NIAC Statement on Secretary Pompeo’s Iran Policy Address

Washington, D.C. – Jamal Abdi, the Vice President for Policy of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s address on Iran:

“The Trump Administration is setting the stage for a war of choice with Iran, with Mike Pompeo offering a smokescreen of diplomacy to distract from the administration’s pursuit of Iraq-style regime change.

“Trump is renting out U.S. Middle East policy to the highest bidder – in this case Saudi Arabia, the GCC states, and Israel – and expecting ordinary Americans and U.S. service members to shoulder the burden of a regional escalation, a potential trade war with our allies, and a new Iraq-style regime change war in the Middle East.

“Pompeo and Trump are attempting to co-opt the legitimate concerns of ordinary Iranians in order to advance the undemocratic and illiberal interests of Mohammad Bin Salman and Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump, Bin Salman, and Netanyahu are dealing a devastating blow to the Iranian people’s efforts for a representative government that respects human rights and rule of law and instead helping empower hardline forces. A country under siege will securitize as its people rally around the flag. This is the best scenario for the IRGC and the worst situation for Iranian pro-democracy and human rights defenders.

“The Obama Administration handed Trump a nuclear deal that was working and a diplomatic framework for Iran that could have been built upon to secure U.S. interests. Singularly obsessed with unravelling the accomplishments of his successor, and now surrounded by a cohort of advisors who have been planning for war with Iran for years, Trump’s push for war with Iran is his most reckless policy for America  to date.

“Pompeo failed to explain how withdrawing from the multilateral nuclear accord will help the U.S. achieve any of the outlined goals – whether on Iran’s nuclear program, regional security issues or human rights – and how he will mitigate the damage done to America’s transatlantic relations and international credibility. The Trump administration is repeating the Iraq war playbook, down to lying about Iran’s nuclear program and eschewing a genuine multilateral approach with Europe and the UN Security Council powers for a so-called coalition of the willing.

“There is tremendous danger in falling for the Trump administration’s escalation campaign. Europe has a chance to save the deal and build trust needed to address remaining issues of concern through diplomacy, yet Trump and his cheerleaders are preparing sanctions on our closest allies that would sabotage years of progress and risk both an Iranian nuclear weapon and provide a perfect opportunity for Bolton and Pompeo to enact their war plans. Congress must do more to stop Trump, including both Democrats and Republicans, who must reign this Administration in before it is too late.”

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Our Community Must Not Be Divided at this Critical Moment

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council released the following statement:

Our community has been divided and weakened for too long. Sometimes it is because we disagree amongst ourselves. And sometimes it is because people outside our community who do not care about the fate of Iran, the Iranian people or indeed us Iranian-Americans, exaggerate our differences to keep our community divided and powerless. A recent opinion piece by Eli Lake, a longtime critic of NIAC who helped sell the American people on going to war with Iraq and who advocates for an interventionist US policy towards Iran, is the latest such example. Lake’s latest hit piece, where he attacks NIAC through the words of Dr. Shirin Ebadi to advance his own dangerous agenda for Iran, comes at a time when unity in our community is needed more than ever.

As we speak, Donald Trump is installing John Bolton in the White House – a man who has openly called for over a decade for the U.S. to bomb Iran. Trump has fired his advisors who argued against killing the Iran deal and is replacing them with pro-war advocates like CIA Director Mike Pompeo – who wants to turn Iran into Syria. Meanwhile, our families continue to be banned from America because of Trump’s hateful policies.

NIAC proudly stands by our longstanding policies as decided by our membership. We are proud of our work to secure the nuclear agreement that forestalls the twin disasters of a nuclear-armed Iran and war with Iran. We are proud to be on the front lines of the effort to overturn President Trump’s disastrous Muslim ban. And of course, we have always and will always proudly support the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations and desire for a government that respects all of its citizens’ human rights. To sustainably achieve that goal, change has to be peaceful and led by the people in Iran. Iranian Americans certainly don’t agree on everything, but the vast majority of us do not support violence, couched in the language of regime change.

