Due to lack of funding Planet Iran is unable to continue publishing at this point in time

Posts | Comments | /

NIAC’s internal documents- Series Five

Posted by Zand-Bon on Dec 22nd, 2009 and filed under Photos, Regime Lobbies & Promoters Outside Iran, Sections. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Bookmark This!
Close Bookmark and Share This Page
  Link HTML: 
 If you like this then please subscribe to the RSS Feed or .

December 21, 2009


Funding from NED and EF

Part 1: NIAC’s coordination with the Iranian government and Hamyaran


National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and its president Trita Parsi arranged to receive congressional appropriated funds from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Eurasia Foundation.

NIAC’s projects were approved and welcomed by the Iranian regime. The Iranian foreign ministry asked NIAC to coordinate its projects with Hamyaran. Consequently, NIAC’s main partner in Tehran was Hamyaran.

Hamyaran is not an NGO but a government initiated agency incepted, initiated, founded and managed by the Iranian regime.  Hamyaran has been managed by Baquer Namazi and Hossein Malek- Afzali who was the Deputy Minister and Under Secretary of Health. He held high governmental positions for almost 2 decades till 2008.

At the same time, NIAC and Trita Parsi have lobbied the congress to stop appropriating funds for independent democratic movements and NGOs that were not under Hamyaran or regime’s control.  While NIAC’s actions has had three distinct but related goals:

-          to block resources to the NGOs not controlled by the government,

-          to provide resources to their showcase NGOs,

-          and to funnel  the American taxpayers’ money to the Iranian lobby in the US to benefit Tehran’s goals.

NIAC’s actions with respect to the congressional appropriated funds are suspect of defrauding American taxpayers and deserve nothing short of a full congressional investigation.

Background: The Projects

In 2002, NIAC received a to organize a 2 day workshop for the Iranian NGOs in Tehran. The workshop took place in 2004.

In 2005, NIAC received its ($64000) from NED “to develop and launch a website, Online NGO Resource Center, to strengthen organizational capacity of local groups in Iran and foster cooperation between Iranian NGOs, international NGOs and foreign funding institutions.” The project started in April 2005.

A year later, another to NIAC to continue the outreach to the Iranian NGOs through the Farsi website and also organize a 12 day workshop for 7 Iranian NGOs in Turkey.

At the same time, NIAC received another $71.500 from Eurasia Foundation for the Farsi website.

Part of the project (the workshop in Turkey) was cancelled and $20000 of funds was returned to NED. Overall, $220,000 was paid to NIAC for the Farsi website and its outreach to the Iranian NGOs.

In late 2007, NIAC asked for additional fund for the extension of its project but NED denied their demand.

NIAC’s activities (will be discussed in part two)

The 2004 workshop was held in Tehran by NIAC and Hamyaran. Hadi Ghaemi and Dokhi Fassihian represented NIAC.

The review of documents shows that the 2005-2007 projects were carried out by one single man, Mohammad Mansouri who was hired by NIAC. He continued to reside in CA and the majority of the time he worked for another organization (the HAND foundation). He travelled one single time to Iran.

The only result of his hiring (and $220.000 of Congressional money) was the launch of a Farsi website over a short period of time and the translation of an English book into Farsi which was gradually posted on this website.

Trita Parsi received Mansouri’s quarterly reports and rewrote them in a more positive way. For this activity, Parsi was paid monthly consulting fees.

How did NIAC spend the funds? (will be discussed in part two)

The review of Trita Parsi and Mansouri’s communications shows that the whole project was limited to Mansouri’s “work”, his reports to Parsi and Parsi’s reports to NED.

Their private communications show that their main concern was to obtain the funds from NED at any price and under any pretext. For them, NED fund was “a good source of income for them.”

These communications show a pattern of deception to mislead the NED to get the maximum of funds for trivial activities.

Regarding project’s success and the outreach to the Iranian NGOs, there is a sharp contrast between the positive reports submitted by NIAC to NED from one hand and the content of private communications between Trita Parsi and M. Mansouri on the other hand.

Part 1: NIAC’s coordination with the Iranian government and Hamyaran

1998: Baquer Namazi and the Iranian government created Hamyaran

In 1998 the Iranian government created a showcase of several Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) under one umbrella organization called Hamyaran.  Hamyaran, was the outcome of a conference of three sectors.  The first sector, according to the conference outcomes report was deputy ministers and representatives of several Iranian ministries and the Iranian parliament.  The second sector was Iranian “non-governmental organizations” headed by Hossein Malek Afzali, (an influential deputy minister himself!) The third group, according to the report, was International organizations’ representatives (including United Nations).   This conference of the mostly Iranian government agents decided that a new umbrella NGO will manage, coordinate and represent the showcase Iranian NGOs.   This umbrella organization was called “Iran NGO Initiative” (INI) that since 2000 is called Hamyaran.

