Iranian scholar at Princeton University caught boasting about Iran’s threat to former Trump officials


PRINCETON, NJ — A faculty member of an Ivy League university reportedly bragged about how the Iranian government made death threats against a top official in former President Trump’s administration.

Now, the Iranian scholar at Princeton University is defending his comments, which were captured in a documentary that was aired in Iran.

According to a report by The Washington Free Beacon, the Princeton University faculty member is Seyed Hussein Mousavian, a former Iranian official who was a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team.

Mousavian works as a Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University, according to the report.

Mousavian previously had served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany from 1990 to 1997, according to a report by Alarabiya News.

The person who was allegedly threatened by the Iranian government is Brian Hook, the Trump administration’s special envoy for Iran.

Alarabiya News reported that Mousavian appeared in a documentary that was recently aired on Iranian state TV.

The documentary glorified and marked the second anniversary of the Iranian regime’s top military commander, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed during a U.S. military operation on Jan. 3, 2020 near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.

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Soleimani’s death was significant for the U.S. because he headed the IRGC-Quds Force, which is an overseas arm of the Revolutionary Guards, according to Alarabiya News.

Due to his important position within the regime, Soleimani was considered the most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Mousavian even traveled to Iran to attend the funeral service of Soleimani, according to a report by Iran International.

In an op-ed that was published in The National Interest on Jan. 25, 2020, Mousavian wrote:

“On January 6, 2020, I attended the funeral of Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the Commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, in Tehran.

“No well-orchestrated photographers or drone shots from above can do justice to the ocean of humanity present in their funeral processions.”

Mousavian’s op-ed then outlined the 12 “consequences” he anticipated would result from Soleimani’s death.

Regarding the U.S. special envoy for Iran, Alarabiya News’ report noted Mousavian appeared to be “gloating” about how the Iranian regime frightened Hook’s family.

The death threats against Hook were allegedly initiated after Soleimani was killed.

Alarabiya News reported:

“Mousavian came under fire after he appeared to boast during the documentary that Iranian threats to target US officials as part of the revenge for Soleimani had purportedly caused the wife of Brain Hook, the US Special Envoy for Iran at the time, to panic.

“Mousavian, who travelled back to Iran in January 2020 to attend Soleimani’s funeral, claimed: ‘After returning to the US, an American told me that Brian Hook’s wife had not slept for several days and that she was shaking and crying. That’s how afraid they were.’”

It is unknown who the alleged American informant is.

Last Friday, the New York-based think tank United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) urged Princeton University to disaffiliate from Mousavian.

The Algemeiner reported UANI’s chairman is former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. The CEO is Mark D. Wallace, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

In a statement written by UANI’s Lieberman and Wallace, Mousavian was criticized for what he said and how it was done. The Algemeiner reported:

“Mousavian ‘recently sounded gleeful over the fact that American citizens and their families were concerned by death threats received from supporters of the Iranian regime in a documentary lauding the late Commander of the IRGC Quds Force Qassem Soleimani,’ wrote the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) Chairman, former US Senator Joe Lieberman, and CEO Mark D. Wallace, a former US Ambassador to the United Nations.

“‘UANI strongly condemns Mousavian and calls upon Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber to dismiss him from any association or affiliation with Princeton without delay,’ the two wrote.

“‘His gleefulness at Americans who fear reprisals at the hands of the Islamic Republic should be cause for universal condemnation.’”

Regarding the same statement, Iran International reported:

“In a Friday statement condemning Mousavian, advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber ‘to dismiss him from any association or affiliation with Princeton without delay,’ noting that ‘Ambassador Mousavian’s affiliation with Princeton is a stain on the university’s reputation and credibility.’”

The Algemeiner reported Mousavian has gotten defensive about his comments:

“Mousavian cast his remarks in the film as an expression of concern, writing on Twitter, ‘In an interview, I mentioned that US/Iran mutual threats, cause harms to families which is a fact.

I always have reiterated that the US and Iran should avoid threatening and the use of force and resolve their dispute through diplomacy.’

“‘By mentioning Brian Hook’s family trembling with fear, in an interview, I warned on the humanitarian consequences of mutual threat exchange between Iran and the US, and its impact on the families,’ he said. ‘Any other interpretation of my statement is false and hereby is rejected.’”

The Algemeiner spoke with Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University student who was reported to have been held captive by the Iranian regime for over three years, and wrote:

“Responding to that defense Sunday evening, Xiyue Wang — a Princeton PhD student in history and Iran analyst who was held captive by the Iranian regime for over three years — called Mousavian ‘a shameless liar, but not a good one.’

“‘Having seen him gleefully gloating over the IRGC death threat to an ex senior US official in an IRGC propaganda film, would anyone believe Mousavian’s professed humanitarian consideration here?’ Wang commented.”

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Neither Mousavian nor Princeton University responded to Algemeiner’s requests for comment, according to the outlet.

The Washington Free Beacon also reported that Princeton University did not respond to its request for a comment.

Mousavian is not the only former top Iranian official working at an American university.

Oberlin College has also come under fire from the Iranian dissident community for employing  Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, a religion professor and “presidential scholar in Islamic studies.”

Mahallati reportedly served as Iran’s ambassador to the U.N. in the late 1980s, when Iran killed thousands of dissidents over a span of several months.

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