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.
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.
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.
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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War with Iran is back on the menu. In a few minutes, Donald Trump will stand before the United Nations and blame Iran for all that ails the Middle East. The following day, he will preside over a UN Security Council meeting aimed at strong-arming the world to impose crippling sanctions on Iran.
None of this will help Iranians secure their political rights or challenge the system, it will not help stabilize the region or end the wars in Syria and Yemen, and it will not address U.S. concerns with Iran’s foreign policy. It will make poor Iranians poorer, it will fan the flames of regional violence and terror, and it will empower the most hardline forces inside of Iran.
This is a campaign to make war inevitable.
The President’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the #1 Republican Megadonor Sheldon Adelson all have one wish: destroying Iran. And they are closer than ever to achieving it.
Congress must act now – before it is too late – to take away Trump’s legal authority to start a war with Iran. That’s why Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) is introducing legislation to block the U.S. from launching war or military strikes against Iran without Congressional approval.
Regional tensions are at a fever pitch following this weekend’s terror attacks in Ahvaz, with some planting the seeds for a U.S.-Iran war. Donald Trump believes that he alone has the authority to start wars whenever and wherever he sees fit. By getting as many Senators as possible to sponsor this bill, we can send him a clear message: do not start a war with Iran.
طبق اطلاع کارکنان «نایاک اکشن» که طی گفتوگوهایی با دستیاران ارشد نمایندگان کنگره به دست آمده است، امکان تصویب لایحهای که دوران انتظار شهروندان ایرانی را برای ویزاهای «مهاجرت متخصصان ماهر» طولانیتر میکند، پیش از انتخابات میاندورهای ماه نوامبر بسیار اندک است. با این حال، حامیان این لایحه در حال افزایش هستند و امکان آن وجود دارد که پیش از پایان سال جاری به تصویب برسد.
بسیاری از آمریکاییان ایرانیتبار نگرانند که کنگره لایحه شماره H.R. 392/S. 281 را که «تساوی برای قانون مهاجران متخصص ماهر» نامیده میشود و بخشی از لایحه بودجه سالانه امنیت میهنی است، به تصویب برساند. با در نظر گرفتن سیاستهای دولت کنونی -مانند محدودیت ورود مسلمانان- که ایرانیان را نیز هدف قرار میدهد، تصویب چنان لایحهای میتواند اثری منفی بر شهروندان ایرانی داشته باشد که به دنبال رؤیای آمریکاییاند.
«نایاک اکشن» مخالفت شدید خود را با تصویب این طرح ابراز کرده و با قانونگذاران کلیدی در این مورد لابی کرده است. «نایاک اکشن» از شرکتهای بزرگ خواسته تا حمایت خود را از این طرح پس بگیرند, و در کنار آن با اعضای نایاک و سایر جامعه کلی همراهی میکند تا جلسه ملاقات در دفتر های محلی با نمایندگان کنگره خود برای مطرح دیدگاهها و مسائل خود ایجاد شود.
در زمان انتشار این مطلب، به نظر میرسد که شانس زیادی برای تصویب H.R. 392 در قالب لایحه بودجه مذکور در این ماه وجود ندارد. این تا حدی به دلیل خودداری عمومی از ورود به موضوع مناقشهبرانگیز مهاجران در آستانه انتخابات میاندورهای است. لایحه H.R. 392 به نسخه بودجه امنیت میهنی مجلس نمایندگان وارد شد اما به نسخهای که سنا از لایحه دارد، وارد نشده است. برای تبدیلشدن به قانون، متن حقوقی H.R. 392 میبایست به تأیید مجلس نمایندگان و سنا برسد و به دست رئیسجمهوری امضا شود.
برخی قانونگذاران امید داشتند که پیش از پایان ماه جاری روند تصویب بودجه به اتمام برسد و همین امر، ایجاد احتمال یک مناظره بر سر شمول یا عدم شمول H.R. 392 در بسته بودجه نهایی، ایجاد کرد. با این حال، به نظر میرسد که چنین رخدادی پس از انتخابات ششم نوامبر صورت گیرد. بودجه برای دیوار مرزی ترامپ -که برخی از سازمانهای معروف مانند «صدای مهاجران» از آن و از H.R. 392 حمایت میکنند- در همین لایحه بودجه وجود دارد و بحثی است که اکثر قانونگذاران از ورود به آن پرهیز میکنند.
