Trita Parsi

Last updated
Trita Parsi
Trita Parsi - ALTCONF-0174 (4441991863) (cropped).jpg
Parsi in 2010
Born (1974-07-21) 21 July 1974 (age 47)[ citation needed ]
Citizenship Iran, Sweden
Alma mater Johns Hopkins University
Uppsala University
Stockholm University School of Business
OccupationAuthor, Analyst
Organization National Iranian American Council
Spouse(s)Amina Semlali
Childrenson
Website tritaparsi.com

Trita Parsi (Persian : تریتا پارسی, born 21 July 1974) is the co-founder and executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, as well as the founder and former president of the National Iranian American Council. He regularly writes articles and appears on TV to comment on foreign policy and is the author of Treacherous Alliance, A Single Roll of the Dice and Losing an Enemy.

Contents

Early life and education

Born in Behbahan, [2] [1] Iran into a Zoroastrian family, his father Dr. Touraj Parsi [2] was a politically active university professor, at Jondi-Shapoor University of Ahvaz, who had been jailed twice, first by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and then following the Iranian Revolution by Ruhollah Khomeini, [3] and Parsi moved with his family to Sweden at the age of four in order to escape the political repression in Iran. [4] Parsi earned a master's degree in international relations at Uppsala University and a second master's degree in economics at Stockholm School of Economics. [5] As an adult, Parsi moved to the United States and studied foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, where he received his Ph.D. [6] in International Relations under Francis Fukuyama. [5]

Career

Early in his career Parsi worked for the Swedish Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, where he served in the Security Council, handling the affairs of Afghanistan, Iraq, Tajikistan, and Western Sahara, and on the General Assembly's Third Committee, addressing human rights in Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq. [5]

He has served as an adjunct professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University SAIS, an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute and as a Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. [7]

Parsi is an Iranian-Swedish dual national and a permanent resident of the United States. [8] He is fluent in Persian, English, and Swedish. [6]

Trita Parsi was awarded the 2016 Alumni of the Year prize from Uppsala University. [9]

National Iranian American Council

In 2002, Parsi founded the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), whose stated purpose is "dedicated to strengthening the voice of Iranian-Americans and promoting greater understanding between the American and Iranian people. We accomplish our mission through expert research and analysis, civic and policy education, and community building." [10] At NIAC's founding, Parsi argued "Our community is educated, affluent, dynamic, and professionally successful. However, we have yet to harness our immense human potential into constructive engagement in American civil society." [11]

Through NIAC, Parsi supports engagement between the US and Iran, saying it "would enhance our [U.S.] national security by helping to stabilize the Middle East and bolster the moderates in Iran." [6]

In a 2011 talk sponsored by the Institute for Global Law and Policy at the Harvard Law School, Parsi argued that the conflict between Israel and Iran was not ideological but strategic and geopolitical. [12] In a 2012 article for Salon , Parsi accuses Israel of using "the threat of war to push the U.S. and EU into passing economic sanctions on Iran" and denounced those sanctions as "blind" and "indiscriminate." [13]

Lobbying controversy and defamation lawsuit

In 2007, Arizona-based Iranian-American blogger [14] Hassan Daioleslam began publicly asserting that NIAC was lobbying on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Daioleslam wrote in an internal email, "I strongly believe that Trita Parsi is the weakest part of the Iranian web because he is related to Siamak Namazi and Bob Ney... I believe that destroying him will be the start of attacking the whole web. This is an integral part of any attack on Clinton or Obama." [15] [16]

In response, Parsi sued him for defamation. In September 2012, a U.S. federal judge John D. Bates threw out the libel suit against Daioleslam on the grounds that "NIAC and Parsi had failed to show evidence of actual malice, either that Daioeslam acted with knowledge the allegations he made were false or with reckless disregard about their accuracy." Bates also wrote, "Nothing in this opinion should be construed as a finding that defendant’s articles were true. Defendant did not move for summary judgment on that ground, and it has not been addressed here." [17]

Books

Treacherous Alliance

In 2007, Yale University Press published Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States. Parsi's work is an expansion of his 2006 Ph.D. dissertation written at Johns Hopkins University under the supervision of his Ph.D. adviser Francis Fukuyama. [18] The book "takes a closer look at the complicated triangular relations between Israel, Iran, and the United States that continue to shape the future of the Middle East." [19] The book argues that the struggle between Israel and Iran is not ideological but strategic.

