NIAC Staff

NIAC Staff

Support Voices for Peace!

 

Support Voices for Peace!

 

Take Action to Help Bring Bijan’s Killers to Justice

We demand justice for Bijan Ghaisar, who was killed by two U.S. Park Police Officers in November 2017.

The officers are Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard. Bijan was unarmed and sitting in his car, when Amaya and Vinyard shot him nine times through the driver’s seat window, including four shots to the head. Bijan died ten days later from those horrendous head wounds. Both men are still on the payroll of the U.S. Park Police.

You can find a good update and overview of the case from the Washington Post here.

Will you help us by filing a complaint against Officers Amaya and Vinyard? We are determined to have these officers removed from the U.S. Park Police.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Go to the Park Police web page for filing a complaint.
  2. Scroll down to this line: “By emailing your complaint. Click here to email your complaint.
  3. Click on the link. Fill in the contact information on the form.
  4. For Subject of your email: Remove Officers Who Killed Bijan Ghaisar.
  5. In the Your Message box of the form, cut and paste the below message (see below).
  6. Please email info@avalaninstitute.com and let them know you submitted a complaint so they can document the campaign.

This complaint is filed against U.S. Park Police (USPP) Officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard for the unjust killing of an unarmed young man, Bijan Ghaisar, in November 2017.

I am requesting that these two officers be removed from the force immediately. Officers Amaya and Vinyard’s continued employment with a federal law enforcement agency is a significant and direct threat to the public’s safety, and I would fear for my life if they approached me anywhere in or around Washington, D.C, Virginia or Maryland.

On November 17, 2017, USPP Officers Alejandro Amaya (badge #40) and Lucas Vinyard (badge #642) aggressively pursued 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar until they cornered him at the intersection of Fort Hood Road and Alexandria Avenue in Fairfax County and shot at him nine times — execution style — as he sat unarmed in his Jeep.

These out-of-control officers pursued Bijan after he was reported to be the victim of a minor traffic accident. A minor traffic accident. Bijan was hit by another driver from behind. No one was injured. Why was he pursued so aggressively? Why did they shoot at an unarmed man nine times?

The shooting was captured on dashboard video camera by the Fairfax County Police Department. The video shows that when he was shot, Bijan was sitting in his car after a chase by Officers Amaya and Vinyard — who approach his vehicle with guns drawn and begin shooting through the closed window.

What Officers Amaya and Vinyard did violated USPP use of force policy which states that force may only be used “when the officer has a reasonable belief . . . that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or to another person.”

These actions also violate federal law set forth in the Supreme Court decision Tennessee v. Garner (1985), which states that deadly force can only be used when “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

As the video footage shows, Bijan did not threaten anybody.

Officers Amaya and Vinyard shot at Bijan a total of nine times — hitting him four times in the head, and once in the wrist as he was trying to shield himself. He died 10 days later.

U.S. Park Police have since refused to provide any information to the public, Bijan’s family, or Congress as to why Bijan was killed.

The actions of officers Amaya and Vinyard, the killing of Bijan Ghaisar, and the silence of the Park Police make a mockery of the agency’s stated principles of “integrity, honor, and service.” I am writing to demand that you fire officers Amaya and Vinyard from the force immediately.

Memo: Trump’s Iran Policy Evokes Iraq War Lead-up

It is increasingly clear the Trump Administration is taking the U.S. down a dangerous path with Iran that is reminiscent of the propaganda campaign that preceded the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq.

President Trump’s latest decisions appear aimed at bating Iran into halting its compliance with the JCPOA in an apparent move to hasten the path to war. This is most likely the goal of Administration hawks like John Bolton, who has advocated for war both outside the administration and in the White House. A senior Trump official has also set the stage, telling the New Yorker that if Iran were to leave the JCPOA, U.S. military options will be “back on the table.”

Members of Congress must challenge the administration’s dangerous misinformation campaign and take steps to ensure that the Trump administration cannot lead the U.S. into an unauthorized and disastrous war against Iran.

Politicizing Intelligence on Iran’s Nuclear Program

A recent State Department report on international nuclear compliance raised strong concerns that the White House is politicizing assessments of Iran’s nuclear program.

  • The report strikingly makes no mention of continued Iranian compliance with the JCPOA, but instead uses a hypothetical to argue that Iran is at risk of violating the NPT. Last year, the same report both noted Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA and that its steps had resolved prior findings of NPT violations on the part of Iran.

  • “It’s piling inference upon inference here to try to create a scary picture,” a Congressional aide told Reuters about the report. A State Department source added: “There is significant concern that the entire sort of purpose … was to help build a case for military intervention in Iran in a way that seems very familiar.”

In January, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel confirmed that U.S. intelligence “continues to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.”

