NIAC Responds to Baseless Accusations by Senators Cotton, Cruz, and Braun

In response to a letter sent by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Braun (R-IN) to the Department of Justice baselessly urging an investigation into NIAC and NIAC Action, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement:

“At NIAC, we are proud of the work we do for our community. We will never stop working to advance peace and diplomacy or fighting for equitable immigration policies and the civil rights of all Americans. Unfortunately, in the current political climate, immigrant organizations and communities like ours are increasingly under attack by agenda-driven groups and individuals who often resort to baseless smears to try to discredit those who disagree with them.

“The slanderous accusations from Senators Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Mike Braun have zero merit. It is yet another sign that warhawks are seeking to intimidate pro-peace voices, starting with Iranian Americans, from halting the push toward war, which Cotton and Cruz have long championed. We have already seen the coordinated efforts, such as the U.S. government funded “IranDisinfo” project that slandered groups like Human Rights Watch, as well as Iranian-American journalists, analysts, academics, and civil society organizations like ours who dared speak out against the Trump Administration’s Iran policies. This is the latest attempt to silence NIAC and other pro-peace Iranian Americans from having a voice in this debate that impacts us and our community. We will not let that happen.

“NIAC and NIAC Action are independent American organizations. We do not receive money from any government, are not agents of any government, and take great pride in our transparency. We are funded by reputable U.S. foundations, ordinary Iranian Americans, and American allies who support peace and civil rights. We routinely condemn the Iranian government for its gross violations of its international human rights obligations, including amid the November crackdown and this past weekend over protests following the government’s downing of a civilian aircraft.

“The Senators’ accusations of dual loyalty targeting our organization, particularly amid heightened risks of war, are disgusting and dangerous. We are just a few days removed from Iranian Americans being detained for questioning at U.S. ports of entry based on their national heritage. These incidents have only compounded an atmosphere of xenophobia, which have made Americans of all backgrounds feel vulnerable in their own country, and have no place within the civil discourse of the United States. In this period of heightened fears and trauma, it is shameful these Senators choose to slander NIAC and NIAC Action as we stand up for the Iranian-American community and work to protect our community’s civil liberties.

“We strongly dispute the mischaracterization of our work by the Senators in their hastily drafted letter. Both Senators Cotton and Cruz have made clear that they favor war with Iran over diplomatic solutions–and they have done nothing to halt this administration from banning our friends and family from Iran beginning in his first week in office. While we know little of Senator Braun, his joining in this McCarthyite targeting of an Iranian-American civil rights organization betrays that he knows little of our community and less about basic democratic liberties.

“It is unfortunate and telling that these warmongers have put NIAC in their crosshairs. Our organization has for years led the charge against war, reflecting the anti-war position of the vast majority of the Iranian-American community. Sens. Cotton, Cruz, and Braun recognize us as a threat to their plans and seek to slander us into silence. They will not succeed. Freedom, equality, and democracy are not just hopeful words, they are the foundations of a just world that we will continue to advocate for, starting here at home in the United States.” 

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