NIAC Staff

NIAC Staff

Iranian Americans Call on Incoming House Oversight and Judiciary Committees to Hold Immediate Hearings on Trump’s Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 20, 2018
CONTACT: Jordan Wilhelmi | jordan@unbendablemedia.com | 612.281.2310

Washington, DC—The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), along with 118 other national and state organizations, has issued an open letter to the incoming chairpersons of the House Committee on Oversight and the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), calling for urgent hearings on Executive Order 13769, Executive Order 13780, and Presidential Proclamation 9645 – collectively known as the “Muslim Ban” – to address the waiver program, number of individuals impacted by the ban, and detrimental effect on United States citizens.

READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE OPEN LETTER HERE: https://www.niacouncil.org/organizations-send-letter-to-house/

The organizations argue it is incumbent on lawmakers to formally and publicly question the relevant administration officials on the basis of their perceived threat assessment and to explore these discriminatory policies and their impact on people in the US and abroad, including the repercussions of the stigmatization of Muslims and its role in the reputation of the US across the globe.

The letter comes after an outpouring of concern from the millions of members in the Muslim and Iranian-American community, represented by these organizations, who have been directly impacted, have had family members directly impacted, or are deeply disturbed by the intent and consequences of President Trump’s Muslim Ban.

Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council, explained:

“As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Muslim Ban, Congress has yet to hold a single hearing focused on Proclamation 9645, or any of its previous versions, despite the introduction of legislation to end the ban. This unjust law has torn apart families, separated spouses, and extinguished dreams as President Trump’s allies in Congress stayed silent. Now, with a new Congress entering office, we can finally place a check on this presidency, beginning with repealing this un-American ban on our families.

“The Muslim Ban’s origins, numerous statements by President Trump, and the implementation of these and other policies impacting targeted communities make clear this administration’s desire to implement a discriminatory policy as a part of a nationalist agenda.”

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NIAC and 117 other Organizations Call for Incoming Congress to Hold Hearings on Muslim Ban

Washington, D.C. – Today, NIAC sent a sign-on letter supported by 117 other organizations – including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Oxfam, MoveOn, and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – calling on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees to hold Congressional hearings and conduct rigorous oversight on the Muslim Ban.

With the signing organizations representing tens of millions of Americans, this is the largest statement to date in favor of Congress ensuring stringent oversight over the ban. See the full text of the letter below:

Letter Requesting Muslim Ban Hearings Dec. 20

NIAC Signs Onto Pro-Diplomacy Letter Concerning U.S. policy toward Iran

The National Iranian American Council joined 40 pro-diplomacy organizations in a statement of principles to Congress concerning U.S. policy toward Iran. Critically, the letter (seen below) urges lawmakers to support returning the U.S. to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal and oppose a war of choice with Iran.

Cosigners include J Street, MoveOn, Indivisible, Foreign Policy for America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Win Without War and many other influential organizations

Statement of Pro-Diplomacy Groups Regarding U.S. Policy Toward Iran

Pro-diplomacy groups representing millions of American voters urge lawmakers to publicly articulate and support the following principles with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon and created a much-needed diplomatic relationship between Iran, the United States, and U.S. allies:

  • Support for the JCPOA and returning the United States to compliance with the agreement;
  • Opposition to sanctions that:
    • disrupt any party’s implementation of the JCPOA;
    • prevent the United States from coming back into compliance with the JCPOA in the future;
    • disproportionately impact Iranian civilians rather than regime officials engaged in illicit or destabilizing activities;
    • block necessary humanitarian and medical supplies from reaching the country;
  • Support for good faith diplomacy toward additional agreements as the preferred basis for addressing further concerns about Iranian activity; and
  • Opposition to starting a war of choice with Iran.

Signed

About Face: Veterans Against the War
American Family Voices
Americans for Peace Now
Arms Control Association
Atlantic Council
Beyond the Bomb
Brave New Films
Center for International Policy
Common Defense
Council for a Livable World
CREDO Action
Daily Kos
Demand Progress
Federation of American Scientists
Foreign Policy for America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Zero
Indivisible
J Street
Jewish Voice for Peace
Just Foreign Policy
MoveOn
National Iranian American Council
Open Society Policy Center
Pax Christi International
Peace Action
Peace Corps Iran Association
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Ploughshares Fund
RootsAction.org
Sojourners
T’ruah
Truman National Security Project
U.S. Labor Against the War
Union of Concerned Scientists
Veterans For Peace
VoteVets
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions
World BEYOND War

NIAC’s 2018 Holiday Book List

The holidays are a great time to catch-up on reading. At NIAC, we would like to share some of our personal favorite books related to Iran or written by an Iranian-American author. These books can also be the perfect gift for a loved one this holiday season. Additionally, if you shop through Amazon Smile and designate NIAC as your charity of choice, your book purchase can support our organization. Happy reading!

Memoirs & Literature by Iranian Americans

The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race by Neda Maghbouleh uses the author’s own experiences and numerous case studies to delve into the complexities of Iranian-American identity and what it means to be a “white-passing” minority in modern America.

Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni tells the story of the author’s own journey to reconcile her American and Iranian identities as she grows up in both California and Tehran.

Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison—Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out by Jason Rezaian is an upcoming memoir to be published in late January. It documents the experiences of the Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief who was imprisoned for 18 months in a Tehran prison. Pre-order it today!

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi is a young adult novel about Saedi’s experience as an undocumented Iranian immigrant growing up in the U.S., as she deals with issues of identity and coming-of-age with candid humor. The novel is soon to be adapted into an ABC comedy series, so keep an eye out!

Politics, International Studies, & Iran

Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic by Michael Axworthy offers an overview of major events and figures in Iranian political life since 1979.

A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran by Kevan Harris explores the role that social policy and welfare organizations play in Iranian politics and social change.

A History of Modern Iran by Ervand Abrahamian offers a deeply incisive appraisal of Iranian history from the 19th century to the 1953 coup to the nuclear crisis, as he details Iran’s evolution from an agrarian, peasant society to a centralized state.

Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States by Trita Parsi examines the clandestine interactions between Iran and Israel both during the Shah era and after the revolution.

Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War by Roham Alvandi explains the Shah’s efforts to establish Iranian regional primacy in the Persian Gulf, and discusses Iran’s shifting relationship with the U.S. during the Nixon era away from patron-client status.

The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East by Andrew Scott Cooper details how the Nixon administration colluded with the Shah to raise oil prices in return for the Shah buying military hardware.

ReOrienting the Sasanians: East Iran in Late Antiquity by Princeton-based historian Khodadad Rezakhani tells the story of the Sassanian Empire as a Central Asian power.

Power and Change in Iran: Politics of Contention and Conciliation, edited by Farideh Farhi and Daniel Brumberg, compiles various case studies analyzing contemporary Iranian politics and society, from the inner workings of the Iranian political system to human rights debates and social welfare systems.

Iranian Cuisine & Cookbooks

Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes for Kitchen Secrets by renowned Iranian chef Najmieh Batmanglij is the product of the author’s five year long trip to Iran. Batmanglij takes her readers on a culinary journey across Iran, visiting different cities and provinces, and brings together the traditional recipes and surprising new dishes that she finds along the way.

Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Iranian-American chef Samin Nosrat, takes apart the four most basic elements of cooking. Nosrat teaches the reader that if they understand these fundamentals of cooking, they too can become a chef. This extremely successful book has also been adapted into a Netflix documentary series!

Warren Proposes Return to JCPOA in Senate Hearing

“If Iran maintains itself in compliance, then I believe the President should reverse his reckless decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions because the deal makes America safer and the world safer,” declared Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at a Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing on Tuesday morning.

The comments from Warren, widely viewed as a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, follow her articulation of a “progressive foreign policy” in a speech at American University last week. In a report released earlier this month, NIAC called on legislators and 2020 Presidential contenders to commit their support to returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to take additional steps to rein in Trump’s reckless Iran policy.

Sen. Warren questioned Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the nominee for commander of U.S. Central Command, if he agreed with the Director of National Intelligence’s 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment that the JCPOA has “extended the amount of time Iran would need to produce fissile material for a weapon from a few months to about one year and has enhanced the transparency of Iran’s nuclear activities.” McKenzie responded affirmatively, prompting Sen. Warren to ask whether the Iranian government had “reduced its destabilizing” activities as a result of the Trump administration’s abrogation of the JCPOA, a key selling point for Trump’s decision. McKenzie replied that “Iranian destabilizing activities across the region were active before, during, and after the nuclear deal.”

In response to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) about whether Iran’s government is on the brink of collapse, McKenzie stated, “I haven’t seen anything that I would characterize as spreading or essentially threatening the fundamental nature of the Iranian regime.” In response to a question from Cruz on Iran’s missile program, McKenzie responded that Iran had “chosen to substitute ballistic missiles, both short, medium and long-range for their paucity of aviation assets.”

With respect to regional issues, Sen. Tim Kaine questioned whether the Trump administration was authorized to continue operations in Syria, highlighting comments by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that “part of the mission in Syria is to provide a check against Iran.” McKenzie said in response: “Senator that may possibly be a derived effect of our presence on the ground, but that is not a mission that we are undertaking.”

On Yemen, Sen. Warren asked McKenzie whether the U.S. provides intelligence support and military advice to the Saudi-led coalition, including refueling aircraft that “bomb these targets in Yemen.” McKenzie stated that Warren was correct, leading her to call for a reassessment of the U.S.-Saudi relationship: “I think it’s time to reevaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia in light of its actions not only in Yemen, but with the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  And we need to ask ourselves if the benefits of this relationship with Saudi Arabia is worth the costs, if this kind of behavior continues.”

Foreign Policy Intern

Now accepting Spring applicants

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is accepting internship applications to work with the foreign policy team at our Washington, D.C. office. Standard internships are full-time positions for a duration of one academic semester (spring, summer or fall) with exceptions possible for applicants who plan to be enrolled in classes during the internship. NIAC will assist in helping students receive credit for their internship. This is an unpaid internship.

