By the Apadana Chronicle Editorial Board
In reaction to the May 25 Tweetstorm with the hashtag #NIACLobbies4Mullahs, the National Iranian American Council president Jamal Abdi wrote an article that was published on the Iranian.com website. Mr. Abdi called the hashtag, which became a worldwide trend on Twitter, “a propaganda attack on NIAC” perpetuated by “armies of bots.” The rest of the article is saturated with a language that is quintessential NIAC rhetoric aimed at promulgating disinformation.
Mr. Abdi states, “we know well the crowd behind the attacks,” without revealing the sources for this claim. He then goes on – again with no evidence to support his accusation – to castigate Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, as the mastermind behind the campaign. He also implicates John Bolton as a collaborator of Mr. Dubowitz in this so-called conspiracy. As usual, he attributes what he calls troll activity to a Mujahedin-e-Khalq “troll farm in Albania.”
NIAC and whom Mr. Abdi calls “our allies, Iranian-American analysts, and Iranian-American political candidates that NIAC Action has endorsed in local elections” are really not concerned about Iran or the Iranian people. Their primary objective is to speak a language and disseminate a type of rhetoric that is appealing to the ultra-left and the “never Trump” movements. This is how they sustain themselves financially through leftist foundations such as Joseph Cirincione’s Ploughshares Fund, and remain visible and relevant through left-leaning mainstream media and propaganda platforms such as the LobeLog.
Mr. Abdi knows quite well that automated bots are incapable of generating a worldwide trend. He is also well aware that FDD does not have such an extensive outreach to influence Twitter users in Europe and Asia. In all likelihood, most of the Iranians who tweeted the hashtag do not know who Mr. Dubowitz is or what the FDD does. There is also no evidence that FDD in any way interacts or collaborates with the MEK, or that the tweets primarily originated in Albania. These are all false accusations and stereotypical propaganda that are characteristically NIAC. Instead of coming clean with NIAC’s relationship with the Iranian regime, Mr. Abdi points the finger at Iranian dissidents and human rights activists, accusing hem of being instruments of pro-Israel lobbies and Mr. Bolton. He has the audacity to claim that his organization represents “peace-loving Iranian-Americans,” while all other members of the Iranian community in the US who do not conform to NIAC’s subterfuge are labeled as bots and trolls.
In reality, Mr. Abdi’s infantile tantrum is a reaction to the irreparable damage NIAC’s reputation has sustained as a result of the Tweetstorm. NIAC and its allies undeniably cannot accept criticism or antagonism, but give themselves the right to insult Iranians and members of the Iranian-American community that do not think like them. NIAC-aligned hoodlums cloaked as pundits, journalists, and research associates mock and disparage opposition leaders, troll Iranian dissidents on social media, and disseminate divisive and hateful propaganda. They do all of this in the name of “peace with Iran.”
The majority of Iranian-Americans reject war; some may even be inclined towards a dialogue between the Iranian regime and the Trump Administration. But there is one reality that the Tweetstorm of the past weekend attests to: Iranian-Americans object to NIAC and its adherents having any role in shaping America’s policy with respect to Iran, or determining the future of the Iranian people.