NIAC Staff

NIAC Staff

Experts Weigh in on Iran ‘Snapback’ Sanctions Going Into Effect Today

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tonight, sanctions that were lifted under the Iran nuclear deal will begin to go into effect. This includes extraterritorial sanctions on the purchase of U.S. dollar banknotes by Iran; Iran’s trade in gold or precious metals; Significant transactions in the Iranian rial; Iran’s civil aviation sector; and Iran’s automotive sector. The decision to violate the Iran nuclear deal and reinstate sanctions has already had a big impact as major European companies that entered the Iranian market – like Peugeot and Total – have already begun pulling out in anticipation of the “snapback.”

Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement on the reimposition of Iran sanctions:

“Today, the United States again violated a successful nuclear nonproliferation agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council that it helped negotiate, doing grievous harm to American leadership abroad and our ability to resolve challenges diplomatically rather than militarily. This weakens the Transatlantic alliance and pushes Iran further into the hands of Russia and China, undermining the security of the United States and its allies.

“These sanctions will threaten Iran’s compliance with the nuclear accord, while also undercutting hopes for Iranian moderation, harming the Iranian middle class and empowering Iranian hardliners and extremists. This is not an erratic tweet, but a collective punishment of 80 million people who are being plunged into economic misery and denied basic necessities such as life-saving medicine and safe civilian aircraft.

“Making matters worse, the Trump administration does not have a viable diplomatic plan to secure additional concessions from Iran. Instead, the administration appears to be joining with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman in pushing to destabilize Iran and create another failed state in the region.

“Make no mistake, with Trump listening to warmongers like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, this puts the United States on the path to yet another costly and dangerous Middle East conflict.”

On November 4, the remaining sanctions that were lifted under the accord will be reinstated into full effect, including those targeting Iran’s energy sector; Purchases of petroleum and related products; Transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions; and Persons removed from the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, including most Iranian financial institutions.

# # # #

Memo: Consequences of Sanctions Snapback on Iran

Not satisfied with withdrawing from the Iran nuclear accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”), the Trump administration intends to start sanctioning foreign parties that seek to comply with the terms of the international agreement. As outlined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), the Trump administration will begin re-imposing those sanctions lifted pursuant to the JCPOA on August 7, 2018 and continuing up until November 4, 2018, at which time all formerly lifted sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran.

Because such U.S. sanctions primarily target foreign parties transacting or otherwise dealing with Iran, the Trump administration will be actively undermining efforts by the international community to act consistent with the JCPOA and ensure its survivability. This includes, most dramatically, undermining efforts by foreign countries and entities to take those measures identified in the JCPOA to reduce or eliminate the risk of nuclear proliferation in Iran. This move is a dangerous gambit that pits the U.S. in opposition to the rest of the world—including the U.S.’s closest partners and allies—and risks re-invigorating nuclear proliferation efforts in Iran.

Considering the dramatic consequences for U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, the Trump administration should not be given free reign to plunge the United States into a confrontation with its closest allies and partners — such as those in Europe — and risk a new war in the Middle East. Congress should assert its own constitutional prerogatives and ensure that the Trump administration acts consistent with long-standing U.S. policy objectives, including those related to nuclear non-proliferation. This could include, for instance, legislative measures to restrain the Trump administration from abrogating the JCPOA or sanctioning foreign parties seeking to comply with the terms of the nuclear accord. At the very least, Congress should hold hearings to adjudicate the potential negative consequences of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA and undo the global consensus in favor of the diplomatic agreement aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear program.

Re-Imposition of U.S. Sanctions Lifted Under the JCPOA

Beginning August 7, 2018, the Trump administration will take steps to re-impose those U.S. sanctions lifted pursuant to the JCPOA. In its initial phase, this will include the immediate re-imposition of sanctions on:

  • The purchase or acquisition of U.S. dollar banknotes by the Government of Iran;
  • Iran’s trade in gold or precious metals;
  • The direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes;
  • Significant transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian rials or the maintenance of significant funds or accounts outside the territory of Iran denominated in the rial;
  • The purchase, subscription to, or facilitation of the issuance of Iranian sovereign debt; and
  • Iran’s automotive sector.

