This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
Manucher Ghorbanifar, "legendary arms dealer, infamous intelligence fabricator, and central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal that almost brought down"  the Reagan administration, has been retained by the U.S. Department of Defense and Vice President Dick Cheney "as their 'man on the ground,' in order to report on any interaction and attempts at negotiations between Iranian officials" and Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, The Raw Story reported April 20, 2006.
"Speaking on condition of anonymity," three current and former intelligence officials "identified the Iran-Contra middleman as having been put back on the payroll, acting as a human intelligence asset and monitoring any movement in discussions about Iran’s alleged burgeoning nuclear weapons program." 
- 1 On the Record: Department of State, April 21, 2006
- 2 Ghorbanifar and the CIA
- 3 Ghorbanifar and Iran: 2004
- 4 Libyan "hit squad"
- 5 Affiliations
- 6 Related SourceWatch Resources
- 7 External links
On the Record: Department of State, April 21, 2006
According to the April 21, 2006, Q&A following the "Briefing on the Iran Nuclear Issue" by R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Robert Joseph, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, held in Washington, DC:
- "QUESTION: There's been a lot of speculation over the last week that the U.S. is looking to talk to Iran beyond the narrow talks on Iraq — talk to Iran beyond the narrow confines of Iraq. There has been reports that a Mr. — an Iranian official, Mr. Nahavandian, was in town looking to meet with U.S. officials and there were also reports that the U.S. is using its longtime intermediary, Mr. Ghorbanifar. So could you speak to these reports? Is there anything to it? Is the U.S. looking to have any direct negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue?
- "UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: There's nothing to those reports. The Iranian gentleman in question may have been wandering around Washington, but I am absolutely sure he did not have any conversations with any American Government officials and that we weren't seeking those conversations. He apparently is a green card holder, so he got himself into the United States. This is an issue for DHS now to handle and DHS is, and I'd direct your questions there. But he did not have discussions with American Government officials and we would not have met with him, had he knocked on the door of the State Department.
- "There are no discussions underway of the type that you have talked about. As you know, we do not have -- we are not talking to the Iranians directly about this nuclear issue. We're not part of the negotiations with them. When I was in Moscow, an Iranian delegation showed up and they met with the Europeans and Russians directly after our meeting, but I was not there and I was never intended to be there.
- "The only conversations we've had with the Iranians were a couple of weeks ago and we told you about this when -- after the earthquake, when I called the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Zarif, to offer, on behalf of our government, humanitarian assistance. And he called me back the next day with the answer that the Iranian Government was very appreciative of the offer, but they felt they could handle that particular natural disaster on their own. That's the extent of it, so there are no discussions underway.
- "QUESTION: No discussions with Mr. Ghorbanifar either?
- "UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: No, no."
Ghorbanifar and the CIA
- "Manucher Ghorbanifar, a man [the CIA] have wrongly characterized as a 'fabricator' out for money, when in reality he has been an extraordinary source of understanding and has sacrificed a substantial personal fortune in the cause of Iranian freedom."
"In the mid-1980s, when Ledeen was working for the National Security Council, he tangled with the CIA again over his efforts with Israeli spy David Kimche to gain the release of US hostages in Beirut through an Iranian arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar, in the opening stages of what would become the Iran-Contra affair," Jim Lobe wrote June 26, 2003, in the Asia Times.
"But Ghorbanifar did not come through. Despite Ledeen's assessment of the middleman as 'one of the most honest, educated, honorable men I have ever known', he flunked four lie detector tests administered by the CIA, which had long warned that the Iranian 'should be regarded as an intelligence fabricator and a nuisance'," Lobe wrote.
"Add in the one other long-term source the Neocons favor--Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Iranian version of Chalabi, who fooled us badly during Iran-Contra and doesn't seem to be any more reliable now," Daily Kos's emptywheel commented November 15, 2005.
Ghorbanifar and Iran: 2004
Harold Rhode, desribed as a "neoconservative colleague" of Larry Franklin in the Defense Department, "and the neocon promoter Michael Ledeen had been involved in secret back-channel meetings in Paris starting as early as December 2001 with the shady Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, a key figure in the Reagan-era folly remembered as the Iran-Contra affair," a Boston Globe editorial informed August 31, 2004.
