Mast Demands Answers on Iran Sympathizer Ariane Tabatabai

Mast Demands Answers on Iran Sympathizer Ariane Tabatabai

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
October 5, 2023

Near the end of August, Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) demanded answers on the sudden dismissal of Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley. More recently, Airane Tabatabai, a high-ranking member of the Department of Defense (DOD) and former aide of Malley, allegedly has ties to the Iranian government.

Specifically, Tabatabai is accused of being part of the "Iran Experts Initiative" created by the Iranian government to influence foreign affairs to its benefit in 2014. Additionally, Tabatabai had supposedly met with Iranian government officials several times. Moreover, when this information came to light, the DOD immediately defended her, calling Tabatabai "thoroughly and properly vetted."

Rep. Mast questioned several members of Tabatabai's staff at the end of September if the allegations against her were true. Assistant Secretary Christopher P. Maier answered they are "actively looking into whether all law and policy was properly followed in granting [Tabatabai] top secret special compartmented information."

When Rep. Mast attempted to push further, asking about the vetting process, Maier said he was not part of it.

Mast then asked about the Standard Form 86 questionnaire, which includes a 7-year statute of limitations for questions relating to work with foreign entities. Because the allegations against Tabatabai are from 2013-2014, and she started working with Malley in 2021, Mast inquired if Tabatabai did not list her supposed work with Iran for this reason.

Maier again answered he did not have that information, but the matter is still under investigation.

In a recent blog post, Mast expressed his incredulity at Maier and the General Counsel's answers, saying "I had to ask State Department officials myself: if this woman was vetted properly, how did they not know about her alleged previous ties? Their answer was: "I don’t know."

Moreover, because this information only recently came out after a controversial prisoner release with Iran for $6 billion and efforts to resurrect the Iran Nuclear Deal, Mast calls the lack of answers from the DOD on Tabatabai "a concerning development for America."

"We cannot be tough on Iran if our government is infiltrated and compromised by Iranian sympathizers. I will continue to demand answers and accountability from the Biden Administration, and work to undo the #AmericaLast policies at Biden’s State Department," Mast concluded.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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