NIAC Action

NIAC Action

Pompeo to Lose Foreign Relations Committee Vote

Washington, DC – NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after a majority of the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced their opposition to Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo:

“This is a blow to Pompeo’s standing that will haunt him even if he is confirmed. The Senate is sending a warning that Pompeo’s hawkish impulses will be resisted if he makes it into the administration. Nobody voted to return Iraq war architect John Bolton to the White House. Adding Pompeo, who supports war and regime change for Iran, is a combustible mix.

“President Trump will make his decision on whether to kill the Iran deal in just weeks. He could set off a chain reaction of events that John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump could dangerously mishandle. Members of the Senate are realizing that it will fall on them to prevent Trump from starting a new war of choice.

“Trump should dump Pompeo now, but Mitch McConnell may force a vote and break with decades of precedent. Pompeo could become the first Secretary of State nominee in modern history not to receive the endorsement of the committee.

“NIAC Action and its members continue to strongly and actively oppose Pompeo’s nomination and have worked alongside a broad coalition of organizations opposing Pompeo’s views on a wide range of issues from foreign policy to Islamophobia, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and climate change.”

Senators Demand More Information from State Department on Muslim Ban

Washington, DC – Today, Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) issued a letter to the Trump administration requesting more information on the obscure case-by-case waiver process of Presidential Proclamation 9645, otherwise known as Muslim Ban 3.0. The letter comes as the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments on the ban next Wednesday.

In an attempt to overcome legal challenges to the first Muslim Ban, the Trump administration included a waiver process for certain applicants in the second iteration of the ban. The waivers are something that was also included in Muslim Ban 3.0. But recently, the State Department, in a letter to Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Van Hollen on February 22, 2018, revealed that only two waivers had been granted between December 8, 2017 and February 15, 2018. Two weeks later, the State Department revised this number to 250 waivers, and most recently, they have asserted that 450 waivers have been issued.

Obtaining credible and reliable information is critical to fighting the Muslim Ban in the event that the Supreme Court upholds the ban later this summer, but it is also an important part of fighting back against all outgrowths of the Muslim Ban policy, including ‘backdoor’ administrative bans. NIAC Action has been hard at work behind the scenes drafting reporting requirement language which would provide Congressional oversight on how these case-by-case waivers are evaluated and adjudicated. If the administration is responsive to the Senators’ inquiry, we will have a window into how Muslim Ban 3.0 is being implemented, and will have more data to evaluate whether the waiver provision is more than just an sham attempt to sway the courts to rule the ban constitutional by alleviating concerns of a blanket ban that plagued the administration’s first Muslim Ban.

The letter sent today by Senators Van Hollen, Murphy and Blumenthal also seeks relevant documents and information on the reports submitted by the Department of Homeland Security to the White House every 180 days recommending changes to Muslim Ban 3.0. In addition, the Senators are requesting further information on any guidance issued to consular officers abroad on how to evaluate and adjudicate waiver requests, as well as data on how many visas applications have been received and processed from designated countries.

In addition to our efforts to establish Congressional oversight on the Ban, last week NIAC also filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration in an effort to compel them to produce documents from a Freedom of Information Act request sent several months ago requesting relevant documents about the ‘extreme vetting’ policy. If the court rules in our favor and compels the production of these documents, we will have another opportunity to look behind the veil of secrecy draped around Muslim Ban 3.0 by this administration.

The Muslim Ban is much broader than just the travel restrictions being challenged in the Supreme Court next week. It is a highly nuanced and complicated policy which extends to administrative efforts to ban Iranians and Muslims and fulfill a campaign promise. ‘Extreme vetting’ and the case-by-case waiver process are just two examples of this much broader policy that is being implemented as the official immigration policy of the United States.

NIAC Action will continue to take the fight to Trump, because not only is there’s a lot at stake here for our community, there’s a lot at stake for the future of this country. We are an Iranian-American organization, and what follows the hyphen is just as important as what precedes it — it is who we are.