"The CIA had long since proscribed dealings with Ghorbanifar. The agency had him classified as a chronic liar. When a US ambassador in Italy got wind of the meetings, he and the CIA station chief in Rome notified superiors at the State Department and the CIA." George J. Tenet, former director of the CIA, "in turn persuaded the number two official on the National Security Council, Stephen Hadley, to prohibit further meetings with the Iranian arms merchant and the so-called Iranian dissidents he was presenting to neocons avid for regime change in Tehran.
"This White House prohibition against the back-channel meetings arranged by Ghorbanifar was to no avail. There were at least two and possibly several more meetings. Ghorbanifar, living up to his reputation for indiscreet gabbiness, has boasted about further meetings to reporters for the Washington Monthly," the Globe editorial said.
Libyan "hit squad"
"In the early months of Ronald Reagan's administration, the American media began 'promoting' a story that a 'Libyan hit squad' was in the U.S. to assassinate the president. It goes without saying this piece of 'fact' inflamed public sentiment against Libya.
"Suddenly, however, the 'hit squad' stories vanished. ... It was discovered that the source of the story was one Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former Iranian SAVAK (secret police) agent who had very close ties to the Mossad."
- Ghorbanifar's "fervent advocate on Capitol Hill is Representative Curt Weldon." 
- Ghorbanifar is Card #26 on IRAN-CONTRA Trading Cards.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Adnan Khashoggi
- Curt Weldon
- Douglas Feith
- Iran-Contra II
- Iran/Contra scandal
- Iran Contra: Rehabilitation
- Larry Franklin
- Loose Cannon Pentagon
- Michael Ledeen
- The Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal Deception
- war in Iran
- war in Iraq
- weapons of mass destruction
- yellowcake forgery
Ghorbanifar in the Walsh Iran/Contra Report
Lawrence E. Walsh, "Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters," Volume I: Investigations and Prosecutions, August 4, 1993.
- Part I The Underlying Facts
- Part II History of the Investigation
- Part III The Operational Conspiracy: A Legal Analysis
- Part VI Investigations and Cases: Officers of the Central Intelligence Agency
- Part VIII " U.S. v. Caspar W. Weinberger and Related Investigations Officers of the Department of Defense
- Chapter 1 U.S. v. Robert C. McFarlane
- Chapter 8 The Enterprise and Its Finances
- Chapter 9 U.S. v. Richard V. Secord
- Chapter 15 William J. Casey
- Chapter 16 Robert M. Gates
- Chapter 18 U.S. v. Duane R. Clarridge
- Chapter 24 George P. Shultz, M. Charles Hill and Nicholas Platt
- Chapter 30 Donald T. Regan
- "From Many Strands, A Tangled Web. The bizarre intrigue was spun out across two continents and several years," (cache file) TIME Europe, December 8, 1986.
- "The Deeper Malady: From Terrorism to Covert Action" excerpted from the book The Iran Contra Connection. Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era by Johnathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter (South End Press, 1987, paper); posted by Third World Traveler.
- Michael A. Ledeen, "The Iran Affair: An Insider’s Account," The Washington Post (steveclemons.com), January 25, 1987.
- "Iran Was Deliberately Overcharged on Arms," Associated Press (mosquitonet.com), May 6, 1987.
- Peter Shinkle and Dennis Bernstein, "Witnesses Who Were Absent" Part I, Guardian Unlimited (UK) (Flashpoints.net), September 23, 1987.
- Jane Hunter, "Manucher Ghorbanifar" and "The Shadow Government: Oliver North and the Israelis," The Link Vol. 20, Issue 4 (October-November 1987) posted by Americans for Middle East Understanding.
- Fox Butterfield, "Arms for Hostages -- Plain and Simple," New York Times, November 27, 1988.
- Michael A. Ledeen, "Truth About Ghorbanifar," with Reply by Theodore H. Draper, Letters in The New York Review of Books, April 27, 1989, In response to "'Rewriting the Iran-Contra Story': An Exchange" (March 2, 1989).
