NIAC Action

NIAC Action

Tell Your Member of Congress to Clear the Path for Iran Aid!

 

NIAC Action is Now Accepting Nominations for our Board of Directors

 

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We’re Proud to Endorse Parisa Dehghani-Tafti for Virginia’s Commonwealth Attorney of Arlington and the City of Falls Church

NIAC Action is thrilled to officially endorse Parisa Dehghani-Tafti for Virginia’s Commonwealth Attorney of Arlington and the City of Falls Church!

Parisa, a Democrat, announced her candidacy for the Commonwealth’s Attorney seat in December, after 20 years of experience as an attorney and public defender. Currently, she’s an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University School of Law. She also serves as a senior attorney and legal director of the Mid Atlantic Innocence Project, where she successfully won the first DNA exoneration case in Washington, DC. A dedicated criminal justice activist, Parisa has also been part of several other wrongful conviction cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Parisa’s criminal justice ambitions are largely shaped by her experiences working as a defense attorney for clients facing unjust criminal justice practices. She’s uniquely aware of the race and class bias in the criminal justice system, which often unfairly disenfranchises minorities and immigrant communities.

Her campaign is also endorsed and backed by former Governor Terry McAuliffe, Indivisible – Arlington, Arlington Action Group, Our Revolution – Arlington, New Virginia Majority, IBEW Local Union 26, Blue NoVA and Delegate Marcus Simon.

Parisa attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied Philosophy and Comparative Literature, and the New York University School of Law. She has lived in Arlington for 11 years with her husband, who is a civil rights lawyer and law professor. They have two children who attend Arlington Public Schools. Parisa serves as Press Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee and she is a member of the Arlington branch of the NAACP and will be serving on its Criminal Justice Committee.

If you live in Arlington County or the City of Falls Church, you can vote for Parisa on June 11th!

If you’d like to support Parisa’s campaign by making a contribution, you can do so here. If you’d like to get involved with Parisa’s campaign by attending a debate between Parisa and her opponent, canvassing or hosting a meet and greet, visit this link.

Find out more about Parisa on her website and follow her on facebook!

NIAC Applauds Senators Harris, Sanders for Joining Warren in Backing JCPOA Return

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 20, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, reports emerged that 2020 presidential contenders Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders joined Elizabeth Warren in backing the United States’ return to the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In response, NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:

“We commend Senators Sanders, Harris, and Warren for committing to reversing Trump’s failed Iran policy, and for recognizing the urgent need to return to the JCPOA and the successes resulting from the diplomatic playbook first written under the Obama administration.

“Returning the U.S. to compliance with the JCPOA is a logical first step for the next U.S. president—and candidates like Harris, Sanders, and Warren know this. Their commitment to a policy centered on engagement with Iran advances the Obama administration’s multilateral diplomacy that successfully yielded real security gains. This starkly contrasts with Trump’s impetuous decision to withdraw from the accord and impose sanctions that do nothing more than devastate the Iranian people, increase the risk of a nuclear-armed Iran, and bolster the chance of a disastrous war.”

Abdi continued:

“Both Sanders and Harris elevate diplomacy as the way to address America’s many outstanding concerns with Iran. The reality is that without a return to the deal, the U.S. has no leverage to shape Iran’s calculations, including on human rights and regional issues. The Trump administration has clearly illustrated how America’s failure to abide by its JCPOA commitments has greatly hindered its ability to extract concessions from Iran. Worse yet, Trump has elevated war hawks to key positions in the administration, many of whom hope to drive the U.S. into war with Iran.

“As a JCPOA return emerges as the consensus position for 2020 candidates, we urge all those vying to replace Trump to publicly commit their support for a U.S. JCPOA return. Only by returning to the JCPOA can the U.S. ensure that Iran does not walk away from its far-reaching nuclear commitments and that the window for diplomacy with Iran remains open.”

NIAC Action Joins Coalition to Call for AUMF Repeal

Washington, D.C. — NIAC Action joined a coalition of organizations to call for repeal of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in response to recent reports stating that Trump officials were considering using the authorization to greenlight a war with Iran.

In a letter sent today, 42 organizations called on leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to pass legislation (H.R. 1274) from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to repeal the 2001 AUMF, which was used by the George W. Bush administration to invade Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks. 