We have immense respect for Dr. Shirin Ebadi and for everyone who truly favors a peaceful pathway for the Iranian people to secure their dignity, representation, and human rights. While we may disagree about the role that the United States can productively play in that process, particularly under this current Administration, we also recognize that Dr. Ebadi was on the front lines fighting for human rights when she was in Iran. We will not be dragged into disparaging someone who has been so committed to that noble cause. A sustainable democracy is one in which people of differing opinions can debate and dialogue with mutual respect. In that spirit, NIAC extends an open invitation to Dr. Ebadi to join us for a robust discussion.

We reject those who would exploit human rights or a human rights defender to serve a pro-war agenda. We will not allow them turn our community against one another at this critical moment. We will not relent in our commitment to uniting Iranian Americans as a powerful voice for peace, human rights, and a brighter future for America and Iran.

NIAC Demands Transparency From DOJ in Bijan Ghaisar Police Shooting

This morning, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) sent a letter to United States Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III and United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, urging them to release 911 calls from November 17, 2017, the night 25 year-old unarmed Iranian American Bijan Ghaisar was shot and killed by U.S. Park Police officers.

It has been 131 days since Bijan was shot and killed by police, despite being unarmed and posing no imminent threat to the public or officers’ safety. There are still a wide range of unanswered questions surrounding the shooting, and routine public information that is normally released to victims’ families and the public have been shrouded in secrecy in this case. The Ghaisar family, for example, still does not even know the names of the officers that shot and killed their son.

On March 19, 2018, rather than taking a step toward transparency and accountability to restore public trust in law enforcement and local government, the U.S. Department of Justice doubled down on stonewalling the Ghaisar family by lodging formal objections to the release of any 911 calls surrounding the violent killing of Bijan.

As the largest grassroots Iranian-American organization in the United States, NIAC takes seriously our duty to forcefully advocate for and defend the Iranian-American community against civil rights violations, discriminatory policies, and unequal treatment.

Bijan Ghaisar was unarmed, presented no threat, and should have made it home to his family the evening of November 17, 2017. Instead, he was shot three times in the head and once in the wrist at close range by U.S. Park Police.

The Ghaisar family, with the full force of NIAC and the entire Iranian-American community behind them, demand the immediate release of these 911 calls consistent with the transparency and accountability we rightfully expect from local and federal government – because #WeAreBijan.

Bijan Ghaisar Letter

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Experts Available to Discuss Choice of John Bolton as National Security Advisor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Trita Parsi, President – 202.386.2303, tparsi@niacouncil.org
Reza Marashi, Research Director – 202.379.1639, rmarashi@niacouncil.org
Jamal Abdi, Vice President for Policy– 202.386.6408, jabdi@niacouncil.org

Washington, D.C. – Experts from the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) will be available to media to offer analysis of President Trump’s decision to choose John Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor.

Donald Trump may have just effectively declared war on Iran. With the appointment of John Bolton, and nomination of Mike Pompeo at State, Trump is clearly putting together a war cabinet. As the world awaits Trump’s May 12 decision as to whether he will abandon the Iran nuclear deal, all of the signs now point to a decision to move to war footing.

NIAC analysts available in Washington, DC:

Trita Parsi, is the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on civil rights and US-Iranian relations. He is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press 2007) and A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press 2012). Parsi’s articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Jane’s Intelligence Review, the Nation,The American Conservative, the Jerusalem Post, The Forward, and others. He is a frequent guest on CNN, PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, the BBC, and Al Jazeera. Follow Trita on Twitter: @tparsi

Reza Marshi joined NIAC in 2010 as the organization’s first Research Director. He came to NIAC after four years in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to his tenure at the State Department, he was an analyst at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) covering China-Middle East issues, and a Tehran-based private strategic consultant on Iranian political and economic risk. Marashi is frequently consulted by Western governments on Iran-related matters. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The Atlantic, among other publications. He has been a guest contributor to CNN, NPR, the BBC, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times, among other broadcast outlets.

