Don’t Bust: Iranian-Americans Need To Have A Voice In The Political Process

If you don’t know where to start, there are initiatives like the National Iranian American Council’s Beshkan the Vote that are advocating the importance of the Iranian-American vote during the 2016 election. They argue, “Your vote is your voice. If we want to have a say in the political process, we must use our voice. This is our year to protect our values, prevent discrimination, and advance peace and diplomacy.

Sign Petition Calling on Sen. Graham to Retract Racist, Anti-Iranian Remarks

Tell Sen. Graham to Retract His Racist Anti-Iranian Statement

This petition is now closed.

End date: Aug 19, 2015

Signatures collected: 3922

Signature goal: 3000

3,922 signatures

On Friday, Senator and Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham told the Republican Leadership Conference:

 “Everything I learned about Iranians I learned working in the pool room. I met a lot of liars, and I know Iranians are liars.”

NIAC has condemned the remarks and called for an apology and retraction. Sign the petition to call on Graham to apologize for and retract these bigoted comments.

Petition text:

Dear Senator Graham,

I am outraged by the repulsive comments you delivered for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in which you called Iranians liars.

The fact that you are basing important national security decisions on your experiences working in a pool hall is troubling enough. But stereotyping an entire people as “liars” based on these experiences is racist and completely unacceptable.

I call on you to immediately retract your comments and apologize for these bigoted remarks.


TAKE ACTION: Urge Your Representative to Support Iran Diplomacy, Not War

Affordable Care Act

Yesterday, we encouraged you to call your Representative in the House to ask them to sign a letter supporting the framework deal and opposing war. We’ve got some great news: the letter now has over one hundred signers, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and it will be kept open into next week. However, there’s still more work ahead.

Three months from now, Congress could be taking a vote that would decide whether the U.S. and Iran solve the nuclear crisis or miss a historic opportunity and move toward war. You need to make sure your Representative is on the right side of history.

This letter has the chance to be one of the strongest Congressional statements in support of diplomacy with Iran and against war. But we need you to take one more step. Take action by emailing your Representative and urging them to sign the Schakowsky-Doggett-Price letter today!

Read the Schakowsky-Doggett-Price Letter to President Obama >>


TAKE ACTION: Let’s Go Back on Offense and Seal the Deal


I’m not going to water this down: yesterday we hit our first setback in our push to a final Iran deal.

In case you missed it: a compromise version of the Corker-Menendez bill was accepted by key Senate Democrats and the White House, paving the way for the bill to be signed into law in the coming weeks. That means that any final deal with Iran would be delayed by at least 30 days and Congress gets to vote on whether to reject a deal.

This development will make negotiations more complicated and will give hawks in Congress a chance to veto a deal. 

I share this news not to discourage you — but to remind you how far we have come and how close we are to sealing the deal. We knew this fight wouldn’t be easy and would require some stamina, and how we react to this news is critical. I remain confident we are going to get a deal and we will win the battle to protect that deal in Washington.

A vote on a final deal is a vote we can win. But we have to prepare for it starting today.

That’s why three pro-diplomacy Representatives – Jan Shackowsky (D-IL), Llloyd Doggett (D-TX), and David Price (D-NC) – are circulating a letter in the House in support of the Iran talks and a good final deal.

We would need as many Representatives as possible to sign on to this letter and commit themselves to supporting diplomacy and a good final deal. 

If we get enough Representatives on the record in favor of a negotiated solution, we will be well on our way to having the numbers to win a vote on a final deal and preventing the hawks from setting us back on a path to war.

We don’t have much time – the letter closes tomorrow and your Representative must hear from you TODAY.

So please, pick up the phone and call your Representative (you can look up your Representative’s name here) and tell them to sign the Schakowsky-Price-Doggett letter supporting diplomacy with Iran.


1) Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC (1-844-228-6422)

2) Ask to be connected to your Representative’s office

3) Once connected, tell them: “I am [name] from [city], and I urge you to sign on to the Schakowsky-Doggett-Price letter supporting diplomacy with Iran. Will the Representative sign the letter?”


TAKE ACTION: You Have 24 Hours to Stop Bibi


Well, I guess Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu didn’t think his recent speech to Congress was enough to disrespect President Obama and undermine an Iran deal. 