By November 4, 2018, the United States will re-impose all remaining sanctions targeting Iran that had been lifted pursuant to U.S. commitments under the JCPOA. This will include the re-imposition of sanctions on:

  • Iran’s port operators and shipping and shipbuilding sectors;
  • Petroleum-related transactions with the National Iranian Oil Company, Naftiran Intertrade Company, and the National Iranian Tanker Company, including the purchase of petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemical products from Iran;
  • Transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions;
  • The provision of specialized financial messaging services to the Central Bank of Iran and certain Iranian financial institutions;
  • The provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance; and
  • Iran’s energy sector.

In addition, the Trump administration intends to re-impose those sanctions that applied to persons removed from OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”) and other U.S. sanctions lists pursuant to U.S. commitments under the JCPOA. This includes, for instance, the re-imposition of sanctions on most of Iran’s financial institutions, including the Central Bank of Iran.

Undermining International Compliance with a Successful Nonproliferation Agreement

The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions will pose immense difficulties for other major world powers’ compliance with the terms of the JCPOA.  Failure by the remaining JCPOA participants to fulfill the terms of the nuclear accord will prompt Iran to abandon some or all of the JCPOA’s limitations on its nuclear program, thus risking renewed proliferation efforts in Iran and threatening a new war in the Middle East.   

Pursuant to the JCPOA, major world powers — including Europe, Russia, and China — agreed to take steps to ensure effectiveness relating to the lifting of national and international sanctions. These commitments were geared towards ensuring that Iran received practical economic benefit from its agreement to maintain long-term restrictions on its own nuclear program. The JCPOA obligated all parties to take adequate measures “to ensure . . . effectiveness with respect to the lifting of sanctions under th[e] JCPOA” and committed JCPOA participants to “agree on steps to ensure Iran’s access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy.” The JCPOA was envisioned as an effective quid pro quo, whereby Iran agreed to long-term limitations on its nuclear program in return for practical economic benefits — including the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions — from major world powers.  

The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, however, will risk the compliance of remaining JCPOA participants, as Europe and other JCPOA parties will have grave difficulties ensuring “effectiveness” with respect to the lifting of sanctions under the JCPOA. For instance, while the European Union and its respective states intend to continue the lifting of national and Union-wide sanctions targeting Iran–consistent with the JCPOA–European companies and persons will nonetheless remain subject to U.S. secondary sanctions targeting their own transactions or dealings with Iran.

The most notable consequences in this respect will be oil and banking transactions. To the extent that Iran is unable to export its oil and repatriate its oil revenues, the JCPOA will become a moot agreement, as Iran is highly unlikely to continue its adherence to limitations on its nuclear program while deriving no practical economic benefit from the nuclear accord. Re-imposed U.S. sanctions expressly target foreign banks — including foreign central banks — and foreign parties engaged in transactions related to the import of Iranian-origin oil. The Trump administration has sent conflicting signals as to whether it will grant exemptions to foreign countries importing Iranian-origin oil — including China, Europe, India, Japan, and South Korea. Similarly, to the extent that Iran’s financial institutions are isolated from the global financial system and unable to reconnect to foreign banks to process trade-related and other transactions, the Iran nuclear deal will not survive. Re-imposed U.S. sanctions will re-designate most Iranian financial institutions for sanctions and render foreign bank dealings with such Iranian financial institutions as sanctionable, thus expressly targeting foreign countries’ compliance with the nuclear accord.

Sanctioning Beneficial Work at Arak and Fordow

Pursuant to the JCPOA, Iran agreed to convert its enrichment facility at Fordow into a research center absent of proliferation risk. To do so, however, Iran required international collaboration, including in the form of scientific joint partnerships in agreed areas of research. In addition, the JCPOA required Iran — as part of an international partnership — to redesign and rebuild a modernized heavy-water reactor in Arak that would drastically reduce its potential output of plutonium.

