05 September 2018

Mohammad Zarif speaks - about Soros. We better listen.


To start with a disclaimer: the man (Soros) is highly distasteful to me for many reasons, not the least of those is his own confession about his years as a youth under the Nazi rule being his happiest. There are other reasons, of course, but this will suffice for now.

The recent story started (for me) with an article in Israel today:

Iran admits to having 'worked closely' with George Soros network
Iran admitted on Sunday that it had worked closely with the Open Society Foundation, a grant-making network founded by American billionaire George Soros, which has often been accused of promoting an anti-Israeli agenda through left-wing NGOs.
Israel Today, being a somewhat funky source, chiefly dedicated to promoting the current government and its glorious achievements, didn't bother to provide any substantial proof of the matter.

Another article, from David Harris JR's site, provided essentially the same information:
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif commented on Sunday that his government is working closely with George Soros’ Open Society.
The article, however, supplied a link to the recording of Zarif's speech, at least the relevant part of it:


My Farsi being somewhat rusty, I have asked Potkin Azarmehr to translate it, and here is the result (with Potkin's kind permission):
Basically Zarif is saying that while he was Iran’s UN envoy there was already a working relationship with Open Society and [other] Soros funded bodies but what he did was to make sure the relationship was better managed and monitored so nothing against national interest would take place. He adds he didn’t like doing this but in NY you have to build a working relationship and not just a hello/goodbye with all kinds of groups there.
In short, the story checks out, at least the part of the Zarif's speech.

Now I have to add a disclaimer (another one). The Ayatollahs are nothing if not crafty, and it would be naive to dismiss the possibility of another disinformation operation by Mr Zarif, who by himself is nothing if not crafty. Just a year ago Ayatollah Ali Khamenei mentioned "a “wealthy American Zionist merchant” trying to interfere in Iran’s 2009 election in his comments, likely referring to liberal billionaire George Soros". So there is no love lost between the two sides.

But, on the other hand, it is quite possible that a common interest helped the sides to overcome the other grudges...

So there. Watch out for Uncle George.

Update: Finally from BBC (Farsi edition):
Mr. Zarif defended the relationship with the staff of the Open Society Foundation, affiliated with George Soros, an American investor, and said that through this relationship he was able to "restrict and regulate" the activities of this foundation in Iran.
And more on this Twitter thread.