Office of Iranian Affairs

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

The Office of Iranian Affairs (OIA) is the reincarnation of the Office of Special Plans, "apparently housed in the same Pentagon offices inhabited by its predecessor and involving some of the same slimy personnel," Gary Leupp wrote May 29, 2006, in Dissident Voice.

"Notably, Abram Shulsky, who headed the OSP under Douglas Feith," with OIA staff "reporting to none other than Elizabeth Cheney, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and daughter of the Vice President. Dick Cheney is generally understood to be the strongest advocate for an attack on Iran in the administration. (He is also, by the way, architect of Bush's 'signing statements' appended to laws entitling him to ignore them. He is the man behind the throne, surrounded by neocon acolytes.)," Leupp wrote.

Note: In Spring 2006, Elizabeth Cheney left the State Department to have her fifth child.

On August 16, 2006, Wayne Madsen reported that David M. Denehy had recently been transferred "from his job as Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes to the Office of the Vice President," which, he wrote, was "another sign that the Bush administration is gearing up to attack Iran."

In March 2006, the "director of the new office [had] not been named," Guy Dinmore reported for the Financial Times. Denehy, "a special advisor on the Middle East, declined to comment on suggestions that he would head the office." Denehy was then "involved in the $50m project to create the first 24-hour Farsi television station to broadcast into Iran."

Also see Iran-Syria Operations Group and Iranian Directorate.

About OIA

The OIA is a special office created within the U.S. Department of State "to deal with foreign policy changes related to Iran and to promote a democratic transition in the Islamic republic," CNN's Elise Labott reported March 2, 2006. "The new Iran office will be based in the department's Bureau of Near East Affairs, but will also have officials working in the Bureau of Human Rights and Labor."

"Traditionally, Iran has been dealt with as part of a larger grouping of Persian Gulf countries," Labott wrote. State Department officials said "the new Office of Iran Affairs reflects a growing concern over actions by the Iranian regime and the need to devote significantly more personnel and resources to Iran policy."

"The office will deal with Tehran's support for groups on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations and Iran's alleged human rights violations. The office also will be involved in issues related to Iran's nuclear energy program, which the Bush administration fears is designed to develop nuclear weapons," Labott wrote.

The new office appears to be a division from the current Office of Arabian Peninsula and Iran Affairs [1] within the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and is a revival of the State Department's Office of Iranian Affairs which existed in the 1960s and 1970s.

OIA Personnel

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