(Here's another story the Hawaii "news" media didn't see fit to cover.)
Farideh Farhi Redux [Michael Rubin National Review April 30. 2009]
Farideh Farhi, an advisor to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a group that lobbies for better relations with the Islamic Republic, challenged me a couple weeks ago both for a column questioning Iranian sincerity in diplomacy and for criticizing New York Times columnist Roger Cohen's failure to mention his interlocutor Mohsen Rezai's statements of enmity to the United States (or, for that matter, Rezai's involvement in the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires). She cherrypicked and characterized falsely the substance of Rezai's statement by saying he sought rapprochement with the United States.
(INTERPOL: REZAI'S WANTED POSTER , WSJ "Iran's al-Qaeda")
Farhi has refused a challenge to debate the issue publicly, even though I will be five miles away from her campus all next week.
Well, today Tabnak (Rezai's website) suggests why: In the course of discussing the controversy, it mentions that Farhi worked some years for the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Indeed, her work at the Foreign Ministry coincided with Holocaust revisionist conferences.
Farideh Farhi's case reminds of Hamid Mowlana, the former American University professor who last year announced he would return to the Islamic Republic to work full time for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (here he is stepping on the American flag). Certainly Farhi and the good folks at NIAC have some explaining to do. Farhi, will you debate? Will NIAC explain why it omitted Farhi's government service in the Islamic Republic from the biography it posted?
(EDITOR'S NOTE: After becoming one of only four candidates approved May 20 by the Iranian "Guardian Council" Rezai received only 1.73% of the vote according to Iranian election officials. The top contenders in the controversial June 12 election were President Ahmadinejad and Mir-Housein Mousavi.)
Whitewashing Mohsen Rezai [Michael Rubin National Review April 27, 2009]
I earlier rebutted claims by Farideh Farhi, an adviser to the National Iranian American Council, an organization which advocates for stronger ties to the Islamic Republic, which took me to task for mistranslating a double negative here. I did inadvertently and unintentionally, although the rest of Farhi's accusations were false and malicious, based on little more than her own cherrypicking.
Let's take a look: First, did I mischaracterize Rezai? No. And Farhi knows this. Let's take a look at what is in the "subtitle" box summarizing the Rezai's comments:
During the seminar Rezai said: The line of the Imam is clear and no one can claim Islam and weaken the clergy or question the logic of fighting against America. Our fight against America serves the purpose of strengthening the foundation and principles of our revolution and no one has the right to interpret it according to his personal or his party political interests and legitimize his interpretation.
To argue that Rezai, now a presidential candidate, is really a good guy and that Roger Cohen got him right, Farhi omits the context and substance of the article leaving aside such things Rezai’s role in the terrorist bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires among other terrorist attacks, a personal history which adds a special irony to Cohen using him as a source.
Farhi is an adjunct at the University of Hawaii. I’ll be on Oahu later this week week, alas for work rather than play. Farideh, I’d be perfectly happy to debate the issue publicly any evening. Do you accept the challenge?
The fact remains: Roger Cohen parachuted into Iran and sought to paint a picture of the regime as he’d like it to be rather than the regime that it is. He used a synagogue as a backdrop with which I'm not only familiar, but attended regularly when I lived in Isfahan for several months. The point to those throwing flak? Everyone hope that diplomacy with Iran will resolve all outstanding differences. But, for engagement to work, it's necessary to base it in reality rather than optics.
RELATED: Iran elections candidates (2005): Mohsen Rezai , Ex-Leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Seeks Presidency
Rezai's website Tabnak.ir with photo of Farideh Farhi: http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/pages/?cid=45639
SB: Isle rally draws protests of Iran crackdown -- July 26, 2009 The fifty Iranian students and exiles seen July 26 protesting in Honolulu against post-election repression by the Islamic regime may wish to know who is in their midst.