The Iranian Directorate is a policy unit set up at the Pentagon in policy shop which previously housed the discredited Office of Special Plans. The directorate is playing the same role with regards to Iran as OSP did for Iraq. According to Laura Rozen, '[a]mong those staffing or advising the Iranian directorate are three veterans of the Office of Special Plans: Abram N. Shulsky, its former director; John Trigilio, a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst; and Ladan Archin, an Iran specialist.' It works in close collaboration with the Office of Iranian Affairs at the US Department of State.
According to the Pentagon's spokesman:“As a counterpart to the State Department's new Office of Iran Affairs, the Department of Defense has split off a new directorate for Iran-related policy issues from the existing Directorate of Northern Gulf Affairs in the Office of Near East and South Asia Affairs (NESA)".
The new directorate falls under the new number three at the Pentagon, Eric Edelman. Edelman, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, holds the same position that Douglas Feith held when he ran OSP at the Pentagon in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
While the Pentagon has refused to disclose who heads the unit, according to Inter Press Service's Khody Akhavi, it is Ladan Archin. She was also identified as the Director of the unit at an event organized by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Battle for Radio Farda
In September 2006, the McClatchy Newspapers obtained a report drafted by the unit 'charging that U.S. international broadcasts into Iran aren't tough enough on the Islamic regime...It accuses the Voice of America's Persian TV service and Radio Farda, a U.S. government Farsi-language broadcast, of taking a soft line toward Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime and not giving adequate time to government critics.'
Early responses suggest that the unit competes in its incompetence with its predecessor, OSP. According to the McClatchy Newspapers report, 'U.S. broadcasting officials and others who've read the report said it's riddled with errors..."The author of this report is as qualified to write a report on programming to Iran as I would be to write a report covering the operations of the 101st Airborne Division," Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, said in a statement on Tuesday.'
However, despite the incompetence, the Pentagon has managed to wrest control of VOA Persian and Radio Farda away from the State Department.
- Jim Lobe, Neo-Cons To Plot Iran Strategy Amid Caribbean Luxury, Lobelog.com, 22 May 2007
- Daniel Schulman, Meet the "Whack Iran" Lobby, Mother Jones, 6 October 2006
- Laura Rozen, "U.S. Moves to Weaken Iran," Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2006.
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Pentagon confirms Iranian directorate as officials raise new concerns about war," The Raw Story, June 15, 2006.
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Intelligence Officials Doubt Uranium Claims, Say Cheney Recieving Suspect Briefings," The Raw Story, August 18, 2006
- ^Khody Akhavi, Neo-cons take spin to US-backed airwaves, Asia Times Online, 26 June 2007
- ^Warren P. Strobel and William Douglas, Pentagon study claims U.S. broadcasts to Iran aren't tough enough, McClatchy Newspapers, 26 September 2006