CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON IRAN’S COVERT INFLUENCE OPERATIONS   

NOVEMBER 14, 2023

 

Remarks by Professor Ivan Sascha Sheehan

Thank you, Ambassador Bloomfield, for your extraordinarily generous remarks.

Your sterling reputation and commitment to public service as a statesman, diplomat, and national security leader inspires all of us, but I have also learned a great deal from your scholarly interpretations of Iranian affairs and measured assessments of Middle East policy. I was truly honored that you authored the foreword for the book we are releasing today. A few other expressions of gratitude are in order, as well.

I’d like to thank the extraordinary team at the Iran Policy Committee for all that they do to help produce actionable research and timely analyses for U.S. officials in the legislative and executive branches. For almost two decades, the Iran Policy Committee has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to educating the public about U.S. policy toward Iran, the regime’s malign activities, and the pro-democracy opposition operating inside the country. IPC’s efforts to convene briefings on these urgent policy matters have also helped to inform U.S. officials. We had an opportunity to pay tribute to the founder of the IPC, the late Political Scientist Raymond Tanter, earlier this fall right here in Washington. Professor Tanter served on the Senior Staff of the National Security Council in the Reagan White House and taught for decades at the University of Michigan. Though he is no longer with us, I trust that he would be very proud of IPC’s staff today.

Let me also extend my deep appreciation to the Organization of Iranian American Communities for helping to today’s book release here in Congress. They have worked tirelessly to coordinate today’s forum and I thank them for all that they do to remind the American public that the regime in Tehran is not an accurate reflection of the Iranian people.

I’d also like to thank the University of Baltimore for providing me the academic freedom to examine the topics that I believe are most important. I firmly believe that societies are better when people have accurate access to information and when they are allowed to think, debate, and speak freely. Having examined academic freedom in Iran, this is a privilege that I am keenly aware is not afforded to my counterparts in Iran.

And, finally, I’d like to thank Congressman McClintock and his staff for opening today’s event. As the Co-Chair of the Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus, his support for those fighting for a free, democratic, and secular republic is noticed all over the world. And his efforts to ensure that the international community holds Iranian authorities accountable for the crimes they commit is appreciated by those held captive by the autocratic regime in power.

At the top of my remarks, allow me to offer a few reflections that I believe will help set the stage for why what we are doing here today in the U.S. Congress matters so much.

Just a few days ago, after he endorsed my book, Professor Alejo Vidal-Quadras – a former Vice President of the European Parliament and the current President of the International Committee in Search of Justice – was brazenly attacked in Madrid by armed assailants outside his home. The assault, which occurred in the middle of the day, was carried out by two individuals who took off on a motorcycle after discharging a weapon at close range in an apparent assassination attempt. Though he was struck by a bullet in the jaw, Professor Vidal-Quadras miraculously survived. This shameless attack occurred in the largest city in Spain, the fourth-most populous EU member state. Spanish authorities have correctly dispatched an anti-terrorism unit to investigate, and the inquiry remains opens. But when Professor Vidal-Quadras was asked from his hospital bed who he believed had carried out the ambush, he immediately fingerprinted the Iranian regime. It was hardly a far-fetched proposition. Because precisely one year ago, the Iranian Foreign Ministry accused the professor of the grave offense of supporting the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran, a group opposed to the Ayatollahs and committed to overthrowing the regime. In Iran, this is a capital offense of the highest order. As a Member of Parliament, he was among the most outspoken champions of the Iranian resistance in Europe and remains highly regarded by his American counterparts. And in the days before he was attacked, he offered a ringing endorsement of the book we are releasing today. You can see his words on the book cover. He called the manuscript:

“…a compelling assessment of the Iranian regime’s malign attempts to push an influence operation intended to shift American policy by demonizing the Islamic Republic’s democratic opposition and infiltrating the highest echelons of the U.S. government.

Read More …

 

“IRAN: The Ayatollah’s Hidden Hand” by Professor Ivan Sascha Sheehan

Available for Purchase on November 14, 2023