(Update: Filled) NIAC Hiring Southern California Field Organizer

Los Angeles Area (LA, Irvine, OC, etc.)
Full Time/Exempt

NIAC, the largest Iranian-American organization representing Iranian Americans, seeks a Southern California Field Organizer with organizing experience who is passionate about mobilizing the Iranian American community around issues including protecting civil rights and preventing war.  The Field Organizer is responsible for organizing and executing the work of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and NIAC Action grassroots members and teams in the greater Los Angeles area and Southern California.  They will coordinate and collaborate with NIAC’s Washington, DC staff to deliver messaging, training and resources to volunteers, district captains, donors and interested community members.  The Field Organizer is responsible for increasing and mobilizing NIAC’s support base within Southern California to create and support a cohesive, strategic, and effective approach to achieving NIAC’s goals. They are also responsible for organizing NIAC Action’s field program for the 2018 election in Orange County. The Field Organizer will also manage relations with coalition partners in the region. They will report to NIAC’s National Organizing Manager.

Responsibilities

Grassroots & Grasstops Mobilization & Capacity Building – Helps maximize the political representation of the Iranian-American community by identifying and cultivating grassroots and grasstops leaders. Provide support and motivation through field visits and remote management to grow, educate and mobilize NIAC supporters. Develop local volunteers into NIAC Congressional Captains.  Guide and train NIAC members in advance of Congressional in-district meetings. Implement grassroots legislative advocacy strategies, in collaboration with NIAC’s policy team.

Promote NIAC campaigns to supporters and the broader community, work with district captains and other local volunteers to develop and implement actions and events, work in collaboration with policy and development staff; develop expertise on NIAC’s focus areas and relevant actions, and serve as a regional public representative of NIAC.

Organize around NIAC Action’s 2018 election plan to increase Iranian-American voter participation in Orange County. This entails working with a volunteer team to register voters and execute a number of voter contact tactics. This will require the Field Organizer to spend the vast majority of their time based in Irvine, CA.

Grow Regional Membership – Leads regional efforts to recruit and engage new members and supporters through special events, campaigns and other incentives. Supports Development Director’s efforts to identify and cultivate new and existing donors.  Must be able to work with and manage relations with major donors in the region.

Work with the Organizing Manager and Development Director to develop and implement strategies to grow and diversify membership throughout the assigned region in tangible, innovative and goal-oriented ways.

Maintain accurate records of volunteer engagement, prepare reports and evaluate outcomes of community engagements.

Engage Community Through Local Events – Organizes (directly and/or indirectly through volunteers) local events to grow and mobilize the membership, including private meet-n-greets at private homes and venues; supports day of community service events; events of interest to the community such as local film screenings and book signings; and more to create well-attended and impactful local events and regional meetings that match organizational goals.

Develop/Increase Local Presence:

Initiate and steward relationships with local organizations to connect and integrate the work of NIAC campaigns and members to local needs and opportunities. Assist National Organizing Manager in staffing and overseeing local Regional Council.

Support of Member Groups and Volunteers:

Ensure materials are provided to NIAC members, activists and local partners; track and report on local group activities and needs; serve as link between member activists and NIAC’s Washington staff.

Other duties as assigned

 

Requirements

Education
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent education plus experience is required.

Experience
Requires 1+ years’ relevant experience. Experience and training with grassroots organizing, including election campaign work, is highly preferred.

Skills or Related Knowledge

  • Teambuilding, organizing and excellent presentation and facilitation skills are required.
  • Familiarity with the Iranian-American community in Southern California preferred.
  • Must have some experience collecting signatures, registering voters, phonebanking, or canvassing.
  • Must be organized, entrepreneurial, and self-driven with excellent time management skills for work that requires both significant independence and close collaboration with DC staff
  • Must be familiar with the policy issues NIAC works on and the political landscape
  • Must be committed to advancing NIAC’s goals and mission
  • Ability to speak Farsi (Persian) is strongly preferred.
  • Must be able to travel in and work on weekends and evenings as needed. Periodic travel to Washington, DC headquarters required, including for orientation and training shortly after hire.

