Washington, DC – Last evening, NIAC hosted a town hall meeting for the Iranian American community in Northern Virginia, featuring Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and a lively discussion of current US policy on Iran.
The event, held in McLean, VA, included opening remarks by NIAC member Forough Yazdani who thanked Rep. Moran for his countless efforts in support of the Iranian-American community in Congress. Among those key efforts was his introduction of the Iranian Digital Empowerment Act (H.R. 4301), which supports Iranians’ access to information and communication tools online. “Previously, US sanctions stood in the way of companies like Google and Microsoft providing vital tools to the Iranian people over the Internet,” Yazdani said. “Because of Rep. Moran, those backwards sanctions have now been lifted.”
The town hall event was the first of many activities planned for NIAC’s “Stand With the Iranian People Challenge,” in which members from all over the country will take action to build support for the Iranian people. In the coming weeks, NIAC will be hosting a number of other events and activities, including the first-ever Mehmoonak Action Gatherings, which are small get-togethers where a handful of friends and neighbors target their local representatives in a concerted letter-writing campaign.
Rep. Moran, who is the chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Interior and the Environment, is also a leader in Congress on issues of human rights in Iran. “The Iranian people are a courageous and inspiring people,” he told the crowd of nearly 100 last night, “who are tragically misunderstood and misrepresented by their current government. You [the Iranian-American community] need to be the bridge that connects those Iranian people with the United States…. You are the leadership.”
Of the scores of Iranian-Americans gathered together to hear directly from their elected representative last night, one message clearly stood out: politicians must no longer be able to ignore Iranian-American interests. “Many members of Congress represent large constituencies of Iranian Americans,” one attendee said, “yet their voting records don’t reflect it in the least. We need to make this change.”
Rep. Moran encouraged NIAC members to take this one step further: “Get a group of 10 or 20 Iranian Americans together and meet with your member of Congress. This is how it works; when a group of ten or so constituents asks for a meeting, we can’t ignore them. That’s just the truth.”
NIAC organizes constituent meetings with members of Congress and their staff on a regular basis. For more information about NIAC events or meetings with elected officials, click here.