Hostile foreign governments have infiltrated the D.C. swamp. Even Saudi Arabia, whose state religion inspires ISIS, has an army of lobbyists doing their bidding. And what they want is often the opposite of what Americans want. We expose them on this Swamp Watch.Read More
An insular club of elite lawyers have corrupted our justice system. Eric Holder and his friends move between the Department of Justice and white collar criminal defense firms like Covington & Burling. They’re the reason why bank executives who admit to committing crimes still get to avoid prison. And they’re the subject of this installment of Swamp Watch.Read More
Some of the swampiest parts of Washington operate in the dark. The little-known Export-Import Bank is our official export credit agency, helping foreign buyers of American manufactured goods with sweetheart deals. It's also a hub of corporate welfare and a burden on the taxpayer. The bank benefits huge corporations and harms the taxpayer through subsidized loans at below-market interest rates.Read More
There's a revolving door between the federal government and health insurance companies. And they're writing legislation that harms customers and is a giant windfall to the companies. It's an abuse of public trust that is enriching a small group of people, and it's the subject of this week's Swamp Watch.Read More
Health care is so expensive in the US partly because hospitals are charging exorbitant fees for their services. They can do so because local hospitals are being increasingly replaced by megahospitals, giant conglomerates that operate as regional monopolies shielded from competition. I profile this practice that is harming patients in this week's Swamp Watch.Read More
The pharmaceutical industry is ripping us off, driving up the cost of health care, lying to patients, and enriching an elite group of well-connected executives. This is one of the biggest, most profitable swamps in the country, and it's in the crosshairs of this Swamp Watch segment.Read More
Our $600 billion defense budget is a giant swamp of people getting rich and inefficiently, to say the least, delivering national security. There's also a well-known revolving door between the defense department and defense contractors.Read More
Alternative energy companies are spending tons of money on lobbying, getting huge subsidies from the Department of Energy, defrauding consumers, and subsequently going bankrupt. It's a swamp that hardly anyone is talking about.Read More
There's a revolving door between big banks and the Treasury Department, and lots of people are getting rich off our tax dollars. Jack Lew is a great example. He worked at CitiGroup, which received a lot of TARP funding; then he got a large bonus from the company; and shortly afterwards, he started working for the federal government. How nice. Let's see who else we'll find in this swamp.Read More
There are two possible Flynn-Bannon-Trump strategies on Iran worth considering.
I. The first is that they're setting the table for war with Iran, plain and simple. The administration will use the recent missile test and subsequent Iranian noncompliance to create a pretext for starting a war. Look at what Flynn thinks about Iran's role in the Middle East, and it's clear that he feels Iran needs to be met directly by force for countering the US's designs for the broader region (see Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and the ailing peace process)Read More
I recently completed work as a consulting producer for VICE on HBO for their documentary on US-Iran relations, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, and the country's nuclear program. The piece was hosted by Shane Smith and came out great.
I worked alongside two full-time VICE producers to secure exclusive access to a nuclear facility, as well as complete all the other pre-production tasks required to get an American crew to cover a story inside the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The documentary debuted on Friday April 29 at 11pm ET on HBORead More
As part of my AIC work, I'll be hosting tonight's "US Election and Middle East Foreign Policy" event featuring Dr. James Zogby from the Sanders campaign and Richard Nephew from the Clinton campaign. We've invited the two men to speak about their candidate's foreign policies toward the Middle East as well as take some questions. We'll also be live streaming the event, which you can watch right here at 6pm today!
Thursday April 7, 6pm
Marymount Manhattan College
In this 'Iran Chat' interview with Richard Nephew, the former lead sanctions expert for the US team negotiating with Iran, AIC Director of Communications Kayvon Afshari discusses a host of issues concerning US-Iran relations, including the implementation of the nuclear accord, the recent changes to the visa waiver program, and how post-sanctions era Iran will affect global energy prices.Read More
The new visa waiver restrictions are complicated and can be confusing to understand. Fortunately, AIC's Kayvon Afshari breaks it down by interviewing a lawyer from the ACLU, a former American nuclear negotiator, and an Iranian-German dual citizen who was recently affected by the law. Watch the video, then share it with your friends who need to learn about the issue!Read More
I was quoted in a Reuters report on the state of US-Iran relations, in the wake of the prisoner exchange, the dutiful implementation of the nuclear accord, and the swift resolution of the naval incident. Read the full article.
I discussed the visa waiver issue ("HR158") on Brooklyn's BRICTV, a newly-launched community television station in Brooklyn. I argued that the addition of Iran in the law is both discriminatory and fails to improve national security.
I elaborated on the reason that I'm personally opposed to the law.
"Sometimes people say that this law just produces a small inconvenience, and that you should just apply for a visa. However, to me it's not about the inconvenience. I'm affronted by the implication of the law," I said. "And the implication is this: that I, because I am an Iranian-American dual citizen and have traveled to Iran, just may perhaps be a terrorist."
That's a bad precedent to set.Read More
I'll be discussing the visa waiver issue ("HR158") on Brooklyn's BRICTV on Tuesday January 12th. It's certainly complicated legislation and the effects of it, both directly in terms of travel rights and indirectly in terms of international relations, have yet to be seen. I hope to dissect it and provide a balanced, intellectually honest assessment of the complex law. I also hope to drop a few f-bombs on camera.
As part of my work for the American Iranian Council, I recently moderated a discussion with Ambassador Dennis Ross and Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi on the topic of countering ISIS and Islamist extremism. The event was hosted at Marymount Manhattan College and is part of a series of events we're co-organizing with the college. I'm looking forward to more thoughtful and fruitful events with them.Read More