Salary & Benefits
Salary Range: $45,760 to $49,000, depending on experience. Fortune 100-style benefits include:

  • Generous health, dental, vision, long-term disability, and life insurance plans
  • 15 days of annual paid leave and 12 paid holidays
  • 401k with 2% company match
  • Paid family leave
  • Additional benefits through TotalSource benefits partner include: training opportunities, corporate discounts, and Employee Assistance Program

How to Apply
Send resume and cover letter to Donna Farvard (dfarvard@niacouncil.org) with the subject line “Southern California Field Organizer”

About NIAC and NIAC Action
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of Iranian Americans and promoting greater understanding between the American and Iranian people. NIAC Action is the grassroots, civic action organization committed to advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community. Selected candidate will be a shared employee for both NIAC and NIAC Action.

Demonstrators spell out "# No Muslim Ban" during the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

NIAC Outraged By Revelation of Non-Existent Waiver Process Under Muslim Ban

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council is appalled by the revelation that, despite the Trump Administration’s claims that there is a “waiver” process to ensure his Muslim ban does not target family members of Americans, only two such waivers had been issued by Feb. 15 – out of 8,406 visa applications from “banned” countries. NIAC applauds the efforts of Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Van Hollen, who uncovered this information as part of an inquiry to the State Department.

“This would be laughable if it didn’t impact so many families in the U.S. and around the world,” said NIAC Vice President for Policy Jamal Abdi. “Trump is carrying out his Muslim ban with zero Congressional oversight and the failure of his so-called ‘waiver’ process is likely just the tip of the iceberg.”

Following several court orders blocking previous versions of the Muslim ban, the Trump administration instituted an indefinite ban in October. To mollify critics – and address an decision from the Supreme Court that the administration could not bar family members of Americans and other applicants with “bona fide” relations in the U.S. – President Trump issued Proclamation 9645. The updated ban indicates that a waiver can be granted to visa applicants from targeted countries if certain criteria are met – and even referenced the entry of family members as one example of when a waiver could be issued.

As indicated in the State Department response, the decision to issue waivers is left up to the discretion of individual consular officers. According to the State Department letter, out of more than 6,000 applicants whose applications were not refused for issues unrelated to the Proclamation, only 2 were ultimately approved for a waiver as of February 15. The State Department now says that 100 waivers have since been issued – meaning still less than one tenth of one percent of applicants have received the waivers.

“The Trump administration has not won a single court decision on the merits of its ban, yet the policy has been allowed to continue in large part because Congress has failed to vote on the ban or conduct oversight over its implementation,” said Abdi. “If Congress lacks the political will to repeal the ban, the least they can do is build on the efforts of Senators Flake and Van Hollen to conduct serious oversight to ensure there aren’t even more egregious abuses.”

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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NIAC Calls for Investigation into Death of Canadian-Iranian Academic

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

The National Iranian American Council released the following statement after Iranian authorities claimed Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist, Kavous Seyed-Emami, committed suicide in prison:

“The death of Iranian-Canadian Kavous Seyed-Emami while in custody at Evin Prison on vague charges of espionage is deeply concerning. NIAC calls on Iranian authorities to allow an independent autopsy and uninhibited investigation into the circumstances that led to Seyed-Emami’s death in order to determine whether his human rights were violated and to hold accountable those responsible.

“Iran is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which obligates Iran to ensure that everyone has the right to ‘life, liberty and security of person,’ and that ‘[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’ Seyed-Emami does not appear to have posed a security threat nor does the Iranian Judiciary’s explanation of his death add up. Moreover, coming on the heels of at least two other deaths at Evin Prison ruled officially as ‘suicides’ since the outbreak of protests in late December, Seyed-Emami’s death creates the suspicion that Iranian authorities are killing political opponents with impunity. If this is not the case, Iranian authorities should be eager to permit an uninhibited independent investigation.

“Iran is facing major and serious environmental issues which have worried the population at large, and the government needs to take those concerns seriously. Instead, given the treatment of Seyed-Emami and other environmental activists by Iranian authorities, it appears that Iran’s government is intent on securitizing the environmental sphere like so many other parts of Iranian society.

“NIAC once again reiterates its call on the Iranian government to fully abide by its international human rights obligations, including by releasing all prisoners of conscience.”

