Since its inception in 2012, the Iranian New Horizon Conference has brought together far-right as well self-proclaimed leftist activists on an anti-Israel platform, among them the fascist ideologue Alexander Dugin, and other well-known red-brown astroturfers from all over the world.
Upon closer inspection these supposedly left actors, such as Pepe Escobar, Thierry Meysan, Caleb Maupin, and Tobias Pfennig, turn out to be red-brown activists with a more than questionable track record. For example, Maupin, a former Occupy Wall Street activist who had turned into a Duginist, is pledging for a "left, nationalist populism."1 The German Pfennig runs the pseudo-antifascist organization "Anti-Imperialist Action" (Anti-Imperialistische Aktion), which "aims to team up with proponents of the radical far right and far left, particularly in Russia, Eastern Europe and Donbas."2
When it comes to the far-right participants, there are notorious fascists and neo-Nazis, such as the Italian "Nazi-Maoist," Claudio Mutti, editor of the neo-Nazi magazine Zuerst!, Manuel Ochsenreiter, who currently stands accused of being involved in a false-flag arson attack in Ukraine, or the Polish Mateusz Piskorski, founder of the Third Positionist party Zmiani, currently not able to leave his home country because of alleged contacts to Russian intelligence. What brings them together is their sympathy for Alexander Dugin in particular, and Russian fascism and Third Positionism (National Bolshevism and fascist "Neo-Eurasianism") in general.
The Iranian NGO New Horizon, which is behind the organization of the conference, was in February 2019 sanctioned by the U. S. Treasury Department for alleged espionage and treason aimed at the United States.3 It is an open question whether the Iranian government, or elements thereof, had anything to do with the conference' organization. At least one scheduled speaker did not receive the required visa to enter the country.4
A surprisingly large number of the conference participants have appeared as commentators and "specialists" on RT5 : Caleb Maupin (us), Manuel Ochsenreiter (de), Michael Opperskalski (de), Juan Antonia Aguilar (es), Marwa Osman (lb), Pepe Escobar (br), Declan Hayes (nl), Mateusz Piskorski (pl), Eric Walberg (ca), Thierry Meyssan (fr), Alison Weir (us), Scott Rickard (us), Patrick Henningsen (us), Pam Bailey (us), Randy Short (us), Robert Naiman (us), Hafsa Kara-Mustapha (uk), Rodney Shakespeare (uk), Hassan Alkatib (uk), Shabbir Hassanally (uk), Catherine Shakdam (uk), Michael Maloof (us), Greta Berlin (us) etc.
The New Horizon Conference website hosts a "friends" section, which as of April 2020 includes6 : 21st Century Wire, Veterans Today, Asia Times, The Council for the National Interest, Fidelity, Culture Wars, Proche&Moyen-Orient, Cercle des Volontaires, Voltaire Network, Égalité & Réconciliation, Geopolitica.ru, Katehon, American Herald Tribune, Al-Awda, Science of 9/11, Neturei Karta, The Final Call, Pandora.tv, Peacemaker Mediators, Geheim, Codepink, Mega Chip, Investig'action, Clap36, Zuerst!, Entre La Plume et L'Enclume, If Americans Knew, Truth Justice Peace.
Several of the media listed are clearly from the far-right spectrum with a tendency towards Third Positionism and "Duginism," including Zuerst!, Égalité & Réconciliation, Geopolitica.ru, and Katehon.
Friends of the New Horizons Conference
There is some overlap of speakers that appeared also at the "International Conference on Hollywoodism," that is taking place since 2011, including Hamed Ghashghavi, Art Olivier, and Dieudonné M'bala M'bala. It should be noted that the conspiracy theorist Webster Tarpley and the Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson had been also among the speakers, the latter having in 2012 held a lecture about "Hollywoodism's part in creating the myth of 'the Holocaust.'"7
There is also a considerable number of US military and secret service apostates that have appeared on the conference: former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer Monica Witt (now residing in Iran), " State Department veteran banned by Twitter for harassment, Peter Van Buren, ex-U.S. Psychological Operations Battalion officer Scott Bennett, and former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and Assad truther Philip Giraldi,"7 or former analyst at the US Office of the Secretary of Defense,8 Michael Maloof.
