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October 4, 2004
Do Kerry's Backers Account For His Iran Policy?

John Kerry and John Edwards Iran policy proposal has raised eyebrows around the world, offering to give the Iranian hardliners nuclear fuel in exchange for a promise to drop their enrichment program. Now WorldNet Daily reports that three top financial backers of the Kerry/Edwards ticket may account for the unusual notion of giving fissile materials to the largest backers of Islamofascist terror groups:

Sen. John Kerry's call for providing Iran with the nuclear fuel it seeks, even while the regime is believed to be only months away from developing nuclear weapons, is being linked to his campaign contributions from backers of the mullah government in Tehran.

During last Thursday's nationally televised debate between the Democratic presidential candidate and President Bush, Kerry insisted as president he would provide Tehran with the nuclear fuel it wants for a pledge to use it for peaceful purposes only. ...

Among Kerry's top fund-raisers are three Iranian-Americans who have been pushing for dramatic changes in U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Most prominent among them is Hassan Nemazee, 54, an investment banker based in New York. ... Nemazee was a major Clinton donor, giving $80,000 to the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 election cycle and attending at least one of the famous White House fund-raising coffees.

In 2001, at the invitation of Mobil Oil Chairman Lucio Noto, whom he counts as a "personal friend," Nemazee joined the board of the American-Iranian Council, a U.S. lobbying group that consistently has supported lifting U.S. sanctions on Iran and accommodating the Tehran regime.

The Kerry camp has identified Nemazee as having raised more than $100,000 for the senator's campaign, WND reported last spring.

Nemazee isn't the only five- to six-figure donor to the Kerry campaign connected to efforts aimed at lifting the economic sanctions against the Iranian mullahcracy. Faraj Aalaei has raised between $50,000 to $100,000 for the Kerry campaign while his new wife, Susan Akbarpour, has raised a similar amount. Akbarpour came to the US from Iran on a tourist visa but has since launched a newspaper, magazine, and a trade association that also lobbies for normalized relations with the Iranian government.

Akbarpour, it should be noted, sought asylum from the Iranians last year when she emigrated, according to author Kenneth Timmerman, who has written on this subject before.

The article also outlines other positions that Kerry has taken for normalization with the current Iranian regime rather than support the nascent democratization efforts within Iran. It appears that the Kerry campaign's commitment to fighting terrorism and its sponsors takes a back seat to pandering to its financial supporters -- as does American national security.

UPDATE: Here's another look at Nemazee, from Front Page, via Jihad Watch:

Frivolous lawsuits have long been used as weapons of the powerful against the weak; a particularly egregious example is now playing out in Texas, courtesy of one of John Kerrys most controversial supporters: the Iranian Hassan Nemazee. Nemazee is pursuing a ten-million-dollar damage claim against the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI) and its coordinator, Aryo B. Pirouznia. A Nemazee victory in this suit would almost certainly muzzle or destroy altogether the SMCCDI, one of the most energetic and courageous opponents of Irans entrenched but uneasy mullahocracy. But now that Nemazees lawsuit has been filed, it has become increasingly clear that it could embarrass the entire Democratic Party and severely damage the already flagging candidacy of John Kerry.

Nemazee is an influential figure with many friends in high places in groups such as the American-Iranian Council (AIC), the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), and the Iranian-American Bar Association (IABA). Nemazees name is also well known in Democratic Party circles. He was a prominent contributor to Bob Torricellis New Jersey Senate campaign. The multimillionaire entrepreneur also contributed $50,000 to his friend Al Gores Recount Fund (and $250,000 to the Gore campaign), $60,000 to Bill Clintons legal defense fund, and over $150,000 to the Democratic National Committee. Clinton attempted to reward him by naming him U.S. Ambassador to Argentina but the Senate declined to confirm him after Forbes magazine published, in May 1999, an extremely damaging expose of his shady financial dealings.

Undaunted, Nemazee continued efforts to establish fruitful contacts between Iranian groups advocating normalization of relations with Iran and high-level members of the Democratic Party. He joined the Board of Directors of the AIC, an organization whose president, Hooshang Amirahmadi, is identified on the SMCCDI website as a well known lobbyist for the Iranian Mullahocracy. Nemazee was involved in a March 2002 fundraiser for Senate Foreign Affairs Committee heavyweight Joe Biden (D-DE). This event was hosted by Sadegh Namazikhah, another AIC member whom Aryo Pirouznia charges with trying to improve public perception of one of the most despotic regimes in the world.