The 2001 authorization is still alive more than 17 years later and has proven tremendously broad. As noted in the organizational letter, the 2001 authorization “has been used by the Executive Branch as authority for 41 operations in 19 countries.” Moreover, Trump administration officials have taken pains to fabricate links between Iran and al-Qaeda while suggesting that the 2001 authorization could be exploited as Congressional authorization for military strikes against Iran. While such arguments are highly dubious, the fact that they are being discussed highlights the importance of repealing the 2001 authorization before it can be further abused.

In the weeks ahead, NIAC Action will be rolling out new efforts to impose political and legal restraints on the administration’s ability to start an unconstitutional and disastrous war with Iran. Please see the letter below:

 

March 13, 2019

Dear Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul:

We, the undersigned, are a diverse group of organizations with a range of missions and perspectives from across the ideological spectrum. We share a common view that the Executive Branch has expanded its interpretation of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) (PL 107-40) far beyond Congress’s original intent, in order to justify an ever-increasing number of military operations around the world. We therefore write to express our support for H.R.1274, which would repeal the 2001 AUMF eight months after enactment, and to ask that the Foreign Affairs Committee bring the bill up for prompt consideration.

The Framers of the Constitution, recognizing the Executive Branch’s inclination to war, wisely and deliberately assigned to Congress the power to decide whether, when, and where the United States goes to war. As James Madison wrote, “The constitution supposes, what the History of all governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has, accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature.”

Three days after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the 2001 AUMF to authorize military force against the groups responsible for those attacks and those who harbored them. Now, after more than 17 years, three successive administrations have cited the 2001 AUMF as authority for the United States to use lethal force around the world against a growing number of groups, including some that did not exist in 2001. According to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report, the 2001 AUMF has been used by the Executive Branch as authority for 41 operations in 19 countries. This expansive and legally dubious use of the 2001 AUMF has come at the expense of a thorough examination of a security challenge that does not have a solely military solution.

This sustained use of military force is the longest in U.S. history, having lasted longer that the Civil War, World War I, and World War II combined. The U.S. military is now conducting operations in 80 countries around the world.3 The post/9-11 wars have cost more than $5.9 trillion4 and resulted in the deaths of approximately 500,000 people, including nearly 15,000 U.S. military personnel and contractors, and 250,000 civilians.

Yet Congress has never debated and voted on the uses of force, outside of Afghanistan, that the Executive Branch claims are authorized by the 2001 AUMF. The vast majority of members of Congress were not in office when this authorization was passed. Of the 435 current members of the House, only 67 of them (15.4 percent) voted for the 2001 AUMF, and only 35 sitting Senators voted for it. Indeed, more than 80 percent of current members of Congress have never voted on this authority.

The Founders vested in Congress the authority to make the hard decision about whether, when, and where to go to war as the branch most accountable to the people of the United States. Congress should repeal the 2001 AUMF and hold a public debate as to whether endless war actually serves the American people. It should not sit idly by while the Executive Branch continues to expand the use of lethal force around the world at immense cost to U.S. national security, the lives of civilians and U.S. service members around the world, and our national treasure.

H.R. 1274 would sunset the 2001 AUMF after eight months, leaving Congress plenty of time to debate and vote on whether to authorize continued participation in any current conflict. Congress has a constitutional duty to determine and vote on when the United States goes to war. We urge you to consider and pass H.R. 1274 in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Sincerely,

About Face: Veterans Against the War
Action Corps
Action Corps NYC
American Civil Liberties Union
American Friends Service Committee
Amnesty International USA
Antiwar.com
Center for International Policy
Chicago Area Peace Action
Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
CODE PINK
Common Defense
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
Council for a Livable World
Council on American-Islamic Relations
CREDO Action
Defending Rights & Dissent
Demand Progress
FreedomWorks
Foreign Policy for America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Human Rights First
Indivisible
Institute for Policy Studies, National Priorities Project
Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project
Just Foreign Policy
Justice for Muslims Collective
NIAC Action
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
Peace Action
Peace Action New York State
Peace Corps Iran Association Board of Directors
Ploughshares Fund
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Project on Government Oversight
South East Asian Faith Initiatives
The United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
VoteVets
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
Yemen Peace Project

DNC Adopts Resolution to Save the Iran Deal

The Democratic National Committee has just adopted a resolution calling on the U.S. to re-enter the Iran nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 

This will ensure that re-entering the JCPOA is a key priority for the Democratic Party going forward, especially as the Party prepares its platform for the 2020 presidential election. We commend the DNC’s decision and would like to especially thank DNC Committeewoman Yasmine Taeb—who submitted this resolution and who NIAC Action has endorsed in her race for the Virginia Senate.