There is no shred of a doubt that the NHC conference serves as a platform for antisemites from the entire political spectrum. Nevertheless allegedly "left" journalists, such as Max Blumenthal have fiercely criticized people who denounce the conference.9
Before the NHC conference series was launched in 2012, a series of equally antisemitic conferences had taken place, after former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. The New York Times had reported on the third edition of the event in early June 2006, when "67 'foreign intellectuals' from 30 countries" were "taking part in 'Holocaust World Prospect,' a conference sponsored by the Iranian Foreign Ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies."10 The NYT article states:
Attendees include a who's who of Western anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers. A former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, is giving the keynote address. French professor Robert Faurisson told participants yesterday the Holocaust "never existed" and praised Mr. Ahmadinejad, who "will allow the truth to emerge in the end and uncover this great lie." Frederick Toben of Australia's Adelaide Institute told the conference that "claims … about the mass gassings and burnings [are] a physical impossibility," while French writer Georges Thiel called the Holocaust "an enormous lie." Bradley Smith, of the America-based Committee for the Open Debate of the Holocaust, said, "Gas chambers never existed."
David Duke was at the time linked to the antisemitic university "Interregional Academy of Personnel Management" (MAUP) in Ukraine, which was closed in the immediate aftermath to the event, in late June 2006. The Anti-Defamation League described MAUP as the "main center for anti-Semitic propaganda and publishing in Ukraine. Its Rector, Georgy Tschokin, was widely condemned for declaring solidarity with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent call to "wipe Israel from the map."11
In 2012, the first edition of the anti-Semitic New Horizon Conference took place in Teheran, Iran. Among the participants were according to a meanwhile unpublished SPLC article: "Hands Off Syria Coalition steering committee member Issa Chaer," Voltaire Network founder Thierry Meyssan, "World Workers Party member Caleb Maupin, Alt Right journalist Tim Pool, Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett, and Duginists like Voltaire Network associate Mateusz Piskorski, German editor Manuel Ochsenreiter, Leonid Savin, and Claudio Mutti, the leading fascist infiltrator of the Campo Antimperialista,"12 as well as former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer Monica Witt.4
The 2nd conference “New Horizon: the International Conference of Independent Thinkers” was held in Tehran, September 27–October 1, 2014. Conference chairman was Nader Talebzadeh and Reza Montazami "Conference Executive Director."13 The full schedule of the 2014 conference has been archive, and it gives a great overview over the topics that are discussed,13 such as "9/11 and the Holocaust as pro-Zionist 'Public Myths.'"
The 2014 conference was divided into two parts: The 2nd Annual International Conference of Independent Thinkers & Film Makers (September 27-28), and the so-called "Conversations" (September 29-October 1).
The following speakers, panelists, moderators and participants have been recorded on both events: Dieudonné Mbala Mbala (fr), Caleb Maupin (us), Claudio Moffa (it), Claudio Mutti (it), Cyrus McGoldrick, Gilles Munier (fr), Joe le Corbeau (fr), Juan Antonio Aguilar (es), Maurizio Blondet (it), Olivier Lemoine (fr), Raphael Berland (fr), Roberto Quaglia (it), Thomas Werlet (fr), Stephen Sizer, Mateusz Piskorski (pl), Manuel Ochsenreiter (de), Maria Poumier (fr), Manuel Galiana-Ros (es), Eric Walberg, Kevin Barrett, Anthony Hall, Pepe Escobar (br), Leonid Savin (ru), Ahmed Rami (se), Isabelle Praile (be), Ayatollah Qaem-Maqami, Gareth Porter (us) , Wayne Madsen (us), Hassan Abbasi, Ken O’Keefe, Hojjat ol-Eslam Ali-Reza Panahian, Jean-Michel Vernochet (fr), Saeed Jalili, Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, Kourosh Kamalvandi, Abdol-Hosayn Allah-Karam, Thierry Meyssan, Jim Fetzer, Kourosh Ziabari, Mohsenian, Vahid Jalili, Khaled Qoddumi, Medea Benjamin (us), Randy Short, Tim Pool, Art Olivier, Mahmoud Mohtadi, Zeina Mehanna, Marzieh Hashemi, Hassan Khatib, Issa Chaer, Hosayn Sheykh ol-Islam, Alaeddin Borojerdi, Mohammad-Javad Larijani, Foad Izadi, Arash Darya-Bandari, Hasan Rahimpour Azghadi.
2nd New Horizon Conference (2014)
According to an article by the ADL:14
According to organizers, the event will include “tens of elite thinkers, philosophers, activists and politicians worldwide” who will discuss and “expose” Zionist control of the film industry and the influence of the “Zionist lobby in America.”
As in the previous conference, this year’s New Horizon Conference has drawn the participation of several anti-Israel activists, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers. A new presence at the conference is the participation of a so called American anti-war activist, Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of CODEPINK.
