White House Hosts Iranians, Says Bus Attack Just “Tit fot Tat”

In the aftermath of the bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the Obama administration included an Iranian-American anti-Israel group in a White House meeting and characterized the terror attack as a “tit-for-tat” reprisal by Iran.

Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg wrote on Twitter, “Contra assertion by US official, this was not tit-for-tat; bomber didn’t target Israeli nuclear scientists, but tourists.”

Wednesday, officials from the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) attended a White House roundtable event for Iranian-American community leaders that featured Valerie Jarrett, one of President Obama’s closest advisers.

NIAC bills itself as an Iranian-American community organization, but its work focuses on softening U.S. policy toward Iran. It advocates removing sanctions on Iran and attempted to scuttle Dennis Ross’s promotion to an Iran policy role in the White House. A recent membership survey conducted by NIAC received only 500 responses.

The day before the White House meeting, NIAC’s president, Trita Parsi, who does not hold American citizenship, published an article in the Daily Beast alleging that Israeli leaders viewed the murder of their civilians in the Bulgaria bombing with satisfaction. ”US officials have privately expressed concern that one of the purposes of Israeli attacks in Iran has been to generate an Iranian response that could serve as a casus belli for Israel,” Parsi wrote. “That way, Israel could target Iran’s nuclear facilities without paying the heavy political cost of starting a preventive war.”

While Parsi speculated that the murder of tourists marked the achievement of an Israeli policy goal, a ”senior American official” quoted in the New York Times said the attack “was tit for tat”—retaliation for Israel’s alleged assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Commentators took issue with the official’s characterization of a terror attack on tourists and the assassination of scientists working on an illicit nuclear program as equivalents. Former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton said, “I think Israel is perfectly entitled to respond. It’s not just a tit for tat operation. This is self-defense, to dissuade Iran, if it’s susceptible of rational calculation, not to do this again. … The Iranians and Hezbollah have engaged in an act of pure terrorism. They have killed innocent civilians. The Israeli response is a legitimate act of self-defense, and indeed, it’s a legitimate act of self- defense if the use of force is well beyond the terrorist attack because they are entitled to stop the attacks at their source.”

Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg wrote on Twitter, “Contra assertion by US official, this was not tit-for-tat; bomber didn’t target Israeli nuclear scientists, but tourists.”

Read the original article here.

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