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Legislative & Policy Resources

Informing Policy

The National Iranian American Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. We accomplish our mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision making by policymakers.

Below you can find NIAC's guiding principles, legislative resources, positions on legislation, and policy news. US government officials and policymakers in need of rapid support can contact the NIAC policy team for in-depth information and analysis either by phone at 202.386.6325 or via email at (Note: If you don't have a government (.gov) email address, please use our regular contact form. All non-government emails will be blocked by spam filters.)

Stand With the Iranian People

Stand With the Iranian PeopleFor too long, US policymakers have focused exclusively on imposing broad-brush sanctions that fail to distinguish between Iran’s government and its people. Iranians have lived under a double burden for decades, suffering not only under the repression of their own government, but also struggling with hardships imposed by US sanctions. Even as Iranians have taken to the streets to bravely stand up to Iran’s rulers and demand their rights, US sanctions continue to deny Iranians critical tools and services to advance free expression, promote human rights and civil society, and connect Iranians to the world community.

NIAC is leading the call for a new US approach to Iran—one that decreases pressure on the Iranian people while simultaneously increasing pressure on Iran’s rulers. NIAC has worked to eliminate US restrictions that block Iranians from communicating via the Internet and prevent US human rights, civil society, and relief organizations from working in Iran. At the same time, NIAC supports precision sanctions focused squarely on human rights abusers who repress the Iranian people. By eliminating restrictions that punish innocent Iranians and tightening sanctions targeting Iran’s government, the United States can stand with the Iranian people.

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Defend Human Rights

Defend Human RightsThe National Iranian American Council expresses grave concern about the human rights situation in Iran and urges the government of Iran to respect the internationally recognized rights of its citizens. As the largest grass-roots organization representing Americans of Iranian descent in the country, NIAC is committed to shedding much needed light on the abuses of the Iranian government against its own people.

As the inheritor of two great cultures – ancient and modern – both built on the culture of human rights, NIAC affirms the universality of human rights and rejects all attempts to disassociate Iranian culture from internationally recognized standards of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Iran's disregard for the international treaties it has signed and its deteriorating human rights record is deeply troubling to Iranian Americans and the global community. NIAC stands with human rights defenders in Iran and around the world and calls on the Iranian government to respect its existing international obligations and to ratify international human rights treaties it has yet to ratify.

NIAC advocates open, constructive, and unrestricted dialogue among all people and institutions that care about improving human rights in Iran and elsewhere. Through its programs, NIAC encourages discussion and debate on how best to advance human rights in Iran.

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On Iran, Take the Long View

Obama FlagNIAC seeks a world in which the United States and a democratic Iran enjoy peaceful, cooperative relations. To this end, NIAC supports a policy of patient, strategic engagement that includes human rights as a core issue and addresses American and regional security concerns. Such an approach is the most effective way to protect U.S. national security while creating space for the Iranian people’s century long struggle for democracy.

To be successful, America’s Iran strategy must learn from the mistakes made with Iraq. In Iraq, the absence of serious diplomacy put the United States on a path to an unnecessary and avoidable war. The international community imposed indiscriminate sanctions that failed to advance key interests but devastated the civilian population, weakened civil society, and cemented the country’s dictatorial rule. Three decades of Iran policy have put the US on a similar path, and it is one that the United States can ill-afford to continue following.

NIAC seeks a new way forward because a military conflict with Iran would undermine U.S. national security, strengthen Iranian hardliners, and severely undercut Iran’s pro-democracy movement. NIAC rejects the notion that advancing US security interests and promoting the rights of the Iranian people are mutually exclusive, and instead believes that patient, forward-thinking diplomacy can achieve these two vital objectives simultaneously.

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Civil Rights & Immigration

Statue of LibertyNIAC is committed to promoting US policies that benefit all Americans, including Iranian-Americans, by building bridges and fighting discrimination. There are over one million Americans of Iranian descent woven into the diverse fabric of this nation, and Iranian-Americans are among the most highly educated, affluent, and productive immigrant communities in the United States. According to one study, Iranian-Americans contribute over $400 billion to the US economy annually. As such, US policy should welcome and encourage the contributions of Iranians and Iranian-Americans.

NIAC supports immigration policies that ease burdens for visa-seekers and is working to address current US policy that permits only single-entry visas for Iranian students studying in American universities. This counterproductive rule prevents Iranian students from leaving the US during the entire duration of their studies, even in the event of a family emergency.

Unfortunately, some in Washington prefer to exploit the immigration issue to score political points, pandering to prejudice instead of pursuing smart policies. NIAC has led the fight against anti-Iranian-American discrimination, including unjust legislation that would deny visas for Iranians and cut off Iranian-Americans from their family and friends in Iran.

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Protecting Our Heritage

Our HeritageAmong the richest, most enduring cultures in the world, Iranian heritage spans four millennia and is responsible for some of the world’s greatest artistic, literary, and mathematical contributions to human history. NIAC is proud to honor, celebrate, and protect this heritage in America on behalf of Iranian-Americans, whether this means delivering the first-ever Congressional recognition of Norooz, the Iranian New Year; waging a full-scale defense to protect ancient Iranian antiquities; or educating policymakers about the proud heritage of Americans of Iranian descent.

One of NIAC’s top priorities is to protect the Persepolis Tablets, priceless artifacts that provide a unique first-hand account of life in the Persian Empire. The Persepolis Tablets are a part of Iran’s rich heritage that should continue to be shared at museums and universities. Unfortunately, lawyers seeking damages against the Iranian government have filed suit against American museums and universities to seize and auction the Tablets and other Persian artifacts. NIAC has led the Iranian-American community’s efforts to protect the Tablets, fighting in the courts, the Congress, and even the White House to protect the Persepolis Tablets. In order to permanently secure the Tablets and all other priceless Persian artifacts under threat, NIAC is working with Congress to change the law to protect all cultural artifacts held by American museums and universities so our heritage will never again come under attack.

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