MEK advocate put on notice

The court ruling yesterday in NIAC’s lawsuit against Seyyed Hassan Daieoleslam granted NIAC ‎victory on its central demand, while falling short on other objectives.‎

NIAC brought the lawsuit against Daieoleslam in ‎‏2008‏‎ in response to his slander and defamation ‎against the organization and its co-founder, Trita Parsi. Our objective with the lawsuit was two-‎fold.‎

First, to challenge Daieoleslam’s false accusations that NIAC lobbied for the Iranian government ‎in court and force the defendant to prove his case or concede.‎

On this crucial issue, NIAC prevailed. Once in front of the court, Daieoleslam had the ‎opportunity to make his case for the truth. Instead, he changed his tune and did not seek to argue ‎that his accusations were correct and truthful. Instead he essentially abandoned the truth and ‎instead argued that NIAC could not prove that he knew what he was saying was false, i,e ‎malicious. By that, he conceded this very essential point and is on notice that what he is saying is ‎false and therefore would be acting with malice if he continues to make the same false, baseless ‎and defamatory allegations.‎

The defendant’s shift is understandable mindful of the fact that after reviewing thousands of ‎NIAC emails and documents, he could not point to a single shred of evidence indicating that ‎NIAC served as a lobby for the repressive government in Iran.

‎The judge points to this as well in his ruling, writing that “Nothing in this opinion should be ‎construed as a finding that defendant’s articles were true. Defendant did not move for summary ‎judgment on that ground.” ‎

The second objective with the lawsuit was to change the nature of the political culture in the ‎Iranian-American community, away from the slander, defamation and character assassination ‎campaigns favored by some, and towards a more open and truthful discourse. Our hope was that ‎by challenging the maliciousness and defamation, the culture would shift in a democratic ‎direction.

On this point, our efforts fell short. The standard was for us to prove that Daieoleslam acted with ‎malice, that is, not just that he was not speaking the truth, but that he knew he wasn’t speaking ‎the truth.‎

While we believe the evidence clearly showed that Daieoleslam knew he was lying, based on his ‎systematic disregard for truth, neglect of readily available information that contradicted his ‎conspiracy theories, declaration that he aimed to “destroy NIAC” in order to “bring down ‎Obama,” as well as his support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorist organization, the Judge felt ‎this didn’t meet his standard and denied us the opportunity to take Daieoleslam in front of a jury ‎and help democratize the political culture in the Iranian-American community.‎

While we regret that such a milestone could not be achieved for the Iranian-American ‎community, we are content that in the court of law he could not and did not defend his false ‎accusations.‎

In regards to cost-sharing of the expense of the discovery, we disagree with the court’s ruling ‎and retain the option to challenge and appeal the decision.

‎These past four years have been challenging and burdensome. NIAC is a small organization, with ‎a small budget and a small legal team. Our only card was that we knew – and we proved – that ‎truth was on our side. Daieoleslam, on the other hand, had the support of a broad network of ‎well-funded pro-war figures. He was represented by Sidley Austin, one of the largest law firms ‎in the world and the main counsel on his legal team was President George W. Bush’s lawyer in ‎the White House.‎

But precisely because he didn’t have truth on his side, Daieoleslam tried to shift the focus of the ‎court away from the central charge and instead overwhelm NIAC with legal expenses by filing ‎an endless stream of motions.‎

The order of the judge also puts Daieoleslam on notice. While he claimed not to have known that ‎what he was writing was false, he no longer can hide behind that excuse going forward. He is on ‎notice and will pay the consequences of further defamation.‎

In the past ten years, NIAC has helped transform the Iranian-American community from being ‎politically apathetic and vulnerable to becoming dynamic and in ownership of their own destiny. ‎We have helped the community stand up against the voices of war, stand up for their rights in ‎face of discrimination, and stand up for the values that make America strong. NIAC will ‎continue to serve the interest of the Iranian-American community, particularly at this moment ‎when the risk of war is increasing, repression in Iran is intensifying and the suffering of the ‎Iranian people is reaching intolerable levels. ‎