The Anti-Iran Industry: The Market for Anti-Iran Political Donations

In America, Democracy is dead. Oh, there is an illusion, that will be kept alive in history books, in the rhetoric of politicians, in the manipulated minds of America’s 95 million Main Street investors. The propaganda machine works. Like a child’s fairy tale, democracy has been deeply embedded in everyone’s brains for decades; we prefer believing old, familiar stories. They comfort us, even when no longer true. The real democracy, what so many fought and died for since 1776, is dead.

Lobbyists now run America, own America, rule America. Forget the 537 politicians you thought we elected to the White House, Senate and Congress to run America for us. No, they’re mere puppets, pawns for the “Happy Conspiracy,” an oligopoly, plutocracy, cabal, monopoly all-in-one — a private club of America’s richest few on Wall Street, in Washington and in Corporate America.

Voters and elections are irrelevant. Lobbyists decide what’s in the best interests of this elite club. In just three decades, Washington has earmarked hundreds of billions thanks to lobbyists peddling influence bribes to buy Washington votes.

After all, the cost of a Senate race has exploded from $437,000 to $7.9 million. So, lobbyists shovel millions to friendly senators. There’s a huge, highly paid army of mercenary lobbyists in Washington. Registered lobbyists may be 42,000 versus a mere 537 elected officials. American University political scientist James Thurber says there are 261,000 members of the “influence-lobbying complex” running the U.S. government. Many are former congressmen, senators and staffers.

Unfortunately, most Americans will never hear about all day-to-day shenanigans: The buying, selling and bartering of sweeteners, earmarks, votes and senatorial seats. Most of the behind-the-scenes deals never cross the radar of Middle America.

Most voters are destined to live in denial, trapped in mind-numbing illusions replaying over and over as they sit passively, dazed. Or they angrily feed their macho delusions of power at town-hall meetings, carrying AK-47s, convinced that grandma will be sacrificed by some politician. Either way, they aimlessly drift, unaware of how lobbyists rule America, how lobbyists help the “Happy Conspiracy” rob them blind.

Just like defense policy, health care policy… US policy vis-à-vis Iran is no exception. There is a market for influencing US policy with Iran. This is a huge market. There is a lot of money floating around.

This market can be divided into two parts. First and foremost are Iranian Immigrants or refugees who escaped Iran and have an axe to grind with the regime (and rightly so).  And the second group in the market (that is far more influential) are foreign nations (foreign actors) like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Analyzing each group separately, here is the list:

  • Current MEK Operatives – “roughly $1 MM per year in the US”

Known or referenced invariably with other acronyms such as NCRI, MKO, Rajavists, etc. the MKO are a former “Islamic-Marxist” terror group that killed several American servicemen before Iran’s 1979 revolution. They aligned with the Ayatollah in 1979 but later fell out of favor. By the summer of 1988, by virtue of an order by Khomeini, 30,000+ MKO linked political prisoners were sent to the gallows. Khomeini’s goal was clear: The total annihilation of the People’s Mujahidin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The MEK clearly has an axe to grind. They hold annual meetings, have a global network of operatives (including inside Iran) and have ‘sold themselves’ to anyone and everyone that opposes the regime. But interestingly, they also seek influence inside the US to develop some sort of an alliance that would result in the toppling of the regime.

The amount of money they spend annually on lobbying inside the U.S. is unclear. But from an order of magnitude perspective, its minuscule compared to the ‘big boys’ that I describe later in this article. But many US politicians have received direct funds from the MEK. There are reports of payments of $20,000 or more for appearances at their rallies by major US political figures such as Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, etc. and million-dollar payments to specific US lobbying firms to support their cause.

