Pro-Iran Lobbyist Gives Marching Orders to Incoming CIA Chief

December 1, 2016

The head of a Washington D.C.-based group that lobbies for Iranian interests condemned Donald Trump's nominee for CIA director on Wednesday, warning that his opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran is futile and that the CIA director job does not include policymaking.

Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian-American Council, a group that champions the nuclear deal and opposes sanctions on Iran, informed a BBC interviewer that "it is not the job of the CIA director to formulate policy."

Parsi added that the criticisms made of the Iran deal by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), Trump's nominee to head the CIA and a graduate of West Point and Harvard Law School, are "a clear indication that [his] understanding of the functions of the U.S. government and the different parts of the U.S. government is somewhat limited."

Parsi, born in Iran, does not hold U.S. citizenship.

"[Pompeo's] job is to prepare intelligence," Parsi told the BBC.

Despite Parsi's confidence that Pompeo will have no role in Trump administration policymaking, he offered the incoming spy chief policy advice.

"It is going to be very, very difficult for them to be able to roll back the deal or get rid of the deal or even renegotiate the deal," Parsi said.

Should Pompeo and the Trump administration succeed in rolling back or renegotiating the nuclear deal, Parsi said, "it is going to be next to impossible for the United States to be able to rebuild the sanctions regime" afterward.

Parsi added that even if the Trump administration is able to rebuild the sanctions regime, the administration will soon realize that the U.S. is unable to defeat the Islamic State without Iran's help. Trump is "going to find out very quickly that if he wants collaboration against ISIS he cannot rip up this deal," Parsi warned.

The commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, reported Wednesday an "uptick" in hostile Iranian activities in the Middle East since the adoption of the nuclear deal in January.

"I am concerned about continued malign activities of Iran across the region," he told the Foreign Policy Initiative conference in Washington D.C.

At press time, Parsi had not issued a public warning to Votel or questioned his understanding of the American political system.