement in Iraq. Since the US invasion in 2003, every US ambassadors, military commander and envoy to Iraq has publicly affirmed that since day one, Iran and its Ghuds forces have played a key role in fueling the sectarian civil war, killing Americans and destabilizing the country. At the same time, Sick and some others falsely assured US that Iran was the good guy in the neighborhood ready to help. Sick declared:

"On the Iraqi side, the Iranians have been extremely helpful. They are pursuing what they regard as a very enlightened policy in Iraq... Iran gets delegations almost weekly from the top leadership from Iraq. Kurds and others are consulting on future policy. Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi exile leader [and a member of the Iraqi Governing Council], said a few days ago in Washington that Iranians were being "very positive," and he said they have the capacity to create mischief in Iraq but have not done so." (CFR interview, 1.27.2004)


Better for business

In August 2000, Sick wrote a positive article about Bush-Cheney candidacy for the White House titled: "better for business" in which he detailed Cheney's penchant for a friendlier policy with Iran and removal of sanctions. Sick was hoping that the large scale lobby by him and US large corporations will finally succeed and the doors will open to business with Iran.  

This lobby had started in early 1990s. In 1992 Iran and US oil giant Conoco started behind the scene negotiation for a 1 billion dollar contract to develop offshore oil and gas field in the Persian Gulf. But the US Congress and public opinion did not favorably look at the Conoco deal and therefore, the pre-agreement was kept secret. The company started a lobby campaign to soften the opinion and convince the administration to give a green light to the deal.

Gary Sick and Hooshang Amirahmadi, supported by oil companies worked together and were the vanguards of this lobby. Amirahmadi is a pro-Tehran advocate who in an interview with a government newspaper in Iran called himself the "Iranian lobby in the US." In another interview, he declared that his lobby begun in early 1990s after consultation with Iranian ambassador to UN. In another interview, Amirahmadi told that he met Iranian President Ahmadinejad and his ambassador to UN Zarif and asked  for financial support. Not to forget that the Rutgers university's department under Amirahmadi management has been largely compensated by Iranian regime's Alavi Foundation. (See also Amirahmadi's CV, p. 4-5)

Sick started Gulf 2000 project and together with Amirahmadi, they organized conferences (See also 1- 2) and wrote op-eds in newspapers against the sanctions and in favor of better relation with Iran. The goal was to present a positive image of the Iranian regime and prepare the public opinion for a friendlier policy with Tehran. A good example of this "positive" spin was Sick's 1993 article in Washington Post:

"Iran was instrumental in freeing the Western hostages in Lebanon, using its leverage with the Hezbollah gangs and reportedly paying substantial sums of money to the hostage-takers.

Iran's new policy of responsibility, however, extends beyond the hostage issue. Iran condemned Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and, at least until last month, respected the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the U.N. Security Council, even though Saddam tried to bribe Iran to break the economic boycott. Iran played a constructive role in helping to fashion a cease-fire in Afghanistan and in supporting elections for a new and more pluralistic political order in Lebanon. In each of these cases, Iran had the capacity to sow dissension. Yet it opted for compromise solutions that were consistent with the interests of the United States, the U.N. and Iran's Arab neighbors.

The reality, however, is that Iran is in no position to mount a sustained foreign policy challenge outside its own borders and will not be able to do so for years to come… Iran's military budget has declined steadily to the point where it is one of the least militarized countries in the region by almost any measure. (Washington Post, 4.4.1993)

In March 1995, Conoco made its Iranian deal public but Clinton administration intervened and issued an executive order and killed the deal. A year later in June 1996, Iranian terrorists bombed US military barrack in Khobar, Saudi Arabia and in September, the Congress passed Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA). The horizon for Conoco, other US oil giants and their lobbyists became bleak.

But in 1997, Mohamad Khatami became president in Iran and political environment changed in favor of new attitude toward Tehran. NFTC, representing more than 500 US corporations launched an official lobby organization called USA*Engage to remove sanctions against Iran and Libya.

