1. On Sunday, @SecPompeo will speak at an event to "support Iranian voices." Some in the Iranian-American community see the #Trump administration as allies in bringing secular democracy to #Iran.

As an Iranian-American, I find this so, so troubling.

lobelog.com/pompeo-religio…
2. Most proponents of regime change agree on a vision of #Iran as “a secular, parliamentary democracy" though they are light on specifics. There is something *totally wild* about casting Pompeo as an ally for any political movement that places secularism on a pedestal.
3. You might think Pompeo's anti-Islam views would be what undercuts any claims that he cares about Iran's common people. He has stated, "The threat to America is from people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer."
vimeo.com/192276878
4. Disappointingly, this bigotry, which underpins policies like the #MuslimBan, might even work in his favor. Irreligious Iranian-Americans can share in the hatred of the "mullahs" in Iran, even as the ban hurts their families.
5. But what is worse than Pompeo's view on Islam is that this animosity is rooted in an evangelical worldview—something Iranian-Americans seemingly don't want to admit. This is a man who has described politics as a “a never-ending struggle…until the rapture.”
6. You know who else talks about politics in terms of the End Time? Acolytes of the Islamic Republic. Khomenei once declared: "We place this revolution into the hands of the Mahdi... let this revolution be the first step toward the appearance of The One Whom God Has Preserved!"
7. The champion of secularism for #Iran is meant to be a man who has for his whole career held weekly Bible studies in government buildings and freaked out CIA staff by bringing "more Jesus" to Langley.
foreignpolicy.com/2017/09/08/mor…
8. The champion of secularism for #Iran is meant to be a man who called the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage "a shocking abuse of power," declaring it "wrong" and vowing "to continue to fight to protect our most sacred institutions."
washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/w…
9. One might say that those are his personal beliefs and that in the US institutions are secular and that is what counts. Well, most of the institutions responsible for failures of governance in #Iran are also secular, as I write in @bopinion.
bloomberg.com/view/articles/…
10. Pompeo presents a double bind. Iranian-American proponents of regime change must either disavow Pompeo as an ally because he exemplifies the same political dogmatism they wish to eliminate from #Iran, or they must concede that institutional reform matters more than ideology.
11. To be clear, any disavowal shouldn't need center on issues of intention or intellectual integrity. This administration has banned Iranians from entering the US while stoking a humanitarian crisis with sanctions. That alone should expose the ruse of "supporting Iranian voices"
12. But if we are going to evaluate the merits of Sunday's speech, we need to put it in the proper context. Pompeo is not a messenger to be trusted, he is not a leader to be emulated, he is not an ally for Iranians in Iran nor in the diaspora.
13. To adapt a revolutionary slogan about Iran being beholden to neither East nor West, the Iranian-American community must declare, “Neither Trump nor Khamenei: independent advocacy.”
14. Sunday's speech is yet another capitulation in our community. Until a real independence is found in our advocacy, any calls for secularism and democracy in Iran will continue to be tainted by those to whom Iranian-Americans weakly turn towards for validation (and funding).

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More from @yarbatman

Sep 14, 2018
THREAD: As protests continue and the rial tumbles, #Iran is increasingly seen as an economic basket case that has squandered its chance to join the ranks of the #BRICs. Here are 7 charts that challenge that view.
bourseandbazaar.com/articles/2018/…
Back in January, I told @folha reporter @DiogoBercito that I saw parallels between the Brazilian protests that have been running since 2014 and those in Iran. In both contexts you hear calls to overthrow the government.
www1.folha.uol.com.br/mundo/2018/01/…
This is the same reaction to the same macroeconomic failures. The frustrated cry of the Iranian protestor is the same cry as that of the Brazilian protestor. Sure, there is some local political and economic dialect. But the language of corruption and inequality is the same.
Read 13 tweets
Aug 22, 2018
1. A couple things that stick out about @FireEye's announcement regarding the discovery of an Iranian “influence operation” across websites, Facebook, and Twitter. This doesn't look like an Internet Research Agency type operation.
fireeye.com/blog/threat-re…
2. Let’s start with one of the primary websites identified as part of the network. Instituto Manquehue. You can check it out here: institutomanquehue.org
3. It is a weird site that is clearly trying to look legitimate. But it doesn’t seem inherently “fake.” The institute appears to have been around since 2014 offering a leftist vision for Latin American journalism free from the “foreign influences of West and East.”
Read 30 tweets
Aug 20, 2018
1. I spend a lot of my time thinking and writing about #Iran. This has a lot to do with meeting Dr. Ehsan Yarshater when I was a high school junior. I am so pleased with the news of a $10 million gift to secure his legacy.
news.columbia.edu/content/1983
2. Back in 2009, I had a vague idea that I wanted to go to @Columbia. Good school + New York seemed enough justification. But my grandmother recommended I go see Dr. Yarshater, an old friend, to learn more about the university.
3. It wasn't the most logical advice. I don't think my grandmother was really aware that Yarshater had not taught for many, many years and that he'd probably have little practical advice for a prospective undergraduate. But I had no idea either, so I gamely traveled to NY.
Read 17 tweets
Aug 3, 2018
1. I wanted to collect some of the years of reporting and writing that highlights why sanctions on #Iran are a sledgehammer, not a scalpel. The only certain outcome of sanctions is pain and suffering for ordinary people. Everything else is a gamble at best. Photo: @Newshaphoto
2. @jrezaian:"The next time an 'Iran expert' tells you that he supports the most crushing sanctions on the regime because they are the best way to support the Iranian people, be sure to ask him the last time he lived through something like this."
washingtonpost.com/news/global-op…
3. @pedestrian: "An economist I know from the University of Tehran put it this way: 'Sanctioning a country like this is similar to permanently disabling a human being. You might stop inflicting harm, but the damage is there forever.'"
vox.com/2015/8/12/9126…
Read 16 tweets
Aug 2, 2018
1. The #Trump administration would like us to believe its sanctions policy is about changing “the behavior of the leadership in #Iran to comport with what the Iranian people really want." Now we have the chance to test whether this is really true.
bloomberg.com/view/articles/…
2. As I write in @bopinion, #Iran has a new central bank governor, Abdolnasser Hemmati. He has a lot on his plate. A currency crisis exacerbated by sanctions fears took his predecessor down. The Central Bank of Iran is going to be placed under sanctions once again next week.
3. European governments are working to find ways to facilitate payments to #Iran's central bank despite the returning US sanctions. But Iran needs to meet the reform requirements set by #FATF to better prevent financial crime. This is a precondition for these special solutions.
Read 9 tweets
Jul 19, 2018
1. @Najmeh_Tehran, the journalist who wrote this piece, is immense. This is an issue she has been covering for years on the ground in #Tehran. You and colleagues at @FDD have cited her reporting in papers, briefings, and testimony. But let's put that aside for a second.
2. Maybe we can find another source that's "capable of writing accurately." How about Ken Katzman, who @FDD has welcomed to its events as "a foremost expert on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and sanctions policy at Congress’ think tank, the Congressional Research Service."
3. The phenomenon described in @Najmeh_Tehran's piece is a simple one. The reapplication of sanctions undermines a moderate president whose primary foreign policy achievement was their removal. As sanctions return, hardline elements, such as the IRGC, are poised to regain power.
Read 13 tweets

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