NIAC Action is extremely grateful for the engagement of Senators Van Hollen, Murphy and Blumenthal on this urgent issue, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to shine a light on what has been a very harmful and secretive policy.

How Can We Stop Pompeo from Killing the Iran Deal?

With the appointment of John Bolton and the nomination of Mike Pompeo – a war hawk who has pledged to kill the Iran deal – Donald Trump appears ready to tear up the Iran deal on May 12 and prepare for war. But the Senate has the power to defeat Pompeo’s nomination – and halt Bolton and Trump’s push for war.

Trump is Building Iran War Cabinet

  • Trump’s new National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has long called for the U.S. to bomb Iran. And Pompeo, Trump’s pick to lead State, is a top opponent of the Iran deal who says bombing Iran can be done easily.
  • Bolton has been paid $20,000 to speak at events in support of the MEK, a cult-like Iranian-exile organization promoting violent regime change.
  • Pompeo’s last tweet prior to being nominated for CIA Director stated, “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”
  • As CIA Director, Pompeo urged Trump to tear up the deal but was blocked by Rex Tillerson – who Pompeo would replace as Secretary of State.

Who is Mike Pompeo and Why is He Dangerous?

  • Pompeo is a Tea Party Republican who rose to prominence in the House as a hawkish opponent of diplomacy with Iran.
  • Pompeo worked with Senator Tom Cotton to try to undermine the nuclear talks and accused Barack Obama of breaking the law and hiding a “secret side deal” with Iran that invalidated the nuclear agreement.
  • Pompeo argued for bombing Iran during the nuclear talks saying “it is under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces.”
  • As CIA Director – despite 10 separate IAEA reports confirming Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal – Pompeo continued his political assault against the deal and lobbied Trump to exit the deal.

What Can We do to Stop Pompeo?

  • We must convince a majority of Senators to vote against Pompeo in order to defeat his nomination.
  • The Senate has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats – but Republican Rand Paul (R-KY) has already announced his opposition and John McCain (R-AZ) is unlikely to cast a vote.
  • That means if we convince all Democrats to oppose Pompeo, we likely win by a 50-49 vote. But we should also be working to bring moderate Republicans on board in case we lose some Democrats.
  • Unlike the war in Iraq, a future war with Iran will likely never receive a vote. A vote to confirm Pompeo is a vote for a war with Iran.

Memo: A Vote for Pompeo is a Vote to Kill the Iran Deal

On May 12, 2018, President Trump will announce the fate of the JCPOA – whether the U.S. will renew sanctions waivers required under the JCPOA or will exit the agreement. Congress has, until now, had no formal role in deciding whether Trump should abide by the agreement. With the nomination of Mike Pompeo, an avowed opponent of the JCPOA who has lobbied the President to exit the agreement, Senators now have a vote on Donald Trump’s JCPOA policy.

The vote on whether to confirm Pompeo ahead of Trump’s Iran deal deadline is a referendum on the JCPOA and the Administration plans to terminate the agreement. The Senate has an opportunity to directly reign the President in from a reckless decision to abandon the JCPOA and – in the words of German Prime Minister Angela Merkel – risk splitting the West and leading to war.

A vote for Pompeo is a vote to kill the Iran deal. Senators who support the JCPOA, as well as Senators who initially opposed the agreement but believe it would be detrimental to U.S. interests to unilaterally abandon the accord, should vote against Pompeo and instead demand ironclad assurances that the White House will uphold the JCPOA.

Pompeo told Senators he would end his political opposition to the Iran deal if confirmed to the CIA. Then he lobbied Trump to kill the deal.

During his nomination hearing to become CIA Director in 2017, Pompeo was questioned about his politicized opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. His last tweet prior to being nominated for CIA Director had stated, “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.” However, Pompeo assured Senators that he would change his behavior at CIA and “provide straight information” on the deal’s implementation. “While as a Member of Congress I opposed the Iran deal, if confirmed, my role will change,” he testified. “It will be to drive the Agency to aggressively pursue collection operations and ensure analysts have the time, political space, and resources to make objective and methodologically sound judgments.”

