A media aide to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani covering the P5+1 nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, is seeking asylum in the West and has blasted the U.S. negotiating team as apologists for Iran, reports the Telegraph (h/t Yair Rosenberg):
Amir Hossein Motaghi, who managed public relations for Mr Rouhani during his 2013 election campaign, was said by Iranian news agencies to have quit his job at the Iran Student Correspondents Association (ISCA).
He then appeared on an opposition television channel based in London to say he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as a journalist as he could only write what he was told. […]
Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.
“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” he said.
The usual caveats apply here: this is just one individual, and we would like to hear more detail. But on the face of it this is an important indicator. When a Iranian liberal defector emerges to tell us that the hardliners are winning back home, that discipline on the Iranian press is intensifying, and that the U.S. is caving, we should probably pay attention.
If the standard pro-White House, liberal analysis were right—that the hardliners were fighting a last-ditch battle against a rising liberal tide, and that a deal is therefore the best way for the U.S. to promote democracy and moderation in Iran—then we would expect a liberal defector to be begging the West to hurry up and sign a deal. The fact that he’s doing precisely the opposite speaks volumes about the agreement taking shape and the state of play in Iran.