The book received many positive reviews. In Foreign Affairs , L. Carl Brown called the book a "well-constructed history" and former U.S. ambassador Peter Galbraith praised the book as "a wonderfully informative account." The book was also praised by political scientist John Mearsheimer and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who was on his dissertation committee. [5] [20] In 2008, Treacherous Alliance was awarded the silver medal (runner-up) in the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Book Award. [19]

Reviewing the book in Commentary in March 2008, however, Nathan Thrall found it "troubling" that a "litany of praise" had "been heaped on this book by authorities in American foreign policy and Middle East studies." Parsi, noted Thrall, believes that "the internal dynamics of states (i.e., their ideology, system of governance, ethnic makeup, class structure, and religion), while important, 'have little or no impact on their respective foreign policies.'" Thrall suggested that in propounding such a thesis, Parsi, "the head of a lobby promoting 'greater understanding' of Iran," may just be "doing his job. But the distinction between arriving at a conclusion and beginning with one is what separates the work of a historian from that of a lobbyist. In this case, it is a distinction that seems to be lost not only on him but on the luminaries who have lined up to endorse his defective scholarship and tendentious conclusions." [20]

Treacherous Alliance received the 2010 Grawemeyer Award from the University of Louisville, given for "Ideas Improving World Order." [5] Treacherous Alliance also won the 2008 Arthur Ross Silver Medallion from the Council on Foreign Relations, which described it as a "unique and important book" that "takes a closer look at the complicated triangular relations between Israel, Iran, and the United States that continue to shape the future of the Middle East." [21]

In a 2011 interview with the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard University, Parsi asserted that his thesis had "been vindicated" by recent events. "I believe it is increasingly clear that efforts to divide the region between moderates vs radicals, democracies vs non-democracies etc is of little utility and has no real explanatory value. Israel, for instance, who had sought to frame its rivalry with Iran as a struggle between the region's sole Western democracy against a fanatical Islamic tyranny, favored the status quo in Egypt and opposed the efforts to oust Mubarak." He added that "With the decline of the US, Israel's strategic paralysis and increased isolation in the region, the rise of Turkey, the 'revolutions' in Tunisia and Egypt, and Iran's continued difficulties in translating its strength to regional acceptance, the region is experiencing momentous changes both in its political structure and in its balance of power. An ideology based approach towards understanding these shifts won't get you far." [22]

A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran

In the 2012 book, Parsi's thesis is that US-Iran relations are in a stalemate caused by institutionalized enmity: "The thirty-year old US-Iran enmity is no longer a phenomenon; it is an institution." He argues that the way forth is through sustained diplomacy that he considers "the only policy that remains largely unexplored and that has a likelihood of achieving results amounting to more than kicking the can down the road." [23]

Julian Borger wrote in The Guardian that A Single Roll of the Dice is "A carefully balanced and thoroughly researched account of the tortured US-Iranian relationship in recent years." [24] L. Carl Brown from Foreign Affairs said the book is "the most incisive account available... eminently readable, sometimes gripping." [25]

Reviewing the book in The Wall Street Journal, Sohrab Ahmari faults Parsi for failing to "re-examine U.S. policy and its underlying assumptions." Instead, he writes, "Quick to ascribe irrationality and bad faith to opponents of engagement, Mr. Parsi is charitable when it comes to examining the motivations of the Iranian side." In opposition to Parsi's position, Ahmari concludes, "Mr. Obama's engagement policy failed not because of Israeli connivance or because the administration did not try hard enough. The policy failed because the Iranian regime, when confronted by its own people or by outsiders, has only one way of responding: with a truncheon." [26]

