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

NIAC Congratulates the P5+1 and Iran on the Two Year Anniversary of the Nuclear Deal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Trita Parsi
Phone: 202-386-2303
Email: tparsi@niacouncil.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council and author of Losing an Enemy – Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy, issued the following statement regarding the two year anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA):

“We congratulate the United States, Iran, and the P5+1 on their choice to remain committed to peace over war and continue to preserve the landmark nuclear deal reached two years ago. It is a testament that vigilant diplomacy will always outshine militarism.  The JCPOA is perhaps the most important arms control agreement in recent history. It not only prevented war and the spread of nuclear weapons, but it also opened the door for a new all-inclusive security dialogue in the Middle East, which carried the promise of stabilizing the region.

“Unfortunately, however, the JCPOA remains under attack from elements within both countries that prefer conflict over dialogue and mutual suspicion over greater understanding. Continued sanctions, calls from the White House for nations to refrain from investing in Iran, and an increase in military encounters between the US and Iran all threaten the deal. The JCPOA represented an opportunity for the US and Iran to change course, broaden engagement and end the policy of sanctions and antagonism. Unfortunately that opportunity has largely been squandered.

“But it is not only the achievement of the deal that risks to be lost if the attacks on the JCPOA continue. If the deal collapses, the US and Iran will likely once again find themselves on a path towards war. There will be no winners in such a scenario. The world would truly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory if it allows the nuclear deal to die.”

 

World Religion News: Hawaii and Twitter are Protesting the New Travel Ban

The National Iranian American Council, protesting against such new guidelines, started the #grandparentsnotterrorists hashtag in social media. It wants to show how this ban can hurt families. According to Shayan Modarres, the group’s legal counsel, the President of the U.S. should protect American families and not separate family members. He added to the website of the advocacy group that this ban is inhumane and does not bolster U.S. security. It only creates divisions by making a few Americans to second class citizens only due to their ancestry. The National Iranian American Council has encouraged individuals from the six affected nations to tweet their grandparents’ photos as a protest.

NIAC Statement on Firing of CNN Host Reza Aslan 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shayan Modarres
Phone: 202-780-9590
Email: smodarres@niacouncil.org

Washington, DC – Shayan Modarres, Legal Counsel for the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement in response to CNN’s decision to cancel the show “Believer” following Iranian American Reza Aslan’s use of an expletive in response to Trump’s repugnant reaction to the London terror attacks:

“We are extremely disappointed with CNN’s decision to cancel Reza Aslan’s show, “Believer.”  Aslan’s show promotes open dialogue, understanding, and religious tolerance. President Trump represents the very antithesis of those values, and he has consistently exploited human suffering to further his own political agenda against communities of color. Aslan was exercising his First Amendment right to express his personal feelings and opinions about the leader of our country; that freedom is what sets us apart from authoritarian countries. 

“CNN’s decision raises concerns about a double standard when it comes to communities of color. Following national outrage – even from CNN anchor Don Lemon – the network refused to fire Jeffrey Lord, who referred to Trump as the Martin Luther King of healthcare. CNN similarly did not hesistate to hire Corey Lewandowski following allegations of assault, and refused to fire him when it was revealed that he was still receiving compensation from the Trump campaign.

“The same First Amendment which protects CNN’s freedom of press, also protects Reza Aslan’s right to use his own platform and his own Twitter account to express his own views of the President. CNN’s firing of Aslan for his personal opinions amounts to censorship of dissenting views about the president – plain and simple. The network expressed no hesitancy to widely broadcast President Trump’s use of expletives and did not fire contributors who repeated those expletives on air. 

“Aslan’s firing seriously calls into question the sliding scale of morality apparently being utilized in the hiring or firing of on-air personalities by CNN. Silencing one of the only Iranian-American voices in American news media, an individual who utilizes his platform to advance peace, reconciliation, and understanding, further reveals that CNN values ratings over fact-finding and truth. NIAC and the Iranian-American community unapologetically stand behind Reza Aslan.”

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NIAC Hiring Southern California Field Organizer (Update: Filled)

This position has been filled.

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

The largest organization representing Iranian Americans seeks an experienced organizer who is passionate about mobilizing the Iranian American community around key issues, including protecting civil rights and preventing war.  The Field Organizer is responsible for organizing, coordinating and integrating 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. S/he coordinates and collaborates 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. The Field Organizer will also manage relations with major donors in the region. S/he will report to NIAC’s National Outreach Director.

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.

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 Outreach 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 Outreach Director 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 4+ years’ relevant experience. Experience and training with grassroots organizing, including 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 required.
  • 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.
  • S/He 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 commensurate with experience. Fortune 100-style benefits include:

  • Generous health, dental, vision, long-term disability, and life insurance plan options
  • 15 days of annual paid leave and 12 paid holidays
  • 401k with 2% company match

How to Apply

  • Send resume and cover letter to David Elliott (delliott[at]niacouncil.org) with the subject line “Southern California Field Organizer”
  • Please note your salary requirements in your cover letter.