However, as CIA Director – despite 10 separate IAEA reports confirming Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal – Pompeo continued his political assault against the deal and lobbied Trump to exit the deal. According to a July report in Foreign Policy“Although most of Trump’s deputies endorsed certifying that Iran was abiding by the deal, one senior figure has emerged in favor of a more aggressive approach — CIA Director Mike Pompeo. At White House deliberations, the former lawmaker opposed certifying Iran while suggesting Congress weigh in on the issue, officials and sources close to the administration said.”

Additionally, as former CIA analyst Ned Price wrote “Intelligence analysts familiar with the matter recounted to me that…Pompeo would adopt the Dick Cheney-esque strategy of asking the same question repeatedly — namely whether Tehran remained in compliance with the terms of the deal — apparently hoping for a different answer. Even without the facts on his side, Pompeo was said to have argued in favor of trashing the accord and ramping up the pressure on Iran.”

Pompeo argued for bombing Iran during the nuclear talks, and said it would be easy

In the midst of the nuclear negotiations with Iran in 2014, Pompeo joined Sen. Tom Cotton in a roundtable with reporters to call for an end to the negotiations. Pompeo argued for military action rather than diplomacy, saying “In an unclassified setting, it is under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces.

Pompeo has consistently hyped intelligence and spun the facts on the JCPOA

As Congress prepared for a vote on the fate of the nuclear deal in 2015, Pompeo travelled to Vienna with Senator Cotton for meetings with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). There, they were briefed on a technical implementation plan between the IAEA and Iran to resolve an inquiry into Iran’s past nuclear activities with possible military dimensions. The plan was confidential, which is standard – arrangements between the IAEA and the countries it inspects are protected to ensure confidence that working with the IAEA will not lead to the disclosure of sensitive information and therefore deter countries from allowing robust inspections. However, rather than use this information to better understand the technical details of the JCPOA, Pompeo and Cotton publicly announced that the technical plan was a “secret side deal” that Obama was withholding from the American public. The claim became the basis for the House of Representatives passing legislation authored by Pompeo alleging that Obama had broken the law and that the JCPOA was therefore void.

Pompeo has engaged in stunts to boost his own profile at the expense of U.S. interests

Far from diplomatic experience, Pompeo’s history on foreign policy is full of bluster and cheap theatrics. Perhaps no incident demonstrates this better than his campaign, along with Reps. Lee Zeldin and Frank LoBiondi, to seek visas to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities in February 2016 – an echo of the infamous Tom Cotton letter to Iran. The letter, dripping with sarcasm, was sent to Iran’s Supreme Leader and head of Revolutionary Guards. It was aimed at stoking tensions and raising Pompeo’s personal profile at the expense of U.S. diplomatic credibility. It came at a sensitive time for implementation of the JCPOA when many hoped that good faith implementation of the agreement on all sides could open opportunities to negotiate additional compromises from Iran outside the nuclear sphere.

Pompeo’s political stunts continued at the CIA

As CIA director, Pompeo revealed late last year that he sent a warning letter to Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Qud’s Forces. Former CIA heads and officials, Congressional staff, and other national security experts called the effort a “political stunt” and evidence that Pompeo was “acting more like a Trump political surrogate in his CIA post than a discreet intelligence chief.” Tehran, meanwhile, seized on the effort – publicizing that Soleimani did not bother to open the letter.

Pompeo leaked information to advocacy groups while at CIA aimed at undermining the JCPOA

Even at CIA, Pompeo worked closely with some of the most prominent advocacy groups working to kill the Iran deal. Pompeo spoke at a conference for the ideological anti-Iran diplomacy group Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and even provided the group’s in-house publication “The Long War Journal” with advance copies of declassified materials aimed at increasing political pressure against the Iran deal.

NIAC Action and Other Organizations Send Letter Demanding Lawmakers Reject Pompeo

Washington, DC – NIAC Action joined nearly seventy organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of Americans to call on the Senate to block the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. We have teamed up with a diverse coalition to stop Pompeo – and prevent Donald Trump and John Bolton from assembling a War Cabinet.