Oil companies became also very active and helped the creation of American Iranian Council (AIC), an advocacy group led by Hooshang Amirahmadi in which Gary Sick was an active board member. AIC's board included CEO's and vice presidents from Chevron, Conoco, Exxon and other oil corporations. (See this report, also, this passage of book: US and Iran, Sanctions ... also, See image galleries))

In a 1997 Interview Sick declared "a huge array of experts and former officials, republican and democrat, now believe that U.S. policy toward Iran should change...  A lot of them are consultants for major oil interests in Central Asia and elsewhere in the region."

This large scale lobby by US corporations created a favorable political environment for other lobbies and political organizations that oppose harsh policy with Iran to become more active. In such environment, groups and lobbies created by or tied to the Iranian regime mushroomed in Washington and became part of political landscape.


Since its creation in 1990s, this formidable political force with influence in mainstream media, think tanks, academic centers and US government has been in forefront to prevent meaningful pressure or sanction against Iran. In many cases, this lobby has been pursuing the interests and wishes of Iranian regime at the expense of US national interests. And Gary Sick has been a leading voice in this lobby campaign.


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I dont care about Gary Sick.

Relations between Iran and West must be fixed one way or another. If it means peacefully overthrowing the regime, fine, otherwise, the Iranian people cannot afford the current hardship.

This is something war-advocates like MEK cultist Hassan Daei does not understand. They only understand force. That's what their leader Rajavi has engraved in their brains.



"After some initial resistance and delay by Gary Sick, I was finally given an account to post my stuff on the forum. It was obvious from start that Gary Sick was reluctant to include me. The first thing that became obvious was that Gary Sick himself was the sole moderator and Supreme Leader of G2K, who decided what got circulated to the mailing list and what didn't.

I had posted the recent Times articles on the medicine crisis in Iran, which described how luxury cars and other non-essential items are being imported to the country with government subsidised currency, while the incumbent Iranian health minister at the time, complained how the Central Bank of Iran denied the health ministry the much needed currency for importing medicine with. I also posted the Times article that exposed the lie which was printed in the Guardian about a haemophiliac boy having died as a result of the hospital not having his drug because of the sanctions - the boy had in fact died in a tragic hiking accident before he even got to the hospital. I also posted my own recent post on this subject. Yet none of these posts were being circulated to the G2K members. Instead what was being circulated was one side's arguments only, the side that claimed sanctions are killing Iran's sick."

Thanks Fred for posting potkin's article. I guess Mr. SICK, is a truly sick oppotunist at the service of the almighty dollar. If the negotiations fail, he might be sininging a different tune...



You & Fred, Inc. are not far away from Bushes after all by implying that 'either SICK MINDED like us or you are the axis of RATIONALS.' TABRIK.



Mr. Daei, do you expect any less from a father defending his child?



Good questions. But the problem is they are too 'simple' and Dai John only responds to the 'complex' ones. No kidding, as he is surely going to write a case study next about the ominous Gingrich/Giulianii/McCain triangle and MEK. Promise..


Jockshe American born Iranian (ABI) female and state champion in free style wrestling. Second year law student at the University of Chicago. You can bet your bottom $, I can feetileh-peach you like hulu!

This man is not Sick! He is ill, a worse state, for having been supporting the criminal regime of the mullahs for the past 34 years. It would be in his interest to abandon supporting the mullahs! Then, he may improve from ill state to sick state!


amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

The Issue with Gary Sick is that he is part of the apparatus that brought to power and keeps in power extremism for Iranians. The IRI is a USA/UK/France creation. Reality is that without US Political support the IRI couldn't keep itself in power and local forces would easily be able to challenge the IRI and remove the IRI candidates using a ballot box, by getting a majority of secular candidates voted for within Iran there by causing a reform based on the ballot box. Mr Daei don't you think it is better for Iranians within Iran to take matters in to their own hands than have western Involvement?

Shouldn't the so called free world be encouraging the people of Iran to bring about reform instead of undermining them and negotiating with their captors? The best thing Iranians could do is to get the USA change its policy and its allies policy of backing the IRI against the rights of the people. Focusing on enacting change from within by the people forcing the IRI to allow transparency of elections and the people forcing the right of any candidate to serve provided they do not have a criminal record to represent communities.