Raymond Tanter

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Raymond Tanter is a Zionist lobbyist [1] and the head of the Iran Policy Committee, a group advocating "regime change" in Iran. He is an adjunct scholar at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and was scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington. He has a long history of strong support for Zionist causes, and has been a featured speaker at Zionist events, e.g., JNF, AIPAC-related groups, etc. He also has written books about "terrorism" and for some time ran the terrorology circuit. He has taught at Northwestern, Stanford, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Tanter was a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. In 1967, Tanter was deputy director of behavioral sciences at the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense and a member of the Civilian Executive Panel, Chief of Naval Operations. He served at the White House on the National Security Council staff, 1981-1982. In 1983-1984, he was personal representative of the Secretary of Defense to arms control talks in Madrid, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Vienna. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Committee on the Present Danger.[2]

According to Haaretz:

Between one academic job and the next, Tanter filled several positions in the White House and the Pentagon, mainly during Ronald Reagan's presidency. For two years (1981-1982) he was a member of the National Security Council, in charge of Libya and Lebanon (among his other assignments, Tanter followed Israeli policy which led to the invasion at the time. [3]

Beating the war drums: Iran Policy Committee advocating regime change in Iran

In 2005, AIPAC and related zionist organisations in the United States stepped up their lobbying efforts to obtain "regime change" in Iran and the dismantlement of the Iranian nuclear programme. As part of this effort, the Iran Policy Committee was created, and Raymond Tanter is listed as the organization's founder and co-chair. He is often the public face of IPC and has stated in public that:

  1. the United States should pursue a policy of "regime change" in Iran;
  2. the United States should remove select Iranian armed groups from its "terrorist organization list";
  3. the United States should neutralize or eliminate the Iranian nuclear program.

The principal way IPC propagates its views is by:

  1. appearing in endless US Congressional hearings;
  2. generating a stream editorials that are placed in the Op-ed pages of mainstream newspapers;
  3. giving interviews to news organizations that are sympathetic to IPC's objectives; and
  4. endorsing Iranian groups opposed to the Iranian theocracy.

Target Iran

The majority of the content on IPC's website is written by Tanter. In March 2010 Tanter issued a "briefing" which reiterated IPC's standard "recommendations" for the US government with regard to Iran. According to Tanter, the US should support opposition groups in Iran along with continuing "tough" sanctions and providing "covert support" in order aid the "Iranian people" in deposing the Iranian government:

Research indicates that it would be in the U.S.'s interest for Washington to remove restrictions on the Iranian opposition (e.g., by removing the MEK and NCRI from the list of terrorist organizations), while imposing tough, comprehensive, and targeted sanctions. As for America's part, Mr. Tanter affirmed that Washington can play a vital role in helping the Iranian people to depose the regime by providing rhetorical and covert support to the Iranian opposition movement without having to resort to external regime change as in the takedown on Saddam Hussein in Iraq.[4]

Support for the MEK

Tanter openly endorses forced regime change in Iran through the US of opposition groups, most notably the exiled MEK. He has lobbied the US government to remove the MEK from the US terror list for years:

Raymond Tanter, who founded and co-chairs the IPC, is a former fellow of the Hudson Institute and a current adjunct scholar at the AIPAC-formed Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Tanter has, for years, lobbied power-centers in Washington — with some success on Capitol Hill – to remove the MEK from U.S. terror lists and use them to conduct a cross-border insurgency against Iran from Iraq, where the MEK has been based.[5]

Forgotten Chapter: Tanter at the Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Tanter spent many years teaching Political Science and history of the "Middle Eastern conflict" at the University of Michigan -- Ann Arbor. Curiously, this chapter of Tanter's life does not appear in his IPC biography. [6] While at UM he was renowned for his pro-Israeli stance, and teaching history/politics of the Middle East with a strong zionist perspective. He frequently appeared as a featured speaker at events hosted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) -- this was an annual event. In 1989, Tanter also spearheaded attempts to expunge student journalists who were critical of Israel and US foreign policy from the Michigan Daily, a student newspaper. Tanter was present at meetings of zionist student-journalists, B'nai B'rith officials, and non-student zionist activists, where a campaign was hatched to oust leftist and Palestinian student-journalists. [7]

Bush is "Not Sufficiently Conservative"