Although they spend money in DC, the MEK are net ‘takers’ i.e. their real goal is to pave the way for on-going payments from Saudi Arabia and Israel for their terror activity. Their primary goal in the US Iran lobbying market is NOT to topple the regime in Tehran, but to be kept off the US terror list so they can continue to receive money from their paymasters in Saudi Arabia and Israel. They also, are in the business of selling themselves as mercenaries to the US government and have participated in mock military drills with US special forces to prepare for potential future battles with Iran in locations like the Nevada desert. The MEK have also been crucial to US intelligence by gathering information on Iran’s nuclear program inside – for a fee. It is also known that the MEK worked closely inside Iran with Israel’s Mossad in their assassination efforts. They are mercenaries for sale, and their spending in Washington is largely a marketing effort to continue to support their mercenary business.

To keep their business alive, though, they must continue to paint the regime in Iran as evil and dangerous. So, they have a huge team of cyber operatives that spend all their time on the internet – on facebook, on reddit etc. trying to engineer broad anti-Iranian sentiment in the US and Europe. In a strange way, the existence of the theocracy in Iran, feeds their business. Oh, and by the way, they are hated inside Iran – by ordinary Iranians. So, in a ‘true democratic Iran’ they would not come into power in Iran through elections. If the mullahs disappeared tomorrow, they (the MEK) would be out of business.

  • Iranian Royalists – “roughly $1 MM per year in the US”

When the Shah was toppled in 1979, many of his supporters escaped Iran for their mansions in America. They remain active as an anti-Theocratic force via many satellite media stations (that beam into Iran), and through political organizations and parties in Europe such as Azadegan, the Constitutionalist Party and Rastakhiz.

Most Iranian Americans arrived in the United States after 1979, as a result of the Iranian Revolution and the fall of the Persian monarchy, with over 40% settling in California, specifically Los Angeles. Unable to return to Iran, they have created many distinct ethnic enclaves, such as the Los Angeles Tehrangeles community. The Iranian American community has become successful, with many becoming doctors, engineers, lawyers, and tech entrepreneurs. As a result of their relatively high educational level, and general professional status, and personal history as refugees they have disposable income and motivation to spend money buying political influence to undermine the regime in Iran.

The core problem with this group, is that they are not a homogenous group. From a religious standpoint, the Royalists are highly splintered i.e. Muslim 31%, Atheist/Realist/Humanist 11%, Agnostic 8%, Baháʼí 7%, Jewish 5%, Protestant 5%, Roman Catholic 2%, Zoroastrian 2%, and ‘Other’ 30 %. Also, they are not well organized politically. As a result, they do not have much ‘collective’ cash to play with.

There are for sure some extremely wealthy folks within the community that spend money liberally trying to buy influence to ‘topple’ the regime in Iran. The problem, inherently, is that they are somewhat naive politically and have been sold a bill of goods by US politicians… i.e. their money has been totally wasted and squandered.

For example, in the ‘80s there were Republican party operatives like Senator Al D’Amato from New York, who used to spout the most explosive anti-Iranian regime narratives on Capitol Hill – while at the same time Ronald Reagan was secretly dealing with the Mullahs to sell arms for his secret drug running campaign called the Iran-Contra scam. D’Amato had fleeced Iranian-Jews on Long Island and would shout out anti-Iranian regime talking points at hearings … while the rest of the Republican party secretly dealt with the regime. And D’Amato knew it!! But his Iranian backers were suckered … the whole distance. The money helped him with his political campaigns inside New York, but it never influenced US foreign policy or Reagan’s secret dealings with the Mullahs. And anyway, it was chump change. There are many people spending a lot more money in Washington.

  • Iranian Baha’is – “roughly $1 MM per year in the US”

As if the Mullahs didn’t have enough enemies, with the MEK, and Royalists, they made many new enemies by polarizing Iran’s religious landscape.  During the drafting of Iran’s new (Islamic) constitution (after the 1979 revolution), the wording intentionally excluded the Baháʼís from protection as a religious community. Referring to the recordings of the proceedings of the official transcripts of the constitution drafting process, Sanasarian states that anti-Baháʼí thought was obvious as there was haggling “over every word and expression of certain articles to assure the exclusion of the Baháʼís.”