In addition to Benjamin, the conference’s official website published the names of several American and international anti-Semites, anti-Israel activists and Holocaust deniers that are expected to be in attendance, including Maria Poumier, a French conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier; Claudio Moffa, an Italian Holocaust denier; Kevin Barrett, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist and frequent contributor to Iran’s English language propaganda news network, Press TV; Gar[e]th Porter, an anti-Israel journalist; Pepe Escobar, a Brazilian anti-Israel journalist; and Art Olivier, a former elected official from California and 9/11 conspiracy theorist.
Moreover, Iranian news agencies have reported that a number of other individuals are scheduled to also attend the three-day conference in Tehran. Iranian news agencies have reported the expected participation of Alison Weir, the director of If Americans Knew and the Council for the National Interest, two grassroots anti-Israel organizations; Ken O’Keefe, an anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist former U.S. Marine and a regular contributor to Press TV; Wayne Madsen, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist; Cyrus McGoldrick, the former Civil Rights Manager for the New York chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations; Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the French anti-Semitic comedian and the creator of the anti-Semitic “quenelle” gesture; and Mark Siljander, a former U.S. Representative (R-MI) who was found guilty in 2010 of two federal charges relating to his ties to an Islamic charity alleged to have funded terrorist groups.
The conference was opened with remarks by the personal advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mohsen Ghomi, who boasted that the conference itself is “the biggest threat to Zionists,” and that “American officials are puppets of the Zionist lobby who are taking advantage of American ignorance.” Anti-Israel journalist Gar[e]th Porter said during his presentation on Monday that the Mossad and CIA are responsible for manufacturing the nuclear crisis with Iran.
Notable people that attended the 2014 NHC conference: the French antisemitic comedian Dieudonné Mbala Mbala; Grayzone contributor, Gareth Porter;15 "Nazi-Maoist" Claudio Mutti; far-right Duginist Manuel Ochsenreiter; Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett; the Polish Mateusz Piskorski, charged for "cooperation with Russian intelligence services."16 According to a report by MEMRI:17
Conference General Secretary Gholemreza Montazami, Conference International Affairs secretary Hamad Qashqavi, and Conference Technical Committee director Nader Talebzadeh are close to top regime officials, especially hardline ones, as can be seen in photos on their websites. Qashqavi's website also showed him with French antisemitic comedian Dieudonné Mbala Mbala, who is known, inter alia, for mocking the Holocaust and for popularizing the "quenelle" gesture that resembles a reverse Nazi salute.
Dieudonné doing the "Quenelle" (reverse Nazi salute) with New Horizons organizer Hamad Qashqavi in 2014
The 3rd New Horizon Conference, entitled "On The Brink," took place from October 27-29, 2015. The conference videos have been published on racism.org, run by Vernellia Randall.18
Among the participants were Jason Douglas Newman alias Brother Ali, Vernellia Randall, Pierre Jules, Caleb Maupin, Earl Muhammad, Seyed Abdollah Hoseini, Mikail Yusuf Muhammad, Declan Hayes, Zeinab Mehanna, Muhammad Lamrana Jalloh, Amir Suleiman, Musa Dan Fodio, Kemi Saba, Cecile Johnson, Kemiour Shabazz, Elaina Martin, Candice "Antique" Davis and Hodari B. Davis.
The 4th New Horizon Conference named “On the Brink 2” took place at the Kowsar Hotel in central Tehran.19 An article and video on NBC News by Ali Arouzi spoke of a "conference on police brutality," by "American activists, writers and commentators," while only referrring to others accusing "last year's Horizon conference ... of being anti-Semitic."20
Searchlight Magazine had also reported about the 2017 event.21 Among the participants were: the host Nader Talebzadeh, Reza Montazami, Hamed Ghashghavi, Giulietto Chiesa (it), Maurizio Blondet (it), Roberto Quaglia (it).
2017 New Horizon Conference in Iran
Flyer for the 4th International New Horizon Conference (2017)
6th New Horizon Conference in May 2018
The 5th or 6th edition of the New Horizon conference was taking place from May 12-15, 2018, in Mashhad, Iran,22 this time with star guest Alexander Dugin.23 On the New Horizon Conference website the event is referred to as the 5th New Horizons Conference,24 whereas in other places it was stated it was the 6th edition. According to the Dugin-affine Geopolitica.ru:23
The theme of this year’s conference is “JERUSALEM/AL-QUDS, THE ETERNAL CAPITAL OF PALESTINE” which was organized by New Horizon Secretariat, as well as Secretariat of 6th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada...
Alexander Dugin at the 6th New Horizons conference in Teheran, Iran, in 2018.