Baquer namazi and Malekafzali (deputy minister) have led this organization.

•  Document:

•  Documents:


  • March 2002, Iranian foreign ministry specified the role of Hamyaran

(Document recovered from Hamyaran’s website through “Web archive”

Under the supervision of the government, Hamyaran was also charged with creating communication channels with the Iranians living in the US.

Hamyaran’s report of one of their meeting in the “ministry of foreign affairs”

  • “Representatives offour entities reviewed the grounds for mutual cooperation in the area of strengthening the ties between the Iranian Expatriates and corresponding agencies in Iran with specific emphasis on the role of NGOs in this process.
  • An overall agreement was reached on the nature of cooperation between the Government Agencies, International Agencies, and concerned Iranian NGOs both domestic and abroad.
  • Workshops on specific topics related to the Iranian Expatriates and the “International Conference on the Role of Iranian Expatriates” were considered as immediate action plans.”


May 2002: NIAC its first NED grant to work with Iranian NGOs in Tehran

NED website:To design and implement a two-day media training workshop in Iran for forty staff members from five civic groups. The training will cover public education and outreach, video production, script writing, and graphics usage, and will help the Council gauge participants general receptiveness to civic activities. Participants will also be trained in project development and proposal writing and will be encouraged to identify their needs, develop a public message, and outline an appropriate publicity campaign.”


2002-2003: NIAC approached the Iranian government and the foreign ministry instructed NIAC on how to carry out the project

NIAC report to NED

Document: “

“During 2002 and 2003, NIAC established communications with Iranian NGOs and worked to lay the groundwork for partnership on this project. NIAC also met with Iranian government officials who provided information about official channels to carry out the project. In the Fall of 2003, NIAC met with the Executive Director of Hamyaran, Baquer Namazi, in Washington D.C. and agreed that the two organizations would begin collaboration on NGO capacity-building and human exchange, starting with the visual media workshop.


As one of the only internationally-funded organizations operating in Iran (funded by the Population Council’s Egypt Office), Hamyaran was well-placed to serve as NIAC’s main partner in Iran. Years of Iranian isolation, poor U.S.-Iran relations, and the Iranian government’s fear of a growing civil society have contributed to a lack of basic working knowledge by Iranian and American entities about the other’s legal structures, working relationships, and organizational culture and norms. Iranian NGOs have very little knowledge of the structure and culture of non-governmental organizations in the United States. Similarly, US organizations are unfamiliar with Iran’s grass-roots, but state-dependent NGO culture.

Led by a former UNICEF Resident Representative, Hamyaran’s leadership and staff are professionally trained in the United States, and the organization continues to attract students and project staff from the United States. The organization is unique in that it straddles the world of Iranian NGOs with that of international and Western NGOs.

Most importantly, Hamyaran operates independently, but with the implicit permission of the Iranian government. Its mandate and mission to work within the Iranian NGO sector as well as with outside groups, has been allowed by the government. On the other hand, most other Iranian NGOs, although led by highly qualified and dedicated individuals, lack the international experience and connections to provide enough incentive to work directly with U.S. organizations and donors, particularly in a fluid and uncertain political climate. Most are unwilling to directly partner with a US-based organization.

NIAC’s assessment on working inside Iran and within the Iranian NGO community was that working through Hamyaran for this initial workshop was the most effective path toward establishing relationships with other groups. A partnership with Hamyaran allowed us to utilize the group’s extensive reach and expertise inside Iran, while giving time for confidence-building between NIAC and other Iranian NGOs, who may at first be hesitant to collaborate.”


NIAC’s communivation with Iranian foreign Ministry


Timesheet by Parsi and Hadi Ghaemi (NIAC board member) shows 4 hours of communication with Iranian foreign ministry



November 2003: Namazi’s speech: Government encourages the expatriates to work with NGOs in Iran


Namazi: “Despite impediments, there are ample opportunities for expanding NGO activities, assisted by the progressive forces in the government and a special section in the fourth plan that encourages expansion of civil society movements. Mr. Namazi said there are many opportunities for expatriate Iranians to get involved in NGO activities both in Tehran and in the provinces. Expatriate Iranians can act as “bridges” between the host countries and their native Iran



“Baqer Namazi, Hamyaran’s co-leader, in 2003, the height of the brutal suppression of the Iranian civil society, said:

