Over the last decade, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has been steadily growing in size, strength and political influence. With approximately 4,000 dues-paying members and 43,000 supporters who subscribe to our emails and attend our events, NIAC is the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization. I’d like to emphasize the word “grassroots.” Why? Well, because this word means a lot to me personally and to the organization as a whole.
To put it simply, NIAC could not exist without the support and guidance of our grassroots membership. Not only do they write and/or call in to regularly offer feedback and suggestions, but their financial support provides approximately 70% of our operating budget.
Perhaps what is most valuable is our members’ role in shaping our agenda on an annual basis. They do this by participating in our members-only survey. The results help us determine how best to focus our efforts and resources as well as how to prioritize our policy positions. And, the results of this year’s survey are clear.
Concern about war with Iran has only intensified since our last member survey, and our members overwhelmingly chose to keep preventing war as NIAC’s top priority. Concern about sanctions aimed at the entire Iranian population has also grown, with the issue rising to the second priority. NIAC members made supporting human rights in Iran, supporting the civil rights of Iranian Americans, and promoting Iranian cultural heritage the third, fourth, and fifth priorities, respectively.
Here’s more on the issues:
Preventing War: NIAC members emphatically selected preventing war and promoting a peaceful solution to the US-Iran conflict NIAC’s top priority. 74% made it their top priority, and 15% made it their second highest priority. Asked to rank their priorities 1 through 5, preventing war averaged 1.4, with 1.0 being the highest possible number.
Opposing Broad Economic Sanctions: NIAC members made opposing broad economic sanctions that hurt the Iranian people their second priority, with an average rank of 2.5. 86% of NIAC members “oppose sanctions aimed at Iran’s entire economy,” while only 7% disagreed with this position.
Supporting Human Rights: Supporting human rights in Iran was ranked as the third highest priority with an average ranking of 2.9. A strong majority further supported targeted sanctions against human rights abusers in the Iranian government, and NIAC will continue to support targeted human rights sanctions.
Supporting Civil Rights of Iranian Americans: Supporting the civil rights of Iranian Americans was selected as the fourth highest priority, just behind human rights in Iran, with an average ranking of 3.1.
Protecting Heritage: NIAC members ranked protecting Iranian cultural heritage, such as the Persepolis Tablets, as NIAC’s fifth priority for the year ahead. The issue ranked 3.8.
437 dues-paying members participated in this year’s survey, making it larger than the sample sizes of other surveys done of our community at-large. Although not a scientific survey of the entire community (as the survey measures the views of our active members), past NIAC member surveys have corresponded with the results of scientific community-wide surveys.
Based on the results below, the year ahead promises to be busy and, at times, difficult. But, by unifying as a community to take action and be heard, no hurdle is too high. We all know there is power in numbers, so we look forward to working together to accomplish our goals and increase our community’s political influence.