Why is this so significant?  

Sustaining the Iran nuclear agreement is crucial to preventing war with Iran, which is central to our mission at NIAC and has consistently been ranked as the top issue area of concern by our members. It is clear that many inside and outside the Trump Administration who have long called for attacking Iran are hoping to trigger a crisis by provoking Iran to abandon the accord. 

NIAC has worked to preserve the nuclear agreement by encouraging lawmakers and 2020 candidates to signal that the U.S. will return to the deal under a new administration. Our first step in this effort was publishing a report last fall which outlined why Congress and 2020 Presidential candidates should commit to returning the U.S. to the Iran deal. Since then, presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar have both signaled that they favor returning the U.S. to the deal. And in addition to today’s passage of a DNC resolution, we will have promising news from Congress on this front to announce soon.

We know saving the deal will not be easy— in fact, the Trump administration’s drive to destabilize Iran and trigger military action is already accelerating. Just this past week, the Trump Administration called on Europe to kill the nuclear agreement and Benjamin Netanyahu suggested Israel and Arab states are working towards a war with Iran. 

NIAC will continue working overtime to prevent war with Iran, including working with 2020 candidates and Congress. 

Donate to Contribute to Our Efforts >>

NIAC Action Calls for Norooz Resolution in California

Today, we sent a letter to California Assembly Member Nazarian to support ACR 2 and recognize Norooz on March 21, 2019 as “the beginning of the Persian New Year and would extend best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous Norooz to all Californians.”

Recognizing Norooz reflects the rich diversity of California. It would give recognition to the growing Iranian-American community and honor its many contributions to the fields of business, arts, education, civic life, and beyond. It would further reaffirm that Iranian Americans are an integral part of California and promote American values of cultural pluralism and inclusion.

Read the full letter that we sent below. 

Norooz Resolution – Final

NIAC Action Statement on New Legislation to Defund and Repeal Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, January 28, 2019
CONTACT: Brett Abrams | brett@unbendablemedia.com

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced legislation to defund and repeal President Trump’s Muslim travel ban. In reaction to the legislation, Jamal Abdi, President of NIAC Action, the civic action arm of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement:

“With a Democratic majority in the House, the vote on repealing the Muslim Ban that was blocked by Paul Ryan for two years can finally move forward. It is crucial that the House majority make its voice heard that all walls are unacceptable — including a ban now taking place in the shadows — and to act instead of allowing the ban to become the status quo.

“The Muslim ban was Trump’s top priority upon entering office. Now, ending it must be a top priority for the 116th Congress. Sen. Murphy and Rep. Chu deserve tremendous credit for continuing to champion the effort to overturn the Muslim ban, and have the profound thanks of the Iranian-American community and all impacted groups.

“Meanwhile, the House’s power to investigate and subpoena the administration can yield immediate practical impacts. At last count, less than 3% of eligible waivers are being issued. Consular officials have revealed that the waiver process is a sham intended to shield a blanket ban from scrutiny. Only the most extraordinary cases seem to get through, and often only through public pressure.

“The new Congress can force the Administration to reveal what is going on with these waivers and force them to fix it until we can repeal the ban for good. They can investigate the ‘extreme vetting’ and other measures that have managed to reduce visas from Muslim majority countries writ large, not just the ones Trump was able to ban.

“With the new Congress, we can finally turn the tide against this abomination. But only if Speaker Pelosi and Congressional Democrats make tearing down Trump’s first wall a priority. And only if, instead of suffering in silence, those of us impacted and our allies who turned out to airports to stand with us two years ago make their voices heard once again.”

