In the wake of the Iran deal, a letter to President Obama congratulating him appeared online. It was issued by something called The Iran Project, the stated purpose of which is to improve "the Relationship Between the U.S. and Iranian Governments" and was purportedly signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors and high-level public officials. The list includes almost all the old Middle East hands around who haven't expressed their opposition to the deal.
If one had somehow heard about the letter and wanted to read it, a Google search would have turned up more than one Iran Project website. Curiously, this includes one on which the statement of purpose above does not appear. In substance, however, it seems pretty close in intention to the site where one can find the letter. But it contains no mention of or link to the letter. Nosing around theiranproject.com, one finds the statement below regarding its intents and purposes. Given its content and illiteracy, one has to suspect that the entire site is a fraud and probably concocted in Tehran. The Iran Project has been victimized by a troll, as they say in current cyber talk:
"Iran, a country of pivotal importance in the Middle East, has played a always key role in regional and international affairs. Since the 1979 revolution Iranians’ direct contact with outside world has been limited. This has caused some mainstream media to impose their biases on the news and commentary coming out of Iran.
"These media include Iranian state media and so-called independent media outside Iran. Such selective policies, whether Iranian of foreign, have not allowed independent Iranian voices to be heard by people around the world. On the other hand, the lack of ٍindependant English-language news outlets focusing on Iranian affairs has led to the monopolization of commentary about Iran by certain groups.
"These groups, such as the MKO (Mojahedin Khalgh Organization), often have an existential problem with the Iranian government or are financially supported by Iran’s historical enemies. The Iran Project site is an non-professional news website run by a group of Iranians inside and outside of Iran. This site is meant to influence the policy of the Iranian government and foreign media to the extent it can. The Iran Project provides you with the latest news, analysis, and coverage from independent voices inside Iran. Everything is issued independently, however not in way causing reprimand from the Iranian government."
One wonders if the actual Iran Project, which was started by Bill Leurs in 2002 inside the UN association and became independent in 2009, is aware of this. If it is, why is there no statement from the group disassociating itself from the dot com website? Innocent Googlers may assume that what's involved here are just two different expositions of the same group's work. And one wonders how many of the 100+ signatories would feel comfortable with theiranproject.com.