Stories & Insight One Year into Trump’s Muslim Ban

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: (206) 369-2069
Email: Jamal@niacaction.org

January 27, 2018, marks the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban that remains in place today. The Iranian-American community has been particularly impacted by this ban, with 62% of the non-immigrant visas typically issued to countries on Trump’s list going to Iranians.

The next week is an excellent opportunity to evaluate the continued impact of the ban and the prospects for overturning it when it comes before the Supreme Court this spring or at the ballot box during the Congressional mid-term elections in November. NIAC Action legal, legislative, and community experts are available for comment.

We have included key resources below including stories of those impacted by the ban, an overview of how the ban has been implemented and details on efforts to overturn the ban:

Stories from Iranian Americans on the Continued Impact of the Ban:

“My wife is finally pregnant after 8 years. My mother in law couldn’t wait to see her grandchild, but with Muslim ban 3.0, she has no chance.”

    -Mahdi
 

“I sit in my lab at university everyday, thinking why my mom and I are being punished for the crimes we’ve never committed?! In what world anyone has the right to separate a daughter from her mom for 5 years?”

    -Sara
 

“I can’t hold back my tears when I’m asked by colleagues: “what are you doing for the holidays?” I can’t travel back home because I won’t be able to come back to the U.S. due to the new travel ban. On top of that, my parents whom I have not seen for 3 years, cannot obtain a visa to come visit me. This separation is unnecessary and unfair.”

    -Maral

I lost my father, the only family I had after losing both my mother and only young brother to cancer. My father died of a broken heart, after 16 months of waiting for a visa, he had given up hope that we were ever going to be together again.

I strongly believe my rights were violated not only in the first place when my father went to the U.S. Embassy, but also over and over again during this last 16 months until he died. 

My father died from disappointment and depression. I clearly stated my situation and the hardship we went through in my letters to Congressman, the White House, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy. I also clearly stated my frustration at the neglecting of my father’s case with them, but they did nothing to help us. I strongly believe that they are responsible for all the hardships and grief my father went through, and also his death. I strongly believe my basic right to have my father in my home was subjected to political matter, hatred and discrimination. I don’t doubt that there are many others whose hopes have been dashed by what I perceive to be an uncaring, unfeeling bureaucracy.

-Mania
 

“My 73 year old dad is suffering from heart disease, stares at my 3 year old son with a mixture of enthusiasm and sorrow. While he tries to take a look at my son through my cell phone camera, I cry deep inside and curse myself for having to leave them for hope of a better life for my kids living in freedom. My parents may live and die without having their children and grandkids around. This is the price I am paying to be in land of freedom and opportunity.”

    -Sanaz
 

“My husband is Iranian, and is now a U.S. citizen. I was born and raised in America, and I’m a current military service member. We are recently married, and we had a destination wedding in Mexico due to the Muslim Ban. We knew there was no way my husband’s entire family would get tourist visas approved to come to our wedding in America, so we decided on a wedding in Mexico. The Mexican embassy in Tehran was great to work with. They were prompt, friendly, and fair. Now that we are back home in the States, it breaks my heart that I do not know when I will see half of my family again. What if we have kids? Since we are recently married, this is something we have been talking about a lot. Do we want to bring children into the world that may never know one set of their grandparents due to our president and administration being racist? Who will help us with childcare and life in general, as many grandparents do? As an Airman, I fight for the rights of everyone in this country. The fact that our president is taking them away everyday because of his misinformed, racist agenda breaks my heart. Will I ever see my sister again? Or brother? How has Congress let him get away with this time and time again?”

– Jennifer

The Legal Implications of the Ban:

The National Iranian American Council has been involved in two lawsuits to defeat all three versions of Trump’s ban. There was little doubt then that Trump’s Order “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination,” and there remains little doubt a year later:

  • While Trump’s lawyers have not yet won on the merits, the fact that the ban has been allowed to go into force means that impacted communities cannot rely on the Supreme Court alone to strike down the ban.
  • Dating back for over 40 years, no national from the targeted countries has ever killed anyone in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil;
     
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis has confirmed that nationality is a poor predictor of terror threat;
     
  • The criteria used to justify the new proclamation were applied arbitrarily, not in an objective manner as the Trump administration has asserted;
     
  • The ban will impact more Iranians and Iranian Americans than any other group on the restricted countries list. National Iranian American Council’s analysis predicts that Muslim Ban 3.0 will disproportionately impact Iranians with 62% of those potentially impacted being Iranian nationals, according to 2016 State Department data;
     
  • Even when the Muslim ban has not been in effect, it has applied “Extreme Vetting” measures that have resulted in a dramatic decline in visa issuance to the targeted Muslim-majority countries.

