September 13, 2023

STRATCOM Invited an Iranian Propagandist. Now Congress Wants Answers.

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by Farhad Rezaei, Senior Research Fellow

Far from encouraging a nuanced dialogue, STRATCOM’s invitation to Hussein Mousavian only served to legitimize him and the Iranian regime he represents.

Imagine the United States military inviting a former Iranian official to speak at a strategic forum, only to hear recycled Iranian regime propaganda. This isn’t a hypothetical. It’s what happened at US Strategic Command (STRATCOM)’s 2023 Deterrence Symposium, and now Congress is demanding answers.

In mid-August, STRATCOM made a controversial move by inviting Hussein Mousavian, a former Iranian official who still maintains close ties to the regime, to serve as a keynote speaker at its 2023 Deterrence Symposium, held in Nebraska. Now, Congressional leaders are demanding accountability, seeking names of the officials who invited Mousavian, and inquiring whether any taxpayer dollars funded his accommodations.

A STRATCOM spokesperson defended the decision, suggesting that Mousavian’s perspectives could provide valuable insights from an opposing viewpoint. However, Mousavian’s remarks at the STRATCOM conference merely echoed standard regime propaganda. One could easily find similar viewpoints in regime papers and propaganda outlets such as the Tehran Times and Press TV.