The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the Iranian regime’s lobby in Washington, presents itself as a professional, anti-war, peace-seeking organization. The conduct of its members and affiliates on social media is a far cry from peace and professionalism. Take Reza Aslan, for instance. A boisterous, far-left oddball, Aslan is on the board of advisors for NIAC. In June 2017, CNN canceled Aslan’s show “Believer” after he called President Trump a piece of excrement on Twitter, using an expletive. Aslan is a virulent critic of President Trump, but this particular tweet crossed a line in the minds of some media critics. He later deleted the tweet and apologized for his choice of words. CNN allegedly cut all ties with Aslan.
This was not Aslan’s first time using profanities to showcase his radical views. He has a history of outrageous, immoral tweets. In August 2012, Aslan wished that a Missouri Republican congressman would get raped. He tweeted, “Just to be clear I was indeed wishing someone would rape congressman Todd Akin. I’d hate to be misunderstood.” The tweet later disappeared. In 2016, he also called Donald Trump, Jr. a piece of excrement. Just a month before his abhorrent tweet about President Trump, He responded to a Happy Mother’s Day tweet by former House Speaker, Paul Ryan with the following comment: “Except of course Syrian moms fleeing war, famine, and genocide with their starving children. Fuck those moms.” That tweet was also deleted without a trace.
Aslan continues with this malignant pattern of behavior, while acting as an advisor and spokesperson for NIAC. In a January 2019 tweet, Aslan threatened physical violence against a 16-year-old boy who wore a MAGA cap to a Washington DC rally. He jumped on a bandwagon of disinformation campaign against the teenager initiated by NBC, CNN and the Washington Post. The teen later sued many news networks for defamation. In January 2020, the young man brought a defamation lawsuit against Aslan for a minimum of $135,000 in damages. In the same month, Aslan deleted the tweet threatening the teen; one year after his original post.
In June 2019, Aslan responded to CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins’ tweet about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by saying “Your dad raped your mom.”
This pattern of behavior suggests Aslan is an emotionally unstable individual who has tremendous difficulty controlling his temper. Aslan represents the quintessential frolics of NIAC, which are often laced with juvenile snarks, condescending comments, personal attacks, and mendacities. Last year, NIAC’s communications director, Mana Mostatabi, threatened Karim Sadjadpour (an economist and a senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment) with contacting the Dean at Georgetown University to terminate Sadjadpour’s adjunct faculty appointment there. She wanted to do this simply because Sadjadpour had tweeted a general comment with which Mostatabi disagreed. After facing severe backlash, she deleted her tweet.
This unacceptable behavior does not reflect the sentiments of Iranian-Americans. Furthermore, Reza Aslan or NIAC are not – by any stretch of imagination – the face of our larger community. Iranian-Americans comprise a respectable and respecting community with a broad spectrum of beliefs and persuasions. What is unacceptable to them is a toxic current of slander and imprecations unleashed by dubious organizations like NIAC and foul-mouthed extremists like Aslan. The American society should not be misled by the “anti-war” façade that NIAC puts on. NIAC and its henchmen like Aslan do not – and never will –represent Iranian-Americans.