Jamal Abdi is the Vice President for Policy for the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and the Executive Director of NIAC Action. He leads NIAC’s advocacy and education on civil rights and immigration issues, as well as diplomacy with Iran. He formerly served as Policy Advisor on foreign affairs, immigration, and defense issues in the U.S. Congress. Abdi has written for The New York Times, CNN, Foreign Policy, and blogs at The Huffington Post.  He is a frequent guest contributor in print, radio, and television, including appearances on Al Jazeera, NPR, and BBC News. Follow Jamal on Twitter: @jabdi

Recent NIAC publications and media appearances:

Will the Israel-Iran Showdown Be in Syria–or New York?, Defense One, Feb 15, 2018

Five Myths About Iran, Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2018

How Trump Could Use the Iran Protests to Kill the Nuke Deal, The Nation, January 11, 2018

About NIAC

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. NIAC’s mission is focused on promoting an active and engaged Iranian-American community, supporting aspirations for human rights and democracy in Iran, opposing war between the US and Iran, and celebrating our community’s deep cultural heritage. NIAC accomplishes its mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision-making by policymakers.

For more information, please visit www.niacouncil.org.

NIAC Concerned over Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Push for War

WASHINGTON, DC – Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement regarding the official visit of Prince Mohammad bin Salman:

“The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official state visit to Washington DC tomorrow has one purpose above all and that is to fulfill what former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates warned about in 2010: The Saudis “want to fight the Iranians to the last American.” But while the Saudi effort to drag the US into war with Iran was blocked by previous administrations, Riyadh now appears to be pushing an open door.
 
“The tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are destabilizing the Middle East and necessitate strong diplomatic efforts to defuse the conflict before it escalates into a wider war. But the Saudi Crown Prince has rejected all offers of mediation, including from the Germans and the Chinese. 
 
“Serious diplomacy can reduce tensions and begin a process of positive confidence-building measures between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The alternative apparently favored by the Saudi Crown Prince is for the United States to send American service men and women into a potential war aimed at returning the region’s balance of power to the Saudi’s favor. That may be an attractive proposition to the rulers of Riyadh. But it does not lie in the national interest of the United States of America to rent its military to Saudi princes – regardless of what business opportunities they may be offering Donald Trump and Jared Kushner in return.”

 

Apple’s Shut Down for Iranians is Disturbing Trend U.S. Government Must Reverse

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Tel: 202-386-6408
Email: jabdi@niacouncil.org

Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council issued the following statement regarding Apple’s apparent decision to block access to its App Store inside Iran:

“We are very concerned that uncertainty around the Iran deal, and the political instability in the United States regarding the future of our Iran policy, is pressuring companies like Apple to back away from permissible business inside Iran to the detriment of ordinary Iranians. We urge that the Administration take steps to ensure that its policies are not undermining legitimate interests like human rights and freedom of speech for Iranians. 

“Two years ago, there were signs that Apple may be expanding its operations into Iran – which was a positive signal for ordinary Iranians as well as for Iranian Americans who want to see a more open Iran. That move never came to fruition, likely as a result of hardliner pressure inside Iran and the limitations imposed by U.S. sanctions.  Unfortunately, now we are seeing the erosion of even the most basic sanctions exemptions for communications technology that were put in place under the Obama Administration to ensure the U.S. wasn’t helping Iran’s government silence Iranians.

“This latest news about Apple shuttering services for Iranians is part of a disturbing trend that must be reversed. We have already been in communication with the U.S. government about decisions late last year by Apple and Google to block Iranian developers from hosting applications on their platforms. We have emphasized the need to broaden exemptions to reverse such decisions and will redouble our efforts to address these new challenges. We have also been in communication with appropriate agencies regarding other troubling signs, including the fact that the U.S. Postal Service has started rejecting packages to Iran despite a longstanding exemption to allow Americans to send mail to Iran. 

“The comprehensive U.S. embargo on Iran makes it all but impossible to target sanctions against bad actors and the current environment has only increased the difficulty. But the limited efforts to exempt key goods and services from sanctions are now being undermined by fears that the U.S. is planning to snap back extraterritorial sanctions that were lifted under the nuclear deal and what appears to be a new crackdown against Iran. The embargo has exemptions for humanitarian goods like food and medicine, as well Internet communications tools aimed at enabling Iranians to communicate freely. Because they are so narrowly tailored, and because the embargo and sanctions on Iran are so broad, these exemptions can only work to the extent that there is confidence the U.S. government will honor them companies have confidence they will not be punished for engaging in permissible activities inside of Iran. 