A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran was selected by Foreign Affairs as the Best Book of 2012 on the Middle East. [7]

Losing an Enemy

This book describes in detail the whole course of the extraordinarily complex international negotiation that led to the conclusion in Vienna on July 14, 2015. [27]

Media appearances

Parsi has been a guest on The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart . [28] [29] Parsi has frequently appeared on C-SPAN to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and Middle Eastern politics. [30] Parsi also gave a widely viewed Ted Talk on the possibility of peace between Iran and Israel. In the talk, Parsi "shows how an unlikely strategic alliance in the past [between Iran and Israel] could mean peace in the future for these two feuding countries." [31]

Parsi is a frequent guest on news programs including CNN, PBS Newshour, NPR, BBC, and Al Jazeera. [32]

Personal life

Parsi is married to Amina Semlali, a human development specialist at the World Bank. [33] They are raising a son together. [34]

Related Research Articles

Zbigniew Brzezinski Polish-American diplomat and political scientist (1928–2017)

Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński, or Zbig, was a Polish-American diplomat and political scientist. He served as a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968 and was President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981. As a scholar, Brzezinski belonged to the realist school of international relations, standing in the geopolitical tradition of Halford Mackinder and Nicholas J. Spykman, while elements of liberal idealism have also been identified in his outlook. Brzezinski was the primary organizer of The Trilateral Commission.

Thomas R. Pickering American diplomat

Thomas Reeve "Tom" Pickering is a retired United States ambassador. Among his many diplomatic appointments, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1989 to 1992.

Iran–Israel relations Bilateral relations

Iran–Israel relations can be divided into four major phases: the ambivalent period from 1947 to 1953, the friendly period during the era of the Pahlavi dynasty from 1953 to 1979, the worsening period following the Iranian Revolution from 1979 to 1990, and the ongoing period of open hostility since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. In 1947, Iran was among 13 countries that voted against the United Nations Partition Plan for the British Mandate of Palestine. Two years later, Iran also voted against Israel's admission to the United Nations.

Israel–United States relations Bilateral relations

Since the 1960s, the United States has been a very strong supporter of Israel. It has played a key role in the promotion of good relations between Israel and its neighbouring Arab states—namely Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, along with several others in the 2020 Abraham Accords—while also holding off hostility from other Middle Eastern countries such as Syria and Iran. Relations with Israel are a very important factor in the U.S. government's overall foreign policy in the Middle East, and the U.S. Congress has likewise placed considerable importance on the maintenance of a close and supportive relationship.

Operation Opera, also known as Operation Babylon, was a surprise airstrike conducted by the Israeli Air Force on 7 June 1981, which destroyed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor located 17 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. The Israeli operation came after Iran's partially-successful Operation Scorch Sword had caused minor damage to the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center a year prior, with the damage having been subsequently repaired by French technicians. Operation Opera, and related Israeli government statements following it, established the Begin Doctrine, which explicitly stated the strike was not an anomaly, but instead "a precedent for every future government in Israel". Israel's counter-proliferation preventive strike added another dimension to its existing policy of deliberate ambiguity, as it related to the nuclear weapons capability of other states in the region.

The National Iranian American Council is a nonprofit, civil society, and lobbying NGO based in Washington, D.C. Trita Parsi was one of the founders and is the organization's former president. Jamal Abdi, formerly NIAC's Vice President for Policy and Executive Director for NIAC Action, took over as president on August 1, 2018.