 
Legislative and Political Efforts to Overturn the Ban:

(Update: Filled) NIAC Hiring Development Manager

NIAC is seeking a dedicated fundraising professional for immediate hire. NIAC is accepting applications from candidates with varying levels of experience. Candidates with 6-10+ years of fundraising experience should apply at the Development Director level. Candidates with less experience but a passion for fundraising and NIAC’s mission will be considered at the Development Manager level if they have 3-5 years of fundraising experience or at the Associate level with 1-3 years of fundraising experience.

The position will work with NIAC’s president in spearheading fundraising activities as NIAC continues to grow. A successful candidate must be prepared to grow NIAC’s $2M budget through the management of fundraising events, cultivation of donors, and solicitation of major gifts, grassroots contributions, and foundation support.  S/he will also support NIAC’s President and board members as they take on an active fundraising role.

The Development professional will also work with NIAC’s sister advocacy organization, NIAC Action. In this capacity, s/he will raise dedicated funds for NIAC Action and oversee member events with political candidates.

Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute NIAC’s annual fundraising plan, collaborating with NIAC’s President and COO to establish annual budget revenue targets by source type
  • Secure financial support from major donors, grassroots supporters, foundations and corporate sponsors
  • Work with the Events Manager to develop and promote successful fundraising events
  • Support and partner with the President and board members on all major fundraising initiatives
  • Prepare donor reports and analysis to board and senior leaders
  • Develop and maintain ongoing relationships with major donors and current or potential foundation partners
  • Create and execute a strategy for increasing NIAC’s base of individual donors
  • Track grant deadlines and work with the relevant colleagues to prepare and submit grant proposals and reports
  • Manage and develop NIAC’s stewardship efforts aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors

Qualifications

  • 6-10+ years of fundraising experience at Director level. Candidates with less experience but a passion for fundraising and NIAC’s mission will be considered at the Development Manager level if they have 3-5 years of fundraising experience or at the Associate level with 1-2 years of fundraising experience.
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Demonstrated success in a development function (managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources) required
  • Persian (Farsi) language ability and familiarity with the Iranian-American community strongly preferred
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral; ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and build long-term relationships
  • Flexible and adaptable style; a leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives in a rapidly evolving environment
  • Must be able to work independently and as a team player, to take initiative, and to manage multiple tasks and projects at a time
  • Knowledge and passion for NIAC’s mission is essential
  • Ability to develop and implement annual strategic development plan required
  • Strong organizational and time management skills with close attention to detail required
  • Political campaign fundraising experience a plus
  • Knowledge of Salesforce a plus
  • Some travel required
  • Position may be carried out from NIAC’s Washington, DC headquarters or Iranian-American population centers like Los Angeles or San Francisco.

To Apply: Interested candidates should send a cover letter with salary requirements and resume to David Elliott at delliott@niacouncil.org with the subject line “Development Director”, “Development Manager” or “Development Associate”.

Salary & Benefits

Salary depends on experience. Fortune 100-style benefits include:

  • Generous health, dental, vision, long-term disability, and life insurance plans
  • 15 days of annual paid leave and 12 paid holidays
  • 401k with 2% company match
  • Paid family leave
  • Tax-advantaged commuter benefits program
  • Additional benefits through TotalSource benefits partner include: training opportunities, corporate discounts, and Employee Assistance Program

About 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. We accomplish our mission through expert research and analysis, civic and policy education, and community building.

We are the 501(c)3 sister organization of NIAC Action, the grassroots, civic action organization committed to advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community.

NIAC Letter to Adobe on End User License Agreement

 
On December 27, 2017, the National Iranian American Council wrote Adobe Systems, Inc. expressing concern that its End User Licensing Agreement requires users of Adobe products to certify they “are not a national of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, or any other country to which the United States embargoes goods.” As stated in the letter, NIAC is concerned that this requirement discriminates against Iranian nationals – including those in the United States – and is not required by U.S. sanctions laws.