However, these measures aimed at reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation in Iran are under serious threat, as re-imposed U.S. sanctions render sanctionable conduct by foreign parties with respect to Iran’s nuclear program. For instance, the Trump administration has stated that it will re-impose those sanctions that applied to persons removed from OFAC’s SDN List pursuant to the JCPOA. This appears to include the re-designation of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (“AEOI”) — the body responsible for Iran’s nuclear program — pursuant to Executive Order 13382. By designating the AEOI pursuant to E.O. 13382, entities that provide or attempt to provide financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, the AEOI would be exposed to U.S. sanctions and risk designation under E.O. 13382 themselves. Foreign parties participating in an international partnership with the AEOI — consistent with the JCPOA — to convert the Arak nuclear reactor into a reactor absent of proliferation risk would thus be engaged in sanctionable conduct, as such parties would be prima facie engaged in the provision of material support to the AEOI  — thus meeting the criteria for designation under E.O. 13382.  

In addition, the U.S.’s re-designation of the AEOI pursuant to E.O. 13382 will render foreign financial institutions that facilitate significant transactions for or on behalf of the AEOI — including transactions consistent with the terms of the JCPOA — exposed to U.S. sanctions under § 104(c)(2)(E) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act (“CISADA”) and § 1247 of the Iran Freedom and Counter-proliferation Act (“IFCA”). Such financial institutions would risk being cut off from the U.S. financial system and would thus be unlikely to facilitate transactions involving the AEOI, even if such transactions are consistent with the JCPOA and reduce the risk of proliferation in Iran.  

In the Trump administration’s zeal to kill the Iran nuclear deal, the administration will perhaps fatally undermine efforts to ensure the conversion of Iran’s nuclear facilities into facilities absent of proliferation risk, thus gravely undermining U.S. and regional security.

The Need for Congressional Intervention

The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and its re-imposition of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran risks splitting the United States irrevocably from its historical allies and partners, including those in Europe; threatens to undermine the future use of economic sanctions to secure national security and foreign policy objectives; and encourages the reinvigoration of nuclear proliferation risks in Iran. Such consequences implicate critical U.S. national security and foreign policy interests and warrant increased oversight over the administration’s actions.

Congress should be involved in any decision implicating U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. In this case, Congress should assert its own prerogatives in the realm of foreign policy and resume U.S. compliance with the JCPOA, including, but not limited to, the continued lifting of U.S. sanctions as obligated under the nuclear accord. Absent such a dramatic measure, however, Congress should seek to restrain the President from re-imposing those U.S. sanctions lifted under the JCPOA and should at least limit the damage re-imposed U.S. sanctions could cause to the transatlantic alliance between the United States and Europe. If the U.S.’s historical allies and partners in Europe believe that their own national security interests demand their continued compliance with the JCPOA, then the Trump administration should be restricted from imposing sanctions on European companies engaged in commercial trade with Iran that is permissible under European law.

Shockingly, Congress — which held numerous hearings on the U.S.’s assent to the JCPOA — has proven unwilling to conduct significant oversight regarding the potential consequences inherent in the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and its re-imposition of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran. In failing to assess the risks and dangers associated with the Trump administration’s actions, Congress has rendered itself incapacitated on an issue of critical import to U.S. national security. Following midterm elections, Congress should reassert its prerogatives in the field of national security and ensure that the Trump administration is not able to undermine long-standing U.S. foreign policy objectives — including the objective of nuclear non-proliferation — through its rash decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord and re-impose those U.S. sanctions lifted under the JCPOA.


¹ Other U.S. sanctions may be applicable to transactions involving the AEOI and incident to the fulfillment of the terms of the JCPOA, including, for instance, menu-based sanctions on foreign parties that sell, supply, or transfer to Iran graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes, if the material is sold, supplied, or transferred for use in connection with Iran’s nuclear program. Section 1245(a)(1)(C) of IFCA does not distinguish between those transactions aimed at converting Iran’s nuclear facilities into facilities absent of nuclear proliferation risk and is thus likely to counteract international efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation in Iran.  

Congress ‘Not Aware’ of Authorization for Iran War

Congress will send its annual defense policy bill to the President this week with a caveat that it does not authorize war with Iran and they “are not aware of any information that would justify the use of military force against Iran under any other statutory authority.”