# # # # #

Members of Congress Join Iranian-American and Muslim Groups, Civil Liberties Advocates To Announce Legislation to Repeal Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Monday, January 28, 2019 — 6:00pm ET
CONTACT: Brett Abrams | brett@unbendablemedia.com

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Monday, January 28th, on the heels of the two-year anniversary of Trump’s January 27th, 2017 executive order banning entry into the United States for citizens from several Muslim-majority nations, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) will hold a press conference to announce legislation to defund the latest version of the ‘Muslim Ban’ immediately. The members of Congress will be joined by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) as well as advocates from the National Iranian American Council Action (NIAC Action), MPAC, the ACLU, NILC, OXAM and members of communities impacted by the ban.

WHAT: Press conference announcing new legislation to defund the ‘Muslim Ban’
WHEN: Monday, January 28th. 6:00pm ET
WHERE: Capitol Hill. First St SE. CVC 217 South. Washington, DC 20004
SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and advocates from the MPAC, ACLU, NILC, OXFAM and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC Action)
FOR MORE INFORMATION: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/commemorating-two-years-of-resistance-no-muslim-ban-ever-tickets-55302585522
ON-THE-GROUND CONTACT: Adam Weinstein | 1-216-544-0898 | adam@niacaction.org

“As we commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Muslim Ban, we must remember that this unjust law has torn apart families, separated spouses, and extinguished dreams as President Trump’s allies in Congress stayed silent. Now, with a new Congress entering office, we can finally place a check on this presidency, beginning with repealing this un-American ban on our families,” explained Jamal Abdi, President of the NIAC Action. “The Muslim Ban’s origins, numerous statements by President Trump, and the implementation of these and other policies impacting targeted communities make clear this administration’s desire to implement a discriminatory policy as a part of a nationalist agenda – and its long past time that Congress stood up and told the President that they will not stand for this racist, un-American policy.”

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Take Action to End the Muslim Ban

Tell your legislator to repeal the Muslim Ban!

 

We’re Proud to Endorse Parshan Khosravi for CADEM Assembly District 73 Delegate

NIAC Action is proud to endorse Parshan Khosravi’s campaign to represent the 73rd Assembly District as a District Delegate for the California Democratic Party. If elected, Khosravi will strive to advocate for the Iranian-American community within the California Democratic Party.

A Zoroastrian, Khosravi came to the United States as a religious refugee in 2009. This experience has pushed him to empower his community. Since then, he has been a political advocate on a number of issues, from refugee advocacy, food insecurity, affordable education, and mental health advocacy, to fighting against Trump’s Muslim ban. He channeled his advocacy work through organizations like HIAS and NIAC and by taking on leadership roles in student government. As an undergrad at the University of California, Irvine, Khosravi was actively involved in the Associated Students of UCI, becoming the student body president from 2015-16. After moving along to his Master’s program at UCLA, Khosravi spent two years in the Executive committee of the UC Student Association and worked as the External Vice President for the UCLA Graduate Student Association. He not only used that role to raise student voices, but also the Westwood Iranian community, successfully advocating for what is now the North Westwood Neighborhood Council.

When recalling why Khosravi decided to get involved with the Democratic Party, he cited his desire to fight for the Iranian-American community: “While pursuing my graduate degree at UCLA, I shifted a lot of my advocacy towards protecting our Iranian refugees, many of whom were affected by the Trump ban. I remember looking at the footage of all of my fellow Iranians stuck at the airports across the country and realizing that there is no place for such hate and bigotry in our country, and decided I need to do something about it. That was the moment I started getting involved with the Democratic Party.” Since then, Khosravi was elected as the Chair of the Labor Caucus for the California Young Democrats and is now running with the Unity in the Community Slate to continue fighting for “equity-driven policies that serve to empower our communities”.

If elected, Khosravi will not only focus on policies affecting the Iranian-American community, like fighting the Muslim ban and promoting peace, but also fight for issues like infrastructure, climate change, after-school programs, senior services, and more.

If you are in CA Assembly District 73, please vote for Parshan Khosravi for CADEM Delegate on January 26. Details on where and when to vote can be found here.

You must be a registered Democrat to vote. If you are not a registered Democrat or registered to vote, but live in the district and wish to vote for Parshan, you can register or change your party affiliation on site.