The Shah of Iran had placed many adherents to the Baha’I faith in prominent roles in his government. Distrusted by Iran’s Shia leadership as Western or Royalists stooges, the new government attacked Bahai’s and effectively forced their emigration (principally to the United States).

According to a US panel, attacks on Baháʼís in Iran following the 1979 revolution, more than 200 Baha’is were killed or executed, hundreds more were tortured or imprisoned, and tens of thousands lost jobs, access to education, and other rights – all solely because of their religious belief. Since 2005, more than 710 Baha’is have been arrested, and the number of Baha’is in prison has risen from fewer than five to roughly 136; and roughly 600 more are engaged with the penal system: awaiting trial, for example, or awaiting sentencing. The incarcerated now include young mothers of nursing children (imprisoned with their infants). Since the summer of 2013, escalation of attacks has included both murder and attempted murder. These attacks are believed to be hate crimes that are religiously motivated.

According to US census figures there are 140,000 adult (15 and over) Baha’s in the U.S. Interestingly, Baháʼís make up the second-largest religious group in South Carolina as of May 2014. And based on data from 2010, Baháʼís were the largest minority religion in 80 counties out of the 3143 counties in the country. Also, interestingly, Baha’is have their central religious edifice in Haifa (Israel) – which also provides them with some influence in Israeli politics.

Given their repression in Iran and their concentration in the U.S., they have become very influential with representatives in regions that they dominate, but do not appear to be spending vast amounts of money in Washington with lobbyists. Their influence is largely in-direct.

  • Iranian Jews – “roughly $1 MM per year in the US”

The mullahs in Iran, have been extremely careful not to polarize relations with Iran’s Jewish community. Jews have lived in Iran since literally the birth of the Jewish faith. I often joke that Judaism is an Iranian faith, because it was ‘invented’ under an Iranian king (who freed Judeans from captivity) within ‘greater’ Iran while several Israeli tribes were captive (as slaves). The Mullahs have stated very clearly that: “We recognize our Jews as separate from those godless, bloodsucking “Zionists” and issued religious decrees that the Jews were to be protected.”

But despite this ‘official’ protection, most Jews emigrated from Iran after the revolution and settled in Israel (roughly 250000), and the U.S. (roughly 100,000). The remaining Jews in Iran are distrusted by the government. Many have been arrested and sentenced to death by an Islamic revolutionary tribunal shortly after the Islamic revolution for charges including corruption, contacts with Israel and Zionism, and “friendship with the enemies of God”, and executed by a firing squad.

It has been argued that there has been a systematic government sanctioned process of Jewish dispossession in Iran. There have been waves of confiscation of homes, farmlands and factories of Jews in Iran. Authorities have seized the properties of a small group of Jews who were accused of helping Zionism financially.

The vast majority of Iranian Jews live in the United States live in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and on the North Shore of Long Island. Furthermore, there is a smaller Persian Jewish community in Baltimore, Maryland.

Much like the Baha’is, there concentration in the U.S. and repression in Iran, they have become very influential with representatives in regions that they dominate, but do not appear to be spending vast amounts of money in Washington with lobbyists. Their influence is largely in-direct.

  • Israeli Americans – “roughly $1 Billion per year in the US”

All these ‘former’ Iranian groups are really very small potatoes compared to other groups anti-Iranian groups that throw their money around Washington. Knowing this, many of these ‘former’ Iranian groups cozy up with other ‘larger and more influential’ groups like Israeli Americans or Arab states!