…  At present the new policies of the Foreign Ministry have a more facilitating role and direct cooperation of Iranian NGOs with international counterparts is smoother and easier. We invite government officials to participate, and several have come to do so. The government’s professional staff has welcomed such initiatives. … To come back to the question of the Iranian expatriates, the Foreign Ministry has been encouraging us to reach out to the Iranian experts in the Diaspora, either individually, or in a more institutionalized form such as through Iranians working at the World Bank. So in terms of policy, the trend is becoming more positive, and the regulations are being made easier, there is verbal encouragement, but there are also the banal problems such as getting visas et cetera. But generally the government is positive towards the NGOs networking with the expatriate professional Iranians who are working in Europe and in America”

January 2004: NIAC collaborated with Hamyaran to hold a in Tehran

Document: “

“Hamyaran provided a letter of invitation for NIAC representatives to carry with them to Iran, specifically stating that NIAC would be partnering with Hamyaran to conduct a workshop for Iranian NGOs. After receiving specific instructions and workshop materials from NIAC, Hamyaran organized the event in Iran, including its communications with NGOs, publicizing the event, translating and producing the documents needed for the workshop, as well as providing for the venue and refreshments during the two-day workshop. NIAC and Hamyaran worked together to assemble the required technical equipment, including digital cameras, laptops, and software.”

Hadi Ghaemi in Tehran, January 2004

Hadi Ghaemi in Tehran, January 2004


2005-2007: NIAC received additional funds from NED and EF to work with Iranian NGOs

Hamyaran was NIAC’s partner:

NIAC document: “

“NIAC will promote the website to Iranian based NGOs through the NGO umbrella organization Hamyaran – who will disseminate the project’s goals and features to the NGO community in Iran.”


NIAC’s good reputation with the Iranian regime

Communications between M. Mansouri (NIAC’s NGOs manager) and Trita Parsi show that NIAC enjoyed from a good reputation among part of the Iranian government.


“I don’t know how reasonable it will be to take the risk and actually go to Iran, though. I have to do more research on this issue. From what’s going on in the world, it might be very dangerous and we may be forced to cancel it. Don’t you think so?”

Parsi responded the same day:

“Re the Iran trip, I think it will be difficult to get out of this one. Since nothing extraordinary has occurred since we submitted the proposal (Ahmadinejad was already in office) we are going to have a tough time with this one. Nevertheless, we have to be careful and not put you in risk. I can tell you though that NIAC has a good name in iran and your association with it will not harm you. In fact, I believe two of our board members are in Iran as we speak!”


Iranian ministry of interior: NIAC had never done anything seriously bad against Islamic Republic.

Email: “

Mansoori’s report to NED in 2006:

“Moreover, I was called in, apparently by a division operating under the interior ministry and was interviewed. Basically, the interviewer admonished me from taking any action in regards to Iranian NGOs in Iran. He sounded very scary but at the same time he stated his points in a friendly manner. He said that the reason they would let go of me is that they knew NIAC had never done anything seriously bad against Islamic Republic. He said that they did not care about other educational projects that we had carried out in the past (referring to the NGO Resources Online), but would confront us if we would have involved Iranian NGOs in some international gatherings. And finally, he threatened me of not being able to leave the country.”



“A second challenge was a misquote by Agence Franc Presse, which accredited NIAC for organizing anti-Tehran demonstrations on the Mall in Washington DC on July 9. On learning about this mistake, NIAC immediately contacted AFP and convinced them to make a correction. AFP retracted the story, but it took them three days to do so, by which the story had been picked up by other news media. Although NIAC’s has channels to inform certain parts of the Iranian government on the inaccuracy of the AFP report, the misquote can be used by other elements of the government to create obstacles. Furthermore, the parts of the government that NIAC has access to are steadily losing their influence in Iran.”


NIAC’s other partner in Tehran was the “Science and Arts Foundation” (SAF). This foundation’s president is Haeri Yazdi, a high government official

Document: )

“As for more contact with Iranian NGOs, I was able to talk to Dr. Tabesh and his wife Ms. Momeni who are the directors of SAF and they said they will do their best to make an effective connection with many Iranian NGOs and will help me to go through the interview with them while I am in Iran.”

About SAF:

SAF’s president in Iran has been Mohammad Reza Haeri Yazdi, a high governmental official.

SAF website

Haeri Yazdi is a high government official and the “General Director for Research, Ministry of Industry in Iran”.


Baquer Namazi’e effort to legitimize NIAC’s lobby to end the Democracy Fund

A letter is drafted in January 2008 by Namazi and sent to Parsi. Together, they start to collect signatures. In this letter, they ask the end of “Democracy Fund” and support to the independent Iranian NGOs.



Parsi sent the draft to NIAC’s employee and asked them to use it in their lobby


Parsi wrote: “this addresses teh 75 million


Some examples of NIAC’s lobby to end the Democracy Fund and terminate the US support to independent Iranian NGOs


July 2008: Namazi sent the final draft of the letter to Parsi and asked him to lobby the Congress




Namasi wrote to Parsi:

Dear Trita,

Tks for positive feedback on above message and for posting on NIAC’s web. I could not find it. Could you assist. It was posted on gulf2000 and CASMII webs.

