Staff & Board




Jamal Abdi joined the National Iranian American Council as Policy Director in November 2009, directing NIAC’s efforts to monitor policies and legislation and to educate and advocate on behalf of the Iranian-American community. He has served as President of NIAC since August 2018, and also serves as the Executive Director of NIAC Action, the group’s sister organization.

Abdi joined NIAC’s team following his work in the US Congress as Policy Advisor on foreign policy, national security and immigration issues. As one of a small number of Iranian Americans working on the Hill, he served as a Congressional advisor, liaison, and expert on foreign affairs, immigration, and defense.  Prior to coming to DC, Abdi worked in his home state of Washington as a field organizer for national Congressional elections, coordinating and establishing grassroots campaign efforts in Seattle and Bellevue. He received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle, majoring in Political Science with a focus on International Relations.

Jamal has written for The New York TimesCNNForeign PolicyThe Hill, and USA Today and blogs at The Huffington Post.  He is a frequent guest contributor in print, radio, and television, including appearances on Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC Radio, and VOA.


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Articles by JAMAL ABDI

April 4, 2024

By Jamal Abdi Iranian Americans who have had their bank accounts closed or who have been subjected to invasive and persistent questioning by their banks because of their Iranian heritage were dealt another blow in the effort to stop banking discrimination. Two years ago, Bank of America was sued for shutting down the bank account […]

January 27, 2021

As with the many crises Joe Biden inherited when he took his oath on the Capitol steps, his predecessor’s disastrous policy towards Iran and the resultant nuclear standoff will require swift action at the new administration’s onset.

June 24, 2020

By Jamal Abdi and Ryan Costello In 2017, Donald Trump inherited a better position on Iran than any U.S. President over the last four decades, with Iran’s nuclear program restrained and an opportunity to build on a historic diplomatic accord. More than two years after Trump threw out the successful diplomatic playbook in favor of […]

March 10, 2020

By Jamal Abdi President Donald Trump’s concept of “America first” is burdened by a misapprehension: that the U.S. enjoys immense power to shape the world abroad yet is somehow immunized from the consequences at home. Not unlike the George W. Bush administration, which argued America needed to “fight the terrorists over there so we don’t […]

February 9, 2020

By Jamal Abdi As policymakers grapple with both the hangover of a near-war with Iran and the implications of recent anti-government demonstrations by Iranians, “standing with the Iranian people” is back in vogue in Washington. It is also front of mind for many Iranian Americans who are cautiously relieved that the imminent threat of war […]

October 18, 2019

By Jamal Abdi and Ryan Costello The Trump administration likes to say it “stands with the Iranian people,” a claim that was reiterated this week by the State Department’s lead diplomat on Iran—Brian Hook—in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Yet a deluge of reports have shown how increasingly oppressive U.S. sanctions are harming […]