  • Trump afterwards attacked the intelligence community, summoning Coats and Haspel for contradicting him and stating that “the Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran.”
     
  • Since that time, Sec. Pompeo refused to answer a question from Rep. Abigail Spanberger on whether Iran was adhering to its commitments under the JCPOA. Moreover, this month Pompeo warned Iran to “[e]nd your pursuit of nuclear weapons,” while in February Bolton claimed “Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons.”

The IAEA has consistently confirmed Iranian compliance with the JCPOA in 14 consecutive reports since the deal was implemented in 2016.

  • The JCPOA’s Joint Commission, comprised of the EU, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, also “welcomed and acknowledged Iran’s continued implementation of its nuclear-related commitments” at their most recent meeting in March.

Iran, al-Qaeda and the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force

The Trump administration has falsely asserted that there are strong ties between Iran and Al-Qaeda, echoing the George W. Bush White House’s false allegations that Saddam Hussein had close ties to the terrorist organization.

  • There is a well-established track record of hostility between Iran and al-Qaeda. Ironically, Iran was accommodating towards the 2001 U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan and, according to U.S. officials, played an active and constructive role in the Bonn process that created a new central government in Kabul.
     
  • Nevertheless, The Washington Times reported in February that “the administration is focusing increasingly on the unlikely alliance between Iran and al Qaeda, with what some sources say is an eye toward establishing a potential legal justification for military strikes against Iran or its proxies.”
     
  • Secretary of State Pompeo declined to answer questioning from Sen. Rand Paul on whether the 2001 authorization to use military force (AUMF) enables the President to attack Iran in recent Congressional testimony, while alleging that there is “no doubt there’s a connection” between Iran and Al Qaeda.
     
  • Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and spokesman, said that the Al-Qaeda claim may be part of a wider campaign by the Trump administration to establish “a rationale for regime change” in Tehran. He underscored that the CIA has had a “longstanding understanding of the consistently tense, and occasionally openly hostile, relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda.”

Trump’s Escalatory Moves Risk Breaking the Nuclear Deal

Iran’s continued adherence amid sanctions pressure cannot be counted upon indefinitely, and unprecedented moves like seeking to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero create an increasingly intolerable situation for Iran that may compel it to leave the JCPOA.

  • On May 2nd, the Trump administration will have to decide to renew waivers to continue international efforts to remove significant proliferation risks at Iran’s Arak reactor and deeply-buried Fordow facility. Failure to issue these waivers would be a departure from denying Iran benefits from the deal to outright obstruction of the nonproliferation benefits of the agreement.
     
  • The designation of Iran’s IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization – the first ever for a foreign state’s conscripted military service – raises significant concern that the rules of engagement with the IRGC have been altered. When questioned on whether the head of the IRGC Quds Force – Qassem Soleimani – would be treated the same as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Pompeo responded affirmatively.

Congress Must Act to Constrain Trump’s War Powers

Amid the administration’s dangerous escalation against Iran, Congress must act to prevent an unconstitutional war whose consequences for the U.S. and global peace and stability would dwarf the costs of the Iraq War.

  • The Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act (S. 1039/H.R. 2354), introduced by Sens. Udall, Paul and Durbin and Reps. Eshoo and Thompson, would prohibit the Trump administration from using funds to launch a war against Iran without Congressional approval.
     
  • The Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force bill (H.R. 1274) from Rep. Barbara Lee would repeal the 2001 AUMF and prevent the Trump administration from using it as legal justification to attack Iran 17 years after it was introduced.

NIAC Action Stands with Representative Ilhan Omar Against Partisan Attacks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6319 | mana@niacaction.org

Washington, D.C. – Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement standing with Rep. Ilhan Omar against disingenuous partisan attacks:

“Rep. Omar has an important story to tell as a refugee from a country Trump banned. The fact that Trump and his allies are already seeking to ban her from Congress reveals yet again their own discriminatory and partisan intentions. Republicans who have joined Trump’s Islamophobia, defended his Muslim ban and excused his defense of neo-Nazis have no standing to demand anything of Rep. Omar, who has apologized for any harm her tweets have caused. We urge all legislators truly committed to combating racism and discrimination to stand with Rep. Omar amid this wave of disingenuous attacks. Our country faces real challenges – including anti-semitism and other forms of vile hatred that the president and his allies have exploited, perpetuated and even enacted into policy. – We look forward to working alongside Rep. Omar and the new Congress in seeking to address these serious issues in good faith.”

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Donate to NIAC Action to Put a Stop to HR1044

 

We’re Proud to Endorse Nima Rahimi for 17th Assembly District Delegate

NIAC Action is proud to endorse Nima Rahimi’s re-election campaign to represent the 17th Assembly District as a District Delegate for the California Democratic Party. Rahimi triumphed in his 2017 election by a paper-thin margin of only two votes, and could once again greatly use the support of Iranian Americans in San Francisco and others eager to support leaders of the community.