And now we have John Kerry offering nuclear fuel to the same Iranians that finance Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. Let me repeat this: John Kerry wants to give nuclear fuel to the people behind two of the worst Islamofascist terror organizations in the world. Now we know why.

UPDATE: Here's more on Akbarpour from Kenneth Timmerman's Insight article last March:

"I am an actor in U.S. politics," Akbarpour boasted to Insight in an interview. "I am a fund-raiser for all candidates who listen to us and our concerns."

The two candidates Akbarpour said she would "never help" are President George W. Bush and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), because both have taken a no-nonsense approach to the Iranian regime. Federal Election Commission records show that Akbarpour contributed $1,000 to the Kerry committee in June 2002 and another $2,000 in June 2003.

Akbarpour tells Insight she is not a U.S. citizen. "I came here in 1997 as a tourist and changed my status several times. At one point, I had an H-1 visa. Then I got married last year and got my green card." Under federal election laws, permanent residents are allowed to make political campaign contributions. But her June 2002 contribution to the Kerry campaign appears to have been made before she acquired status as a permanent resident.

One immigration lawyer Insight consulted in Los Angeles doubted that Akbarpour could have obtained an H-1 visa, which is reserved for foreign workers sponsored by U.S. companies that need their specialized skills. "At the time, the INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] was applying a very strict interpretation of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act and was not allowing any hiring of Iranian nationals. And you couldn't convert from a tourist visa to an H-1 visa, especially if the tourist visa had already expired."

Because the United States has no embassy in Tehran, Iranians seeking to visit the United States must travel to Turkey or the United Arab Emirates to apply for a tourist or student visa, then wait several months while a background check is performed.

That experience still rankles Akbarpour, who has put loosening visa requirements for Iranians on the top of her political agenda, along with lifting U.S. sanctions on Iran and getting the U.S. government to open a dialogue with the regime in Tehran. Just by coincidence, those are the top three priorities of the Tehran regime, as well.

It's not as if the information on Kerry's Iranian backers has been a secret; it's just that the media hasn't looked very hard at it. One would think the loopy idea of shipping nuclear fuel to a country we know supports the terrorists we're fighting would get them to ask these questions...

UPDATE: More Nemazee from Front Page, last January:

A third cash-and-Kerryer, who during this same period gave Kerry more than $180,000, is Hassan Nemazee. This Iranian-American investor raised a cool $250,000 for Al Gore in November 1995, and he and his family slushed another $150,000 to Democrats during the mid-1990s. Six Nemazee family members and friends (including the caretaker of his 12-acre Katonah, N.Y., estate) donated a total of $60,000 the maximum legally allowed -- to Bill Clintons legal defense fund.

In the closing days of 1998 Clinton named Nemazee his Ambassador-designate to Argentina. Hillary Clinton embraced the Muslim moneyman at a January 1999 White House celebration of the Islamic holiday Eid. The Senate, however, refused to confirm the controversial nominee after a Forbes Magazine investigation exposed Nemazees questionable business dealings. He was, said a bitter former business partner, the Iranian equivalent of J.R. Ewing.

The Forbes magazine investigation also documented how, in order to get his hands on public-employee pension fund monies allocated for minority managers, the U.S.-born Nemazee had falsely claimed to be a Hispanic of Venezuelan background and, on another occasion, an Asian-Indian.

But Nemazees cynical lust for money can be frightening as well as laughable. He is a founding board member of the Iranian American Political Action Committee [IAPAC], which seeks to create friendly and lucrative business relationships with the medieval theocratic dictatorship now ruling Iran. Iran is, of course, an Axis of Evil nation that seeks to acquire nuclear weapons and is on our State Departments official list of nations that support terrorism. Nemazee seeks to enrich himself by further enriching the power-mad Mullahs ruling Iran.

Here's the Forbes article. Nemazee appears to be quite the character -- of the sort that one discovers regularly around Democrats, as the Front Page article details.

UPDATE: Fixed Forbes link; should work properly now.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 4, 2004 7:47 AM

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