Pompeo will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week on his nomination and likely will receive a committee vote to either support or reject his nomination next week. To become Secretary of State, he will need to receive a majority of votes before the full Senate later this month.

The organizational letter can be found here and below:

April 9, 2018
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
U.S. Capitol Building, S-230
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader
United States Senate
U.S. Capitol Building, S-221
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer,
We are writing to express our strongest opposition to the nomination of Mike Pompeo as
Secretary of State. Our organizations collectively represent tens of millions of people across the
United States.

Pompeo promotes principles and policies that are antithetical to American values. His repeated
advocacy for war, Islamophobia, climate change denial, hostility to human rights, including
reproductive and LGBT rights, and support for torture make him dangerous and unfit to be a
chief architect of U.S. foreign policy.

  • More War: Pompeo’s clear preference for war over diplomacy fundamentally disqualifies
    him from serving as America’s top diplomat. Pompeo’s seeming hunger for war with Iran,
    threats of military intervention in North Korea, desire to tear up the Iran nuclear agreement,
    and support for ongoing unauthorized conflicts like that in Yemen shows a reckless disregard
    for U.S. national security, contradicts the position of many U.S. military leaders, and
    threatens the lives of many civilians and U.S. soldiers.
  • Climate Change Denial: Pompeo’s denial of climate change poses a fundamental threat to
    our planet and the future of our species. Without strong U.S. leadership, climate change will
    wreak havoc upon millions of people inside and outside the U.S.
  •  Opposing Reproductive Health: Pompeo has never missed an opportunity to attack
    reproductive health. Pompeo is fundamentally out of line with U.S. values and foreign policy
    goals of promoting gender equality and the health of women and communities around the
    world.
  • Anti-LGBT Hate: Pompeo is an ally of designated anti-LGBT hate groups and supports
    discrimination against LGBT people, which fundamentally disqualifies him from
    representing U.S. support for human rights on the world stage.
  • Islamophobia: Pompeo’s repeated, unabashed promotion of anti-Muslim bigotry is
    repugnant. He is deeply rooted in the organized anti-Muslim hate movement, having not only
    hosted and accepted an award from an anti-Muslim hate group, but personally called for
    collective blame of Muslims after acts of mass violence. America’s top diplomat should not
    be a vehicle for Islamophobia or any other form of bigotry.
  • Defending Torture: Pompeo’s defense of torture, including waterboarding, is abhorrent and
    should be categorically rejected. His words offer other repressive governments a justification
    for their own brutality.

Make no mistake: President Donald Trump is assembling a War Cabinet with Mike Pompeo at
the helm. Our concerns are only further heightened with the recent appointment of John Bolton
as National Security Advisor, a man who shares many of the same dangerous and disturbing
policies and positions as Pompeo. There is no doubt that the Senate would have blocked the
nomination of Ambassador Bolton to any Senate-confirmable position, and they must not now
allow his radical and extreme agenda to be implemented by having Mike Pompeo join him in
Donald Trump’s cabinet.

After two costly, bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be a national folly to put
advocates for another major war in charge of U.S. foreign policy. The costs would be devastating
for civilians around the world, U.S. soldiers sent to war, and our national treasury. To preserve
America’s global standing and advance our national interests, U.S leaders must champion human
rights and continue to promote global development and diplomacy.

Pompeo is unfit to serve as Secretary of State. We urge you to oppose and reject his nomination.

