Pickering has had an extensive diplomatic career and is known for a lot of things. One of them is serving on the board of the American-Iranian Council. Its president, Hooshang Amirahmadi, was a registered candidate in Iran's presidential election and has said, "Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas are terrorist organizations."
In other news, Iran's nuclear program will be investigated by the first guy over the wall into the Benghazi consulate. The good news is that weeks later the FBI is finally in the consulate gathering such vital forensic evidence as can be used to establish that the consulate was indeed attacked. Meanwhile the State Department investigating panel will be headed up by Thomas J. Pickering.
Pickering has had an extensive diplomatic career and is known for a lot of things. One of them is serving on the board of the American-Iranian Council. The AIC is a problematic organization because while it has more credibility than the NIAC, the National Iranian American Council which is a straight front for the Iranian government, it's still a group basically dedicated to pushing the Iranian agenda.
The AIC is technically not a lobbying group, but it's a place where prominent politicians and officials stop by. Its president, Hooshang Amirahmadi, was a registered candidate in Iran's presidential election. And the AIC has been described as an unofficial lobby for Iran and Hooshang has made that unofficial title more official during a visit to Iran.
“There is clash between various regional [Middle East] lobbies. Israelites will fast gather around Obama . Arabs will also spend their money to get close to Obama. Unfortunately, Iran is very lonely in Washington, and those few, like us, who defend the Iranian rights, are subject of unkind hostility in Tehran. These gentlemen [in Iran] do not truly understand what they do, and how they weaken our position. As a result the field is left wide open for Israelis and Arabs and enemies of Iran. Firstly, Iran should realize that, and empower its friends in Washington, especially in the next one to two months, which is the time [to do it].
Iranian leaders should pay attention to what is going on, and strengthen their friends. They [Iranian leaders] should have confidence in, energize, and trust their friends [in Washington] so they enter the arena. This is very important. Therefore the next two or three months are the time to conquer Obama’s heart and mind and that of his teams. Anyone who acts faster will rest trouble free for the next 8 years. Anyone who does not go to that bazaar [marketplace] now, will have a tough time entering that bazaar in future.”
Thomas Pickering is still a member of the honorary board of the AIC, which is a conflict of interest when investigating a terrorist incident that Iran is probably not involved in, but that it is not outside the realm of possibility that it might have been a factor in.
The Center for Security Policy's Claire Lopez has described Thomas Pickering as part of the Iran lobby and Pickering has taken the lead in opposing any attack on Iran's nuclear program. The question is what else has he adopted the Iranian line on?
Hooshang Amirahmadi, the head of the AIC, has said, "Unfortunately, a large part of the problems between Iran and the US are not based in reality, but are based on myths. The problem of terrorism is a true myth. Iran has not been involved in any terrorist organization. Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas are terrorist organizations."
One wonders if Thomas Pickering shares Hooshang Amirahmadi's view of Islamic terrorism?