[The] New Horizon Conference is run by an articulate Iranian intellectual, the TV journalist Nader Talebzadeh, a devout Muslim and one of the original revolutionaries from 1979. New Horizon hosts international dissidents, and critics of US/Israeli policy. Recent guests include New York’s Rabbi Dovid Weiss, and Lauren Booth, Tony Blair‘s sister-in-law, who converted to Islam nine years ago. Last year in the “holy shrine city” of Mashhad, Iran, the conference was a lively mix of international intellectuals, including new Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, and the witty international journalist Pepe Escobar, of Asia Times. We were given a chance to see a warm, loving side of Islam, with free time to explore Masshad’s Shrine of Imam Reza, one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in Shia Islam.
In the 2018 edition also the editor of Veterans Today, Jim W. Dean, and "former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and Assad truther,"7 Phil Giraldi, were present at the conference.27 "The latter is the executive director [of the] Council for the National Interest and writes for the American Herald Tribune, a conspiracy-theory "news site" cited by Alex Jones - both of which are official "friends" of the conference."7 So was the former analyst at the US Office of the Secretary of Defense with a tendency towards conspiracy theories,8 Michael Maloof, who now writes for RT International.28
The 2018 NHC conference had particularly many RT journalists on the roaster, as an online announcement shows. Rania Khalek accepted the invitation, but later pulled out, according to Alexander Reid Ross.29 Greta Berlin, spokesperson for the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) which she had co-founded in 2006, reportedly made it to the conference,30 so did Miko Peled.31
Announcement of speakers at the 6th New Horizon Conference in 2018
In February 2019, the Iranian NGO New Horizon, which is behind the organization of the conference, was sanctioned by the U. S. Treasury Department for alleged espionage and treason aimed at the United States.3 It was also then, when "U.S. Air Force intelligence officer Monica Witt was charged with helping Iran launch a cyber-spying operation on her erstwhile intelligence community colleagues. Witt attended the conference in 2012, and at the 2013 she attended again – and defected to Iran, where she remains," according to Haaretz.7
The 7th edition of the New Horizon conference included speakers, such as Alexander Dugin (ru), Leonid Savin (ru), Manuel Ochsenreiter (de), Tobias Pfennig (de), Pepe Escobar (br), Válerie Bugault (fr), Sandrella Malazi (pl), Anthony James Hall (ca), Anis Al-Nakach (Lebanon), Hasan Al-Emad (Yemen), Bassam Abu Abdullah (Syria), Mahdi Nassiri (Iran), Amal Wadhan (Palestine), and Princess Vittoria Alliata di Villafranca (it).
Among the participants were also the Serbian journalist Tesha Teshanovic (Теша Тешановић),32
New Horizons Conference 2019
- Website of the New Horizon conference
- Current Facebook page of the New Horizon conference
- Previous Facebook page of the New Horizon conference
- Current YouTube channel of the New Horizon conference
- Previous YouTube channel of the New Horizon conference
- 1"Conference "The alternatives to globalism: the strategies of the multipolar world". Part 1," Geopolitica Ru on YouTube, April 29, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED-_woEjAmI.
- 2Marlene Laruelle and Ellen Rivera, "Collusion or Homegrown Collaboration? Connections between German Far Right and Russia," Political Capital, April 2019, https://www.politicalcapital.hu/pc-admin/source/documents/Laruelle_Rivera_Collusion_or_Homegrown_Collaboration.pdf
- 3 a b "Treasury Sanctions Iranian Organizations and Individuals Supporting Intelligence and Cyber Targeting of U.S. Persons," U.S. Department of the Treasury, February 13, 2019, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm611.
- 4 a b "Mark Dankof on The Monica Witt USAF/OSI Spy Defection Case and Marzieh Hashemi of Press TV/Iran," Mark Dankof's America (Blog), February 18, 2019, https://mark1marti2.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/mark-dankof-on-the-monica-witt-usaf-osi-spy-defection-case-and-marzieh-hashemi-of-press-tv-iran/.
- 5See overview of participants from each country on the New Horizons website, http://newhorizon.ir/category/guests/.
- 6"Friends," New Horizon Conference, http://newhorizon.ir/friends/.
- 7 a b c d e Alexander Reid Ross, "Opinion: The anti-Semitism Fest Where Russian Spies, Code Pink, David Duke and the Nation of Islam Make Friends and Influence People," Haaretz, March 14, 2019, https://www.haaretz.com/amp/world-news/.premium-russia-s-role-in-an-anti-semitism-fest-for-fascists-feminists-spies-and-neo-nazi-1.7003563.
- 8 a b "Michael Maloof," Coast to Coast AM, https://www.coasttocoastam.com/guest/maloof-michael/60874/.
