By the Apadana Chronicle Staff
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a source close to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) with inside information about the group told the Apadana Chronicle that the organization is having significant financial difficulty. In addition, the source said NIAC has lost most – if not all – of its connections and influence in the State Department, as well as the Congress.
There are some indications to support this claim. NIAC has not held its annual leadership conference for three years. The last time such event was held was in 2016. Another unprecedented action by NIAC indicative of financial troubles is the organization’s frequent pleas for donations. This is primarily done via email. A rather long email, typically from Jamal Abdi, is sent which warns of an imminent war with Iran. As you scroll down, you will encounter towards the end a sentence to the effect of “Stop Bolton! Donate to NIAC to fight for your rights as an Iranian-American and stop a war with Iran.” The next line in the email invites you to click on a link for a donation site.
The source told the Chronicle that the start of NIAC’s financial difficulties dates back to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran Deal in May 2018. People and funding bodies gradually lost interest in financing NIAC after spending millions pushing the Iran Deal only for it to be decommissioned with the strike of a pen. These groups may have also discovered the intimate relationship NIAC has with the Iranian regime. A similar scenario happened when the National Endowment for Democracy learned of NIAC’s activities and true intentions. NED paid NIAC approximately $200,000 between 2002 and 2006. Expressing regret at his decision to fund NIAC, NED’s president, Carl Gershman said that NIAC had misrepresented itself: “We weren’t aware when these grants were made that NIAC were presenting themselves as a lobby…We were trying something that might be a way to help people on the inside [of Iran]. But that quickly became unworkable; the grant didn’t work. Then NIAC showed itself as a lobby organization, so we have nothing to do with them anymore.”
“Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal had substantial ramifications for NIAC,” the source said, “that is why they are so intent on reversing Trump’s decision at all costs.” Asked if NIAC receives any funds directly from the Iranian regime, the source denied any knowledge of direct financing, but affirmed the organization receives donations from private Iranian-American citizens with strong ties to the regime, particularly its reformist faction. When inquired if Trita Parsi and Reza Marashi’s resignations from NIAC were related to the organization’s financial predicaments, the source denied knowledge, but admitted there was possibly a causal relationship.
Ploughshares Fund, which has been a devoted fiscal sponsor of NIAC from its inception, is likely still funding the lobby group. According to the source, PF has to constantly push a rhetoric of “war” and “nuclear destruction.” That is how it receives its donations, by apocalyptic prophecies. NIAC plays into that rhetoric to appease PF and its president, Joseph Cirincione (NIAC’s Sugar Daddy). Moreover, the Iran issue is one that Democrats can use to hammer down on President Trump, and NIAC could potentially paly a role in that arena. However, the source stated that NIAC is not a well-liked group in Congress and has essentially lost most of its credibility among legislators.
NIAC seems to try to appeal to the radical left and supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders. Centrist Democrats do not seem to have an interest in collaborating with the group. With the Iran nuclear all but a museum relic, NIAC has once again embarked on a campaign of “war propaganda,” believing this rhetoric will help the organization succeed, as it did when the Iran deal was signed. The difference between then and now is that Iranian-Americans, as well as politicians, have come to realize NIAC’s true countenance and the manufactured hysteria it thrives on.
The Apadana Chronicle reached out to Jamal Abdi for an interview on this topic, but was unsuccessful in making a connection.