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Don’t let facts get in the way of your pursuit for regime change

A prominent Iran hawk got called out after falsely blaming Biden for Iran's projected economic growth.

Reporting | Middle East

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz is best known for his leadership in promoting “economic warfare” against Iran as a means to foment regime change in Tehran or outright war with the Islamic Republic. 

Part of that campaign requires spreading a lot of mis- or disinformation, and Dubowitz himself has been a fervent participant in those efforts.

Over the weekend, Dubowitz tweeted a passage from  a Wall Street Journal article that noted an IMF report that “predicts Iran’s economy will return to 3.2% growth in 2021, following a 5% contraction in 2020, on the back of expanded oil sales and a stronger domestic industry.” Dubowitz blamed President Biden’s failure to maintain his predecessor’s “maximum pressure” campaign for the IMF’s alarming forecast.

“The Biden [administration] is already giving major concessions,” he tweeted. “That’s why this is occurring.”

But that’s not true, as Sune Engel Rasmussenthe Journal reporter who wrote the piece Dubowitz cited — later pointed out. 

“This is not accurate, Mark. The IMF estimate is from last year, months before Biden took office,” Rasmussen tweeted at Dubowitz. “The growth prediction is mostly based on Iran’s own economic performance under sanctions.” 

Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, the founder of Bourse & Bazaar and a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, also noted the rather glaring misdirection of blame, tweeting that the IMF’s estimate was issued last October before the elections. “These figures don’t reflect concessions by Biden — there haven’t been any,” he said. “They reflect that Iran’s economy began to shrug off maximum pressure while Trump was still aimlessly pursuing that policy.”

Yet Dubowitz has yet to issue a correction or delete his tweet.

And that’s how it works: Iran hawks have created their narrative for the path to regime change or war — in this case to make it as politically difficult as possible for Biden to ease sanctions and restore U.S. compliance with the JCPOA. And no amount of facts or empirical evidence demonstrating what a bad idea that is will get in the way. 

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