“Access to communication technology is important for both humanitarian as well as U.S. strategic interests, which is why exemptions for Internet communication tools were put in place under the previous Administration. Allowing these exemptions to fall by the wayside helps no one except those who seek to keep the Iranian people silent.”

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Pompeo Nomination Threatens Iran Deal, Increases Risk of War

Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Mike Pompeo to become Secretary of State:

“Mike Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State could have profound implications for the fate of the Iran nuclear deal and the prospect of a new war in the Middle East. While serving in Congress, Pompeo’s positions on foreign policy were often ideological and tended towards militarism rather than diplomacy. His opposition to the Iran deal – including the political hijinks he engaged in to undermine U.S. negotiators – and his comments suggesting that military strikes would be more effective than diplomacy, raise serious questions about his fitness to serve as America’s top diplomat.

“During his confirmation hearings to become CIA Director, Pompeo assured Senators that his opposition to the Iran deal as a Member of Congress would not interfere with his new role that would require ‘objective and methodologically sound judgements.’ We hope that Pompeo’s time as CIA Director has enabled him to take a sober look at the success of the nuclear agreement and the fact that diplomacy successfully rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. However, the evidence – including Pompeo’s efforts to urge Trump to decertify the Iran deal – suggest the opposite.

“If Pompeo has not moderated his views, it means that one of the most ideological opponents of diplomacy with Iran may soon be in charge of implementing Trump’s efforts to exit the nuclear agreement in May. That would only make Trump’s demand that Europe join his administration in violating the Iran nuclear deal in order to save it even less appealing. Europe should be preparing for potential counter measures to neutralize the impact of the U.S. abandoning the agreement. Unfortunately, the net effect of Pompeo at State may not just be the further isolation of America and erosion of our credibility on the world stage, it may result in a dramatic escalation of tensions in the Middle East and a war with Iran.”

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IAAB v. Trump Muslim Ban Plaintiffs File Petition with the United States Supreme Court

Washington, DC – On Friday, the plaintiffs in Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) v. Trump joined plaintiffs in two other cases in filing a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. The parties have asked the Court to review their cases and are seeking an expedited briefing schedule so that the cases may be heard along with Hawaii v. Trump, another challenge to President Trump’s Muslim ban, that is set for argument on April 25, 2018.

On February 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in IAAB, proclaiming that Muslim Ban 3.0 is “unconstitutionally tainted with animus towards Islam.”  Since the Supreme Court is reviewing the Hawaii case this term, the IAAB plaintiffs have asked for review so that the compelling issues raised by their case, including how the plaintiffs have been affected by the ban, will be presented to the Court.

IAAB v. Trump was the first major lawsuit brought against President Trump’s Muslim ban 3.0. The plaintiffs in this action are Iranian Alliances Across Borders, an Iranian-American diaspora community organization, and six individual plaintiffs, all of whom are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents with Iranian relatives or spouses who will be blocked from coming to the United States.  The plaintiffs in IAAB v. Trump are represented by Muslim Advocates, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Covington & Burling LLP, and the lawsuit was prepared in consultation with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).

The National Iranian American Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of Iranian Americans and promoting greater understanding between the American and Iranian people.

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.

Iranian Alliances Across Borders is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 2003. IAAB addresses issues of the Iranian diaspora by facilitating community building, developing ways to better understand what it means to be part of a diaspora community, and empowering members of the Iranian diaspora community to enhance connections with their new communities as well as maintain connections with their root community.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

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NIAC Welcomes FATF Decision to Continue Suspension of Penalties on Iran

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council issued the following statement regarding today’s decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to continue the suspension of counter-measures against Iran:

FATF made the right decision by recognizing the progress that Iran has made to reform its banking laws, while ensuring that Iran fulfills the terms of its Action Plan in order to receive the full benefit of being removed from the FATF “blacklist”. By showing itself unwilling to give in to pressure from the Trump administration and outside advocacy groups like United Against Nuclear Iran, which were pushing for the re-imposition of counter-measures against Iran, FATF smartly avoided politicization of its work and protected its integrity as a technical body assessing countries’ anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws.

