I spent a good part of yesterday tracking down and talking to some of the more respected Iran policy scholars here in the U.S., and their opinion was unanimous: Amir Taheri, most recently the author of the Iranian "Yellow Badge" fabrication, isn't taken seriously by those who study mideast politics. I even had a reporting colleague familiar with Taheri's oevre warn me off the guy.
We'll have more on this later today -- and it's good stuff, believe me -- but in general, he's simply not trusted. "This is a person who doesn't have any credibility," one scholar said. Of Taheri's recent piece alleging Iran was going to force religious minorities to wear color-coded badges, another established expert told me, "unfortunately, it's a pattern with him."
Because Taheri is still kicking around with some powerful friends (note his Monday visit to the White House), no one would be quoted.
But doesn't this make his White House visit all the more perplexing?