Foreign Ministry, US State Dept. condemn Iran’s threats against think tank

US State Department’s spokesperson Morgan Ortagus issued a statement on Sunday noting that “the US takes the regime’s threats seriously. We intend to hold Iran responsible for directly or indirectly compromising the safety of any American.”

By
August 25, 2019 21:06
3 minute read.
Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C

Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (photo credit: FLICKR)

WASHINGTON – Experts and pundits from all sides of the political spectrum in Washington voiced support for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) after the Iranian regime threatened to target the think tank known for its hawkish stance toward the Islamic Republic.

US State Department’s spokesperson Morgan Ortagus issued a statement on Sunday noting that “the US takes the regime’s threats seriously. We intend to hold Iran responsible for directly or indirectly compromising the safety of any American.”

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement under the headline: “Iranian diplomats in the service of terrorism,” saying “Iran’s Foreign Office instructed the country’s security service to target an American think tank. Today, more than ever, FDD’s work is invaluable in exposing the Iranian regime’s terrorist agenda,” the statement read.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry released a statement Saturday, blacklisting the FDD and its CEO.

“Considering that the American institution with the deceitful name of ‘the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ – particularly its CEO Mark Dubowitz – have been and are effectively involved, in a conscious and intentional manner, in designing, imposing and intensifying the impacts of economic terrorism against Iran, and have been seriously and actively trying to harm the Iranian people’s security and vital interests through measures such as fabricating and spreading lies, encouraging, providing consultations, lobbying, and launching a smear campaign,” the release said.

Citing the “Law on Countering the Violation of Human Rights and Adventurous and Terrorist Activities of the United States in the Region,” they announced the addition of FDD and Dubowitz to the sanctions list specified by the law. “Therefore, those in the list will be subject to legal consequences,” the statement read. “Needless to say, this measure will be without prejudice to any further legal measures that the other administrative, judicial or security institutions and organizations may take in order to counter, prosecute or punish the above mentioned persons or their other Iranian and non-Iranian collaborators and accomplices for their actions and measures against the Iranian government and people’s national security and interests.”

“That the Islamic Republic is threatening a think tank, FDD, is unbelievable,” tweeted Ambassador Dennis Ross. “Even those who are frequently defensive of the regime should be reacting to this and making it clear this is intolerable and should it in any way act on the threat justify its complete isolation.”


Ilan Goldenberg, Middle East security director at CNAS, tweeted that while he doesn’t always agree with FDD views, “threats by Iran’s government against a Washington think tank are completely unacceptable.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted that “it’s not surprising that a hostile foreign power that advocates anti-Semitism, routinely funds terror and oppresses its own people has resorted to threatening American nonprofits and citizens. That doesn’t make it any less despicable.”

Said Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas: “The outlaws who rule Iran have sunk to issuing threats against Washington think tanks and private American citizens. FDD, its leaders and its scholars have our country’s full support.”

Suzanne Maloney of Brookings, a former external adviser to senior State Department officials on long-term issues related to Iran, wrote: “Given these risks and today’s threats aimed at a US NGO and its staff, all academic and research organizations should seriously reassess their engagement with Iranian government institutions.”

Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said: “Whether you agree or disagree with FDD on Iran [I do both] or anything else, this kind of thuggish threat of violence against an American institution and those who work with it is unacceptable. Anyone who has access to Iranian officials needs to communicate that.”

Sources close to FDD told The Jerusalem Post that the think tank took the threats seriously and had been in touch with law enforcement. However, they said, the organization has no intention to hold back its research to change its tone toward the Islamic Republic.


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