Your advice and assistance to get it to Congress and to US media and academics and to

Iran-American community would be highly appreciated.

Best wishes



June 2008: Hassan Daioleslam’s article about NIAC’s cooperation with Hamyaran and the Senate inquiry

June 2008: :

He explained the relation between NIAC and Hamyaran and the Iranian regime’s involvement with Hamyaran. According to Dai, Hamyaran was not an NGO because it was managed by a deputy minister and also because the government initiated its creation and supervised and controlled its operations.


NIAC’s reaction to Daioleslam’s article: coordinate with NED to “hit him hard”


“I would talk to NED immediately about this and perhaps consult them on how to address this. They will have more resources and avenues to hit him hard.”


NED released a statement and rejected Daioleslam’s claims

On July 1, 2009 NED released a statement in which it rejected Daioleslam’s accusations and defended NIAC.


“The program was carried out, but not, as alleged in the “FrontPage” article, by working with agencies of the Iranian government.”


Senate investigation

Then, the Senate showed interest and asked NED to clarify this issue. Trey Hicks from the Senate asked 3 questions about Hassan Dai’s allegations regarding NIAC’s partners in Iran.


Then, NED official sent the questions to Trita Parsi. And Parsi sent NED questions to Namazi in Tehran. And finally, Namazi confirmed Daioleslam’s claims:



I do appreciate any clarification you can unearth about the following questions we have been asked:

Was Hamyaran managed by Iran’s Deputy Minister and Under Secretary of Health Hossein Malek-Afzali?  If not, did Malek-Afzali have any other role or relationship with Hamyaran?

Was family Planning Association headed by Iran’s Deputy Minister Malek-Afzali and another Iranian official named Safieh Afshari?  If not, did Malek Afzali or Safieh Afshari have any other role or relationship with Family Planning Association?

Does BoomIran share management with Hamyaran?

Thanks for your efforts on this and have a nice 4th!

Barbara   “

Namazi confirmed Daioleslam’s claims

Parsi sent the questions to Tehran and Namazi confirmed Hassan Daioleslam’s claims



“Malekafzali held positions of Deputy Health Minister for Research. He resigned recently to focus more on teaching and research.

He is /was also on the board of several NGOs including Hamyaran and FPA.”

In a new email, Namazi reconfirmed this and wrote:

Document  “

“Dear Trita,

Dr. Malek Afzali did hold positions with the Health Ministry while he was on Board of Hamyaran and FPA.”

These 2 emails confirmed that NIAC spent the NED grant to work with Hamyaran while a deputy minister was in its board.

Hassan Daioleslam’s note:

Parsi’s emails to Namazi seem like a legal cover up for his relation with Hamyaran. By sending these emails, he apparently tried to create legal documents to support that he did not know about Hamyaran’s connection with the Iranian government.

But my article was based on public documents and Parsi could verify their authenticity. Moreover, NIAC’s partnership with Hamyaran was suggested and approved by the Iranian government. Since 1998, Parsi maintained close relation with Namazi family.

My first report on Namzi family was published in early 2007. These reports contained numerous publicly available documents about Namazi’s relation with the Iranian government.

Hamyaran’s leadership and their connection with the government were surely known to Parsi


On July, Barbara Haig from NED sent a new email to Parsi and asked: (7.16.2009)


“Hi Trita,

I’m just checking in to see whether you have learned anything yet.  I think I have confirmed that the Deputy Minister of Health (now retired?) that was mentioned in the questions was on the Board of Hayman.  How about your former colleague who worked on this (now at Human Rights Watch?), might he be able to give us more definitive info?


Then, Parsi asked her to talk over the phone: (7.16.2008)


“Yes, got a reply from Baquer. What is your number?”

On August 4, David Lowe the Vice President of Government and External Relations at NED sent an email to Barbara Haig and asked:


“Did Trita ever get back to you with answers to the questions we were sent by the Hill?

Barbara sent the following email to answer the Congressional inquiry” and claimed that the deputy minister did not manage Hamyaran. This is false information given to the Congress:

(Document: )

“Yes. You may remember before I left on my trip, we decided not to stir the pot, but to answer when asked. The then deputy Health Minister was on the board of Hamyaran buy did NOT manage the organization.”

Barbara wrote the word NOT in capital to emphasize the importance of this false information. Or, Parsi communicated this false info over the phone and did not want to leave any trace of it. Or, Barbara invented it.

In any case, the screen picture of Hamyaran at the time of its partnership with NIAC shows that the Deputy Minister was the “president of the board of directors”.

End of part one

Comments are closed

Log in | Copyright© 2009 All rights reserved.