Wednesday 15 November 2023

Biden Admin Official Allegedly Part Of ‘Covert Campaign’ To Undermine Iranian Opposition: Report

 A Pentagon aide born in Iran was accused in a report sent to President Joe Biden this week of being part of a “covert campaign” inside the U.S. that aimed to undermine influential critics of Iran.

The aide, Ariane Tabatabai, has kept her security clearance after an explosive report was published in Semafor earlier this fall that alleged that she was part of an Iranian spy ring that infiltrated “some of the most sensitive positions in the U.S. government.”

The operation began in 2014 when Iran created the Iran Experts Initiative (IEI), a propaganda and influence operation that recruited top talent from Iranians living abroad to help Iran obtain a favorable nuclear deal. The group reported to an official from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is a terrorist organization, and Iran’s then-Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was also reportedly involved.

The New York Post reported this week that University of Baltimore professor Ivan Sascha Sheehan wrote a report alleging that Tabatabai and other members of the IEI engaged in a “covert campaign” to smear the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), one of the top opposition groups to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s regime.

“By seeking to neutralize favorable impressions of the organization among Washington’s foreign policy elite, Tehran sought to take down an entity capable of aiding Western attempts to curtail the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, malign regional agenda, human rights abuses, and fundamentalist inclinations,” the report, endorsed by former vice presidential national security adviser Lincoln Bloomfield, said.

The report was also endorsed by Spanish political leader Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, who was shot in the face last week in Madrid in an attack that Sheehan reportedly said could be linked to Iran. A British intelligence official said in an interview that aired this week that there has been a “real acceleration” in the number of attempted assassinations that Iran is carrying out on Western soil.

“By brazenly targeting the highly effective dissident organization, the operatives hoped to leave US officials with the false impression that there is no viable alternative to the ayatollahs — and certainly not one with a pro-democracy record that remains committed to toppling clerical rule,” the report added.

The Post said that the report was given to Biden on Monday and Sheehan was planning to brief lawmakers this week.

Sheehan wrote that the alleged IEI spies wrote op-eds to “smear” Iran’s opponents in Western media and to “discourage a shift in the U.S. government toward a realistic regime change policy in Iran.”

“These viewpoints included beliefs such as, ‘According to Khamenei’s fatwa, Nuclear bomb is not Halal in Shiite belief and therefore will not be developed by the theocratic regime’ and ‘the regime has no viable alternative and MEK is disliked in Iran, and therefore this regime has to and will stay despite any discontent,’” he wrote.

Tabatabai worked under Robert Malley, President Joe Biden’s now-suspended special envoy to Iran, before going to the Department of Defense. Malley is currently under criminal investigation by the FBI over his alleged handling of classified material.

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