United States foreign policy in the Middle East Activities and objectives of the United States in the Middle East

United States foreign policy in the Middle East has its roots in the 19th-century Barbary Wars that occurred shortly after the 1776 establishment of the United States as an independent sovereign state, but became much more expansive in the aftermath of World War II. With the goal of preventing the Soviet Union from gaining influence in the region during the Cold War, American foreign policy saw the deliverance of extensive support in various forms to anti-communist and anti-Soviet regimes; among the top priorities for the U.S. with regards to this goal was its support for the State of Israel against its Soviet-backed neighbouring Arab countries during the peak of the Arab–Israeli conflict. The U.S. also came to replace the United Kingdom as the main security patron for Saudi Arabia as well as the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf in the 1960s and 1970s in order to ensure, among other goals, a stable flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. As of 2022, the U.S. has diplomatic relations with every country in the Middle East except for Iran, with whom relations were severed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and Syria, with whom relations were suspended in 2012 following the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War.

Israels role in the Iran–Iraq war Overview of Israels role in the Iran–Iraq War

Israel's role in the Iran–Iraq war consisted of support provided by Israel to Iran during the Iran–Iraq War from 1980 to 1988. During the war, Israel was one of the main suppliers of military equipment to Iran. Israel also provided military instructors during the war and direct support to Iran's war effort, when it bombed and destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, during Operation Opera. The nuclear reactor was a central component of Iraq's nuclear weapons program.

Arthur Ross Book Award

The Arthur Ross Book Award is a politics-related literary award.

The Alliance of the periphery or the Periphery doctrine is a foreign policy strategy that called for Israel to develop close strategic alliances with non-Arab Muslim states in the Middle East to counteract the united opposition of Arab states to the existence of Israel. It was developed by David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, and employed chiefly towards Turkey, pre-revolutionary Iran and Imperial Ethiopia, as well as the Kurdish community across the Middle East such as in Iraq and in Iran.

Nathan Thrall American journalist

Nathan Thrall is an American author, essayist, and journalist based in Jerusalem. Thrall is the author of The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, and The New York Review of Books. His reporting, essays, and criticism have also appeared in GQ, The Guardian Long Read, The New Republic, Slate, and The New York Times, and have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

The term Obama Doctrine is frequently used to describe the principles of US foreign policy under the Obama administration (2009–2017). He relied chiefly on his two highly experienced Secretaries of State: Hillary Clinton (2009–2013) and John Kerry (2013–2017), and Vice President Joe Biden.

<i>Resalat</i> (newspaper)

Resalat is a conservative daily newspaper in Iran. It is a pro-Khamenei and pro-Ahmadinejad newspaper.

Presidency of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Presidency of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was the 5th and 6th government of Iran after Iranian Revolution. At that time, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was the president.

Uri Lubrani Israeli diplomat and military official (1926-2018)

Uriel Lubrani was an Israeli diplomat and military official. In 1964, he joined the diplomatic corps of the Foreign Ministry, and was appointed ambassador to Uganda and non-resident ambassador to Burundi and Rwanda, serving until 1967. From 1967 to 1971, he was ambassador to Ethiopia.

Ahmad Kashani

Ahmad Kashani is an Iranian politician. He was a member of the Iranian parliament from 1980 to 1986. On November 5, 1986, although he was still a member of the parliament, was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence and National Security and passed 2 years of his life in the jail. He registered as a presidential candidate in the 2013 Iranian presidential election. His nomination was rejected by Guardian Council.

Ahmad Mirfendereski Iranian politician (1918–2004)

Ahmad Mirfendereski was an Iranian diplomat, politician and the last minister of foreign affairs of the Shah era in Iran.

Exodus of Irans Jews

Exodus of Iran's Jews refers to the emigration of Persian Jews from Iran in the 1950s and the later migration wave from the country during and after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, during which the community of 80,000 dropped to less than 20,000. The migration of Persian Jews after the Iranian Revolution is mostly attributed to fear of religious persecution, economic hardships and insecurity after the deposition of the Imperial regime, consequent domestic violence and the Iran–Iraq War.

The Arab–Israeli alliance against Iran, occasionally referred to as an Israeli-Sunni alliance or coalition, is an unofficial regional security coalition between Israel and the mostly Sunni Arab States led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, in the interest of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It was promoted by the United States following the February 2019 Warsaw Conference, and coalesced in normalization agreements of 2020 collectively known as the Abraham Accords.