New filings show billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his physician Israeli wife, Miriam, poured a whopping $75 million into a super PAC launched in late August to aid President Donald Trump’s reelection. Miriam Adelson, oversees all the donations with the couple said to have a net worth of $30.5 billion, according to Forbes. The couple’s donations to Preserve America PAC, delivered in several installments in August and September, account for nearly $9 out of every $10 the political action committee raised through September 30, according to its first report with the Federal Election Commission. The casino-owning couple and perennial super-spenders Sheldon and Miriam Adelson set a record for donations from individuals in a single election cycle, giving $172.7 million. In the past 10 years, they’ve given a total of $480 million, typically made in his-and-hers political contributions, each donating the same amount to candidates and groups.

Other donors include Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, who contributed $5 million, and Wisconsin roofing magnate Diane Hendricks, who gave $1 million. In all, the group has raised nearly $83.8 million.

The second biggest donors this year are Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, the shipping supplies moguls who gave $59.2 million. That’s just over a third of what the Adelsons have spent so far. In third place are hedge fund manager and former presidential candidate Thomas Steyer and his wife Taylor, who gave $55.4 million this year. The individual totals exclude the failed self-financing of former presidential candidates Michael Bloomberg and Steyer.

The 2020 election cycle is projected to cost a record-smashing $11 billion. So far, this year, an unprecedented amount, $2 billion, comes from Israeli American spending groups, which can receive unlimited funds from wealthy billionaires. And, all their donations went to Republicans and conservative groups who despise Iran.

Sheldon Adelson believes that allowing the Palestinians to have a state is like playing Russian roulette. He doesn’t know the difference between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims. And he thinks that being one of the richest men in the world is “better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”

In case you missed it, the R.J.C., the Republican Jewish Coalition, held a retreat at an Adelson casino in Las Vegas. It was dubbed “the Sheldon Primary.” Republicans lined up to compete for Adelson’s blessing and money, or as Politico put it: “Adelson summoned [Jeb] Bush and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin to Las Vegas. … The new big-money political landscape — in which a handful of donors can dramatically alter a campaign with just a check or two — explains both the eagerness of busy governors to make pilgrimages to Las Vegas, and the obsession with divining Adelson’s 2016 leanings.”

Yet, there’s another omnipresent influence on Trump: $259 million given by some of the GOP’s top supporters to boost his campaign in 2016 and support Republican congressional and senate campaigns in 2016 and 2018.

Singer, alongside Marcus and Adelson, has contributed generously to the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies, whose experts have spent the past decade regularly promoting policies to pressure Iran economically and militarily, including most recently Trump’s “maximum pressure” approach. According to donor rolls of FDD’s biggest supporters by the end of 2011, a year that saw a sharp rise in tensions and rumors of war by Israel against Iran, Adelson contributed $1.5 million, Paul Singer contributed $3.6 million, and Bernard Marcus, who sits on FDD’s board, contributed $10.7 million.

As American politicians vie for political office, all this money must surely grab their attention and help frame their views with respect to Iran. And by the way, this money also has substantial influence on Israeli politics. It’s a cycle… they support Netanyahu… Netanyahu magnifies the “Iran” threat (to sew fear into Israelis, support the Israeli military-industrial complex, and gain votes) … then these same donors carry Netanyahu’s message to America where they support his anti-Iranian agenda into the US political landscape.   

There is so much money involved, that to have any sort of a counter view in the U.S. – even if its in the National Interest – would be completely laughed off and suffocated out of public square. To add irony to this, one of the very ‘pro-Israeli, and anti-Iranian’ publications that regularly publishes anti-Iranian nonsense is called “The National Interest”!

  • Arab States (Such as Saudi Arabia) – “roughly $1 Billion dollars per year in the U.S.”  

Starting with Saudi Arabia: According to Foreign Lobby Watch Saudi Arabia represents the sixth most powerful foreign lobby in the United States. Following Israel and Qatar, Saudi Arabia is the third country to invest the most in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Investigations surrounding Russia’s influence in making Donald Trump win the 2016 election made headlines but there is a great deal of evidence to suggest Saudi Arabian meddling in the election process.