According to his cabinet ministers, Bibi recently admitted that his latest stunts to kill the Iran talks stem from his fear that “the Iranians will keep to every letter in the agreement.” That’s right: Bibi wants to sabotage an agreement that the P5+1 unanimously view as a good deal – out of fear that it will actually work

Given that this rationale doesn’t make any sense to most of the world, Bibi has another plan to kill the deal. According to Haaretz

“Netanyahu and most of the ministers agreed that the only way to stop the agreement…was through Congress. Thus, a good deal of Israeli efforts will focus on convincing members of Congress to vote for the Iran Nuclear Review Act…”

The Iran Nuclear Review Act, sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would empower Congress to intervene in the talks. If the Corker-Menendez bill passes, all 535 members of Congress will insert themselves into the talks and have the power to veto any deal.

Talk about too many hawks in the kitchen.

To stop Bibi and his pals on Capitol Hill, the next eight hours will be crucial. Tomorrow the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take the first votes on the bill. This evening, Senators’ offices will count the numbers of calls and emails they receive from constituents on each side of this issue – and the outcome of those tallies could quite literally change history.

Call Congress to Stop the Iran Deal-Killing Corker-Menendez Bill:


Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC and ask to be connected to your Senator’s office and tell them:

Hi ____, my name is ____ and I’m from [city], [zip]. I’m calling to urge Senator ______ to vote “no” on the diplomacy-killing Corker-Menendez bill. I support my U.S. negotiators and a peaceful solution to the Iran nuclear issue. Thank you.

Repeat this process and reach out to your second Senator, and leave a voicemail if no one answers (those get counted too!).

Congress Already Wants to Kill This Agreement

Mark KirkYesterday was probably the biggest day in US-Iran relations in a generation. Kerry, Zarif, and the rest of the global negotiators deserve praise for showing the world that diplomacy does, indeed, work.

But members of Congress are already trying to kill this monumental agreement. Senator Mark Kirk likened the agreement to Nazi appeasement, stating “Neville Chamberlain got a better deal from Adolf Hitler.” 

Have these guys lost their minds?

We have come too far to let delusional Senators like Mark Kirk take the reins of the negotiations. That’s why we need to voice our adamant opposition to the Corker-Menendez bill (S.615), which would give dangerous hawks like Senators Mark Kirk, John McCain, Bob Menendez, and Tom Cotton new powers to vote down any deal.

Will you take 2 minutes to call your Senators and share your concern? Here’s how:


1) Look up your Senators names here.
2) Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC and ask to be connected to your first Senator’s office.  
3) Once connected, tell the staff member: 

Hi ____, my name is ____ and I’m from [city] [state]. I’m calling to express my enthusiastic support for the framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1 yesterday. 

Now it’s time for Congress to let diplomacy work. For that reason, I urge Senator ____ to oppose the Corker bill and any new sanctions on Iran at this time. Thank you.

4)  Please repeat the process to reach your second Senator’s office!

The world is counting on us. Don’t let Congress mess this up.

Thank You card

Thank Obama & Kerry for Advancing Peace with Iran!

Day of Action – You Blew Us Away!

Whew, what a day. From the moment congressional offices opened this morning, 65 NIAC teams in 26 states started taking action, urging their members of Congress to skip Netanyahu’s harmful address.


Many shared personal stories, about why diplomacy impacts them and their families directly. Others delivered piles of petitions, taking civic action for the very first time. They braved snow and tight work schedules, and in some cases spent hours practicing and preparing for their meetings.

Well, their efforts were worth it.

As I write, nearly 60 members of Congress have opted to skip the speech. Countless others have told our members that they are still on the fence and will be deciding at the eleventh hour.


Make no mistake: you are responsible for helping to make this happen, and US-Iran diplomacy is about each of us – our families, our loved ones, our future. 


That’s why I couldn’t be prouder of the dozens of NIAC members who participated in productive democratic action today, and of the thousands who signed our petition and made calls urging congress to support diplomacy.

Thanks for all that you do.

P.S. Stay tuned for the full album of photos on our Facebook page


Tell Congress: Don’t Attend Netanyahu’s Speech

Tell Congress to Stop Netanyahu’s Speech

Ellison-MemeIt has been a great week for diplomacy. Thanks to all your efforts, we won: the push for new sanctions in the Senate has been halted until March.

