Pentagon Official Linked To Covert Iranian Influence Unit

  • Former national security officials and Iranian policy experts are raising alarm about a report linking a Pentagon official to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Ariane Tabatabai currently serves as the chief of staff to the assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. She was previously a senior policy adviser to the Defense Department and a senior adviser to the State Department, according to her LindkedIn page.
  • An article published in Semafor this week linked Tabatabai to the Iranian Experts Initiative (IEI), a Tehran-backed project to advance its positions and improve its public image across the world. The outlet obtained a litany of communications between IEI participants and the Iranian government. Among those communications was an email from March 2014 in which Iranian diplomat Saeed Khatibzadeh confirmed meetings with Tabatabai and another academic, saying that “]w]e three agreed to be the core group of the IEI.”
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