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Do Iranian Americans Have a Stake in the War in Gaza?

The following piece was written by Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council. The ongoing war in Gaza, in which Israeli forces have killed over 36,000 Palestinians with little end in sight, is not some distant crisis that is disconnected from the lives of Americans. As the slaughter of civilians has provoked widespread international condemnation, mass protests, and even rulings from the International Criminal of Justice that Israel may be carrying out a genocide, American tax dollars and political support have sustained the conflict. The United States government has provided billions of dollars in weaponry being used to kill civilians, along with logistical support and political cover for Israel and Netanyahu to sustain the assault.  This mass slaughter of civilians is taking place in our names with the support of our elected government, which is why the war in Gaza is something that all Americans should care about – and for Iranian Americans, there are even more ways this war touches our lives and makes it urgent and necessary to demand our government stop enabling it. Preventing War with Iran Means Ending the War in Gaza As we recognized since the horrific October 7th attacks by Hamas, the

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Abdollahian and Others Killed in Helicopter Crash

Washington, DC – Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement on the helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian and other Iranian figures: “The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian, creates a void in the Islamic Republic’s leadership amid a deepening legitimacy crisis for the Islamic Republic. “Raisi came to office in elections that were highly choreographed, even by the Islamic Republic’s standards, and which marked a new era of consolidation of power by hardliners and the narrowing of already meager channels for popular political contestation allowed by the regime.  “He entered office with a long history of rights abuses from his time in the Iranian judiciary that oversaw mass executions of political dissidents in 1988 and Raisi’s  government will be forever known for its brutal crackdown against popular demonstrations during the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement.  “Iran will now hold a special Presidential election in fifty days to replace the current caretaker administration led by Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber. This will pose new challenges for the Islamic Republic, as popular participation in elections has declined precipitously in recent years. Most recently,

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Lead Against Banking Discrimination

For years, Iranian Americans, Iranian nationals and other minority groups have been discriminated against by U.S. financial institutions who close or restrict their accounts with little to no warning. This process, which is done in an apparent overcompliance with broad sanctions on Iran, is known as “de-risking.”  These incidents have been well documented, with closures impacting students far removed from financial support, individuals closing on a home or expecting a child, or even just friends paying each other back via mobile apps for Iranian food. Most recently, Bank of America was sued by an Iranian national – and permanent resident in the U.S. – for closing his account with no notice. In the lawsuit, Bank of America itself revealed that they had closed or restricted the accounts of a staggering 15,000 individuals of Iranian heritage.  Given that these actions are intended to comply with various U.S. sanctions and anti-money laundering regulations, the federal government needs to step in to better safeguard minority communities from discriminatory banking practices. Thankfully, Senator Warren and Representative Omar have sent a new letter addressed to financial regulatory agencies with proposed executive actions to reduce the negative impacts of de-risking. This letter follows previous efforts to

NIAC Joins 180+ Organizations to Call on U.S. Universities to End Crackdown on Student Protests in Solidarity with Gaza

Washington, DC – NIAC was one among over 180 organizations in a letter today calling on U.S. universities to end the crackdown on campus protests and encampments demanding an end to the war in Gaza. These students, who are exercising their right to protest peacefully amid an atmosphere of pressure, intimidation, and even physical retaliation, have organized encampments across the country to make clear that they want an end to the war, a safe environment for Palestinians on their respective campuses and their universities to divest from corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation and siege on Gaza.  However, in response to their organizing and demands, several universities have chosen to deploy police – and even threaten to send for the National Guard – to disband the encampments, resulting in brutal physical exchanges as well as the reported arrest of more than 900 students.  At a critical moment after nearly seven months of indiscriminate bombardment in Gaza, it is imperative that we amplify the arduous yet impactful work that university students are leading, ensure their safety, and join them in continuing to press for a permanent ceasefire.  Signers of the letter include Arab American Institute, Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow Movement,

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