- Richard H. Curtiss, "Reprise of the October Surprise: Is the Worst Surprise Still to Come?" Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May/June 1991.
- Rep. Bill McCollum, "Partisan Politics and the Myth of the October Surprise" (from Newsweek, November 11, 1991), Extension of Remarks, November 4, 1991, in the U.S. House of Representatives, published in the Congressional Record:E3694LUM (posted by Federation of American Scientists).
- George Cave, "Eyewitness to 'Irangate'. Why Secret 1986 U.S.-Iran 'Arms for Hostages' Negotiations Failed," Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September/October 1994.
- Martin McLaughlin, "The crisis in Washington: what history tells us. Part 2: Iran-Contra," WSWS.org, April 4, 1998: "The Iranian arms trader Manucher Ghorbanifar claimed to be able to deliver [William F.] Buckley and other US hostages, although by this time Buckley had been tortured to death."
- Douglas Valentine, "Homeland Insecurity" Part Six: "The Counter-Terror Network," CounterPunch, November 8, 2001.
- Hichem Karoui, "Iskandar Safa and the French Hostage Scandal," Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, February 2002. re "Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian who was formerly an informer for the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE)."
- Mark Hosenball, "Exclusive: Regime Change in Iran? One Man's Secret Plan," Newsweek (MSNBC), December 22, 2002.
- Dana Priest, "Lawmaker's Book Warns of Iran. Weldon Accuses CIA, Colleagues of Ignoring Secret Information," Washington Post, June 9, 2003.
- Laura Rozen, "Curt Weldon's Deep Throat. The Pennsylvania Republican’s freelance spying has once again brought a discredited arms dealer's fabrications to the CIA," The American Prospect, June 10, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "Veteran neo-con advisor moves on Iran," Asia Times, June 26, 2003.
- Pete Yost, "Pentagon met with discredited figure from Iran-Contra scandal," Associated Press, August 8, 2003; Free Republic.
- Knut Royce and Timothy Phelps, "Arms dealer in talks with US officials about Iran," Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), August 9, 2003; Common Dreams.
- Bradley Graham and Peter Slevin, "Meetings With Iran-Contra Arms Dealer Confirmed," Washington Post, August 9, 2003; truthout.
- Steve Soto, "Rummy/Cheney/Rice Take Foreign Policy Back To The Iran/Contra Days," The Left Coaster, August 9, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "Iran-Contra, amplified," Inter Press Service, August 9, 2003; Common Dreams, August 11, 2003; and Asia Times, August 12, 2003; "A Bigger, Badder Sequel to Iran-Contra," AlterNet, August 13, 2003.
- Michael A. Ledeen, "Iran-Contra Revisited? Our dangerous Iran policy continues," National Review Online, August 14, 2003.
- Mark Hosenball and John Barry, "The Mystery Meeting," Newsweek, August 18, 2003 (issue).
- Anthony Gancaski, "Ledeen on the Run. 'Faster, Please' Toward the Annihilation of Iran," Antiwar.com, August 22, 2003.
- Julian Borger, Commentary: "Driving half-blind in Washington," The Daily Star (India) (Lebanonwire), August 29, 2003.
- Craig Gordon, "Pentagon hawks, Iran-Contra scam dealer hold talks," Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, September 8, 2003.
- Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay, "CIA investigated tip on WMD from previously discredited source," Knight Ridder Newspapers, October 14, 2003.
- Pete Yost, "Iran-Contra Figure Re-emerges as Middleman for Iraq Information to U.S. Government," Iranian Student Movement Up-to-the Minute Reports (Free Republic), October 15, 2003.
- Ira Stoll, "CIA Said to be Malingering - Critic Charges Agency is Lagging in Weapons Hunt," New York Sun (Free Republic), October 16, 2003.
- "Iran-Contra figure alleges enriched Uranium smuggled from Iraq into Iran. CIA sceptical of information. Says Ghorbanifar 'proven fabricator'," Associated Press (The Daily Times (India)), October 17, 2003.
- Julian Borger, "CIA and Pentagon split over uranium intrigue. Mistrusted arms dealer's tangled tale of nuclear smugglers and a hidden Baghdad laboratory sparks bitter spat," Guardian Unlimited (UK), October 17, 2003; Free Republic.