Since 2015, the Saudi Arabia paid $18 million to 145 registered lobbyists to influence the U.S. government. From October 2018 to January 2019, one lobbying group raked in more than $18.8 million from Saudi government — more than Saudi Arabia spent lobbying the U.S. in the entire year leading up to Khashoggi’s death. Overall, Saudi interests spent more than $38.5 million in the 2018 calendar year, up from around $19 million in 2017 and and just over $15 million in 2016.

Saudi interests have spent roughly $60 million on foreign influence and lobbying operations in the U.S. since President Donald Trump took office.  A 2018 report to Trump Hotel Chicago investors obtained by the Washington Post showed a 169 percent increase in Saudi Arabia-based patrons since 2016.

While the Trump Organization pledged to contribute all profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, Saudi Arabia’s government alone spent more at Trump International Hotel in the four months after Trump won the presidency than the entire Trump Organization donated to cover foreign profits either year he has been in office.

Many of Saudi Arabia’s creative influence operations stem from psychological research built by a subsidiary of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, a secretive defense and intelligence contractor called SCL Group hired by the Saudi Arabia to build a “psychological road map.”

Saudi’s are very scared of Iranian regional influence. Almost all Saudi Arabia’s oil resources are in parts of the country where Shia Muslims are a majority. Saudi Arabia financed Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran. And right now, Saudi Arabia is entrenched in Yemen’s civil war against Shiite Houthi tribesmen (backed by Iran’s mullahs).

Saudi Arabia has tried all means to undermine Iranian regional influence, including financing ISIS and promoting separatism inside Iran. Iran’s influence in Iraq has brought ‘Iran’ at the doorstep of Saudi Arabia, while Saddam Hussein’s presence in Iraq served as a buffer against a perceived direct Iranian threat at Saudi Arabia’s borders. Also, they are principal financiers of anti-Iranian terror groups like the MEK.

In August, Facebook suspended hundreds of accounts, pages and groups it determined were tied to the Saudi government due to “coordinated inauthentic behavior” attacking Saudi Arabia’s rivals and promoting the government’s propaganda. The ring of accounts spent six figures on Facebook and Instagram ads reaching more than a million people across the platforms, according to the company. Twitter disclosed the removal of 4,525 more accounts linked to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Saudis are spending so much money and have so much influence that Saudi Arabia saw no repercussions for its involvement in 9/11’s terror acts or for the killing of a US resident journalist in Turkey recently. Not surprisingly, their fear of Iran, has translated into US policy, whether it’s in the US national interest.

A secretive cultural-exchange project called Gateway KSA enticed hundreds of social media influencers with invitations for all-expenses-paid trips to Saudi Arabia chock full of amenities ranging from VIP tickets to concerts and safaris.

At least four of the accounts were verified, including one that belonged to a U.S. meteorologist who died more than two years ago. They appear to have been hacked and sold to pro-Saudi entities, according to research from an assistant professor in Middle East Studies and Digital Humanities at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar.

Not to be forgotten is the huge volume of arms sales to Arab states. The latest U.S.-Saudi arms deal amounted to $110 billion. Standing squarely behind Saudi Arabia (and Arab) influence in Washington, are the lobbying groups for companies like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin etc. to stand to gain with continuous arms sales. If Iran did not exist, these lobbyists would invent one.

Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the US political landscape is mirrored by the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain etc. One could literally write books about what they do, and how they are involved in influencing US policies.

Conclusion:

There appears to be literally billions of dollars in hand by Israeli and Arab states (and many related commercial entities) to promote anti-Iranian policy in the U.S. I would also assume that there is similar influence in other US aligned countries – like the UK for example.  

From a purely financial perspective, former Iranian immigrant groups are small players in the Anti-Iranian lobbying market; but many Iranians from these groups do provide the manpower and support base to ‘execute’ for these other (well funded) lobbying groups and the policies they promote.

