Hagel linked to Iranian lobby

By Taylor Rose

WASHINGTON – Could Sen. Chuck Hagel, whose Senate vote on his nomination as the next secretary of defense has been delayed until next week because of controversies over his work, be a potential lobbyist for Iran? After all, he’s already been endorsed by the rogue nation for the administrative post.

Clare Lopez, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, spoke to WND on the subject, asserting that Hagel “is associated … with people who are associated with” the National Iranian American Council. And that, Lopez explains, is “the center of the Iranian lobby in America.”

Hagel, though not directly tied to NIAC, is affiliated with other groups that are directly tied into the funding and supporting of NIAC.

Hagel sits on the board of the left-wing foundation “Ploughshares Fund,” which has, according to Sarah Stern, the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, “given more than $2 million in grants to organizations that support lifting sanctions on Iran and weakening the Israeli-American alliance.”

The most relevant of these organizations is the National Iranian American Council, which received since 2007, over $600,000 in grants.

The Ploughshares Fund also financially supports other left-wing groups such as Media Matters for America, National Public Radio, the Stimson Center and the Woodrow Wilson Center, all for conducting pro-Iranian/anti-war activities.

The Ploughshares Fund in June 2012 gave $65,000, “To support [Iranian] Ambassador S. Hossein Mousavian’s expert analysis, policy recommendations and media work related to reducing tensions between the U.S., the international community and Iran” at Princeton University, where he is currently a visiting research scholar.

These connections have also been confirmed by Kenneth Timmerman of the Washington Post who wrote, “Over the years, Mr. Hagel has developed an ongoing relationship with the American-Iranian Council, a precursor to the National Iranian American Council. Both groups oppose U.S. sanctions on Iran, support Iranian trade with U.S. businesses and promote unconditional U.S. negotiations with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program.”

Hagel spoke June 27, 2001, to the American Iranian Council (the predecessor to the NAIC) where he deplored U.S. sanctions against Iran and Libya, stating that they “isolate” the United States. He also spoke a second time to the AIC in March 2002.

Trita Parsi, the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council, recently wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post in which he defended Hagel’s position on Iran and said that “his presence in the Obama administration would inject a much-needed dose of clear-sighted realism and strategic thinking. He would provide Obama’s national security team with the patience needed to ensure that America doesn’t commit another strategic mistake such as Iraq.”

As further confirmation that NIAC is embedded with the agenda of the Iranian regime, in September last year, the Legal Project issued a report upon the conclusion of a defamation case where it “exposed Parsi’s and NIAC’s deep and incontrovertible ties to high-level agents of the Iranian regime.”

In summary, according to the Legal Project’s website, the case was where Parsi sued Seid Hassan Daioleslam for defamation in April 2008 after “Mr. Dai” found the links and reported on them.

Sam Nunberg of the Legal Project, who defended Dai, said, “Mr. Dai has been the victim of a predatory lawsuit simply because he exposed the direct connection between the Iranian Regime and NIAC.”

Additionally, the report “confirmed” e-mails that showed Parsi’s “ties to the mullahs but also that he has delivered lectures to the CIA, briefed Secretary Hilary Clinton and visited the Obama White House starting in 2009. As recently as this past July, he was hosted by senior adviser to the president Valerie Jarrett.”

The NAIC has also confirmed receiving funding from George Soros’s “Open Society” and has additionally received money from the “Cultures of Resistance” radical anti-war organization that supports so-called “peace” efforts in North Korea and the Gaza Strip.

In addition to his links to NIAC, Hagel is also affiliated with another pro-Iranian think tank called “The Iran Project,” where he has been a signatory to a number of reports that discourage a military option of resolving the Iranian nuclear issue.

One of the core members of the Iran Project is former ambassador Thomas Pickering who is also, according to Lopez “a close affiliate of NIAC” and he has also signed onto many other reports from the Iran Project. Pickering also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and sits on the board of the American Iranian Council and the U.S.-Middle East Project.

The U.S.-Middle East Project was founded by the Council on Foreign Relations in 1994 to provide “non-partisan analysis of the Middle East peace process,” and Thomas Pickering is a “senior advisor” along with Hagel.Clare Lopez described the US-Middle East Project as “rabidly anti-Israel.”

Pickering more recently has contributed to the State Department investigation into the Benghazi terror attacks.

By its own admission, the Ploughshare Fund also that it has funded “in part” the Iran Project and proudly announces that its board member, Hagel, is a part of the Iran Project.

The Iran Project also has the backing of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which helped found it in 2002 and boasts other prominent geopolitical figures such as former Republican national security advisor Brent Scowcroft, former Democratic national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank Paul Volcker.

Lopez adds, “On these different boards there are people who overlap with NIAC or are a part of the Iran lobby,” which leads to the conclusion that Hagel is a part of a large network of individuals who do not believe that Iran may necessarily be an enemy of the United States.

To further complicate the matter, Hagel also sits on the board of Deutsche Bank, where, according to Politico, he received “$100,000 in fees for serving.” He was appointed to the position in 2009.

Deutsche Bank is currently being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department and the Department of Treasury for having strong connections to Iran and violating the trade embargo on Iran’s oil and energy sector, which many believe is a key part in Iran’s nuclear program.

In response to these various connections and policy positions, Lopez that it is possible for Hagel to be “compromised” in regards to his approach to Iran.

“I think that his position on Iran as expressed through statements, affiliations and board membership all point to a policy outlook that is conciliatory to the current regime in Tehran and that is extremely dangerous … especially when Iran is already saying they are a nuclear power,” Lopez said.

In regards to policy and considering Hagel’s worldview, Lopez predicts “we’ll see a continuation of the outreach to Iran, the willingness to continue to talk … and let ultimatum after ultimatum pass with no consequences to the regime.”

Sarah Stern echoed a similar mantra, for she said that “Iran will be delighted” at his confirmation and she believes “They will accelerate their nuclear program and they are going view America as being very naïve.”

Lopez also spoke in regards to Israel that she is very concerned about the future “level of trust:” between American leadership and Israeli leadership, which could cause a massive amount of damage to American foreign policy towards Iran if America is divided against her main ally in the region.

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