این امری مثبت برای مخالفان H.R. 392 قلمداد میشود زیرا احتمال تبدیل شدن لایحه را به قانون در ماه سپتامبر به شدت کاهش میدهد. در عین حال که حمایت کمتری نسبت به این موضوع در سنا به چشم میخورد، لیکن برخی سناتورهای جدید پشتیبانی خود را از این طرح طی هفتههای اخیر اعلام کردهاند.
از آنجا که احتمال کمی برای تصویب این لایحه تا پیش از بازگشت کنگره به کار در پی انتخابات میاندورهای ششم نوامبر وجود دارد، این تأخیر هم به مخالفان و هم به مدافعان زمان بیشتری میبخشد تا تلاشهای خود را پی بگیرند. ما موضوع را از نزدیک دنبال میکنیم و به موازات روشنتر شدن شرایط در کنگره، آخرین خبرها را با شما در میان خواهیم گذاشت.
The snapback of Iran sanctions, which went into effect on August 6th, 2018, has had an immense impact on the Iranian and Iranian-American community. These sanctions effectively punish 80 million ordinary Iranians, who are being plunged into economic misery and denied basic necessities such as life-saving medicine and safe civilian aircraft. Members of our community shared how sanctions have impacted them and their families.
I am Iranian American and my husband is Cuban American and we have both witnessed first hand what sanctions do. They harm ordinary people and not the intended target. They never result in regime change and in fact bolden the regimes. Ordinary people suffer and their suffering doesn’t cause an uprising. History has shown this again and again. Diplomacy is the only way and it has to be done with mutual respect of all sovereign nations. Bullying is unproductive.
[This photo is] from January 2018 in Kashan with my sister. Travel ban and sanctions have directly impacted us. My family cannot visit us here and the inflation in Iran makes travel very expensive outside of Iran. The photo is symbolic to me. It’s like a window into a brighter future with beautiful Iran in the background. Peace is possible.
My grandmother who is in Iran has chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Over the past few months that there has been a threat of sanctions being reenacted. She has been unable to get ahold of her chemotherapy drugs. None of the pharmacies are carrying it or have a supply more than a few days or a few weeks. My father has called me and told me that she lives around in bed all day and has severe fatigue and has lost 30 pounds in the past two months. They are going to see her oncologist to see if they can change her two other agents that may be available in the country. As a physician who treats patients like this daily in the United States I feel guilty that I am helpless to take care of a loved family member back home. Sanctions hurt ordinary people on the streets and do not inflict pain at all whatsoever on the government. How is withholding chemotherapy from my 80-year-old grandmother helpful to anyone’s objective?
My parents and other family members live in Iran. My aunt (pictured to right) has cancer and she has to do chemotherapy via injection every 3 weeks for the rest of her life in order to stay alive. Her chemo medicine is not made in Iran and is only imported. She says her medicine will no longer be available due to sanctions. She is very depressed and hopeless. She has been crying every night that her life has come to an end! She has kids and grandkids and she wants to be with them longer.
Due to the constant uncertainty in the state of economy caused by U.S. sanctions against Iran, my family members are feeling the pain of high prices. My brother and his wife who are both physicians are thinking of immigrating to Australia since their affordability for living in Tehran has decreased just recently. Iran is losing its population to emigration. Officials that do not like people come to their country should let other countries prosper in their own way, then their residents will never wish to leave their own home country at the first place.
The impact of sanctions is hard on my family and myself. I have two elderly parents that are on a lot of medications for various medical reasons. They live on my dad’s pension which hardly cover their daily expenses. Their medicines are expensive and my brother who helps them out has to buy them in black market when sanctions are in place, that is if he can find them. I used to be able to help them out by sending vitamins and some other products they needed but since summer of last year I have been unable to send anything as USPS informed me that we are banned to send any packages to Iran not until we get an exporting license! I worry about them every single day and I live in the horror of what’s going to happen to them if something like Iraq and Syria’s situation take place in Iran. I live with this nightmare every day. I lived through the horrors of Iran-Iraq war before coming to the US in 1986. I went through two surgeries under total blackout and bombings as the only light available was coming from the hospital’s generators. The patient’s bed was dragged into the corridors of the hospital from the rooms so that they can turn the lights off and close the doors, isolating everybody in the hallways. My family went through incredible hardships and sacrificed so much to send me out to get an education and survive. Today, I am an educated, successful professional and a US citizen and would like to exercise my civil rights and implore my representatives to do all they can to try to reverse these sanctions on Iranian people, because it’s only the ordinary people who suffer, and more importantly, to prevent war! I would like to ask them to do their best to stand up to this administration and its inhumane and anti-democratic practices. People of Iran are deserving of peace and prosperity as are all the people in the world.