The statement comes after President Trump issued a late-night, all-caps tweet threatening Iran with consequences like no nation has ever seen before in response to a perceived threat from his Iranian counterpart.

While the language is welcome, Congress had the opportunity to go much farther in reining in Trump’s ability to start an Iran war. In May, shortly after the President walked away from the Iran nuclear deal, the House of Representatives passed an amendment from Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Walter Jones (R-NC) stating that the President does not have the authorization to use military force against Iran. Senate Republicans involved in the final drafting  – including uber-hawks like Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – declined to include the amendment in the final version of the bill, instead agreeing to the compromise clarification language.

The statement from the legislators indicating that they are “not aware” of any legislative authorization for Trump to use force against Iran is helpful. As Trump ratchets up tension and openly threatens war with Iran, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sought to tie Iran to al-Qaeda and has taken an extremely broad view of Executive war powers under the Constitution. Such moves have raised concerns that President Trump could order strikes on Iran without seeking Congressional approval, a key step that could halt an irrational march to war. The language from the NDAA conferees makes it less likely that Trump would point to existing legislation to justify a future Iran war.

Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans have either cheered on or ignored the President’s moves on Iran across the board, and they had the numbers to water down the Ellison-Jones amendment from the final bill. There does not appear to be any Republican lawmaker on record pushing back on the President’s tweet threatening to bomb Iran.

There are certainly many Democratic lawmakers concerned about the direction of Iran policy. Sen. Tim Kaine described Trump’s tweet as “another warning sign that Trump is blundering toward war with Iran.” Likewise, Sen. Ed Markey highlighted the tweet while warning that Trump could launch a nuclear first-strike without approval “for no reason at all.” However, those legislators are not in the majority and thus cannot pass legislation reining in Trump’s war powers without support from their Republican colleagues. That could change if Democrats retake control of one or both houses in the midterm elections this November.

NIAC Statement on Trump’s Tweet Threatening Iran War

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: 202-386-6408
Email: jabdi@niacouncil.org

Washington, D.C. – Jamal Abdi, Vice President of Policy with the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement after Trump’s Sunday night tweet threatening war with Iran:

“Trump’s crazed, all-caps tweet threatening Iran with war last night underscores the danger of supporting the Trump agenda. Minutes after Secretary Pompeo called on the Iranian-American community to support the administration’s pressure campaign on Iran, Donald Trump proved what escalation with an unhinged President at the helm can lead to: a disastrous war.

“The Iranian-American community was deeply disturbed by Trump’s warmongering last night. When Donald Trump threatens that Iran will suffer the consequences that few in history have ever suffered before, Iranian Americans fear that this unhinged President will follow through on his threats to bomb our friends and family.

“It is past time for our elected officials to step up and ensure that Trump cannot launch a disastrous war of choice based on his deranged tweets and foolish advice of officials who have been pushing to bomb Iran for decades. The Iranian-American community will not sign up for Trump’s war push, and will push back more than ever to restrain this President.”

###

Iranian Americans Speak Out Against Pompeo’s Conflict of Choice with Iran

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: 202-386-6408
Email: jabdi@niacouncil.org

Washington, D.C. – Jamal Abdi, Vice President for Policy of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement in advance of Sec. Mike Pompeo’s address on Iran in California this evening. The National Iranian American Council organized a letter from prominent Iranian Americans objecting to the Trump administration’s efforts to destabilize Iran, which was featured in a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times today:

“The Trump administration can’t support the Iranian people’s aspirations for freedom and prosperity by impoverishing them with sanctions and fomenting unrest, and can’t show solidarity when it bars the Iranian people from securing visas to pursue their dreams. The Trump administration is not a friend of the Iranian people or the Iranian-American community, and no single speech will change that fact.

“Today, Secretary Pompeo will seek to co-opt the grievances of the Iranian-American community to sell policies that will ensure the Iranian people are squeezed by both harsh sanctions and ascendant Iranian hardliners. That is why concerned Iranian Americans from across the country have signed an open letter to Secretary Pompeo, which ran as a a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times this morning, warning that efforts to collapse the Iranian economy or pursue Iraq-style regime change will sabotage the Iranian people’s hopes for change.

