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Princeton professor investigated by House Republicans for suspected ties to Iran

Professor calls claims ‘manufactured fake stories created by certain lobbies in Washington, which are interested in dragging the US to attack Iran’

A Princeton University professor suspected of advancing Iranian state interests is under investigation by the House Education and the Workforce committee.

Professor Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a Middle Eastern nuclear and security policy specialist who has taught at Princeton for 13 years, denies he has any ties to the Iranian regime.

“I have not been able to go to Iran since June 2021 and I have not been engaged with any government including the government of Iran since the Iranian court convicted me in 2008,” Mousavian told The College Fix via email.

But 16 Republican members of the House committee sent a letter to Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber in mid-November outlining their concern regarding Mousavian’s possible projection of “foreign hostile regimes on American institutions.”

“Prior to coming to the U.S. in 2009, Mousavian worked for the Iranian regime his entire professional life,” the letter stated. “…Despite his supposed disaffiliation with the Iranian government, Mousavian’s ability to travel freely to the United States and act as an unofficial government representative while discussing U.S.-Iranian ties has left his relationship with the Iranian government unclear.”

The letter also mentions that the scholar served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany, where he oversaw the same embassy that a German court found served as the “‘headquarters’ for the planning of the 1992 assassination of four Iranian dissidents at the Greek restaurant Mykonos in Berlin,’” the letter states.

In response, Mousavian told The College Fix that “Any direct or indirect allegations posed against me in regards to the Mykonos assassinations in Berlin are lies.” An Iranian court convicted Mousavian in 2008 for suspected espionage and he left Iran in 2009, he said.

Mousavian added in his email that efforts made to push false narratives regarding his professional work as an academic are “manufactured fake stories created by certain lobbies in Washington, which are interested in dragging the US to attack Iran.”

“Over the past two decades, as an academic, I’ve used every opportunity to propose a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis and dialogue and engagement between Iran and the United States,” he said. “All my books, articles, speeches and interviews during 13 years working at Princeton University are about peace, security, stability and opposing wars and warmongering.”

Mousavian’s faculty bio states he served as Iran’s Ambassador to Germany from 1990 to 1997 and also was the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council from 1997 to 2005. He was also the spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the international community from 2003 to 2005, it states.

Lawmakers, in their memo, are demanding answers from Princeton regarding Mousavian’s connections to Iran, including asking whether the Obama administration was directly or indirectly involved in Princeton’s hiring of Mousavian and whether Princeton is aware of any communications between Mousavian and Iranian regime officials.

Princeton University’s media relations team did not respond to requests from The College Fix seeking comment.

According to a Nov. 19 article in Fox News, which first reported on the probe, it came as a surprise to some in Congress that STRATCOM hosted Mousavian as a speaker in August 2023.

“Mousavian’s appearance at the STRATCOM symposium ‘concerned members of the Armed Services Committees of both the House and the Senate. Additionally, aspects of this issue trouble us as members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce,’” the memo states.

Mousavian is not the only Princeton professor being probed for alleged ties to the Iranian regime.

Professor Robert Malley, who teaches at Princeton as well as Yale, currently works at these universities while he is on leave from his job “as an envoy to Iran pending an FBI investigation and a suspension of his security clearance,” The College Fix reported Nov. 24.

Republican lawmakers have criticized Malley for allegations he “had compromising ties to the Iranian regime” and are seeking further information.

“The United States made recent concessions to Iran, potentially in violation of the Iranian Nuclear Review Act. These concessions occurred as Mr. Malley—the Administration’s top negotiator with Iran—is under investigation for the alleged mishandling of classified material,” their memo states.

MORE: Iranian Studies Institute promotes state propaganda, not exchange: analysis

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Josiah Sullivan is a student at Clemson University majoring in political science. He spoke at the 2022, 2023 South Carolina Life Conference and has made appearances on the Palmetto Family podcast and at the Palmetto Women's Center yearly gala. Josiah is on senior staff for The Tiger.