To be clear this anti-Iranian policy is about Netanyahu’s political interests, NOT US national interests or even Israeli national interests. I could say the same thing about Saudi or Arab political interests – they do NOT overlap US interests or even their own national interests. Let’s not forget that Netanyahu leads a minority political group in apartheid Israel, where its own Palestinian residents are not allowed to vote. And that all these Arab governments are dictatorships. There are no ballot boxes in any of these countries.

In some ways, scapegoating Iran, provides a political shield for Netanyahu (and Israel) as well as these Arab dictators – accusing Iran for all their short-comings and nefarious acts. Iran has become a convenient political scapegoat… even in the U.S. It justifies literally Trillions of dollars in military sales, while Iran’s whole defense budget is 1% (i.e. $13 Billion) of what the US and its allies spend on defense. In the absence of any other enemy, the military-industrial complex would invent another Iran!

But, war with Iran is NOT in anyone’s interests. And polarization with Iran, only serves to push Iran into China and Russia’s lap – which is NOT in the interests of the U.S.  

Also, it is important to recognize that Iran serves as a regional economic node, with considerable influence in its neighborhood. Iranian factories export to at least a dozen neighboring nations, and this has allowed Iran to be resilient in the face of draconian sanctions. Iran’s trade with Iraq and Afghanistan has boomed. These anti-Iranian policies do not recognize how important Iran is regionally and are very short-sighted and shallow. There is a cultural, historical and economic ‘greater’ Iran!

Central Asia is a fast growing, and incredibly important economic zone that China is now dominating – not the U.S. I could also argue that whoever controls Central Asia – will dominate the future economic course of the planet. Central Asia provides very critical connectivity between China and Europe, which in turn will lead to an economic alignment of Europe and China – to the detriment of the US (and the whole Anglo-sphere politico-economic zone). If the US wants to contain China’s rise, this can not be accomplished without active Iranian involvement.

US policy, while formed in Tel Aviv or Riyadh, is simply not sustainable nor in the US national interest.

The market for political donations, does NOT always match the public interest. There are many examples of markets that if left alone and unregulated, would not represent the public interest. To give you one example of what I mean consider if healthcare insurers were free to sell their product in unregulated markets, this would result in only healthy individuals being insured! The market for political donations is the same. These lobbying groups are pushing the U.S. towards policies that are simply NOT in the US national interest.  

Fortunately, there is one other component to this ‘market’ that should NOT be ignored. There are now an estimated 1.5 to 2.5 million Iranians living abroad (mainly in North America and Europe, due to the Islamic government’s authoritarian practices). the majority of this group are NOT members of the MEK, or Royalists or particularly religious (in fact they are distinctly anti-religious). I think its fair to say that MEK, Royalists, or uber-religious Iranians abroad make up less than 30% of this 2 million Iranians. Most Americans do not understand that because of very limited availability of higher education in Iran, very large numbers of middle and working class Iranians came abroad to study – and never returned – because of disgust with the Islamic government. These Iranians are generally very well educated, self-made professionals.

This means there are roughly 1.5 Million Iranian-Americans have a different perspectives from these other anti-Iranian lobbying groups. They are not Royalists nor Marxists! They have an inherent anti-religious predisposition that also makes them inherently despise positions held by evangelical Christians or other uber-religious political factions. They are the ‘pro-typical’ anti-Trump highly educated centrists. Also, interestingly, they now vote, and have influence at the ballot box.

One net result of this considerable money being spent is that people like me i.e. part of the 1.5 Million Iranian-Americans that do NOT consider themselves to be part of the MEK, or Royalists, or be particularly religious are getting sick of these groups and their influence… and their alliance with Israel , the Saudis and other Arab states.

I am personally sick of the constant anti-Iranian rhetoric. The attacks against the regime are NOT focused on the Mullahs,  but are always much broader against Iranians. I heard Senator Lindsey Graham accuse all Iranians of being liars (and I am sure he was bought by these same group of lobbyists). I constantly read articles or see movies sponsored by Israeli-backed media, portraying Iranians as dark and evil!! And I am sick of it. And I am sure other Iranian-Americans feel the same way.