Rahimi has a strong track record in defending the Iranian-American community and pushing back on Trump’s Muslim ban. When the first iteration of Trump’s ban was announced in January 2017 shortly after his electoral win, Rahimi helped organize protests at San Francisco International Airport. He also helped create an organizing tool to connect families left in limbo by Trump’s ban with lawyers on the ground. A board member of the Iranian American Bar Association and Pars Equality Center Generation Plus, Rahimi also joined a coalition of Iranian-American organizations including NIAC in meeting with then Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in 2018, which emphasized the importance of repealing the ban.

As Rahimi told the San Francisco Examiner when the Supreme Court upheld the ban last year, “It’s demoralizing and it hurts on a deep level…That decision is not what America is supposed to be about. Every American comes from immigrants. I wouldn’t be here if there was a travel ban when my parents immigrated.”

Rahimi is the son of Iranian immigrants who met while studying in the U.S. and he grew up speaking Persian at home. His family has dealt with numerous waves of discrimination, including after the 1979 Iran hostage crisis and September 11th attacks, and Rahimi’s own interest in politics was sparked after Iran was included in George W. Bush’s axis of evil speech.

Rahimi completed his B.A. in Political Science and German from UC Berkeley and also holds a Masters in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and a law degree from UC Davis. He serves as the co-chair of the Policy Committee for San Francisco’s Immigrant Rights Commission.

Speaking at a press conference hosted by the Immigrant Rights Commission, he emphasized that “We are proud to be part of a City and State and Nation that respect the rule of law and cherish core values of dignity, freedom and inclusion. In this vein, we continue to stand against any attack on sanctuary cities, we support DACA, a Clean Dream Act, and an end to deportations. We urge our local, state and national leaders to continue to speak up for what is right and just. No Muslim Ban Ever.”

He is no stranger to San Francisco’s politics where he worked as a lawyer and served as an elected delegate to the state Democratic Party. He told the San Francisco Examiner, “Moderate and progressive distinctions in San Francisco don’t make sense to me. I’m super pro-housing. I’m also very pro-labor. And I’m passionate about being united against Trump.” He opposes what he calls a “zero sum approach” to politics.

Rahimi credited his last win to grassroots organizing and a commitment to working with the community and pledges to do the same again.

If you are in SF Assembly District 17 and a registered Democrat, vote for Nima Rahimi on January 12! Find out more about his campaign and where to vote here. If you are not a registered Democrat or registered to vote, but live in the district and wish to vote for Nima, you can register or change your party affiliation on site.

Support NIAC Action

Saving Zainab

Zainab Mughal, a 2-year-old girl in Florida who needs rare blood and bone marrow to survive her fight against cancer, needs our community’s help. 

We’re partnering with Vitalant and Project Marrow to find the rare blood that could save Zainab’s life. We’re looking for members of the Iranian-American community to donate blood. Vitalant will draw and test your blood. If you are a donor match, they will send your blood to help Zainab. Regardless of whether or not you are a match, your blood will help someone in need. 

Find a Blood Donation Center by Clicking Here!

 

Because Zainab is missing the “Indian B” antigen in her blood cells, so donor blood must also be missing this antigen for her body to not reject it. This is extremely rare and, according to OneBlood, is most likely found from people with Iranian, Pakistani, or Indian descent. The family needs to find more donors for little Zainab to survive.

Before donating, make sure to:
  • Bring your photo ID
  • Eat a healthy meal and hydrate
  • Tell the staff that you’re there for Zainab
    Note that the staff will ask you a few questions and give you a health screening before you donate.

The more people that go to give blood, the better chance we have at saving Zainab’s life

برای خواندن این متن به فارسی اینجا کلیک کنی

Iranian Americans Back New Senate Legislation Blocking Trump from Launching War with Iran Without Congressional Approval

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) along with seven other Senators last night introduced legislation to prevent President Trump from launching a preemptive military strike against Iran without Congressional approval.

Jamal Abdi, President of NIAC Action, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to giving a voice to the Iranian-American community, issued the following statement in support of Udall’s legislation:

“President Trump has assembled a war cabinet that promised ‘hell to pay’ for Iran and sabotaged diplomatic channels to de-escalate tensions. Now more than ever, it seems the administration is on the warpath with Iran, which makes the Udall legislation a must-pass piece of legislation for all lawmakers who refuse to repeat the Iraq war playbook again in the Middle East.

“The American people do not want another war of choice, particularly against a nation nearly four times the size of Iraq. The Udall bill mandates that if Trump wants to start a war with Iran, he has to come to Congress for debate and approval. Our elected representatives in Washington are sworn to uphold the Constitution, so this should be an easy bill for every member of Congress to support.”

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