August 12, 2009

NIAC’s Membership Speaks Up: Delay Diplomacy, Oppose Broad Sanctions

Washington DC – The violence that erupted in the aftermath of the Iran elections left very few around the world untouched. Increasingly, US policymakers have looked to the Iranian-American community and to National Iranian American Council for feedback and guidance. As a grass-roots organization representing Americans of Iranian descent, NIAC in turn depends on feedback and surveys of its membership to determine its priorities and inform its directions. At no time has the input of the NIAC membership been more important than during the tumultuous post-election period.

Only weeks into the election crisis, NIAC conducted a survey of its membership on how the US should respond to the developments in Iran. With more than 500 respondents – a larger number than standard scientific polls on populations of one million – NIAC’s membership surveys have consistently been aligned with statistical surveys of the Iranian-American community conducted by universities and professional pollsters.

So what does the majority of the Iranian-American community want according to the NIAC membership?

On Diplomacy: While 92.6% continue to support diplomacy, 61.4% believe that the US government should put diplomacy on hold until the election process in Iran has reached a conclusion. Only 7.4% believe that the US should abandon diplomacy. As a result, has NIAC called for a tactical pause in engagement, while reiterating that the US should firmly remain committed to diplomacy as the best way to resolve the conflicts in Iran.

On War: An overwhelming majority, 97.5% still firmly opposes war or military strikes against Iran.

On Sanctions: A vast majority, 97.1% opposes broad economic and political sanctions because they impact the entire economy and population. However, a slight majority 50.2% favor targeted political and economic sanctions, such as freezing international bank accounts of current political leaders in Iran and international travel restrictions on representatives of the current government.

Regarding the lifting sanctions inhibiting people-to-people contacts, 95.0% believe NIAC should advocate for the lifting of sanctions restricting exchanges, communications and interaction between ordinary Iranians and Americans.

On Human Rights: 89.2% support NIAC’s position on human rights abuses in Iran. Added to NIAC’s mandate on human rights is the objective of ensuring that human rights will be included in any US-Iran diplomacy.

Going forward, based on the input of the NIAC membership, NIAC will:

1. Continue to support diplomacy, but advocate for a tactical pause until greater political clarity exists in Iran 2. Continue to oppose war 3. Continue to oppose broad sanctions, seek to lift sanctions that inhibit people-to-people communications and explore targeted sanctions that don’t affect the general population4. Advocate for human rights to be included in any US-Iran diplomacy

NIAC will continue to seek feedback from its membership and the general Iranian-American community in order to continue to accurately advocate on its behalf.

Not a NIAC member? Don’t be left out – join the largest Iranian-American grass-roots organizations today and gain a vote in an organization that relies on you for guidance!




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