Complex Network Tied To Clerical Regime In Tehran Helping To Shape U.S. Policy Towards Iran

Clare Lopez is a former CIA operations officer and long-standing conservative activist who has worked for a number of hawkish policy institutes. She is a senior fellow at the neoconservative Center for Security Policy (CSP), led by Frank Gaffney; is the vice president of the Intelligence Summit; and serves on the advisory board of the Clarion Fund, a controversial film production and distribution company that is tied to rightwing groups in Israel and the United States. Lopez is also the former executive director of the hawkish Iran Policy Committee and has been a lecturer at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies.[1]

At CSP, Lopez produced a study that purports to demonstrate that a “complex network of individuals and organizations with ties to the clerical regime in Tehran is pressing forward in seeming synchrony to influence the new U.S. administration’s policy towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.”[2] Echoing other efforts by “pro-Israel” hawks to counter arguments about the undo influence of the “Israel Lobby” in the United States, Lopez’s study claimed that there was a “de facto partnership” between groups like the National Iranian-American Council and the Council on American Islamic Relations. This she said “must arouse deep concern that U.S. national security policy is being successfully targeted by Jihadist entities hostile to American interests.”[3] (For more on efforts to argue the existence of an “Arab Lobby,” see Samer Araabi, “The Real Middle East Lobby,” Right Web, November 24, 2010.)

Lopez concluded: “To be sure, efforts at influencing U.S. decision-making are common among a host of legitimate interest groups, including many foreign countries. But in this context, where the guiding force behind such influence operations emanate from the senior-most levels of a regime like Iran’s—which holds the top spot on the State Department list of state-sponsors of terror, makes no secret of its hatred and enmity for the United States and its ally, Israel, and acts in myriad ways to support those who have assassinated, held hostage, kidnapped, killed and tortured American civilians and military personnel over a 30-year period—such operations must be viewed with serious concern.”[4]

In 2005, Lopez cofounded the Iran Policy Committee (IPC) with Kenneth Timmerman.[5] A vocal proponent of regime change strategies on Iran, the IPC advisers have included a host of well known hawks such as Raymond Tanter, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Paul Vallely, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Thomas McInerney, Navy Capt. (ret.) Chuck Nash, and Lt. Col. (ret.). Bill Cowan.[6] IPC is a part of small cadre of U.S.-based rightwing activists who promote the Iranian exile group the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), which is on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups. IPC has been tied to a number of other advocates of Middle East intervention, including the Iraqi National Congress led by Ahmed Chalabi.[7]

According to her bio on the CSP website: “Ms. Lopez is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, homeland security, national defense, and counterterrorism issues. Lopez began her career as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), serving domestically and abroad for 20 years in a variety of assignments, acquiring extensive expertise in counterintelligence, counternarcotics, and counterproliferation issues with a career regional focus on the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Ms. Lopez is a Professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies. Formerly, she was Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee, a Washington, DC think tank, from 2005-2006. She has served as a Senior Scientific Researcher at the Battelle Memorial Institute; a Senior Intelligence Analyst, Subject Matter Expert, and Program Manager at HawkEye Systems, LLC.; and previously produced Technical Threat Assessments for U.S. Embassies at the Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where she worked as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for Chugach Systems Integration. Ms. Lopez received a B.A. in Communications and French from Notre Dame College of Ohio and an M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She completed Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia before declining a commission in order to join the CIA. Ms. Lopez is a member of the Advisory Board for the Intelligence Analysis and Research program and guest lecturer at her undergraduate alma mater, Notre Dame College of Ohio; she also has been a Visiting Researcher and guest lecturer on counterterrorism, national defense, and international relations at Georgetown University. Ms. Lopez is a regular contributor to print and broadcast media on subjects related to Iran and the Middle East and the co-author of two published books on Iran.”[8]



[1]Center for Security Policy, “The Center’s Fellows,” (accessed February 5, 2010); Intelligene Summit, “Speakers and Organizers,” (accessed February 5, 2010).

[2]Clare Lopez, “Rise of the ‘Iran Lobby’: Teheran’s front groups move on– and into– the Obama Administration,” CSP, February 25, 2009,

[3]Clare Lopez, “Rise of the ‘Iran Lobby’: Teheran’s front groups move on– and into– the Obama Administration,” CSP, February 25, 2009,

[4]Clare Lopez, “Rise of the ‘Iran Lobby’: Teheran’s front groups move on– and into– the Obama Administration,” CSP, February 25, 2009,

[5]Tom Barry, “Iran Freedom and Regime Change Politics,” Right Web, May 18, 2006,

[6]Tom Barry, “Iran Freedom and Regime Change Politics,” Right Web, May 18, 2006,

[7]Ali Gharib, “Neocon Iran Policy Committee Tied To Disgraced Iraqi National Congress,” Lobelog, September 10, 2010,

[8] Center for Security Policy, “The Center’s Fellows,” (accessed February 5, 2010).


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