"The Talented Mr. Fakhravar"
Laura Rozen has a great article about new superstar Iranian dissident Amir Abbas Fakhravar. He’s not the opposition figure with the most credibility or the most support inside Iran. He is, however, the one with the most neocon-friendly worldview:
Iran’s best-known dissident, journalist Akbar Ganji, rejected invitations to meet with administration officials on a recent U.S. visit, and asked instead to see the United Nations’ Kofi Annan and Noam Chomsky. “I advocate change of the regime in Iran,” Ganji told me in July. “But that regime must be changed by Iranians themselves.”
Enter Fakhravar, who is more inclined to say exactly what the hawks want to hear. He told me that Iran’s president wants to wipe Israel off the map, and that “any movement or any action whatsoever” by the United States would “help or enhance the people to rise up.” All the student movement in Iran needed to overthrow the regime, he said, was “a little bit of coordination, organization, and training.”
A virtual unknown both inside and outside Iran when he arrived in the United States in May, Fakhravar has in the months since then ascended to prominence at a dizzying clip. By midsummer he was rushing from testifying on Capitol Hill one moment to an Iran opposition gathering at the White House the next, meeting regularly with policymakers and influential advisers, chatting with the former Shah’s son on his cell phone, and generally being touted as the young, idealistic face of the movement to overthrow the mullahs.
According to Rozen, Fakhravar seems to be a bit of a grifter, a crook, and a flim-flam man which, of course, makes him a perfect match for his newfound buddies. In short, he’s the new Chalabi. Like Chalabi, there’s even some sign that he’s actually working with the Iranian security services.