“The letter lays out concrete asks for Secretary Pompeo to reverse the administration’s disastrous approach, which would relieve the pressure on the Iranian people and support their push for change. It reads, ‘If you truly wish to help the people of Iran, lift the Travel ban, adhere to the Iran nuclear deal—the JCPOA—and provide the people of Iran the economic relief they were promised and have eagerly awaited for three years, as every independent media has reported.’ We don’t believe any of these proposals will be considered, and we fear that few if any serious questions about the administration’s approach will be addressed at the event Sunday night.

“In the lead-up to the war in Iraq, the Bush administration worked closely with a handful of Iraqi exiles who championed war. Clearly, Sec. Pompeo is hoping to elevate voices who would set the U.S. and Iran on a collision course to conflict over the majority in the Iranian-American community who have been shocked and dismayed by this administration’s disastrous approach. The Iranian-American community will not be silent and will continue to push back on Sec. Pompeo and any other officials undermining the Iranian people and our community.”

Find the full letter here.

###

Stephen Kinzer on Trump’s Iran Policies

We asked Stephen Kinzer, national best-selling author of All The Shah’s Men, about his thoughts on Trump and Pompeo’s Iran policies. Watch what he said below.

Kinzer doesn’t believe that the Trump administration has Iran’s best interests in mind, and neither do we. That’s why we’ve written an open letter, and we’d like you to add your name to it. Read an excerpt of the letter below:

“Iran’s only chance to achieve a sustainable democracy that reflects the wishes of its people comes from a process driven by the people of Iran, for the people of Iran. In short, change must come from inside of Iran – not from Washington or anywhere else. It is also crucial to bear in mind that Iranians have a long history with the United States, one that is alive in the memory of even young Iranians, and would compel them to respond to any American destabilisation with wariness and hostility.  However, efforts to bring about the collapse of the Iranian economy through external pressures and sanctions, or a US-sponsored regime change in Iran (in the image of Iraq) will not bring about democracy in Iran but rather destabilize the country and put democracy out of the reach of the Iranian people. That is what it did in Iraq, where after a decade of devastating instability with more than 500,000 dead, Iraq holds elections but is far from a democracy that reflects the hopes and aspirations of its people.”

Read more and sign our open letter here.

Sign Our Open Letter to Pompeo

Secretary Pompeo,

We the undersigned strongly oppose any efforts to destabilize Iran and bring about its economic collapse. The people of Iran have struggled to achieve democratic rule and independence for more than a century, and while this noble struggle has both made positive strides and suffered setbacks, outside interference has invariably undermined their efforts and strengthened Iran’s authoritarian rulers

Today, the Iranian people’s struggle continues unabated. The Iranian government’s mismanagement and corruption have once again increased the people’s suffering and both political and economic frustration is on the rise. The Iranian government’s ability to adequately meet the demands of the people remains unclear.

Iran’s only chance to achieve a sustainable democracy that reflects the wishes of its people comes from a process driven by the people of Iran, for the people of Iran. In short, change must come from inside of Iran – not from Washington or anywhere else. It is also crucial to bear in mind that Iranians have a long history with the United States, one that is alive in the memory of even young Iranians, and would compel them to respond to any American destabilisation with wariness and hostility.  However, efforts to bring about the collapse of the Iranian economy through external pressures and sanctions, or a US-sponsored regime change in Iran (in the image of Iraq) will not bring about democracy in Iran but rather destabilize the country and put democracy out of the reach of the Iranian people. That is what it did in Iraq, where after a decade of devastating instability with more than 500,000 dead, Iraq holds elections but is far from a democracy that reflects the hopes and aspirations of its people.

Support for violent organizations such as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – which has used terror to kill Iranians and Americans alike – by key advisors to and Members of the Trump administration raises serious concerns as to whether your administration’s objective is to support the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy and independence or to use their legitimate grievances to destabilize Iran and turn it into a failed state. Indeed, your administration’s treatment of Iranians by preventing them en masse from traveling to the United States, certainly did not reflect any positive intent towards the people of Iran.

