On Dec. 19, 2008, Hagel staffer Paul Kong and Arlen Specter staffer Chris Bradish both met with NIAC to discuss Iran-U.S. relations.
And NIAC’s minutes of a July 7, 2006 meeting describe a discussion between Hagel legislative assistant John Lettieri and NIAC legislative director Shervin Boloorian.
“[T]he threat of U.S. action has prevented U.S.-Iran engagement,” Lettieri said, according to those meeting minutes.
“Engaging Iran directly is supported by Hagel who believes that basic areas of common interest exist,” those notes continue. “John [Lettieri] reiterated Hagel’s support for academic exchanges, humanitarian exchanges, and other confidence building approaches.”
The picture that emerges in the documents that the Iran lobby group released during its lawsuit is one of unwavering support for Hagel.
At the conclusion of one memo apparently designed to generate support among members of what the document’s title refers to as a “coalition,” NIAC quoted Hagel from remarks in June 2006 about a National Defense Authorization Bill that would have imposed new sanctions on Iran.
“This … amendment is a very irresponsible, dangerous distraction to take,” the group quoted Hagel as saying.
“Our best course of action is exactly where the President is going — that is engaging Iran. That is engaging with our allies. That is strengthening our alliances. If we’re not careful … we will find America isolated in the world at a very dangerous time. … Let’s be careful here.”
Discovery documents show that NIAC’s Trita Parsi has also visited the White House, met with Valerie Jarrett, and briefed the secretary of state and the CIA.