NIAC Action

NIAC Action

NIAC Action Endorsee Unseats Incumbent in Virginia Primary Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x 103 | mana@niacaction.org

VIRGINIA— Moments ago, the Virginia Department of Elections polling results indicated that NIAC Action endorsee, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, has unseated incumbent Theo Stamos to become the state’s new Commonwealth Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, by a margin of 58.5% to 41.5%. Separately, NIAC Action is continuing to monitor the election results for NIAC Action endorsee and DNC delegate Yasmine Taeb in her race for Virginia’s 35th Senate District.

In response to Dehghani-Tafti’s win, NIAC Action Political Director Arzo Wardak said:

“Rarely are prosecutors unseated, and many find themselves in their seats for a lifetime. But that trend is changing–beginning with Parisa. Parisa is an extraordinary woman who now holds the honor of being the first Iranian-American ever elected to this position. Parisa’s influence was felt long before the election results came in. She is among a fresh wave of progressive Iranian-American leaders inspiring a new generation and nurturing civic engagement among a community that has historically shied away it.

“Her candidacy marks an important step forward for the Iranian-American community, and for all communities looking to secure a seat at the table. And her victory illuminates the growing trend of Iranian Americans not only casting off previously ingrained hesitation about civic engagement, but actually wholly leaning into the idea of building political power.

“Parisa is poised to reform the criminal justice system to the benefit of all Virginians–including for minority and immigrant communities who have traditionally found themselves disenfranchised by the system. With Parisa now steering the state toward the path to progressive politics, Virginia voters can now rest assured that there is a candidate in office who is driven by only one thing: the best interests of her constituents.”

Call Congress to Stop War with Iran

Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) are planning to offer an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would block funds for a war and clarify that no Congressional authorization exists. This is a good amendment, and there is a narrow path to get it signed into law. Unfortunately, there are many pro-war voices in Washington DC who are going to try to stop it. We need to be louder than them.

That’s why we need you to tell your Member of Congress to support the Khanna-Moulton amendment.

First step: Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC to reach the Congressional Hotline and ask to be connected to your Representative. (You can find out who your Representative is here)

Follow This Script:

“I am deeply concerned by John Bolton’s threat of ‘unrelenting force’ against Iran as well as President Trump’s ominous warning that he would ‘end Iran’ in a war. The American people do not want another disastrous war of choice in the Middle East. Will Rep. XXXX vote for the Khanna-Moulton amendment tomorrow to block an unauthorized war with Iran?”

If yes: “That is so great to hear. I am proud to hear that my legislator is standing up against an illegal and disastrous war against Iran.”

If no/noncommittal: “That is very concerning to hear. The amendment merely protects Congress’ power to declare war, while preventing the Trump administration from following through on its threats to start a disastrous war. Will you urge Rep. XXXX to vote yes on the Khanna-Moulton amendment?”

Donate to NIAC Action’s Emergency Anti-War Campaign

Emergency Anti-War Campaign to Prevent A Reckless War with Iran!

 

NIAC Statement on Introduction of NO BAN Act and Release of Muslim Ban Data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the heels of new data revealing the widespread impact of the Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban, and as legislation to repeal the ban gained its 100th cosponsor in the House and support from every Presidential candidate in the Senate, new legislation is being introduced in both chambers of Congress today to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to prevent any future discriminatory bans. NIAC applauds Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and strongly supports the NO BAN Act (National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act).

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

“The introduction of the NO BAN Act presents a real opportunity for Congress to repeal the Trump administration’s reprehensible Muslim Ban—and help to prevent it from happening again by amending parts of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Democratic majority in the House and any Republicans who claim independence from President Trump have a golden opportunity to end this shameful Muslim Ban. If Congress chooses to squander this moment then they will find themselves complicit in one of the most discriminatory policies of our time. And the timing couldn’t be better. The act’s introduction comes on the heels of statistics on the Muslim Ban released by the State Department last week, which illustrated the vast impact of the ban and the sham waiver process used by the Supreme Court to uphold it.

“19,163 Iranians were rejected from securing a waiver due to alleged failure to prove that the rejection would cause ‘undue hardship’ or that approval would be in the ‘national interest.’ By contrast, only 413 secured a waiver—meaning for every 47 Iranians considered for a waiver only one is issued. Moreover, only 7 Iranian nationals considered for a waiver were rejected due to national security concerns. While the overall waiver issuance rate is advertised at 6%, the rate for Iranians—the nationality most impacted by the ban—is an abysmal low 1.6%. This more closely resembles a lottery than a genuine waiver process.”

Abdi continued:

“The Trump administration’s own statistics unequivocally prove the waiver provision is a fraud. There is a story behind every rejection—a grandparent hoping to see their grandchild for the first time, a student hoping to return to their studies and finalize their degree, or a partner hoping to reunite with their beloved. Now, these rejections are happening at consulates around the world, out of sight of U.S. cameras.

“We commend Senator Coons and Representative Chu for their commitment to repealing the Muslim Ban and preventing such discriminatory policies from ever materializing again. We also commend Senator Van Hollen for his and his colleagues’ tireless efforts to seek out data on the Muslim Ban in an effort to hold the Trump administration accountable. But now it is up to Congress to build on this new momentum and pass legislation ending the Muslim Ban once and for all.”

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

 

NIAC Action is Now Accepting Nominations for our Board of Directors

 

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