News & Publications

November 17, 2023

Build in 2024

Supporting Peace & Diplomacy

NIAC has responded to the horrific suffering of Palestinians and Israelis and the atrocious war crimes that have been committed by upholding our principle of supporting peace and diplomacy. We called for an immediate ceasefire on October 7th. We stood in solidarity with over 60 other civil rights organizations, calling for a ceasefire on October 16th. We’ve mobilized thousands of volunteers to send messages and make their lawmakers to urge them to support de-escalation and peace. We have organized constituent meetings for our volunteers with key Congressional offices. NIAC has also been able to brief key Congressional offices directly on escalating exchanges in Syria,  the urgent need for a ceasefire, and the accelerating risks of this conflict expanding into a broader regional war. 

Building Political Power 

Since August, NIAC has organized over 50 direct constituent meetings between our grassroots volunteers and the offices of Members of Congress. The continued growth of Iranian-American American political representation has reflected through grassroots organization. This. During this election cycle, Iranian-American women continued to step up as leaders in their communities. As of November 2023, we are delighted to build on last year’s success and celebrate three more Iranian-American women, Atoosa Reaser, Mitra Jalali, and Parisa Deghani-Tafti, who won their elections. Each of these wins helps build more political representation for Iranian Americans, and we are committed to supporting, mobilizing toward, and celebrating this success. For context, last cycle, we were grateful to help increase Iranian-American representation in state legislatures in Washington and Oregon by supporting two exceptional women, Darya Farivar and Farrah Chaichi, who both made history by becoming the first Iranian-American women elected to their state legislatures in their states. This unprecedented representation for Iranian American women comes as we have maintained relationships with key progressive allies in Congress. 

Continuing the fight against a proposed ban on travel to Iran.

NIAC Action chapter members and staff have relentlessly applied grassroots pressure, making thousands of phone calls and sending direct messages to congressional offices. This persistent advocacy fueled an amendment by Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) to eliminate the travel ban wording from the proposed bill during the House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. Notably, Committee Ranking Member Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Brad Sherman (D-CA) opposed the ban, advocating for Jacobs’ amendment during a pivotal debate. Thanks to the community’s active engagement, key legislators have taken notice and are working to decelerate and halt the ban’s progression. But are still waiting for the committee to finish its work and hold a formal roll call vote. Still, it is likely – given Republicans stated their support for the ban and Democrats are in the minority – that the amendment is not adopted. The bill will move forward with the travel ban language. We need to make sure all legislators in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratically-controlled Senate know that a travel ban is unacceptable to our community. The enthusiasm from thousands who have already mobilized, including numerous calls to Congress, is heartening. With many legislators already aligned with us, sustaining this drive is to prevent the ban from being enacted.

Advancing Legislation Supporting the Iranian People 

S.Con.Res 2 has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and secured 50 cosponsors in the Senate after its House passage last year (420-1). NIAC helped develop and secure support for the companion house legislation, H.Con.Res 7, which was among the first measures passed by this Congress. It urges major tech firms to provide internet and communication tools to Iranians, essential for bypassing government surveillance. S.Con.Res. 2 also makes the crucial distinction of advocating for targeting sanctions on human rights violators rather than the broader Iranian society. Read the bill text.

Supporting Internet Freedom in Iran 

Following NIAC’s October 2022 victory in helping secure General License D-2, which updated sanctions policy to allow U.S. Technology companies to provide internet services for Iranians, NIAC has continued efforts to press private companies and the U.S. government to ensure sanctions do not interfere with technology to help Iranians to communicate freely. Such efforts helped secure the U.S. Treasury Department’s action of additional clarifying guidance, encouraging technology companies to provide services to Iranians. 

Preventing War and Challenging Harmful Broad Sanctions 

NIAC continues to provide research, advocacy, and thought leadership to expose the negative impact of broad sanctions on ordinary Iranians and to support efforts to de-escalate tensions that could lead to war. Read our recent memo on dangerous escalations in the Persian Gulf and op-ed on how sanctions undermine Iranians seeking change

Beating Back Discrimination in Texas 

Texas initiated a concerning trend of legislation restricting property ownership for certain immigrants based on national heritage—spreading to 30 states, targeting Iranians in 9, and signing into law in 3. In response to Texas’ SB147, NIAC Action gathered and collaborated with a diverse coalition to defeat this bill successfully, gaining national recognition. 

View our coalition’s public statement in Texas. 

See The Intercept’s coverage of our campaign.

Taking on Discrimination in Florida 

In solidarity against heritage-based property restrictions, our coalition backed immediate legal action against Florida’s SB264. In defense of our community rights, the Department of Justice submitted an amicus brief opposing the law, citing its illegality and unconstitutionality. View the DOJ amicus brief.

Securing Congressional Support for Civil Rights 

After multiple state-level advocacy and legal challenges from our coalition, Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Al Green (D-TX) supported our community and proposed H.R. 3697. This federal legislation aims to nullify xenophobic state-level property restrictions. View the bill.

Affirming Support for the Iranian People and Recognizing Norooz Across the Nation

Through NIAC volunteers’ tireless dedication, resolutions affirming support for the Iranian people and officially acknowledging Norooz passed in Washington, Colorado, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, and Santa Monica.

Advocating for Increased  Visa Processing Following Nationwide Protests with State Dept. and Administration

Pushing for increased visa processing was one element of NIAC’s policy recommendations in response to the brutal crackdown on protests in Iran. NIAC has tracked Iranian visa data, releasing a memo detailing recent refugee and visa statistics from the State Dept. Although there has been a subsequent increase in processing numbers, they remain below pre-Trump levels, and NIAC continues to urge the Biden administration to increase processing to match rising demand. Read the full memo.

Monitoring Human Rights in Iran 

Building on our Human Rights Tracker launched in 2019 NIAC brought on additional human rights experts who produce the Human Rights Tracker (HRT) and Iran Unfiltered (IU) Newsletters. NIAC has published 54 issues of these newsletters in 2023, which are read by government officials, Congressional staff, policymakers, and journalists. 

View the Human Rights Tracker.

View Iran Unfiltered

Countering Misinformation 

To combat online disinformation, we launched NIACTruth.org. This platform, also available in Persian, transparently addresses false claims about NIAC, reinforcing our 20-year commitment to Peace, Diplomacy, Civil & Human Rights, and the Iranian-American Community. NIAC also published a detailed record of our advocacy over the last 20 years to address false claims.

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