NIAC hopes to work with Adobe to ameliorate the concerns of the Iranian-American community while adhering to existing sanctions obligations. You can see the letter as a PDF here or below:

December 27, 2017    

Mr. Jace Johnson

Adobe Systems Incorporated
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110-2704

Dear Mr. Johnson:

We are writing on behalf of the National Iranian American Council (“NIAC”) – the largest grassroots organization in the United States representing the interests of Iranian Americans – regarding Adobe’s End User License Agreement, which appears to discriminate against nationals of Iran, including those persons who are lawfully resident in the United States. Specifically, Adobe’s End User License Agreement requires a person – prior to downloading or otherwise using an Adobe software product – to certify that they “are not a national of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, or any other country to which the United States embargoes goods.”[1] It is our view that Adobe has a mistaken view as to the scope of current U.S. trade sanctions targeting Iran, and we hope to work with Adobe to ensure that its End User License Agreement(s) is consistent with U.S. sanctions laws and other trade restrictions and refrains from taking an overbroad view of U.S. law in a manner that discriminates against Iranian Americans.  

It is true that the United States imposes a comprehensive trade embargo with Iran – the provisions of which are codified in the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”), 31 C.F.R. Part 560. Pursuant to the ITSR, U.S. persons – including Adobe – are generally prohibited from engaging in the export, re-export, sale, or supply of goods, services, or technology – including software – to Iran or the Government of Iran, absent an applicable exemption or a license authorization.[2] This includes situations where a U.S. person exports goods, services, or technology to third-country parties with knowledge or reason to know that the goods are specifically intended for re-export or transshipment to Iran. 

However, Adobe’s End User License Agreement appears to suggest that the export, re-export, sale, or supply of its software products to nationals of Iran – even if lawfully resident in the United States – is prohibited under U.S. law. That is not a correct statement of U.S. law, but instead risks discriminating against U.S. persons, particularly Iranian Americans, lawfully resident in the United States.[3] More appropriately, Adobe’s End User License Agreement should – subject to the condition outlined below – require persons downloading or otherwise using Adobe’s software products to certify that they are not downloading the product while based in Iran or intent on re-exporting or otherwise transferring the software product to parties based in Iran. 

In addition, we would also urge Adobe to consider the effect of the issuance of General License D-1, “General License with Respect to Certain Services, Software, and Hardware Incident to Personal Communications,” which authorized the export, re-export, sale, or supply of certain services, software, and hardware incident to personal communications to Iran.[4] It is our view that General License D-1 may render permissible the export, re-export, sale, or supply of many, if not all, Adobe software products to Iran and would negate the need for Iran to be included in Adobe’s End-User License Agreement at all. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with representatives from Adobe to ensure that Adobe acts consistent with current U.S. sanctions laws and trade restrictions without taking an overbroad reading of any potentially applicable sanctions prohibitions.

We look forward to working with Adobe to address the concerns of the Iranian-American community. We appreciate your consideration and look forward to your response.

Most Respectfully,

Jamal Abdi

Policy Director, NIAC

 

[1] Adobe, End User License Agreement, https://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/license.html.

[2] 31 C.F.R. § 560.204.

[3] It is apparent that Adobe’s End User License Agreement is not only incorrect, but also out of date. For example, the United States no longer imposes trade embargoes on Iraq or Sudan – two of the countries identified in the End User License Agreement as embargoed countries. We would thus urge Adobe to revisit and accordingly revise its End User License Agreement to render it consistent with current U.S. sanctions laws and trade restrictions.   

[4] General License D-1, “General License with Respect to Certain Services, Software, and Hardware Incident to Personal Communications,” U.S. Dep’t of Treasury, Feb, 7, 2014, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/iran_gld1.pdf.  

NIAC Statement on Nikki Haley’s Missile Speech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Reza Marashi
Phone: 202-386-6325
Email: info@niacouncil.org

Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council Research Director Reza Marashi issued the following statement regarding Ambassador Nikki Haley’s presentation at the Defense Intelligence Agency accusing Iran of supplying missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen:

“Ambassador Haley’s dearth of foreign policy experience is no excuse for her shambolic performance today. Rather than displaying the dignity and poise of America’s face at the United Nations, she had her Colin Powell 2003 moment, demonstrating that too many of our leaders have still not learned the lessons of the Iraq war disaster. This stunt is particularly galling as it comes on the same day that reports emerged that the U.S. secretly sent advanced weaponry into Syria that ended up in the hands of ISIS and are now a direct threat to American troops and allies.

“Contrary to Amb. Haley’s claims, the UN Secretary General’s report did not assert anything irrefutable or definitive about any Iranian violations. Instead, the report indicates that the United Nations is ‘still analyzing the information provided’ in reports from various nations. As is the case with so many claims from the Trump administration, it appears that the facts are being chosen to fit a predetermined narrative or policy goal.

“It is indisputable that more arms in the region will do nothing to advance peace. Iran should halt any weapons shipments that it is sending to the Houthis or other armed groups in the region. However, Iran alone cannot be expected to halt its fueling of its proxy war with Saudi Arabia, and is unlikely to do so through unilateral demands alone. Accordingly, the Trump administration should also end its direct support for the Saudi-led humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and end its missile sales in the region that are arming some of the world’s worst despots. If Ambassador Haley and the Trump administration are truly concerned about Iran’s regional activities and missile program, they should pursue direct dialogue with Iran rather than repeat the same mistakes of the past.

“The U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen has not just produced mass human suffering in America’s name, it has empowered Iran in a country where it previously had very little influence. The Saudi-led debacle has also empowered al-Qaeda – the same al-Qaeda that attacked the United States on 9/11 with 15 Saudi nationals, and continues to plot attacks on the homeland today. Moreover, U.S. missile sales in a volatile region to the increasingly aggressive Saudi Arabia and the UAE have provided the Iranian government with a pretext to further develop its own missile program and cite U.S. military sales as justification.

“The Trump administration should immediately pursue bilateral and multilateral dialogue with the Iranian government on all issues of contention with no preconditions. The track record is clear. Talking about Iran with other countries only led to more missiles and more centrifuges in Iran during the Bush administration. Talking with Iran and other countries simultaneously produced compromises on missiles and less centrifuges under the Obama administration. Haley and her Republican colleagues in government would be wise to heed the words of Albert Einstein: ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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Muslim Ban 3.0 Disproportionately Impacts Iranians

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) estimates that Iranians will account for approximately 62% of those impacted by updates to the Muslim Ban.

How did we come to this conclusion?

We examined data published by the State Department and found the number of non-immigrant visas issued for each country included in the current ban. However, the current version of the ban does not apply equally to all countries included. Therefore we looked at the specific conditions and types of visas permitted for each country included. For example, in 2016 non-immigrant visas were issued to 28,822 Iranians and 4,368 of those were student visas (F/J/ M). Since the latest iteration of the Muslim Ban creates an exception for these visa categories we subtracted 4,368 from the total of 28,822 when calculating what proportion of those impacted by the terms of the new ban would be Iranian. In calculating the figures below we excluded Somalia because non-immigrant visas are still permitted. We also excluded Venezuela because only certain government officials and their family members are banned. A more detailed explanation of our calculation is shown at the bottom of this page.

What does this calculation tell us and what does it not tell us?

This is not meant to serve as a probability or statistical likelihood. This is a simple calculation and does not account for several variables. It assumes that visa applications and acceptance rates for 2017 will be identical for those in 2016. Of course, this will likely not be the case for various political and economic reasons. Some individuals from banned countries may choose to self-select out of the process and not even apply in the first place. This calculation also does not account for increased vetting procedures and assumes that visa applicants for permitted categories will be treated in the same way and accepted at the same rates as in 2016. However, what this calculation clearly demonstrates is that based on recent trends Iranians are highly likely to be disproportionately impacted by the current version of the ban.

What are the results?

For those interested our calculation went as follows: 

451 (visa categories excluded for Chad) + 24,454 (visa categories excluded for Iran) + 1,406 (visa categories excluded for Libya) + 100 (visa categories excluded for N. Korea) + 8,738 (visa categories excluded for Syria) + 3,786 (visa categories excluded for Yemen) = 38,935
 
24,454 (visa categories excluded for Iran)/38,935 (visa categories excluded for all banned countries) =.62 
 
In other words, if the current provisions of the ban were applied to the number of non-immigrant visas issued  for 2016 to citizens of the currently banned countries then 62% of those impacted would be from Iran. 
 
Raw data:
Chad B1/B2 – 451
Iran – 28,822-4,368
Iran Student visas (F, J, M): 4,368
Libya B1/B2 – 1,406
North Korea – 100
Syria – 8,738

Yemen tourist and business tourist (B1/B2)-3,786

Source: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/statistics/non-immigrant-visas.html

      
 
 

NIAC Statement on Apple’s Decision to Restrict Iranian-Made Apps

 

 

   
 
Jamal Abdi, Policy Director of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement after sending a letter to Apple Inc. raising concerns about its decisions to restrict mobile applications made by Iranian developers:

“Apple’s decision to restrict mobile apps made by Iranian developers may be an overly cautious approach to U.S. sanctions compliance that undermines U.S. interests by limiting the Iranian people’s access to technologies used for personal communication. Apple’s move has the effect of punishing the Iranian people, not Iran’s government, and only succeeds in discouraging Iran’s burgeoning tech entrepreneurs and forcing Iran’s youth back under the umbrella of government censors.

“NIAC calls on Apple and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to take all necessary steps to ensure that Iranians are able to once again make their mobile applications available on the Apple app store.
 

“Today, NIAC published a letter directed to Apple, seeking an explanation of the legal basis for its move and whether Apple has undertaken efforts to receive license authorization to host Iranian apps in its App Store.  In NIAC’s view, Apple’s current policy ‘risks undermining core U.S. foreign policy interests in ensuring Iranians are able to utilize the Internet for personal communications absent the censorship of their home government.’

“Apple’s decision to remove Iranian apps is yet another indication of the deleterious impact of broad U.S. sanctions targeting Iran and impacting the Iranian people. Apple, like many other U.S. companies, have to figure out how to navigate broad, often intentionally ambiguous, U.S. sanctions, and the conclusion for many has been to exercise undue caution in ways that may undermine U.S. interests. For instance, we have seen cases where U.S. banks close the accounts of Iranian students studying in the United States, despite there being no prohibition on U.S. banks maintaining such accounts. Ultimately, because such caution is likely to persist into the future, it is incumbent on the U.S. Treasury Department to provide sufficient guidance to companies so that they do not undertake actions counter to U.S. interests.

“We trust that Apple shares our interest in encouraging young Iranian tech entrepreneurs and promoting internet freedom around the world. We hope they will respond and look forward to discussing these matters with them.”

The full letter can be found here.

NIAC Hiring Office Administrator (Update: Filled)

This position has been filled.

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is looking for a highly motivated and dedicated Office Administrator to join our team in early September.  Reporting to the Director of Operations, NIAC’s Office Administrator provides overall administrative support to the organization 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.

Responsibilities:

  1. Donation Processing & Database Management – Process donations and maintain donor records in Salesforce NGO Connect.  Provide ongoing maintenance of supporter records and account information to ensure clean and accurate data.  Prepare and mail correspondence as appropriate to donors and supporters.
  2. Financial & Accounting – Assistant 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.  Maintain an organized filing system for financial records.
  3. Handle Phone and Email Inquiries – Route or respond to incoming calls and email inquiries as appropriate.  
  4. Recruit and Manage Interns – Place ads as needed to recruit for internships; maintain correspondence with applicants; interview and screen intern applicants.
  5. Office – Maintain inventory of supplies and order office supplies and equipment as needed.  Maintain office space appearance and maintenance.  
  6. Support Director of Operations – Provides support with additional duties as required.
  7. Prepare Marketing Lists – Utilize NIAC’s database to create lists for targeted outreach by NIAC’s Outreach staff, President, and event host committees.
  8. Travel Logistics – Book airfare and lodging accommodations for traveling staff and guest speakers.
  9. Event Support – May provide periodic assistance for NIAC events to events’ manager.

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • At least 1-3 years of relevant experience, preferably in a nonprofit setting
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Experience with QuickBooks Online and/or general accounting experience
  • Experience working with Salesforce strongly preferred
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Familiarity with the Iranian-American community and Persian (Farsi) language ability a major plus
  • Enthusiasm for NIAC’s mission
  • Good organization and time management skills
  • Must take initiative and be resourceful
  • Strong oral and written communications skills
  • Attention to detail

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