 

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.

Bloomberg: What to Expect From U.S. Policies in the Middle East

 “There is an effort to move in a direction of isolating Iran once again and confronting Iran,” says Trita Parsi, President of the Iranian American Council. He continued, “we know that diplomacy works… two days ago Iranians overwhelmingly went out and they elected the person who had promised more engagement with the world and wanted to have better relations with the West. The response of the Trump administration was that President Trump clenched his fist and called for Iran’s isolation.” 

Boeing Deal is Win For U.S. Jobs and Ordinary Iranians’ Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ryan Costello
Phone: 202-386-6325
Email: rcostello@niacouncil.org

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement following Boeing’s announcement that it has signed a $3 billion agreement with Iran’s Aseman Airlines:

“We welcome this agreement that will help sustain and create jobs in the U.S. and improve the safety of Iran’s aging commercial airliner fleet. Combined with Boeing’s previous $16.6 billion deal with Iran Air that was finalized late last year, this deal is a win-win that will benefit the American people and the Iranian people.

“President Trump has said that he would be the ‘greatest jobs president’ and Boeing just presented him an opportunity to prove it. One of the cornerstones of Trump’s economic policy is an emphasis on reinvigorating American manufacturing and keeping factories stateside. Permitting Boeing to smoothly sell and transfer planes to Iran’s commercial airline industry is the epitome of such a policy. Boeing is headquartered in Chicago and its planes are made by American hands in Washington and South Carolina.

“However, questions remain over whether the deal will actually materialize into the sale and delivery of planes. As part of the Iran nuclear agreement, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) under the Obama Administration began to issue licenses to Boeing and Airbus for the sale of civil passenger aircraft to Iran last year. These licenses are up for renewal in June and must be reapproved by President Trump’s administration.

“European competitors are already taking advantage of this uncertainty. Iran Air has started to receive French Airbus planes but has not yet received Boeing aircraft. This recent $3 billion Boeing deal will not begin until 2022.

“The Iranian aviation industry is a frontier market for aircraft manufacturers that have been sanctioned from doing business in Iran for decades. This has made Iranian airliners notoriously dangerous and cost companies like Boeing billions of dollars. As NIAC’s 2016 report, ‘Losing More Billions: The Cost of Iran Sanctions to the U.S. Economy,’ found, the United States is by far the biggest loser of all sanctions enforcing nations. From 1995 to 2014, the U.S. sacrificed between $203.1 and $271.8 billion in potential export revenues to Iran. The sale of civilian aircraft, and further opportunities for engagement with the Iranian market, is a welcome step in the right direction.”

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NIAC Calls on Authorities to Release Detained Iranian Citizen Holding Valid Visa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ryan Costello
Phone: 202-386-6325
Email: rcostello@niacouncil.org

The National Iranian American Council issued the following statement on the arrest of an Iranian citizen with a valid visa in Oregon:

“The National Iranian American Council calls upon authorities to release and explain the arrest and detention of Alia Ghandi, an Iranian citizen who holds a valid U.S. visa. Ghandi’s arrest raises a number of concerns that Iranians are still being unfairly targeted by immigration enforcement due to their national origin, in spite of court orders putting a hold on Trump’s Muslim ban.”

“Ghandi traveled to Oregon to visit her sister who is a U.S. citizen, where upon arrival a customs officer reportedly questioned her on why she had so many documents with her and subsequently denied her entry. Alia protested the deportation and was promptly arrested and sent to the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center. Alia’s sister has not yet been permitted to visit her in jail even though she has been detained for over 48-hours.”

“Alia’s sister claims she has since been asked if she wanted Alia – an architect – to remain in the U.S. and serve as a babysitter for her two young children. We understand that customs agents have a responsibility to ask tough questions, albeit in a respectful manner. According to Matthew dos Santos, Legal Director of ACLU Oregon, Alia has decided to claim asylum, which is her right, and the U.S. has an obligation to hear her case. Rather than being thrown in jail, asylum seekers should be welcomed, assisted, and permitted a chance to be heard by a judge.”

“Visitors from Muslim and Middle Eastern countries have long felt unwelcome at U.S. airports and the entry process – even with a visa – remains arbitrary. We fear that the Trump administration and its Muslim Ban executive orders have empowered a culture of xenophobia rather than professionalism within Customs and Border Patrol, as numerous examples including Ghandi’s demonstrate. Further, this climate of fear risks unduly targeting and diminishing Iranian’s desire to even pursue their dreams or visit their family here in the United States. The fate of valid visa holders should not be determined by the “luck of the draw” in which agent greets them at the border and detention should be reserved for criminals.”

 

Protected: Muslim Ban Timeline: Updated March 2017

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