About NIAC Action

 

NIAC Action is the grassroots, civic action organization committed to advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community. We are a nonpartisan nonprofit and the 501(c)4 sister organization of the National Iranian American Council, which works to strengthen the Iranian-American community and promote greater understanding between the American and Iranian people.

NIAC Action works to maximize the political influence of Iranian Americans and the pro-peace community to ensure we have a powerful voice on the issues that matter to us most. We utilize three tools: direct lobbying efforts in Washington, grassroots advocacy led by NIAC Action Chapters nationwide, and organized engagement with political candidates by NIAC Action members.

Our goal is to strengthen U.S. diplomacy with Iran to advance peace and human rights, promote greater openings between the American and the Iranian people, protect civil rights and opportunities for Iranian Americans at home, and support candidates who represent our community’s values. We accomplish this mission by leveraging the resources of the Iranian-American and pro-peace community, the talent of our grassroots leaders, and the political expertise of our Washington, D.C. staff.

To ensure our community has a powerful voice in the political process, NIAC Action provides its members with top caliber political resources and guidance, powerful advocacy tools and civic trainings, and grassroots leadership development.

NIAC Action is supported by its members in the Iranian-American and pro-peace communities, and by prominent U.S. foundations. We do not receive any funding from the Iranian government or the United States government.

 

What We Stand For

Discriminating against people on their ethnicity or country of origin is anathema to the ideals that make America great. NIAC Action works to fight back against such discrimination and ensure that the civil rights of Iranian Americans and Iranians in the U.S. are protected. NIAC Action is working to repeal a law barring Iranian dual nationals and travelers to Iran from participating in the Visa Waiver Program. This discriminatory law could provoke reciprocal restrictions that turn many Iranian-Americans into second-class citizens when traveling abroad.
The only way to successfully resolve our serious differences with Iran is through direct diplomatic engagement. The historic nuclear accord reached in 2015 demonstrated the power of diplomacy to resolve seemingly intractable problems. Now, the U.S. and Iran should expand bilateral and multilateral engagement beyond the nuclear issue with the aim of resolving all issues of deep concern as well as addressing potential areas of mutual interest. At the same time, we must resist the efforts of hardliners who seek to undermine the nuclear accord and to put the U.S. and Iran back on a path towards a war that would be disastrous for U.S. national security, for the American and the Iranian people, and for human rights and democracy in Iran.
The Iranian people, not Iran’s government, have suffered the most under the pain of broad sanctions. The U.S. should seek to lift sanctions — including under the U.S. trade embargo — that contribute to humanitarian suffering inside Iran; undermine Iran’s middle class, civil society and private businesses; and prevent bridges from being built between Americans and Iranians. The potential of Iranian society is great, and both Americans and Iranians will benefit from the lifting of these sanctions.
Iran’s government must be accountable to its human rights obligations and to the aspirations of the Iranian people. While it is up to the Iranian people to decide the direction of their government, those on the outside can support human rights by supporting effective tools like direct diplomacy and multilateral human rights mechanisms, while preventing harmful actions like war and sanctions.

 


Staff

Jamal
NIAC Policy Director since 2009 and NIAC Action Executive Director. Previously served as Policy Advisor to U.S. Representative Brian Baird.

JAMAL ABDI

Policy Director

David
With NIAC since 2009, David has served as NIAC’s Policy Associate, Assistant Policy Director, Director of Operations, and is now COO.

DAVID ELLIOTT

Chief Operating Officer

David S.
A veteran fundraiser with over thirty years experience at the Catholic Church and American Cancer Society.

DAVID SOKOLOWSKI

DEVELOPMENT Director

Donna
A veteran of campaigns to protect the environment, consumers and mobilize voters, Donna is now working to organize and empower Iranian Americans across the country.

DONNA FARVARD

National Organizing Manager

Shayan
Experienced trial lawyer and civil rights activist dedicated to to civil rights and social justice.

SHAYAN MODARRES

Legal Counsel

Ryan
An integral member of NIAC’s policy staff since 2013, Ryan monitors legislation, conducts research and writing, and coordinates advocacy efforts.

RYAN COSTELLO

Assistant Policy Director

Mahsa
Community Outreach Associate since January 2015, Mahsa works to empower Iranian Americans on the issues that matter most to them.

MAHSA PAYESTEH

East Coast Organizer

Mina
A talented designer who joined NIAC in 2014, Mina graduated from the University of Maryland with a double major in Persian Studies and Government & Politics.

MINA JAFARI

Graphics & Communications Associate

Adam
A former U.S. Marine and Afghanistan veteran, Adam received his J.D. from Temple University, where he focused on international, national security, and immigration law.

ADAM WEINSTEIN

Policy Associate

Samira
Samira is currently completing her master’s degree from the University of Oxford in Modern Middle Eastern Studies with a focus on Iran and Persian language.

SAMIRA DAMAVANDI

Office Administrator

Sahar
Sahar returned to NIAC in 2017 after previously serving as Events and Office Administrator. Born in Iran, she is a graduate of George Mason University.

SAHAR FAHIMI

Events Manager

Board of Directors

NIAC is steered by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of leaders from across our community.

Trita
Co-founder, NIAC.

TRITA PARSI


President

ali
Vice President, CFY Development.

said
Founder, World Singles Networks

SAÏD AMIN


Treasurer

michael
Founder & CEO, Primex World Inc.

marilyn
Founding Member, Persian Studies Advisory Group UNC

Payman
OB/GYN, New York Hospital

mohammad
President, United Capital Investments and Properties Inc.

sanam
Co-founder, International Civil Society Action Network

Shokooh
Clinical Psychologist

Ali Reza
Founder, A&R Development Corp and Bluebridge Mining

ahmad
Founder & Chairman, Merex Inc.

kayvon
Founder & CEO, Sarmadi Brothers

Amy
Philanthropist

Board of Advisors

Prominent individuals with a wide range of knowledge and expertise who help provide strategic advice.

THOMAS
Fmr. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

john
Fmr. U.S. Ambassador

wayne
Former Congressman, Maryland

jim
Fmr. Congressman, Wisconsin

reza
Award-winning author

nadereh
Retired Senior Advisor, World Bank

juan
Professor, University of Michigan

farideh
Independent Scholar, University of Hawai’i

maz
Actor and Comedian

ahmad
Founding Director, UMD Center for Persian Studies

habib
Director, Iranian Oral History Project

cyrus
Lawyer and Counselor

alex
Co-founder, NIAC

ahmad
Chair of Islamic World Studies, Lake Forest