- 9"Militantly Pro-Israel Trump Official is Directing the Economic War on Iran," Consortium News, September 10, 2019, https://consortiumnews.com/2019/09/10/meet-the-militantly-pro-israel-trump-official-directing-economic-war-on-iran/.
- 10Steven Stalinsky, Holocaust Deniers Anoint Iran's Ahmadinejad, New York Times, December 6, 2012, p.6.
- 11"ADL WELCOMES UKRAINIAN ACTION AGAINST ANTI-SEMITIC UNIVERSITY," Anti-Defamation League, June 28, 2006, http://www.icare.to/article.php?id=4434&lang=en.
- 12Alexander Reid Ross, "The multipolar spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment," Southern Poverty Law Center, March 9, 2018, archived version from March 9, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20180309225139/https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/09/multipolar-spin-how-fascists-operationalize-left-wing-resentment.
- 13 a b "Conference Itinerary," New Horizon, 2014, https://archive.fo/enCx0.
- 14"Iran New Horizon Conference Draws U.S. Anti-Semites, Holocaust Deniers," Anti-Defamation League, October 1, 2014, https://www.adl.org/blog/iran-new-horizon-conference-draws-us-anti-semites-holocaust-deniers.
- 15"Author: Gareth Porter," The Grayzone, https://thegrayzone.com/author/gareth-porter/.
- 16"Poland detains pro-Kremlin party leader for 'spying,'" The Guardian, May 19, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/19/poland-detains-pro-kremlin-party-leader-mateusz-piskorski-spying.
- 17"The Second International 'New Horizon' Conference in Tehran Draws Leading Holocaust Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, And BDS Activists From Around The World – And Is Backed And Supported By Iranian Regime," MEMRI, October 15, 2014, https://www.memri.org/reports/second-international-new-horizon-conference-tehran-draws-leading-holocaust-deniers.
- 18"On the Brink: Table of Content," Race, Racism and the Law, https://racism.org/on-the-brink.
- 19"New Horizon Conference Kicks Off in Tehran," Tasnim News Agency, May 17, 2017, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/05/17/1410578/new-horizon-conference-kicks-off-in-tehran.
- 20Ali Arouzi, "Iran Hosts U.S. Activists at Conference on Police Brutality," NBC News, October 31, 2015, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/iran-hosts-u-s-activists-conference-police-brutality-n452171.
- 21"Jew-hating fascists and their Iranian sponsors gather in Tehran for their fourth international hate fest," Searchlight, May 23, 2017, https://www.searchlightmagazine.com/2017/05/jew-hating-fascists-and-their-iranian-sponsors-gather-in-tehran-for-their-fourth-international-hate-fest/.
- 22"Habilian Association SG’s speech at the 6th International New Horizons Conference (Full Text)," Habilian, June 17, 2018, https://www.habilian.ir/en/201806173603/articles/habilian-association-sgs-speech-at-the-6th-international-new-horizons-conference-full-text.html.
- 23 a b "6th international conference of New Horizon in Mashhad," Geopolitica.ru, May 15, 2018, https://www.geopolitica.ru/en/news/6th-international-conference-new-horizon-mashhad.
- 24"5th New Horizon," New Horizon Conference, January 2018, http://newhorizon.ir/2018/01/5th-new-horizon/.
- 25Twitter post by @fatherdave, May 24, 2018, https://twitter.com/fatherdave/status/999663563927994368.
- 26Sander Hicks, "FBI Harasses US Citizens for Friendship with Iran," Medium, August 5, 2019, https://medium.com/@sanderhicksdotcom/fbi-harasses-us-citizens-for-friendship-with-iran-290d7d46aac8.
- 27"Attacking Iran – Phil Giraldi," Veterans Today, February 26, 2019, https://www.veteranstoday.com/2019/02/26/attacking-iran/.
- 28"Michael Maloof," RT International, https://www.rt.com/op-ed/authors/michael-maloof/.
- 29Twitter post by @areidross, November 25, 2018, https://twitter.com/areidross/status/1066469222937546752.
- 30"GRETA BERLIN Interview with PressTV at New Horizon Conference in Iran," Cathy Castro on YouTube, June 4, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KlD_nf-NOc.
- 31Twitter post by @fresh_sadegh, May 13, 2018, https://twitter.com/fresh_sadegh/status/995749057346899968.
- 32Twitter post by @webradius, December 21, 2018, https://twitter.com/webradius/status/1076138098696876034.
- 33Facebook page of the New Horizon Conference, https://www.facebook.com/newhorizonconf/.
- 34New Horizon Conference on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbjpnCAAhYsraamMF07NPqg.