Two high-level Iranian government backers, including a former Islamic Republic official and another accused of lobbying on Tehran's behalf, were hosted at the Obama White House for more than 30 meetings with top officials at key junctures in the former administration's contested diplomacy with Iran, according to White House visitor logs exposed by The Washington Free Beacon (WFB) earlier this week.
Seyed Mousavian, a former Iranian diplomat and head of its national security council, was hosted at the White House at least three times, while Trita Parsi, a US-based pro-Iran advocate long accused of hiding his ties to the Iranian government, met with Obama administration officials some 33 times, according to WFB.
Citing sources familiar with the nature of the meetings, WFB reported that both Parsi and Mousavian helped the White House craft its pro-Iran messaging and talking points that helped lead to the controversial nuclear agreement with Iran.
Mousavian, who also served as Iran's spokesperson during negotiations with the international community on the Iran deal, visited with White House National Security Council official Robert Malley, who advised the former president about the Middle East and the Daesh militant group.
Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council, an outfit tied to the Obama White House that helped spearhead a pro-Iran narrative, met with several senior Obama administration officials during dozens of visits to the White House, the logs examined by WFB show.
This included private, one-on-one meetings with Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, who helmed what he described as the White House's pro-Iran deal "echo chamber," as well as meetings with Malley and Colin Kahl, national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden.
Parsi also met with the White House NSC's director for Iran, its senior director, legislative liaisons, and public engagement officials, according to WFB.
WFB quoted Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, as saying that the Obama administration bent over backward to host pro-Iran advocates.
"Talk about letting the fox into the hen house. Letting the head of an organisation whose foreign policy positions are indistinguishable from the Islamic Republic more than 30 times would be analogous to letting the Soviet Union's chief lobbyist help guide policy during the Cold War," Rubin said.
WFB also quoted Saeed Ghasseminejad, an associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Iran expert, as saying: "Mr Mousavian's visit is a red flag. Mr Mousavian, Iran's ambassador in Berlin when Iran assassinated many of its critics in Germany, is on the record talking about the necessity of having a powerful Tehran lobby in the United States."