The Pentagon has defended a senior official amid allegations of her involvement in an Iranian influence network, The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.
A Pentagon spokesperson rejected Tuesday’s report accusing Ariane Tabatabai of links to Tehran’s regime. The report was based on emails from senior Iranian officials and revealed a communications network called the Iran Experts Initiative. This network reportedly includes Tabatabai and other influential academics who communicated with Iran’s foreign ministry and promoted Tehran’s viewpoints to American policymakers.
“Dr. Tabatabai was thoroughly and properly vetted as a condition of her employment with the Department of Defense,” the spokesman stated, according to The Washington Free Beacon. “We are honored to have her serve.” (RELATED: Iran Working To Infiltrate US Policy By Recruiting Western Official, Academics: REPORT)
BREAKING UPDATE: Pentagon Defends Senior Official with Alleged Links to a Secret Iranian Regime Network — “Tabatabai was thoroughly & properly vetted as a condition of her employment with the DoD. We are honored to have her serve,” spox tells me https://t.co/vnqn4V5V2E https://t.co/sXAp0Z7WC8
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) September 26, 2023
The State Department also dismissed the story, arguing that the outlet’s information was from “almost a decade ago” and referred further inquiries to the Pentagon. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby deflected questions about the report’s validity, stating that the administration is still reviewing the information, the outlet noted.
On Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee sent an investigative letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“Ms. Tabatabai’s past employment history and close ties to the Iranian regime are alarming and should be disqualifying for anyone seeking such a sensitive position of trust within the United States Department of Defense,” the letter reads.