Trita Parsi has some explaining to do. The Iranian-born and Swedish-raised president of the National Iranian American Council is perhaps the most outspoken advocate for engagement with the Islamist regime in Tehran. If that posture has won him praise in certain foreign policy circles, this may be an uncomfortable moment for some of Parsi’s fans. Last Friday, a U.S. district court ruling lent some credence to the charge that Parsi is an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The court dismissed Parsi’s argument that his rare criticisms of the Iranian regime rendered Daioleslam’s claims malicious and, therefore, defamatory. “Many of the statements listed in Parsi’s affidavit are not strongly anti-regime,” the court said. “That Parsi occasionally made statements reflecting a balanced, shared blame approach is not inconsistent with the idea that he was first and foremost an advocate for the regime.”
“Given the other evidence defendant amassed to support [Daioleslam’s] views, the Court sees no ‘actual malice’ in defendant’s decision to disregard occasional contrary statements and assume that they were made largely to burnish Parsi and NIAC’s image in the United States. After all, any moderately intelligent agent for the Iranian regime would not want to be seen as unremittingly pro-regime, given the regime’s reputation in the United States.”
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