We urge you to cease all efforts to destabilize Iran and repeat the costly mistake the US committed in Iraq. If you truly wish to help the people of Iran, lift the Travel ban, adhere to the Iran nuclear deal—the JCPOA—and provide the people of Iran the economic relief they were promised and have eagerly awaited for three years, as every independent media has reported.

Those measures, more than anything, will provide the Iranian people with the breathing space to do what only they can do – push Iran towards democracy through a gradual process that achieves the benefits of freedom and liberty without turning Iran into another Iraq or Syria.

Sincerely,

Sign Our Open Letter to Pompeo

Secretary Pompeo,

We the undersigned strongly oppose any efforts to destabilize Iran and bring about its economic collapse. The people of Iran have struggled to achieve democratic rule and independence for more than a century, and while this noble struggle has both made positive strides and suffered setbacks, outside interference has invariably undermined their efforts and strengthened Iran’s authoritarian rulers.

Today, the Iranian people’s struggle continues unabated. The Iranian government’s mismanagement and corruption have once again increased the people’s suffering and both political and economic frustration is on the rise. The Iranian government’s ability to adequately meet the demands of the people remains unclear.

However, efforts to bring about the collapse of the Iranian economy through external pressures and sanctions, or a US-sponsored regime change in Iran (in the image of Iraq) will not bring about democracy in Iran but rather destabilize the country and put democracy out of the reach of the Iranian people. That is what it did in Iraq, where after a decade of devastating instability with more than 500,000 dead, Iraq holds elections but is far from a democracy that reflects the hopes and aspirations of its people.

Iran’s only chance to achieve a sustainable democracy that reflects the wishes of its people comes from a process driven by the people of Iran, for the people of Iran. In short, change must come from inside of Iran – not from Washington or anywhere else. It is also crucial to bear in mind that Iranians have a long history with the United States, one that is alive in the memory of even young Iranians, and would compel them to respond to any American destabilisation with wariness and hostility.

Support for violent organizations such as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) - which has used terror to kill Iranians and Americans alike - by key advisors to and Members of the Trump administration raises serious concerns as to whether your administration’s objective is to support the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy and independence or to use their legitimate grievances to destabilize Iran and turn it into a failed state. Indeed, your administration’s treatment of Iranians by preventing them en masse from traveling to the United States, certainly did not reflect any positive intent towards the people of Iran.

We urge you to cease all efforts to destabilize Iran and repeat the costly mistake the US committed in Iraq. If you truly wish to help the people of Iran, lift the Travel ban, adhere to the Iran nuclear deal—the JCPOA—and provide the people of Iran the economic relief they were promised and have eagerly awaited for three years, as every independent media has reported.

Those measures, more than anything, will provide the Iranian people with the breathing space to do what only they can do – push Iran towards democracy through a gradual process that achieves the benefits of freedom and liberty without turning Iran into another Iraq or Syria.

**your signature**

   

Join Prominent Iranian-Americans, including:

Farrokh Negahdar, Pro-reform Political Activist; Mohsen Kadivar, Professor, Duke University; Reza Aslan, Best-Selling Author; Sanam Naraghi, ICAN; Farshad Farahat, Actor; Ahmad Kiarostami, Kiarostami Foundation; Touraj Daryaee, Professor of History; Gholam Peyman, Inventor of Lasik; Mehran Kamrava, Professor, Georgetown University-Qatar; Farideh Farhi, Independent Scholar; Steven Saeed Nasiri, Nasiri Ventures; Hamid Dabashi, Professor, Columbia University; Asieh Namdar, Journalist; Ervand Abrahamian, Professor Emeritus, CUNY; Muhammad Sahimi, Professor, University of Southern California; Trita Parsi, President, NIAC; Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Professor, University of London; Arang Keshavarzian, Professor, New York University; Nader Hashemi, Professor, University of Denver; Ali Kadivar, Professor, Boston College; Mahmoud Sadri, Professor, Texas Woman’s University; Ahmad Sadri, Professor of Sociology; Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi, University of Oxford; Jamal Abdi, Executive Director, NIAC Action; Danesh Moradigaravand, Research Associate at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; Arash Eshghi, Heriot-Watt University; Banafsheh Madaninejad, Southwestern University; Siobhan Amin; Ahmad Shams; Elmira Dianati; Mohammad Reza Salehpour, University of Texas; Mark Amin; Danesh Moradigaravand, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; Seyed Hosseini, Retired Railroad Director; Masoud Loghmani; Ali Fatemi, DePaul University; Sahar Hooshdaran; Amirhassan Boozari, UCLA; Homayoon Kazerooni, University of California at Berkeley; Goudarz Eghtedari, Systems Scientist; Hadi Enayat, Aga Khan University; Ziba Mir-Hosseini, SOAS, University of London; Fatemeh Keshavarz-Karamustafa, Professor, University of Maryland; Sussan Siavoshi, Trinity University; Dina Esfandiary, CSIS; Yashar Salek; Parsa Sorbi, Persian TV Host; Kia Hamadanchy; Ardavan Moaveni; Ali Khademhosseini, UCLA; Mina Houtan, Houtan Foundation; Kevan Harris, UCLA; Mojtaba Mahdavi, University of Alberta, Canada; Noosheen Hashemi