And we – the majority of Iranian-Americans – vote. Our votes can not be bought by these billions of dollars.

Lobbyists may have outsize influence. Washington may be filled with political prostitutes. Democracy may be dead. But we can push back.

With elections in America’s swing states being so tight, it is in fact the Iranian-American community that has made a critical difference at the ballot box. Tell me are there 4000 Iranian-Americans in Nevada? Or 11,000 Iranian-Americans in Georgia? Iranian-Americans can be a serious political force, and help recapture US (and Iranian) democracy.

I am among those that oppose the regime in Tehran, but I have not contributed a dime to lobbyists (and never will). Nor do I support groups like the MEK, or Royalists. I am among those that believe that ONLY Iranians can solve Iran’s political problems; and that the US has now proven itself to be unable or incapable of adding value with its outposts in Asia.

I do not support the mullahs in Iran.  But I also do not support foreign interference in US or Iran’s politics.

Also, I do not think the opponents of the regime in Iran – such as Netanyahu or MBS are saints. In fact, it was these same ‘enemies of the Mullahs’ that sponsored the Mullahs to begin with, toppled the Shah, brought the Mullahs to power, and secretly dealt with them for decades until they fell out with them. And now 40 years later we have a continuum of US-Iran polarization that has only empowered hard-liners in Iran, increased the risks of war, and completely undermined US economic and political strategy in the region.

There is room for a completely parallel and separate US relationship with Iran – separate from its relationship with Israel or Saudi Arabia. Also, it is important to point out that Iran is no military threat to anyone. Its defense budget is minuscule. It has not invaded or attacked any neighbor in over 200 years. If the US can have an embassy in London and Paris at the same time (who hate each other) then it can have an embassy in Riyadh and Tehran too.

The only way to bring sanity back into the US political landscape is for Iranian-Americans to simply vote. And the only way to counter this huge barrage of anti-Iranian money and rhetoric is for Iranian-Americans to again, simply vote.

No amount of money spent on lobbyists can replace the common-sense, and the political sophistication of Iranian-Americans and their power at the ballot box. And Iranian-Americans (like me) need to get involved in the debate here in the U.S. Iranian-Americans need to become integrated within America’s political landscape. We must leverage our votes and influence – if only to protect ourselves from this anti-Iranian barrage. All this rhetoric, and anti-Iranian sentiments have led to Iranian-Americans being attacked, their businesses undermined, and severe negative impact on their lives in America.

Iranian-Americans have become an oppressed ethnic minority in the U.S. I must also say, that this group of independent Iranian-Americans (i.e. not religious, non-MEK, non-Royalists) tend to be self-made professionals who are generally extremely successful despite witnessing repression and attacks by Americans.

In the final analysis, after 40 years, there is now a new market that matters far more than the ‘old’ anti-Iranian market – and that is the Iranian-American market i.e. a market of voters that are self-made, professional and independent Iranian-Americans who fully appreciate the destructive influence of these the anti-Iranian forces.

If nothing else, Trump has revealed these anti-Iranian lobbying groups (the MEK, the royalists, the uber-religious, Israeli and Arab lobbyists) for what they are – enemies of US and Iranian democracy. They are also enemies of US and Iranian national interests. Trump placed the majority of Iranian-Americans in the anti-Trump bucket!

These independent Iranian-Americans are the backbones of silicon valley and have enabled the creation of many Trillion dollar companies in a newly emerging economy in America. They are the future. They have influence. Like fossil fuels, and print media, Sheldon Adelson will be dead soon enough. And hopefully Netanyahu and MBS will be locked up as criminals sooner rather than later.

The market for pro-Iranian policies is emerging and thus much larger and more important than the anti-Iranian policy market… regardless of all the money and influence being peddled in DC.

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