October 6, 2023

NIAC Progress Report as of September 2023

Transparency is core to NIAC’s values. Here is a breakdown of some of our work in 2023 through the month of September. 

Opposing a proposed travel ban to Iran

  • NIAC has called out legislation— introduced by long-time MEK ally and recent NUFDI headliner Representative Joe Wilson, alongside Representative Jared Moskowitz, which calls for a ban on travel to Iran. NIAC is also coordinated with allies in Congress to oppose this legislation. 
  • NIAC has created a new action alert to contact members of Congress demanding they do not ban travel to Iran.
  • NIAC also called out proposals from former Donald Trump Iran Envoy Elliot Abrams and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to ban U.S. travel to Iran:

“Nobody knows of the Iranian government’s brutal repression and the risks of traveling to Iran better than Iranian Americans. But most Iranian Americans have family in Iran, and many choose to visit Iran, which must remain their choice. We are deeply concerned that Senator Menendez says he is considering a ban to prevent U.S. travel to Iran.” 

  • Additionally NIAC also generated messages to Menendez’s office and created a step-by-step guide to call Menendez’s office to express your opposition to this proposal. 

Organizing Our Community:

  • NIAC has organized 33 meetings between grassroots chapter volunteers and congressional staff and discussed providing real support to the people of Iran and maintaining the civil rights of Iranian Americans.
  • NIAC organized a virtual call with over 120 volunteers discussing the ongoing trend of modern-day alien land laws, providing in-depth analysis and strategies to counter these measures,  featuring Texas Rep. Gene Wu and allies from AAJC & NAPABA. Watch a clip from it here
  • NIAC led an organizational sign-on letter, bringing in 20 other civil rights organizations – including the ACLU and the National Immigration Law Center–raising our concerns over the Rounds Amendment with Congress. 
  • Our next community and coalition-wide effort to continue mobilizing against the wave of alien land laws is our State Legislative Training 101 on Sunday, October 15 at 4pm ET. The event will focus on educating our communities on how they can impact the state legislative process and have a say at the decision-making table, especially when their rights are on the line.

Marking one year since Mahsa Jina Amini’s Tragic Death: 

  • Jamal Abdi, the president of NIAC, released both a written & video statement reiterating NIAC’s support for the Iranian people and their fight for democracy and equal rights.
  • He spoke about the violent aftermath of the protests and the international response. He also details actions to support Iranians, like relieving broad sanctions, supporting internet access to get around censorship, granting remittances to support loved ones, processing visas for refugees and students, and staying out of a reckless war that helps no one.

NIAC in the News 

  • On BBC Persian, Jamal Abdi analyzed the prisoner swap agreement between the U.S. and Iran, which brought 5 Iranian Americans home from Evin prison in exchange for the conditional release of Iranian funds, to be used on food and medicine. 
  • Policy Director Ryan Costello shared analysis with the Stimson Center laying out the ongoing conflict between state and society in Iran one year after the killing of Mahsa Jina Amini. He outlines the Iranian people’s continued defiance of the nation’s mandatory hijab laws and the state’s escalating efforts to enforce them and identifies where U.S. policy has met the moment’s challenges and where it has fallen short. 

Continuing to Address Misinformation:

Supporting the 5 Iranian-Americans returning home from Evin Prison

  • NIAC Issued this statement upon news that the U.S. and Iran had finalized a prisoner swap freeing five Iranian-American dual nationals. 

“Five Iranian-American families have been made whole again following horrific ordeals. Our thoughts are with the Namazi, Shargi, and Tahbaz families and the unnamed individuals released from Iran as they begin to recover. Nobody can restore the time robbed from them by the Iranian government, but we hope they can begin to heal.”

Calling out corruption in the Senate 

  • Issued this statement in response to the indictment of Senator and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez:

“The Menendez revelations should underscore just how important it is to have independent and people-powered organizations like ours who stand up for people and will tell the truth to policymakers. We are proud to be a community-supported organization telling the truth about the situation in Iran and the true impact of U.S. policies on both our loved ones in Iran and here at home.”

Monitoring Human Rights in Iran 

  • Building on our Human Rights Tracker that launched in 2019, this year NIAC brought on additional human rights experts who produce the Human Rights Tracker (HRT) and Iran Unfiltered (IU) Newsletters. NIAC has published 60 issues of these newsletters in 2023, which are read by government officials, Congressional staff, policymakers, and journalists. 
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