About NIAC

NIAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community for peace, democracy, and universal rights. We accomplish our mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision-making by lawmakers.

Responsibilities

Interns work with NIAC staff on advocacy and community outreach activities. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Monitor and research Congressional activities
  • Attend and summarize Congressional hearings and policy briefings around Washington, DC
  • Draft analyses and action alerts on issues related to foreign policy, immigration and civil rights
  • Write articles for NIAC’s website, op-eds for NIAC’s blog, NIAC inSight
  • Assist with program implementation, database management, community outreach, event planning, logistical support for staff activities, and other administrative duties
  • Applicants with strong creative skills may assist with graphic design, upkeep and enhancements to NIAC’s website, and/or producing short videos which educate the community and/or highlight NIAC activities
  • Applicants who are fluent in Persian may assist with translating news from Iran for NIAC’s blog, translating NIAC materials to Persian, and maintaining NIAC’s Persian language website

Qualifications

NIAC seeks individuals with a wide range of skills who are highly motivated to support NIAC’s work.
Basic Qualifications:

  • Current Undergraduate/Graduate student or recent graduate
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Experience or demonstrated interest in international relations, political science, public policy, law, public relations, social media strategies, marketing, journalism, and/or graphic design
  • Self-motivating and highly versatile

Additional Qualifications:

  • Experience with Congress advocacy campaigns and/or grassroots organizations
  • Proficiency in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, WordPress, and/or other multimedia production tools
  • Experience or interest in fundraising, donor sponsorships and development
  • Fluency in Persian (Farsi)

How to Apply

Please email your resume, cover letter, and a short writing sample to SJ Jackson at sjackson@niacouncil.org 

In your cover letter please specify how many hours you are able to work and what your desired start and end dates are. The duration of this internship will be for 10 weeks from January to April.

Applications are due on January 2nd. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Write the following in the subject of your email: FP Internship [insert your name]

In the event you are not shortlisted for the Foreign Policy Internship, please indicate whether you’d like to be considered for the Organizing Internship and/or the Graphics & Communications Internship.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. NIAC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Washington D.C. Organizing Intern

Now accepting Spring applicants

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is accepting internship applications on a rolling basis to work in Washington, D.C. Standard internships are full-time positions for a duration of one academic semester (spring, summer or fall) with exceptions possible for applicants who plan to be enrolled in classes during the internship. NIAC will assist in helping students receive credit for their internship. This is an unpaid internship.

About NIAC

NIAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community for peace, democracy, and universal rights. We accomplish our mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision-making by lawmakers.

Responsibilities

Interns work with NIAC staff on grassroots organizing activities. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Monitor and research Congressional activity
  • Draft action alerts on issues related to foreign policy, immigration and civil rights
  • Assist in planning events that will engage both the Iranian-American community and the general public
  • Assist in planning and participate in grassroots actions, such as phonebanks, petition tables, town hall meetings, etc.
  • Assist with program implementation, database management, community outreach, volunteer recruitment, logistical support for staff activities, and other administrative duties
  • Applicants with strong creative skills may assist with graphic design and/or producing short videos which educate the community and/or highlight NIAC activities
  • Applicants who are fluent in Persian may assist with translating translating NIAC materials to Persian.

Qualifications

NIAC seeks individuals with a wide range of skills who are highly motivated to support NIAC’s work.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Current Undergraduate/Graduate student or recent graduate
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Experience or demonstrated interest in international relations, political science, grassroots organizing, public policy, law, public relations, social media strategies, marketing, journalism, and/or graphic design
  • Self-motivating and highly versatile

Additional Qualifications:

  • Experience with advocacy campaigns and/or grassroots organizations
  • Proficiency in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, WordPress, and/or other multimedia production tools
  • Experience or interest in developing volunteer leaders
  • Fluency in Persian (Farsi)

How to Apply

Please email your resumecover letter, and a short writing sample to Donna Farvard at dfarvard@niacouncil.org

In your cover letter please specify how many hours per week you are able to work and what your desired start and end dates are. The duration of this internship will be from January through April.

Write the following in the subject of your email: DCO Internship [insert your name]

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. NIAC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Statement on Earthquake in Western Iran

The National Iranian American Council expresses its deepest condolences to all those impacted by the earthquake that struck Western Iran on Sunday evening. Among the towns affected by the natural disaster are Sar Pol-e Zahab, Gilan-e Gharb, and Gasr-e Shireen in Kermanshah province. Tragically, this is the same area where an earthquake last year killed hundreds and injured thousands.

Thankfully, no deaths have been yet reported from Sunday’s earthquake, though over 700 have been injured. Our hearts are with all the victims and their bereaved loved ones.

Last year, we developed a FAQ for those wishing to assist in earthquake recovery efforts and advocated for broader exemptions to better facilitate the ability of Americans to contribute to humanitarian relief efforts. While sanctions present significant restrictions in terms of sending aid to Iran, U.S. citizens wishing to support relief efforts can do so through several avenues.

NIAC will track recovery efforts and examine whether additional steps will be needed to ensure Americans can safely and effectively contribute to relief efforts.