Sincerely,

198 methods
350.org
About Face: Veterans Against the War
act.tv
Action Corps
Action Together Network
ActionAid USA
Advocates for Youth
American Family Voices
American Friends Service Committee
Americans for Peace Now
Beyond the Bomb
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Health and Gender Equity
(CHANGE)
Climate Hawks Vote
ClimateTruth.org
CODEPINK
Common Defense
Council for a Livable World
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Courage Campaign
CREDO
Daily Kos
Demand Progress Action
Democracy for America
Demos Action
Friends of the Earth U.S.
Gasp
Global Forum on MSM & HIV
Herd on the Hill
Indivisible
J Street
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jewish World Watch
Just Foreign Policy
MoveOn.org Civic Action
MPower Change
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Council of Jewish Women
National Immigration Law Center
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
NextGen America
NIAC Action
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Oil Change International
Only Through US
Pantsuit Nation
Peace Action
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Connection Action Fund
Power Shift Network
Presente.org
Progressive Congress Action Fund
Public Citizen
Rachel Carson Council
RootsAction.org
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End
Mass Atrocities
Sunrise Movement
SustainUS
The Sierra Club
The Yemen Peace Project
United for Peace and Justice
VoteVets
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions
World BEYOND War
CC: Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Bob Menendez, Senate Foreign Relations
Committee

Stop Pompeo, Stop Trump’s War Cabinet

 

Donald Trump is assembling a war cabinet.

Trump has already selected Iraq-war architect John Bolton to be his new National Security Adviser. And he has nominated uber-hawk Mike Pompeo to become America’s next Secretary of State. Bolton and Pompeo have both openly lobbied Trump to kill the Iran deal and called for bombing Iran. 

We can block Pompeo from becoming Secretary of State and ensure Trump is unable to build his war cabinet.

While John Bolton’s appointment is not subject to a Senate vote, Mike Pompeo’s nomination is – and it is already in jeopardy. Republican Rand Paul – who sits on the committee that will take the first vote on Pompeo – has announced he will vote against him, stating that he cannot endorse “people who loved the Iraq War so much that they want an Iran War next.”

We are within reach of securing enough votes to defeat Pompeo’s nomination and deliver an crucial blow to Trump and Bolton’s plans for Iran.

But we need other Senators to come out now against Pompeo. Take action and demand the Senate reject warhawk Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and help block Trump from assembling his war cabinet!


DONATE to our work for peace!

Help us mobilize the Iranian-American community and American public against Pompeo and war! Donate today >>

Stop Pompeo, Stop Trump’s War Cabinet

 

Donald Trump is assembling a war cabinet.

Trump has already selected Iraq-war architect John Bolton to be his new National Security Adviser. And he has nominated uber-hawk Mike Pompeo to become America’s next Secretary of State. Bolton and Pompeo have both openly lobbied Trump to kill the Iran deal and called for bombing Iran. 

We can block Pompeo from becoming Secretary of State and ensure Trump is unable to build his war cabinet.

Mike Pompeo’s nomination is subject to a Congressional vote – and it is already in jeopardy. Republican Rand Paul has announced he will vote against him, stating that he cannot endorse “people who loved the Iraq War so much that they want an Iran War next.” 

We are within reach of securing enough votes to defeat Pompeo’s nomination and deliver a crucial blow to Trump and Bolton’s plans for Iran.

But we need other Senators to come out now against Pompeo. Take action and demand the Senate reject warhawk Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and help block Trump from assembling his war cabinet!


Already sent an email to your Senators and ready to take the next step? Call your Senators’ offices! 

1) Call (202) 224-3121
2) Ask the operator to connect you with your Senator’s office 
3) You will be connected to your Senator’s staff assistant. Tell them: 
“Hi, I’m a constituent and would like to urge the Senator to stop Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State. A vote for Pompeo is a vote to kill the Iran deal and set the stage for war. Will the Senator oppose Pompeo’s nomination?”

Tell Congress: Don’t Authorize a Saudi-Iran War

 

The Senate is poised to vote on authorizing the U.S. to help Saudi Arabia start a full-fledged regional war with Iran.

You read that right. The Senate was supposed to vote next week on a positive, bipartisan resolution from Sens. Sanders (I-VT), Lee (R-UT) and Murphy (D-CT) that would end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen, which has produced the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Unfortunately, Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) plan to offer an amendment that would not immediately end U.S. support for the bombing, and would carve out specific exceptions for the U.S. to support Saudi bombing in Yemen that targets Iranian activities.

The last thing we need is the Senate to give Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin-Salman the green light to bomb Iranians and start a full-fledged regional war. Congress needs to know that this is a red line.


DONATE to our work for peace!