Iraqi rocket attacks on Israel Unsuccessful Iraqi campaign against Israel during the Gulf War

The Iraqi rocket attacks on Israel were part of an Iraqi missile campaign against Israel during the First Gulf War.

References

  1. 1 2 رضايي, اپراتور / (2020-12-19). "آشنایی با تریتا پارسی مشاور احتمالی بایدن!". تیتربرتر (in Persian). Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  2. 1 2 "رئیس بهبهانی شورای ایرانیان امریکا و مرد هزار چهره مذاکرات هسته ای کیست؟!". Behbahan-e Ma. ۱۳۹۵-۰۶-۰۲T23:49:03+00:00. Retrieved 2020-12-20.{{cite web}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Bob Driehaus (June 28, 2017). "Son of Iranian dissident sees hope and peril on horizon". WCPO-TV . Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  4. "Trita Parsi". New York State Writers Institute.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Huffington Post. "Trita Parsi bio". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 NIAC Staff = (8 July 2007). "Dr. Trita Parsi, President" . Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  7. 1 2 Parsi, Trita. "About Me" . Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  8. Parsi, Trita (12 November 2013). "Iran Nuke Negotiations - Trita Parsi Interview" (Video). The Colbert Report. 3 minutes, 22 seconds. Retrieved 8 August 2016. I was born in Iran. I am a Swedish citizen ... I'm a [U.S.] green card holder.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  9. "Trita Parsi blir Årets alumn 2016 - Uppsala universitet". www.uu.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  10. National Iranian American Council (NIAC). "About NIAC".
  11. NIAC Staff (1 May 2002). "National Iranian American Council Opens Its Doors".
  12. Wong, Joanne. "President of the National Iranian American Council puts the conflict between Israel and Iran in historical perspective". Harvard Law. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  13. Parsi, Trita. "Israel's diplomatic scare game". Salon. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  14. Armin Rosen (March 5, 2015). "America's most prominent group advocating engagement with Iran was hit with a rough court decision". Business Insider . Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  15. Josh Rogin (13 November 2009). "Does Washington have an Iran Lobby?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  16. MJ Rosenberg (7 May 2013). "Epic fail: The neocon attempt to destroy the anti-Iran war movement". Al-Jazeera. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  17. Josh Gerstein (13 September 2012). "Iranian-American group, leader lose libel case against writer". Politico. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  18. Parsi, Trita (28 October 2008). Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States (1 ed.). Yale University Press. p. 18. ISBN   978-0300143119.
  19. 1 2 "Paul Collier's Bottom Billion Wins CFR's 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award". Council on Foreign Relations. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  20. 1 2 Thrall, Nathan (March 2008). "Persian Aversion". Commentary Magazine.
  21. Council on Foreign Relations. "Paul Collier's Bottom Billion Wins CFR's 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award" . Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  22. Saberi, Hengameh. "Interview with Parsi". Harvard. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  23. Steve Coll, 'Will Iran Get That Bomb?', review of Parsi in New York Review of Books, May 24, 2012, pp.34-36, p.35.
  24. Julian Borger (21 March 2012). "A Single Roll of the Dice, by Trita Parsi review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  25. L. Carl Brown (May–June 2012). "A Single Roll of the Dice, Obama's Diplomacy with Iran". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  26. "It Takes Two to Engage". The Wall Street Journal. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  27. "Losing an Enemy".
  28. "Iran Nuke Negotiations - Trita Parsi". The Colbert Report. Comedy Central. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  29. "Trita Parsi Interview". The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Comedy Central. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  30. "Trita Parsi | C-SPAN.org". www.c-span.org. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  31. "Iran and Israel: Peace is Possible". TED. Ted Talk. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  32. Parsi, Trita. "About Me". Trita Parsi. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  33. "Amina Semlali". World Bank.
  34. "https://twitter.com/amina_semlali/status/1007655291494813698". Twitter. Retrieved 2022-03-23.{{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)