Office of Iranian Affairs
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."
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  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.
- David M. Denehy of the International Republican Institute was "put in charge of a new 'Office of Iranian Affairs' set up within the State Department: he will report to Elizabeth Cheney, assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs."— May 2006.
- Amb. Mark Johnson, Executive Director and Founder, World Affairs Council of Montana, formerly with OIA 
- J. Scott Carpenter participated in the creation of the OIA
- Daily Press Briefing: "New Office of Iranian Affairs at State Department / Reorient Focus and Programs," U.S. Department of State, by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman, Washington, DC, March 3, 2006.
- "Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses" prepared by Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division, Congressional Research Service, Updated June 27, 2005.
- Country Analysis Brief for Iran, U.S. Department of Energy, Last Updated January 2006.
- Fact Sheet: "Reaching Out to the People of Iran," U.S. Department of State, February 15, 2006.
- News Release: President's FY 2007 International Affairs Budget Request, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Opening Remarks Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, February 15, 2006. (Published by Scoop, New Zealand.)
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Arab Spring
- Axis of Evil
- Coalition Information Center
- Combined Press Information Center
- Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
- information operations
- Information Operations Roadmap
- Information Operations Task Force
- information warfare
- International Republican Institute
- Iran-Syria Operations Group
- Iraqi Media Engagement Team
- Middle East Partnership Initiative
- Office of Global Communications
- outposts of tyranny
- regime change
- war in Iran / war in Iran: External Links
- war on terrorism
- Office of Iranian Affairs, RightWeb profile.
- 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.
- Barbara Slavin, "U.S. doesn't have needed support in U.N. to punish Iran, official says," USA TODAY, May 19, 2005: "Congress has approved $3 million to promote human rights in Iran and made Iranians eligible for the money for the first time. David Denehy, a State Department spokesman, said dozens had applied. He wouldn't say whether any Iranians were among them."
- Laura Rozen and Jeet Heer, "The Prince and the Dissident. Behind an Iranian in Washington promoting democracy and nonviolence is a network that includes neocons -- and the shah’s son," The American Prospect, June 6, 2005.
- Farah Stockman, "Rice wants funds for democracy initiative in Iran," Boston Globe, February 16, 2006.
- Howard LaFranchi, "A bid to foment democracy in Iran. The Bush team unveils a plan to push for Iranian-led reform. Can it really yield 'regime change'?" Christian Science Monitor, February 17, 2006.
- "Aid to Iran . . ." Washington Post, February 20, 2006.
- Charles A. Kupchan and Ray Takeyh, "The wrong way to fix Iran," Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2006.
- Brian Katulis, "New 'Office of Iranian Affairs' Outlined in State Department Cable," Think Progress, March 1, 2006. See unclassified State Department Cable.
- Ilan Berman, "On Message in Iran," The American Spectator, March 1, 2006.
- Elise Labott, "U.S. to sharpen focus on Iran. Office of Iran Affairs to 'facilitate change in Iranian policies'," CNN, March 2, 2006.
- Barry Schweid, "State Dept.: Iran Has Itself to Blame," Washington Post, March 2, 2006.
- Joy-Ann Reid, "Operation Repeat Performance," The Reid Report, March 2, 2006.
- Guy Dinmore, "New US focus on promoting democracy in Iran," Financial Times (InformationClearinghouse.info), March 2, 2006.
- "U.S. State Department to have new office of Iranian affairs," Xinhua (People's Daily Online (China)), March 4, 2006 (updated).
- Robert Dreyfuss, "Deja Vu All Over Iran," TomPaine.com, March 14, 2006.
- "Inside the US's regime-change school," Asia Times, March 14, 2006; also posted at truthout.
- "U.S. Department of State Invites You to Attend a Special Briefing for Representatives of Nongovernmental Organizations," After Downing Street, May 4, 2006.
- Laura Rozen, "U.S. Moves to Weaken Iran. A campaign to promote democracy and fund dissidents prompts speculation that the administration's goal is to change the regime," Special to the Los Angeles Times (InformationClearinghouse.info), May 19, 2006.
- Patricia H. Kushlis, "The US and Iran: What’s next? Regime change or nuclear containment?" WhirledView, May 23, 2006.
- Gareth Porter, "Iran Proposal to US Offered Peace with Israel," Interpress service May 24, 2006.
- Justin Raimondo, "Scary Reunion," antiwar.com Blog, May 26, 2006.
- Gary Leupp, "'Echoes of Germany Under Hitler'. The Office of Iranian Affairs, Embedded Journalism, and the Disinformation Campaign for War on Iran," Dissident Voice, May 29, 2006; CounterPunch, May 30, 2006.
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Pentagon confirms Iranian directorate as officials raise new concerns about war," The Raw Story, June 15, 2006.
- "Iranian Directorate: the Office of Special Plans Refurbished," Another Day in the Empire, June 15, 2006.
- Robert Dreyfuss, "Next We Take Tehran. The confrontation with Iran has very little to do with nukes—and a lot with the agenda of empire," Mother Jones, July/August 2006.
- Wayne Madsen Wayne Madsen Report, August 16, 2006.