- B. Miller, "Will the Iran-Contra Crowd Ever Go Away?" Old Hickory's Weblog, October 17, 2003.
- "Reliable Source?: The Ongoing Fight Over Ghorbanifar," Newsweek (MSNBC), October 19, 2003; October 27, 2003 (issue).
- Charles R. Smith, "The CIA and Saddam’s Uranium. Agency 'Blew' Chance to Recover Iraqi U235," NewsMax, October 21, 2003.
- Michael A. Ledeen, "The CIA and the War on Terror," American Enterprise Institute, October 22, 2003.
- Bill Gertz, "CIA declined intelligence, former official says," Washington Times, October 22, 2003; Free Republic.
- Greg Miller, "CIA May Have Been Out of Iraq Loop. Top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel says some officials in the administration appear to have bypassed agency in gathering Iraq data," Los Angeles Times (truthout), October 25, 2003.
- Robert Collier, "U.S. gleans facts on Iran from debatable source. Nuclear arms allegations derived in part from rebel group's data," San Franciso Chronicle, October 26, 2003.
- Mark Hosenball, "Reliable Source? The Ongoing Fight Over Ghorbanifar," Newsweek, October 27, 2003 (issue).
- Eli Lake, "Pentagon Curtails Iranian Contacts, in a Bow to State. Rumsfeld Issues New Guideline, Triggering Concern of Hawks," New York Sun, December 2, 2003.
- James Risen, "How a Shady Iranian Kept the Pentagon's Ear," New York Times (truthout), December 7, 2003.
- James Risen, "Iran-contra contact linked to White House," New York Times (Sydney Morning Herald), December 8, 2003.
- "Ex-spy to enlist US in ousting Iran's leaders," Agence France Press (IranMania.com), December 15, 2003; Free Republic.
- Robert Dreyfuss and Laura Rozen, "Still Dreaming of Tehran," The Nation, March 25, 2004; April 12, 2004 (issue).
- Renato Farina, "Italy blames France for Niger uranium claim," Libero (Italy) (Free Republic), August 9, 2004.
- "Contra Iran: The Pentagon Spy’s Special Plan," Sakitume!, August 28, 2004.
- "Pentagon spy investigation goes beyond Israeli connection," Knight Ridder Newspapers (Columbia Daily Tribune), August 29, 2004.
- David M, "How many wars has Ghorbanifar started?" and "Silberman-Ghorbanifar," FUGOP Blogspot, August 29, 2004.
- Bryan Bender, "2d probe at the Pentagon examines actions on Iraq," Boston Globe, August 31, 2004.
- Editorial: "Iran Intrigue," Boston Globe, August 31, 2004.
- Hussein Ibish, "New spy scandal comes as major blow to Israel, AIPAC. Serious implications can lie ahead for US-Israeli ties," The Daily Star (India), August 31, 2004.
- Joshua Micah Marshall, Laura Rozen and Paul Glastris, "Iran-Contra II? Fresh scrutiny on a rogue Pentagon operation," Washington Monthly, September 2004.
- Eric Alterman and Paul McLeary, "Think Again: 'Misplaced Feith'," Center for American Progress, September 2, 2004.
- Gary Leupp, "Neo Cons Under Fire. Disorder Under the Heavens; Situation Excellent," CounterPunch, September 4-6, 2004.
- Eric R. Margolis, "Connect the Dots: The Latest Israeli Spy Scandal," Big Eye, September 6, 2004.
- Tom Barry, "Is Iran Next? The Pentagon neocons who brought you the war in Iraq have a new target," In These Times, September 28, 2004.
- Laura Rozen, "The revolution next time. As Iran moves to the front burner, some in Washington are arguing that with a little help exiles and dissidents can topple the mullahs and establish a pro-Western democracy. Sound familiar?" Boston Globe, October 10, 2004.
- Jeet Heer and Laura Rozen, "Overthrow Iran? Not so Fast," Los Angeles Times (jeetheer.com), November 15, 2004; Deseret News, November 21, 2004.
- Eli Lake, "Congressman Warns of Iranian Attack on U.S.," The New York Sun, December 14, 2004.
