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Iranian Oppositions and the Status Quo

A few days ago I received an email introducing a new website mainly for English-language users, entitled “Iraniansforum.com” ,  and asking people to join by registering and signing in on the website and start publishing articles. A familiar name, Hassan Dai, was noted as the chief editor of the website. Being familiar with Hassan Dai’s two other websites and his protracted work in dealing with NIAC, my initial reaction to this email was to respond it with the same impression (i.e., an opinion, not an accusation), I have had subjectively from most oppositions in the Iranian diaspora in regard to their vain struggle in untying the hard knot of their dilemma of status quo. My ultimate blame however has always gone to Western Powers’ dirty politics that have been manipulative among the Iranian oppositions and effective in derailing their efforts on securing democracy in Iran.

Regardless, the purpose of this article is to open up a different angle of criticism on the subject matter, Iranian Oppositions and the Status Quo, for a constructive review. Hassan Dai is known among Iranian public for his efforts on investigating National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) and more specifically Trita (Non-)Parsi, and divulging its IRI-lobbying mission in Washington to public.
According to an article in Iran-Ghalam by Mohammad Sobhani, a former MKO member, Hassan Dai is considered a member of MKO, while Dai himself denies the allegation but admits that his brother and sister are among the current MKO members who are living in Ashraf Camp in Iraq.  According to his website Dai left Iran and settled in France at age 24. After 20 years in France he moved to United States in 2001. Since 2005 he has started collaborating with two independent Iranian journalists inside the country focusing on the Iranian Regime’s lobby in US.

In May 2008 Dai has created and registered two nonprofit organizations, each with its own board of directors,  one called “In Search of Truth”, and the other labeled as “Progressive American-Iranian committee”, PAIC for short. Both organizations have identical contents on their websites and 95% of their subject matters are devoted to investigation on NIAC. Among the goals of the PAIC organization, beyond exposing the intents of IRI-lobbying networks, are enumerated as to strive on gaining support of the US government and international organizations for the real democratic forces inside Iran, and also to promote everlasting friendship among Iranians and Americans.  Interestingly, the means of achieving those goals are listed as follows:

·         Mobilization of the Iranian-Americans in taking an active role in the American politics. 
·         Seeking the support of the American people and different institutions and associations involved in social, political and cultural affairs. 
·         Seeking the support of the legislative branch of the government and the high ranking political authorities.
·         The use of American media to reflect our demands.
Judging from these objectives it is obvious that Hassan Dai’s ambition has been to introduce a cluster of Oppositions as the legitimate “Iranian lobbyist” group in Washington that could replace NIAC. Obviously accomplishing such goal entails more efforts from Dai than just disgracing NIAC in the eye of the politicians in D.C. It also requires him to show to those politicians his superiority in legitimacy, quality and strength of his group over NIAC.  As an advocate, Hassan Dai has been expected to walk the halls of the Congress and Senate speaking for the Iranian American community. Presumably it necessitates for him to express his alternative views of the Iranian-American in Washington D.C.
We’ve never seen him to object when the congress was passing a bill prohibiting visas to all Iranian applicants’ after 9/11. Hassan Dai never started a campaign to protect the Persepolis artifacts from lawsuits. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to Iranians’ welfare in Congress/Senate and Washington he has never been there to represent their voice, on the contrary he has been distant from the U.S. political authorities in Washington for that matter.  Instead all we’ve seen from him was his task of divulging the IRI-lobbying network, too busy within the context of web-text journalism.
By placing all his focus on disgracing NIAC, Hassan Dai has literally taken the risk of putting all his eggs in one basket.  In short, the objectives that have been set for his non-profit organizations at the beginning of their establishment in year 2008 have not met yet. A brief on the new website of “iraniansforum.com” indicates that the primary purpose of the site is to allow for Iranians to express themselves and lets their views known to decision makers in the United States and beyond.
Quickly a question comes to mind that has the purpose of creating this new website been initially aimed at recovering the missed opportunities of walking the hall of Congress in Washington during the last 3 years? In other word, has this website been considered as a substitute template to bypass the practice of Iranian lobbying in Washington? If so, then we should expect witnessing few more years of status quo with no results, since the kind of required experience in Washington will not be achieved through the context of web-text journalism. When someone knocks at the office door of a U.S. decision makers in Washington, the bureaucrat hardly wants to see him, how can one expect those officials to refer to this website on their freewill to find out what Iranian demands are!?
The reality behind the fact that some groups such as NIAC are unjustifiably have managed to get their message across to the Washington and illegally represent themselves as the voice of Iranians is merely due to their superior communication skills and perhaps problem solving ability. What could have possibly gone wrong that after three years nothing more than divulging the IRI-lobbying network has been accomplished by Hassan Dai? What has been the reason that has kept him distant from Washington? At some point of time I personally had the opportunity to have an individual judgment of Dai’s work on NIAC dilemma and to my surprise I noticed that among two choices he picked the one that represented the status quo of ineffective situation over the smart approach, which required the collaboration of team members in doing something much more bigger and efficient. Could his lack of communication skills or management abilities, which I refer to intellectual blocks, be the answer to these two questions?
In most of his research works Hassan Dai has made use of semi-classified (if not classified) materials, which can only be retrieved by a professional team who are fluent in English language and has tie to the Government  intelligence office, and apparently he had in his access such manpower. Besides, Dai has benefited from the Neo-Cons’ support of his views in regard to NIAC dilemma and also on publishing his writings. His work of investigation on NIAC has been produced not only through articles in his websites but via audio and video clips all over the internet and also through short documentaries in LA based Iranian Satellite TV Stations. To my surprise none of these versions of his work has been shown in main-stream media and American TVs to get the message across the nation, or at least no claim for attempting such measure has been heard.
More strange to me has been the fact that I haven’t be able to find a trace of an audio or video clip anywhere that shows Hassan Dai being interviewed in English Language by some foreign media, or participated in some foreign panel or meeting that he has spoken or presented an article in English language. If so, could his lack of English proficiency be the answer to the above-mentioned two questions?
Or maybe we have to find the answer among the dirty politics and deception of Western Powers that for 32 years have tended to create distraction among the Iranian diaspora whom are forced to impede the process of earning democracy for their country.
Mansur Rastani, PhD
July 4, 2011
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