by Alana Goodman at freebeacon.com
Inside the activists’ backroom plan to revive the Obama-era deal
A coalition of progressive activists bankrolled by George Soros, Charles Koch, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund are mounting a secret lobbying campaign to revive the Iran nuclear deal by tying it to the Iranian human rights movement, according to internal correspondence obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Activists from groups including J Street, NIAC Action, the Open Society Foundations, Human Rights Watch, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund are coming together behind a plan to lobby lawmakers to use human rights bills as cover to revive negotiations for a nuclear deal with Iran. That’s according to a January email sent from a J Street lobbyist to other activists and obtained by the Free Beacon.
“I’m writing to suggest that this group convene virtually next week to brainstorm and hopefully find consensus on the elements of legislation to support the Iranian people that we could propose to diplomacy-oriented lawmakers,” J Street’s Dylan Williams wrote. “Given the usual need to be discrete [sic], the charged nature of the topic, and the outrageous threats against several members of this group, please do keep this initiative close-hold,” he added.
The activist groups “plan to pursue a dual-track legislative agenda, where they would find a way through legislation to give pro-deal Democrats cover by supporting Iranian women and Iranian human rights, without in any way challenging the revival of a nuclear deal, while at the same time building a coalition of members of the House and Senate willing to write a very public letter to the president urging him to keep the door to diplomacy over on the nuclear file,” a source familiar with the discussions told the Free Beacon.
The news comes as U.S. lawmakers are facing increased public pressure to tighten sanctions on Iran amid the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown on protesters and continued military support for Russia. The strategy is a sign that even the strongest advocates for the nuclear deal realize the pro-diplomacy position has become politically toxic—and that politicians who want to reenter the agreement will need to at least give the appearance of backing the Iranian human rights movement.
The Iranian regime’s violent crackdown on protesters, military expansion in Latin America, and threats against the United States have complicated the Biden administration’s attempts to renegotiate the nuclear deal, but supporters of the agreement say the negotiations should continue despite these concerns.
The activists’ strategy—crafted during a private summit in New York in December—includes pitching human rights legislation to pro-Iran-deal lawmakers, in order to give the legislators political cover to sign a letter asking the Biden administration to consider resuming the nuclear agreement, a source briefed on the discussions told the Free Beacon.
The activists gathered for a strategy meeting during the week of Dec. 3 at the Pocantico Center at Kykuit, the John D. Rockefeller family’s estate in Westchester County, New York, a source familiar with the discussions told the Free Beacon. The 200-acre property houses the family’s 40-room stone manor, an underground gallery with artwork by Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, and “expansive Italian-inspired gardens with French and English influences,” with views of the Hudson River, according to the New York Times.
J Street’s Williams sent the email to a small group of activists, including NIAC Action’s Ryan Costello, Open Society’s Mike Amitay, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Matt Duss. These groups have all received funding from either George Soros or Charles Koch, both political megadonors.
Williams, Duss, NIAC, and the Open Society Foundations did not respond to a request for comment.READ MORE