#ICYMI: NIAC’s Annual Ruby Gala in New York

On September 26th, NIAC took New York by storm to host the organization’s annual Ruby Gala. From a diverse array of inspiring speakers to a lively cocktail hour, the evening brought together our dearest friends and our most valuable partners to celebrate the Iranian-American community’s successes over the past year. 

MSNBC’s Ari Melber, host of “The Beat with Ari Melber,” emphasized the notion that political power is in fact “zero sum” and that the Iranian-American community must work to build its power to ensure they have a seat at the table. 

New York Assemblyman and Congressional candidate Michael Blake took to the stage to share his own story of his Jamaican background, emphasizing the common struggles that immigrants of all creeds and countries face. Florida State Representative Anna V. Eskamani also wowed the crowd with her own family’s history of settling in the United States, of navigating her identity in a state with few Iranian-Americans, and lauded event attendees for their support in ensuring she became the first Iranian-American to serve in the Florida Legislature. 

NIAC President Jamal Abdi also shared his own story of his family’s immigrant journey and underscored the importance of our community doing everything possible to build the political power Iranian Americans need to secure a seat at the table: “NIAC is here to protect the American dream for everyone of us,” Jamal shared during his address. “We wake up every single morning and ask ourselves: what do we need to do today? What battle do we need to fight? What do we need to do  to protect the civil and human rights of Iranian Americans?”

Among the evening’s highlights was the awarding of NIAC’s Courage Award to J Street, which Dylan Williams, J Street’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, accepted on the organization’s behalf. NIAC is proud to work alongside J Street to advocate for Iran policies in the White House that will advance peace and diplomacy—not lead to war. J Street’s tireless dedication to peace, equality, and justice has made them an invaluable friend and partner, and we’re pleased to have had the chance to acknowledge the organization’s outstanding work.

Gathering so many amazing members of our community in one room to reflect on the successes we’ve secured and the challenges we’re working to overcome is always a highlight of our year. Particularly now, as we face a tumultuous political environment, our community’s solidarity ensures our community’s strength. A chance to gather around food, friends, and powerful words, to garner support and connect with our community, means that NIAC can continue to build on the foundation needed to secure political power and ensure our voices are heard all across the country, from New York to Washington DC. 

Missed the event? No problem! Check out our highlight reel of the night here and visit our events page to learn more about our upcoming galas in Washington DC and San Francisco!

NIAC Signs Onto Pro-Diplomacy Letter Concerning U.S. policy toward Iran

The National Iranian American Council joined 40 pro-diplomacy organizations in a statement of principles to Congress concerning U.S. policy toward Iran. Critically, the letter (seen below) urges lawmakers to support returning the U.S. to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal and oppose a war of choice with Iran.

Cosigners include J Street, MoveOn, Indivisible, Foreign Policy for America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Win Without War and many other influential organizations

Statement of Pro-Diplomacy Groups Regarding U.S. Policy Toward Iran

Pro-diplomacy groups representing millions of American voters urge lawmakers to publicly articulate and support the following principles with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon and created a much-needed diplomatic relationship between Iran, the United States, and U.S. allies:

  • Support for the JCPOA and returning the United States to compliance with the agreement;
  • Opposition to sanctions that:
    • disrupt any party’s implementation of the JCPOA;
    • prevent the United States from coming back into compliance with the JCPOA in the future;
    • disproportionately impact Iranian civilians rather than regime officials engaged in illicit or destabilizing activities;
    • block necessary humanitarian and medical supplies from reaching the country;
  • Support for good faith diplomacy toward additional agreements as the preferred basis for addressing further concerns about Iranian activity; and
  • Opposition to starting a war of choice with Iran.

Signed

About Face: Veterans Against the War
American Family Voices
Americans for Peace Now
Arms Control Association
Atlantic Council
Beyond the Bomb
Brave New Films
Center for International Policy
Common Defense
Council for a Livable World
CREDO Action
Daily Kos
Demand Progress
Federation of American Scientists
Foreign Policy for America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Zero
Indivisible
J Street
Jewish Voice for Peace
Just Foreign Policy
MoveOn
National Iranian American Council
Open Society Policy Center
Pax Christi International
Peace Action
Peace Corps Iran Association
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Ploughshares Fund
RootsAction.org
Sojourners
T’ruah
Truman National Security Project
U.S. Labor Against the War
Union of Concerned Scientists
Veterans For Peace
VoteVets
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions
World BEYOND War

Organizations Call for Key Changes to Corker-Menendez Bill

Washington, DC – A letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee members warns that legislation pertaining to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran (S.615, The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act) should either be substantively amended or rejected. The legislation, also known as the Corker-Menedez bill, will be considered by the committee this afternoon.

The letter calls for key changes to ensure Corker-Menendez does not derail the nuclear talks and “risk sacrificing what may be our best chance to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and prevent a war.” The White House says that the President will veto the bill in its current form.

The organizations that signed the letter include: National Iranian American Council, Americans for Peace Now, Council for a Livable World, Friends Committee on National Legislation, J Street, National Security Network, Women’s Action for New Directions, and Win Without War.

PDF Version of the Letter

April 13, 2015

To: Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

 Dear Senators,

We write to urge you to oppose S.615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, as currently written. As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers the legislation this week, we strongly urge the incorporation of substantive changes to address the legitimate concerns regarding this bill. 

If advanced by the committee, S.615 should be amended to meet the following principles:

  • Do not delay the implementation of a final nuclear agreement.
  • Do not insert new demands, including non-nuclear demands, into the nuclear negotiations.
  • Do not block the United States from honoring commitments it has made in multilateral negotiations.

Failure to resolve these key concerns would risk undermining the nuclear negotiations, derailing a final comprehensive nuclear agreement, and unraveling multilateral cooperation regarding Iran. We urge committee members not to risk sacrificing what may be our best chance to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and prevent a war.

Sincerely,

Americans for Peace Now

Council for a Livable World

Friends Committee on National Legislation

J Street

National Iranian American Council

National Security Network

Women’s Action for New Directions

Win Without War

Arab American Institute, J Street and NIAC Welcome Iran Framework Agreement

For Immediate Release

Contact NIAC: Jamal Abdi
jabdi@niacouncil.org, 202.386.6408

Contact AAI: Waseem Mardini
wmardini@aaiusa.org, 202.652.4987

Contact J Street: Jessica Rosenblum
Jessica@jstreet.org, 202.279.0005

Washington, DC – The Arab American Institute (“AAI”), J Street, and the National Iranian American Council (“NIAC”) issued the following joint statement regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action framework struck by Iran and the P5+1:

We congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and the U.S. negotiating team for successfully reaching an historic agreement that provides a framework for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran and averts a disastrous war. While there is much work to be done to address our remaining concerns regarding Iran’s objectionable policies, reaching a final agreement by June on the nuclear issue is an important step to enhancing American and regional security.

As Arab Americans, Jewish Americans, and Iranian Americans, we are especially cognizant of what this agreement may mean for the Middle East. This deal may provide an important first step towards de-escalating regional tensions and pave the way for resolving the many conflicts that still persist. The lesson that we all must learn from these successful negotiations is that diplomacy works. This deal demonstrates that no disagreement should be so deeply entrenched that it cannot be resolved through the give and take of serious diplomacy.

Instead of taking the easy road and continuing to escalate, President Obama and his administration decided to give diplomacy a chance to succeed. Today, the world is better off thanks to the work of all the diplomats involved in these negotiations, and those who supported their work. If the lessons of this long process can be successfully applied to our continued concerns with Iran as well as the myriad other issues that continue to confront the region, there is hope for a brighter future in the Middle East.