A trusted Obama aide who once worked for an alleged Iranian regime lobbying group is one of the individuals in charge of Iran policy planning at the State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson.
Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for former President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), has burrowed into the government under President Trump. She’s now in charge of Iran and the Persian Gulf region on the policy planning staff at the State Department.
To make matters worse, Nowrouzzadeh is a former employee of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), a non-profit that is accused of being a lobbying group for the Iranian regime. NIAC’s current president, Trita Parsi, has long held close relationships with top officials in the Tehran dictatorship. In February, a group of over 100 prominent Iranian dissidents called for Congress to investigate NIAC’s ties to the Iranian regime.
One of Nowrouzzadeh’s primary duties under President Obama was to promote initiatives that pushed the Iran deal. As President Obama’s NSC director for Iran, Nowrouzzadeh sat in on high-level briefings along with President Obama, former VP Joe Biden, and former Secretary of State John Kerry, as top White House staff crafted false narratives on the Iran deal to sell to the American public.
According to the head of a state-run Iranian newspaper, Nowrouzzadeh was an essential element to pushing through the Iran deal. Editor-in-Chief Emad Abshenass said that she opened up a direct line of communication with the Iranian president’s brother. “She helped clear a number of contradictions and allowed the entire endeavor to succeed," Abshenass said of her efforts.
Nowrouzzadeh’s advocacy for President Obama’s directives resulted in an agreement that has done enormous damage to the security interests of the United States and its allies. Iran, the world’s top sponsor of international terrorism, was gifted $150 billion dollars for agreeing to the deal. The deal will not restrict Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In fact, the regime in Tehran may now have the operational capacity to deploy nuclear warheads within the next decade, according to expert estimates.
Towards the end of President Obama’s tenure, Nowrouzzadeh was embedded into the State Department and for a brief time served as its Persian language spokesperson.
In addition to Nowrouzzadeh, several other prominent Obama officials currently serve under Sec Tillerson at the State Department. A former John Kerry apprentice, Michael Ratney, occupies the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio there. Another trusted Obama aide, Yael Lempert, also serves under Tillerson on the same platform.
Why Secretary Tillerson has decided to keep on a chief Obama policy official remains unclear. The State Department did not return multiple requests for comment seeking additional information on Nowrouzzadeh’s role at the government agency.
Editor's note: Maintaining the State Department's laser-like focus on pressing foreign matters, an official reached out to CR to insist that Ms. Nowrouzzadeh has not "burrowed" into the Department.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent of CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.
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