According to Haaretz, whereas Tanter is identified with the Republican Party and for his right-wing views, in his opinion George W. Bush's administration "is not sufficiently conservative."[8]

Airline Security

After Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was allowed to board a US-bound airplane with explosives in his underwear in 2009, Tanter appeared on CBS as an "anti-terror expert" where he made 2 recommendations for airline security procedures. During this interview Tanter recommended the US adopt Israeli procedures two times. Tanter's recommendations can be summarized as follows:

  • 1) Build/refer to more selective terror-suspect identifying lists
  • 2) Rely less on technology and more on human assessment abilities ("do like the Israelis do")[9]

In Tanter's own words:

The United States has focused I think a bit too much on the technology, we've spent billions of dollars on the technological side of enhancing security and not enough on the human side...So you need to add a third leg to the security environment. In addition to the lists and the technology for explosive detection you need to inquire about the nature of the person. Where are you going? Where have you been? Who paid for your ticket? Why did you pay cash and those kind of questions are the kind of questions that the government of Israel uses in its examination of the security threats facing Israel.[9]

Further on:

The most important list that I think will be in the future is the "selectee list." That is the list that says, hey, you have been selected for secondary screening, in addition to going through the metal detector, we want to look at your computer, we want to, but -- I say go further, and do like the Israelis do, ask more about the nature of the person and not focus so much on the technology of explosive detection or rely too much on lists.[9]

Affiliations (alpha order)


  • 2010 - Visiting Professor, Georgetown University
  • 2005- Present Iran Policy Committee - Founder
  • 2002 - Professor Emeritus University of Michigan
  • 1995 - 1999 - Professor Emeritus University of Michigan
  • 1983 - 1984 Personal representative of the Secretary of Defense to arms control talks in Madrid, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Vienna
  • 1981 - 1982 National Security Council staff at White House
  • 1969 Stanford Univ., Visiting Professor
  • 1968 US Dept. of Defense, Research Contract Administrator
  • 1964 - 1967 Northwestern Univ., Assistant Prof. Political Science
  • 1963 - PhD Indiana University

Contact, References and Resources


Personal Website at the University of Michigan
Tel: 202-452-0650
Fax: 202-223-5364 (at the Washington Institute)
Tel (IPC): +1-202-249-1142
Mob: +1-202-320-8434 (cell)
Email: rtanter@iranpolicy.org


  • WINEP biography
  • Iran Policy Committee, 'Countering the Iranian Threat: Diplomatic, Military, and Political Options', PR Newswire/Sun Herald, 1 February, 2008.


  1. For reference to Tanter's involvement with AIPAC (formerly American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs), see Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, 'After Babylon, Persia', ANTI-WAR.com, 19 December, 2005.
  2. 'Iran Policy Committee (IPC) - Co-Chair Biographies', web.archive.org/NCI website, accessed 27 March, 2009.
  3. Yossi Melman, Ultimately, the U.S. will attack, Ha'aretz, 17 September, 2006.
  4. Raymond Tanter, "Can People-Power Defuse Iran's Nuclear Threat", MEFORUM Website, 10 March 2010, accessed on 17 September 2010
  5. Ali Gharib, "Skepticism about MEK’s alleged Iranian nuke revelation", Lobe Log, 9 September 2010
  6. 'Raymond Tanter: IPC Cofounder', IPC website, accessed 27 March, 2009.
  7. Some students at the Univ. of Michigan in 1989 witnessed Tanter at some of the meetings meant to expel the dissenting journalists from the newspaper. The expulsion campaign included a coordinated media campaign which involved a demonstration of Jewish/zionist students and others in front of the Michigan Daily with ample media coverage: two TV stations had camera crews there, and the New York Times sent a journalist to cover the event! The NYT article: Doron P. Levin, "Student Articles Hostile to Israel Divide Campus at U. of Michigan", New York Times, 22 February, 1989.
  8. Yossi Melman, Ultimately, the U.S. will attack, Ha'aretz, 17 September, 2006
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Raymond Tanter Interview, "Security on Airlines, YouTube, 29 December 2009 (accessed on 17 September 2010)
  10. Linda R. Benson, "Ray Tanter: Professor of the Well-Chosen Soundbite", Ann Arbor Observer, Feb. 1991, pp. 37 – 43
  11. Benson, ibid.
  12. Benson, ibid.
  13. Raymond Tanter, University of Michigan website, 31 July, 1998.