Latest Signatures
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NIAC Hiring Office Administrator (Update: Filled)

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is looking for a highly motivated and dedicated Office Administrator to join our team. The Office Administrator provides accounting and administrative support to NIAC and its staff to help advance our mission of strengthening the voice of Iranian Americans and promoting greater understanding between the American and Iranian people. S/he reports to the COO.

Responsibilities:

  1. Financial & Accounting: Assist external accountant by coding expenses and revenues in QuickBooks Online. Process invoices and reimbursements for payment.  Prepare checks for signature to pay bills/invoices as needed. Prepare bank deposits. Gather and organize account statements for reconciliation by accountant.
  2. Donation Processing & Database Management: Process donations and maintain donor records in EveryAction database. Provide ongoing maintenance of supporter records and account information to ensure clean and accurate data.  Mail correspondence as appropriate to donors and supporters in coordination with Development Consultant. Provide donor database support to other staff members as needed.
  3. Reception & Inquiry Management: Welcome and direct visitors and route or respond to incoming calls and email inquiries as appropriate. Process mail.
  4. Recruit and Manage Interns: Place ads as needed to recruit for internships; maintain correspondence with applicants; interview, screen, and onboard interns.
  5. Document Management: Manages document retention and maintains an organized filing system for financial and other retained records.
  6. Office Upkeep: Maintain inventory of supplies and order office supplies and equipment as needed. Maintain office space appearance and arrange repairs as needed.
  7. Budgeting Support: Prepare budget for basic office supplies and services.
  8. Travel Logistics: Book airfare and lodging accommodations for traveling staff as requested.
  9. Employee Records: Assists the COO with employee onboarding, ensure timesheets are completed on time, and maintain accurate records for employee holiday requests.
  10. Organize Staff Gatherings: Plan in-house or off-site activities, such as intern appreciate lunches or holiday gatherings
  11. Meeting Management and Reporting: Assist with meeting agenda preparation, maintain and distribute accurate meeting notes, and assist with preparation of monthly reports to the Board
  12. Other Support: Provides support with additional administrative and other duties as required by the COO or Executive Director, and may support NIAC events as needed.

Requirements:

  • Associate’s degree (Bachelor’s preferred)
  • Experience with QuickBooks Online and/or general accounting experience
  • Relevant work experience, preferably in a nonprofit setting
  • Familiarity with the Iranian-American community and Persian (Farsi) language ability a major plus
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Support for NIAC’s mission
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Highly organized with solid time management skills
  • Highly responsible, takes initiative and finds ways to improve systems and outcomes
  • Manages and communicates up effectively
  • Excellent communications and customer service skills

To apply:
Send cover letter and resume to David Elliott at delliott@niacouncil.org with “Office Administrator” in the subject line.  No calls please.

Compensation:
Salary for the position is $35,000 – $42,000, depending on experience. Compensation includes Fortune 100-style benefits:

  • Generous medical, dental, vision, long-term disability, and life insurance plan subsidies (a value of at least $3,600.)
  • 15 days of annual paid leave and 12 paid holidays
  • 401K with 2% company match

Pompeo and Trump Plan to Exploit and Silence Iranian Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: 202-386-6408
Email: jabdi@niacouncil.org

Washington, D.C. – Jamal Abdi, the Vice President for Policy of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement in response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that he will address Iranian Americans in Simi Valley later this month:

“The quest for human rights and democracy in Iran can only be owned by the Iranian people. It cannot be owned by the U.S., Israel, or Saudi Arabia. It cannot be decided by Iran’s government or even Iranian exiles.