- "Mossad's strategy: anything wrong in the world…blame it on the Arabs," Al Jazeera, February 9, 2005.
- Laura Rozen and Jeet Heer, "The Front. Hard-liners want evidence that Iran is up to no good. And they’re turning to strange sources to get it," The American Prospect, April 1, 2005.
- Laura Rozen, "Hall of Mirrors," The Nation, May 20, 2005.
- Scott Shane, "Congressman's Book Calls C.I.A. Unfit," New York Times, June 9, 2005.
- Laura Rozen, "Curt Weldon's Deep Throat. The Pennsylvania Republican’s freelance spying has once again brought a discredited arms dealer's fabrications to the CIA," The American Prospect, June 10, 2005.
- Richard Miniter, "Weldon Challenges CIA Handling of Source," Human Events Online, June 10, 2005.
- Larry C. Johnson, "Weldon's Whacky World and the Truth About Iran," The Counterterrorism Blog, June 12, 2005.
- Jeffrey Goldberg, "Real Insiders. A pro-Israel lobby and an F.B.I. sting," The New Yorker, June 27, 2005 (posted); July 4, 2005 (issue).
- "Call for CIA probe into Iran dissident 'leak'," Regime Change Iran Blogspot, July 13, 2005.
- Warren P. Strobel, "Lawmakers met with Iranian exile scrutinized over intelligence," Knight Ridder Newspapers, July 20, 2005.
- Pen, "Niger Yellowcake and The Man Who Forged Too Much," Daily Kos (uruknet.info), July 22, 2005; Free Republic.
- "Dafydd: Tangled Webs, Contrasting Countdowns," Captain's Quarters Blog, August 9, 2005.
- "Who fabricated pre-war intelligence?" Common Dreams (Al Jazeera), October 12, 2005.
- Pen, "(FITZGERALD UPDATE): Niger Yellowcake and The Man Who Forged Too Much," Daily Kos, October 19, 2005.
- Justin Raimondo, "Niger Uranium Forgery Mystery Solved? The Fitzgerald/Plame investigation goes in a new direction," Antiwar.com (After Downing Street), October 19, 2005.
- Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo, "Da Chalabi agli agenti iraniani la guerra del Sismi in Iraq. A Roma il summit strategico con il Pentagono," Repubblica (Italy), October 31, 2005. Translate using AltaVista's Babel Fish Translation.
- Robert Dreyfuss, "Keep Investigating, Fitz," TomPaine.common sense, October 28, 2005: "The Ledeen who apparently turns up in the Niger hoax is the selfsame Ledeen who bundled Franklin and Rhode off to Europe to meet the lying Manucher Ghorbanifar. It sure looks like the same scandal to me."
- Gary Leupp, "The Plame Affair Leads to Rome. Berlusconi's Halloween Visit," CounterPunch, November 1, 2005.
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Spurious attempt to tie Iran, Iraq to nuclear arms plot bypassed U.S. intelligence channels," The Raw Story, January 11, 2006.
- Justin Raimondo, "War, Lies, and Videotape. First Iraq - Now They're Moving on Iran," Etherzone, January 13, 2006.
- Justin Raimondo, "Masters of Deception. And now for the real news…," Antiwar.com, February 15, 2006.
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Conversations with Machiavelli's ghost: Denials mark neoconservative's account of past and present scandal," The Raw Story, March 7, 2006.
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Cheney has tapped Iranian expatriate, arms dealer to surveil discussions with Iran, officials say," The Raw Story, April 20, 2006.
- Dave, "Another Turd Rises," The Galloping Beaver Blogspot, April 21, 2006.
- Gary Leupp, "The Secret Cabal Got What It Wanted: No Negotiations. Wilkerson Fingers the Neo-Cons on Iran," Dissident Voice; CounterPunch, April 26, 2006.
- Laura Rozen, "Three Days in Rome: In which a neoconservative jack-of-all-trades, a pair of Pentagon hawks, and an Iranian exile with a knack for tall tales try to outflank the CIA and conjure a coup in Tehran", Mother Jones, July/August 2006 Issue
- James Bamford, "Iran: The Next War", Rolling Stone, July 26, 2006