But that hasn’t stopped Iran hawks from their most outrageous offense yet: House Speaker Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress against diplomacy and in support of sanctions.
The speech is timed for the same week that AIPAC will will send thousands of activists to Capitol Hill to lobby for new sanctions.
I still can’t believe that some in our Congress would provide a foreign leader with an official platform to attack our President and start a war. If sanctions pass and diplomacy collapses, Americans could be sent to die in a war with Iran. That is not Bibi Netanyahu’s decision to make.
So some in Congress are taking action to stop Bibi’s speech. Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Steve Cohen (D-TN) are organizing a letter to demand that House Speaker John Boehner (the hawk who made the invitation) postpone Bibi’s invite. 
They need your help to get as many Representatives to sign the letter as possible in order to stop this nonsense. 
Will you take a moment to email and call your Representatives to sign the Ellison-Waters-Cohen letter?
The White House opposes Bibi’s invite. Congressional leaders like Nancy Pelosi oppose the invite. Even Israeli officials and politicians oppose the invite. 
We need you to take action to convince your Representative to oppose this invite so we can prevent this outrageous event from happening. Will you contact your Representative to sign the letter today?

They Almost Killed The Deal

Senator GrahamLast week, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) almost killed the Iran talks.   

He went to the Senate floor and attempted to pass a bill to give Congress the authority to kill any nuclear deal. Thankfully, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) intervened and blocked Graham’s gambit. But it was a close call — too close.

As the clock ticks to the November 24 negotiation deadline, we cannot afford to let a deal get sabotaged by Congressional hawks who want to start a war.

So to protect these talks in this critical week, we are trying something new:
Instead of sending a standard petition, we want you to TAKE ACTION by sending a personalized message explaining why diplomacy matters to you.


Why a personal message? Congressional offices tell us over and over that these really make a difference. They demonstrate that you are going the extra mile. When your legislators read these messages, they’ll see how their position on this issue impacts their constituents.

If your lawmakers receive enough of these messages, they will see that diplomacy supporters are fired up, and they will feel the pressure to think very carefully about their actions on this issue. Oftentimes, it is this level of commitment from the grassroots that can make or break votes in Congress.
So please take a minute to send your personal message to Congress, and share this email with your network so we can generate a massive response.

>>Take Action: Send Congress Your Message on Why Diplomacy is Personal To You

Why Is Yahoo Blocking Email for Iranians?



Washington, DC – It is well known that the Iranian government censors and monitors the Internet inside of Iran, denying Iranians the basic right to free communication. While there has been positive rhetoric from Iranian President Rouhani and his cabinet with regard to opening access for Iranians to social media and other Internet communications, there has been little action to this effect.

Unfortunately, some U.S.-based companies are unintentionally complicit in helping deny Iranians access to online communications. Yahoo, which has begun blocking Iranians from establishing email accounts, is the latest example.

In September 2013, Yahoo revised its registration process to require users to provide a phone number for new accounts. Country codes belonging to countries sanctioned by the United States were disabled, meaning Iranians have been effectively prevented from setting up new Yahoo accounts.

This does not just prevent new accounts, it also hurts Iranians who have existing Yahoo accounts who are prevented from activating the more secure “two step verification” feature, which requires a phone number. As a result, Iranians are forced into a lower tier of security for their personal communications and their Yahoo accounts are more vulnerable to being hacked.

This is a big deal. 63% of Iranians use Yahoo as their primary email–more than any other email service. Cutting off this service, and forcing Iranians with existing accounts to settle for less secure login, makes Iranians more vulnerable. Yahoo’s move could even force more Iranians to rely on email provided by the Iranian government.

 Yahoo is not the first tech company that has blocked its services for Iranians due to an over-enforcement of sanctions. For many years sanctions on Iran prevented companies from allowing Iranians to access certain online services, download software, or obtain communications hardware. Even as many in Washington cheered (and even hyped) the role of social media among Iranian human rights and democracy defenders, many online tools were blocked by sanctions.

But since 2009, NIAC and other groups have worked to lift sanctions on communications tools for the Iranian people. The Obama Administration has responded proactively, issuing increasingly broad general licenses over time to exempt communications hardware, software, and services from sanctions.

Many companies have been responsive, especially after public and private outreach efforts by NIAC and other organizations. Companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Go Daddy have begun providing their services to Iranians after years of blocking them.

Yahoo, unfortunately, has not taken appropriate action. Late last year, NIAC teamed up with groups like Berim, United For Iran, and International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to send a letter calling on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to reverse this policy and allow email for Iranians.

Now, our groups are looking to build public pressure to convince Yahoo it is time to correct this policy. Will you help convince Yahoo to reverse this policy? Take a moment to sign the petition to urge Yahoo’s CEO to stop blocking email for Iranians.

Read the letter to Yahoo sent by Access
, ASL19, 
Electronic Frontier Foundation, 
Human Rights Watch, 
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, National Iranian American Council, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans
, and United for Iran

>> Sign the petition calling on Yahoo to stop blocking email for Iranians