The Financial Action Task Force is an inter-governmental body that sets and promotes standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. FATF engages in a technical assessment of countries’ anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism laws and provides assistance to countries seeking to reform their laws in compliance with international standards.

Iran has been identified on FATF’s “blacklist” since 2008 for persistent AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering/Combatting the Financing of Terrorism) deficiencies. Following the nuclear accord, Iran agreed in June 2016 to an Action Plan to undertake domestic reforms to its AML/CFT laws with technical assistance provided by FATF. In response to this commitment, FATF suspended its call for counter-measures against Iran for a period of 12 months.

Iran has made significant progress meeting its Action Plan, including by passing new laws relating to money laundering.However, Iran still has work to do in reforming its terrorist financing laws. FATF’s decision to renew the suspension of counter-measures recognizes the progress that Iran has made thus far, while ensuring that Iran take the final steps to reform its AML/CFT laws before it receives the benefit of removal from FATF’s “blacklist.” Iran’s incentives to undertake serious reform of its banking laws include the potential for broader access to the global financial system, which has been denied Iran despite the lifting of U.S. and UN sanctions pursuant to the nuclear agreement. If Iran wants broader re-integration in the global financial system, then it must take the final steps to meet the terms of its Action Plan with FATF and reform its banking laws consistent with the recognized international standards. These steps are moving forward, yet the Trump administration and its political allies seem more interested in scuttling that progress due to ideological animus towards Iran rather than seeing an actual interest of the U.S. and international community realized.

The Trump administration appears to have pushed hard on FATF member-states to reject the technical assessment of the agency as to Iran’s progress and re-impose counter-measures against Iran. As is true of the nuclear agreement, the Trump administration’s ideological position towards Iran renders it unable to pursue – and often causes it work directly against – U.S. national security interests. In the case of the nuclear agreement, the Trump administration has antagonized allies and jeopardized the restrictions and strict inspections that are in place on Iran’s nuclear program. In the case of FATF, the Trump administration threatens to undermine the progress that Iran is making consistent with the FATF Action Plan to improve the transparency and integrity of its financial sector. The Trump administration showed its isolation once again by seeking to punish Iran through the FATF, despite the fact that the FATF and its other member-states recognize the progress Iran had made to reform its banking laws.

To kill the Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration has shown itself willing to stake the reputation of international bodies, including the Financial Action Task Force and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Trump administration is playing a dangerous game with the integrity of global and multilateral institutions. Thankfully, the FATF was able to resist the Trump administration’s machinations this time around.

NIAC Applauds Unanimous Supreme Court Ruling Rejecting Seizure of Ancient Iranian Artifacts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Trita Parsi
Phone: 202-386-6325
Email: tparsi@niacouncil.org

Washington, D.C. — The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) applauds today’s unanimous decision in the Supreme Court of the United States rejecting the seizure of ancient Iranian antiquities, ending an over decade-long legal battle.

NIAC has argued that victims of terror deserve to be heard – that they deserve justice. But in NIAC’s view, the artifacts do not belong to the government of Iran, but the people of Iran, and as a result they cannot be confiscated to compensate victims of terror. Depriving millions of Iranians across the globe – who have no ties to terrorism, and unequivocally condemn terrorism – access to these precious artifacts by selling off their history and heritage to the highest bidder is itself an unjust act. These artifacts have always belonged to the people, and now, after an 8-0 ruling by the Supreme Court, they can continue to be appreciated by the people.

Since 2006, NIAC has supported the opposition to the seizure of the Persepolis tablets — clay tablets written in Aramaic and other ancient languages dating back to the fifth century BC that contain important clues about the religion, administration, society, and economy inside the ancient Persian empire.