I have a sister who is single (her husband passed away at a young age). I work 2-3 jobs (and pay taxes) to support her, because she has a son who has brain damage after a car accident & has shunt implantations in his head. You can imagine how they are in need of medical care all the time. These sanctions will be devastating for Iranian people who are like my sister and her son.
When my nephew (pictured) was a baby and after the car accident, the sanction of those years affected him and maybe, if it was not for the sanctions, he would not have ended up with a permanent injury.
They took him to the best hospital of those days, Shiraz Namazi hospital. But a lack of equipment, medication, etc caused delay. As a result, he was brain damaged and the right side of his body is not working. I traveled to Iran after that accident and saw how the hospital did not even have enough sanitary papers to change for each patient. They were using them with blood of previous patients still on them.
And now, my nephew is facing another round of sanctions. He is always in need of stuff that is imported to Iran from abroad and now it will stop.
I came to this country legally in 1981 with two kids from UK, where I was going to school, and with no money. I am from Ahwaz, and because of the war, I could not go back. I have worked three jobs, never receiving government help in this country, and raised two successful boys and helped my sister as well.
I have been told “you are from Iran, we can’t give your father visa” when my father applied to come and just visit us. I lost him in that car accident and never saw him.
I am trying to show the effects of discrimination against the everyday people of a country, when policies affect only the average citizens and not the ones in power.
Shah, Khomeini, Rouhani, Khamanei, all the mullahs or any other groups are in power, none of them are affected by these horrible games politicians are playing. Only the average Joe. These Mullahs in power and their families, if they get sick, they have enough power and money to go to other countries and get fixed.
I have nightmares of the old sanctions and what I had to go through to send stuff to Iran for my family. I am furious with all going on and scared for the Iranian people.
NIAC Action is excited to announce our endorsement of Shabnam Lotfi, who is running for the Wisconsin State Assembly in District 77 and would become the first Iranian-American ever elected to the Wisconsin legislature!
“I was born in Tehran in 1982 and came to the US when I was just four years old. From a very early age, I wanted to be a lawyer and fight for justice.” Shabnam tells us. “The first lesson I learned in life was that democracy matters.”
Lotfi, a University of Wisconsin Law School graduate, currently serves as an attorney at her Madison-based firm Lotfi Legal LLC, focusing on immigration law. In March 2018, in the midst of Trump’s Muslim ban and the revelation that the State Department had issued a shockingly small number of waivers, she filed a class action lawsuit against the Trump Administration that is now pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Lotfi is also known for her popular Facebook group, Immigrants United, which she established to bring people together during times of crisis. In 2017, when the airports were a mess, Shabnam was instrumental in getting Iranian Americans the information and help they needed to navigate a difficult situation.
Shabnam is very active in the Iranian-American community and was a vocal supporter of the Iran deal, saying it “was a win-win agreement for everyone.” She lists government accountability, gun violence, and the University of Wisconsin as a few of her top priorities if elected to Wisconsin’s State Assembly.
Shabnam has been endorsed by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, City Council President Samba Baldeh, former County Board Supervisor John Hendrich, two former Alders Robbie Webber and Eve Galanter, University of Wisconsin Law Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes, and many others.
Wisconsin State Assembly District 77 is an open seat that has been held by retiring Representative Terese Berceau (Dem) for the past 20 years. Shabnam faces a primary that will be held in 3 weeks on August 14th. Since no Republican is running in this race, the winner of the primary will win the election in November. With our community’s support, we can help send Shabnam to the Wisconsin State Assembly.
To learn more about Shabnam check out the links below.