“What President Trump and Secretary Pompeo want is to exploit Iranian Americans and co-opt the Iranian people to provide legitimacy for the Trump Administration’s Iraq War redux for Iran. Just as the Bush Administration cultivated a few Iraqi exiles and talked about human rights to provide legitimacy for a disastrous invasion of Iraq, the Trump Administration appears intent on using Iranian exiles to advance dangerous policies that will leave the Iranian people as its primary victims.

“If Sec. Pompeo really wants the Iranian-American community to embrace the Trump agenda, he must start with a sincere apology and rescind Trump’s ban that is dividing Iranian Americans from their friends and loved ones in Iran. He should apologize for the Administration’s move to banish the most prominent Iranian-American national security official from policymaking decisions due to her heritage. Moreover, he should apologize for the decision to strip the Iranian people of their hope for relief from sanctions and greater connections with the outside world, instead ensuring they will be crushed between U.S. sanctions and resurgent hardline forces in Iran’s government that have benefited from Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord.

“It should be abundantly clear that Secretary Pompeo, who called for bombing Iran instead of negotiations, is no friend of the Iranian people. Similarly, Trump – whose national security advisor and lawyer have elevated the voices of an undemocratic, human rights abusing cult, the MEK, to become the next leadership of Iran – does not have the Iranian people’s best interests at heart. The Trump Administration’s close coordination with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman, who are motivated by their own political gain and regional power dynamics rather than any love for democracy or the Iranian people, should dispel any notion this campaign is about helping ordinary Iranians.

“As Americans, we have a vital role to play in ensuring our democratically elected government does not start wars on false pretenses or destroy lives in our names. As Iranian Americans, our voices are particularly vital when it comes to the U.S. government’s efforts regarding our ancestral homeland. We will not be exploited or silenced at this critical moment in history.”

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NIAC Welcomes Appointment of New Iran Human Rights Rapporteur

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: 202-386-6408
Email: jabdi@niacouncil.org

Washington, D.C. – Jamal Abdi, Vice President for Policy of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement welcoming the appointment of Dr. Javaid Rehman as the next UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran:

“The appointment of Dr. Rehman to serve as the next Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran will ensure the continuation of important and neutral work aimed at holding Iran’s government accountable to its international human rights obligations. The recent arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer who had previously been unjustly imprisoned in Iran, underscores the continuing failure of Iran to live up to its international obligations and the need for Dr. Rehman to pick up on the important work of his predecessors. The Special Rapporteur position had been vacant following the tragic passing of the last Special Rapporteur, Asma Jahangir, in February.

“NIAC was a key supporter of the reestablishment of the Special Rapporteur mandate in 2011 and has supported its subsequent extension in recent years. The reports produced by the Special Rapporteurs have helped document human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests, discriminatory treatment of women and religious minorities, and deeply concerning executions. These balanced reports provide an important opportunity for the Rapporteur, backed by the UN and broader international community, to press Iran to abide by the recommendations of the report and move toward compliance with its human rights obligations.

“It is ironic that the appointment of Dr. Rehman follows the withdrawal of the U.S. from the UN Human Rights Council just last month. Rather than work through multilateral mechanisms that have proven successful at pressuring and engaging Iran, the Trump administration has chosen to isolate itself and reduce its leverage. Fortunately, the work of the Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran will continue in spite of this administration’s preference for unilateral demands over patient and good-faith multilateral diplomacy.

“We urge Iran to comply with the requests of Dr. Rehman, including any requests for meetings with Iranian officials and visits to the country. Moreover, we urge Iran to fully implement the recommendations of Dr. Rehman and past reports.”

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Foreign Policy Intern

Now accepting Fall 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 Adam Weinstein at aweinstein@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 September to December.

Applications are due on August 31st. 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 short listed 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.