Two recent bombshell reports reveal that the decade-long Obama-Biden obsession with engaging the Islamic Republic of Iran has been orchestrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran. That’s right, in negotiating with Tehran, both the Obama and the Biden administrations have chosen to employ Tehran’s very own surrogates.
Essentially, this new information means that the mainstream media narrative that then-president Barack Obama and President Joe Biden’s successive attempts to get a nuclear deal with Tehran were made in good faith to keep America safe from a nuclear weapon in the hands of a deadly enemy is a farce.
The truth is the Democrats’ Iran policy has been shaped by a foreign influence campaign—the Iran Experts Initiative (IEI)—waged from within by Iran itself.
Congress must demand a full accounting of the IEI’s insidious infiltration campaign as revealed by recent reporting. They should start in 2014, when a group of U.S.-Iranian and EU-Iranian citizens began to publish and promote narratives on social media favorable to the Iranian regime’s position on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Orchestrated by then-Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, along with his Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer Mostafa Zahrani, these IEI operatives didn't stop there.
Congress must also get answers about the way that IEI analysts—such as Ali Vaez, Dina Esfandiary, and Ariane Tabatabai—then proceeded to cultivate influence with Rob Malley, the head of the International Crisis Group (ICG). That was a key allied group supporting the Obama administration’s approach to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
In fact, the ICG worked so closely with the Obama administration that Malley joined Obama’s National Security Council to support the nuclear negotiations before returning to ICG in 2017, and then became Biden’s special envoy for Iran at the State Department in 2021 for the new round of negotiations.
According to the now publicly available emails in English and Farsi, these IEI operatives on Malley’s staff maintained a cozy relationship with the Iranian regime, which included submitting their articles to Tehran for review and seeking advice about attending international events.
The example of Vaez is particularly illustrative. Even as his boss was being recruited to work on behalf of the United States in 2014, he wrote this to Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs: "As an Iranian, based on my national and patriotic duty, I have not hesitated to help you in any way; from proposing to Your Excellency a public campaign against the notion of [nuclear] breakout, to assisting your team in preparing reports on practical needs of Iran."
In other words, Vaez actively worked to deceive the American people, promoting the idea that the Iranian regime was not seeking a nuclear weapon and that the JCPOA was a good deal, despite knowing that this was false.
While Malley moved back and forth between the Obama and Biden administrations and the private sector, Vaez and Esfandiary remained at the ICG, apparently because they could not acquire the necessary security clearances.
However, Tabatabai, a first generation Iranian-American whose Iran-based father is a university professor close to Rouhani, somehow followed Malley to State before moving on to Defense. Shockingly, she remains on the job as the chief of staff for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special operations.
If these emails are legitimate, as Vaez appeared to confirm on Twitter, the Biden administration must explain itself before it even considers conducting any further talks with Iran.
Moreover, the Biden administration must take immediate action to mitigate this egregious breach of American national security. The individuals identified as Iranian agents should have any of their security clearances revoked and their U.S. government employment terminated.
The staff of the special envoy for Iran and the National Security Council must also be considered potentially compromised until they have been investigated.
Once the present danger is met, Congress must launch a thorough investigation of the Obama and Biden political appointees who were the willing dupes of the IEI. This investigation should start with Malley, who the State Department placed on unpaid leave months ago for a security violation that still has not been explained to Congress, let alone the American people who may have been endangered by this lapse.
Congress should also investigate if any Tehran-sponsored IEI analysts who worked for Malley at the ICG or for the United States government in any capacity have committed violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) by not registering as agents of the Iranian regime.
Additionally, Congress needs to examine any ongoing IEI operations to influence U.S. public opinion in the leadup to a new nuclear deal. On national television this August, for example, Vaez expressed the remarkable opinion that the $6 billion dollars the Biden administration paid in exchange for the release of five unjustly detained Americans in Iran was not a ransom.
On the contrary, Vaez seemed to be arguing that because the U.S. had unfrozen Iranian assets, the release of American citizens was somehow charitable on the part of Tehran. "This is Iran’s money," he insisted, "Iran is paying to release American citizens." Given Iran’s history of predatory hostage taking, such a claim is disingenuous at best; at worst it is the propaganda of a hostile foreign power.
If nothing else, these new reports put the lie to the narrative that the JCPOA was ever a meaningful curb to the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions, and they strongly justify then-president Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to get America out of this terrible, one-sided deal.
All eyes should now be open to the fact that nuclear negotiations with the Iranian regime have been an elaborate parlor game designed to dupe successive Democrat administrations into the delusion that a good-faith, meaningful agreement that protects U.S. national security can be reached with a Islamist theocracy that has been chanting "Death to America" for more than 40 years.
This fantasy has to end now before President Biden and his compromised administration further undermines the safety of all Americans with yet another foolish and fraudulent "deal" with Tehran.
This piece originally appeared in Fox News