The Persepolis tablets have been under threat of seizure for years following a deadly 1997 attack by Hamas suicide bombers in a crowded pedestrian mall in Jerusalem. Victims of the attack and their families filed suit against the government of Iran for providing support to Hamas, and won a default judgment of $71.5 million. Iran did not pay, and the Plaintiffs have been trying to seize the Persepolis tablets, which they alleged were the property of Iran, to satisfy their judgement by auctioning off the artifacts on display at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History and the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

NIAC helped the University of Chicago fight against the seizure of the Persepolis tablets in court, by filing a 2008 amicus brief with the federal appellate court, fought in the halls of Congress, and even fought in the White House. After a hard fought ten years by the University, we are relieved that the Persepolis tablets are finally safe.

Muslim Ban Plaintiffs Celebrate IAAB v. Trump Ruling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shayan H. Modarres
Email: smodarres@niacouncil.org
Phone: 202-386-6325

Muslim Ban Plaintiffs Celebrate IAAB v. Trump Ruling
We Continue On Together

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., upheld the Maryland district court’s order blocking implementation of the Muslim Ban in three consolidated cases, Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump, IRAP v Trump, and Zakzok v Trump.  This ruling is a significant victory for the many individuals and families whose lives are still hanging in the balance.

Although the Supreme Court order allowing the ban to temporarily go into effect remains in place, this ruling is critically important and represents a positive step on the side of justice. The Fourth Circuit once again found that the Proclamation likely violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court concluded that “the Proclamation is unconstitutionally tainted with animus towards Islam.”  Click here to read the ruling.

IAAB v. Trump was the first major lawsuit brought against President Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0. The plaintiffs in this action are Iranian Alliances Across Borders, an Iranian-American diaspora community organization, and six individual plaintiffs, all of whom are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents with Iranian relatives or spouses who will be blocked from coming to the United States.  The plaintiffs in IAAB v. Trump are represented by Muslim Advocates, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Covington & Burling LLP, and the lawsuit was prepared in consultation with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).  

According to Shayan Modarres, legal counsel for the National Iranian American Council: “Today’s decision by the 4th Circuit again confirms that the United States of America is better than vitriolic bans and barriers. Policies that espouse disdain towards a particular religion or group, and force our neighbors, friends, and family members to live in a state of constant fear, betray what America is all about. But even in this period of darkness and hate, we are more confident now than ever before that we will not be divided, and the American ideals that have made us a beacon of hope for the world will survive these hateful immigration policies.”  

According to Johnathan Smith, legal director of Muslim Advocates: “Today’s ruling marks an important victory and confirms what we have long known: Trump’s Muslim ban violates the law and harms our families and communities. The Fourth Circuit has once again recognized that this ban contravenes our fundamental values, and it has reaffirmed our nation’s role as a leading, welcoming country where discrimination and bigotry have no place. Despite today’s success, our work is not finished. We will continue to advocate against this unjust and discriminatory policy until it is but one, dark chapter in our nation’s history.”

According to Mana Kharrazi, executive director of Iranian Alliances Across Borders: “Today is such a proud day for the youth we serve at IAAB. When our youth connect with family members, friends, and community members from across the Iranian diaspora, it changes futures, enriches lives, and roots them in a meaningful sense of community and responsibility. Our young leaders spoke up in court, and they won a victory for their community and the nation. They are helping our country overcome this dark chapter in our history and standing up for the values and ideals we must protect as we look ahead to the Supreme Court’s consideration of the Muslim ban in the coming months.”

According to Richard B. Katskee, legal director of Americans United: “President Trump’s Muslim ban cruelly continues to separate families and to relegate American Muslims to second-class status. Treating people of one faith differently from everyone else is unconstitutional and betrays our deeply held principles of religious freedom, equality, and fairness. We appreciate that the 4th Circuit, just like other federal courts around the country, recognized the harm that this ban is causing. We urge the U.S. Supreme Court to end the Muslim ban and restore to American Muslims the full rights that they deserve.”   

Additional resources:

 

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.

Iranian Alliances Across Borders is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 2003. IAAB addresses issues of the Iranian diaspora by facilitating community building, developing ways to better understand what it means to be part of a diaspora community, and empowering members of the Iranian diaspora community to enhance connections with their new communities as well as maintain connections with their root community.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

The National Iranian American Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of Iranian Americans and promoting greater understanding between the American and Iranian people.

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