Help us mobilize the Iranian-American community and American public against war! Donate today >>

Stop Netanyahu From Killing The Iran Deal!

 

Trump and Netanyahu are working together to try to kill the Iran nuclear deal and set the stage for war with Iran.

So far, Congress has refused to go along with Trump’s efforts to “tear up” the deal. But if your lawmakers don’t hear from you, that could soon change. Tomorrow, AIPAC – the pro-Israel lobbying group that has acted in lockstep with Netanyahu – will send over 10,000 of its supporters to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress in support of Trump’s Iran policy. They want Congress to give Trump new sanctions authorities and political cover for a reckless approach towards Iran.

Send your members of Congress a message today, before they hear from AIPAC, to protect the Iran deal and stand up to Trump and Netanyahu’s reckless approach to Iran!


DONATE to help us save the Iran Deal and keep diplomacy alive!

Help us mobilize the Iranian-American community and American public to save the Iran Deal! Donate today >>

Memo: The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Economic Exclusion Act (H.R. 5132)

If passed in its current form, H.R. 5132 – the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Economic Exclusion Act – threatens to violate the JCPOA, undermine current long-term restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, and splinter the United States from its European allies and other international partners. This bill threatens the JCPOA and ordinary Iranians, not the IRGC.

Key provisions of the bill appear targeted not at the heavily-sanctioned IRGC, but at deterring companies from doing business with Iran’s private sector in violation of U.S. commitments under the JCPOA. The Iran nuclear deal not only maintains the already extensive sanctions in place on the IRGC, it implicitly opens opportunities for economic competitors to the IRGC in Iran’s private sectors by enabling them to receive the benefit of sanctions relief. Contrary to this approach, H.R. 5132 would accrue to the benefit of the IRGC and undercut ongoing trends that are diminishing their economic influence, including the Iranian Supreme Leader’s direction – under popular pressure – that the IRGC must divest many of its holdings.

This legislation also comes amid Trump’s reckless threats to unilaterally terminate the JCPOA, an outcome which Europe and many in Congress are seeking to prevent. This is the wrong bill at the wrong time; Members of Congress should be restraining this President from killing this key nonproliferation agreement and moving toward war, not coaxing him forward.

Turning Iran into a “No Fly Zone”?

Section 5 of the bill would trigger a process to designate Iran Airports Company – which reportedly owns and controls all of Iran’s civilian airports – as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under E.O. 13224 as a result of its reported facilitation of Mahan Air flights. If so designated, all of Iran’s civilian airports would likewise be constructively blocked under the U.S.’s Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations (GTSR)s, placing all international flights to Iran at the risk of future designation. The U.S. already bans Iranians from visiting their families in the U.S. under Trump’s Muslim ban, this bill now threatens to ban all civilian flights into Iran. Moreover, such a designation would also jeopardize U.S. commitments under the JCPOA to license the sale of civilian aircraft to Iran.

Reimposing Sanctions Lifted Under JCPOA

Section 4 of H.R. 5132 threatens to re-impose sanctions on Iranian financial institutions that were delisted under the JCPOA, which would be a clear violation of U.S. sanctions-lifting obligations under the nuclear agreement. By requiring the President to identify any Iranian financial institutions that have facilitated transactions even tangentially linked to the IRGC, the bill could subject Iran’s central bank and other major financial institutions to secondary sanctions.  The lifting of these sanctions was central to the relief promised Iran under the JCPOA; the reimposition of such sanctions would effectively nullify any benefit to Iran from agreeing to long-term restrictions on its nuclear program.

Additionally, the bill defines Iranian financial institutions to include all financial institutions located in Iran. Under this definition, branches or representative offices of non-Iranian, foreign financial institutions that are located in Iran would be reported as “Iranian financial institutions.” Even if such institutions have not engaged in transactions with the IRGC, the inclusion of their name on mandated U.S. government reports – which may be publicized – would act as an effective deterrent to opening or maintaining branches or representative offices in Iran. This is anathema to the U.S.’s JCPOA commitment to agree on steps to facilitate Iran’s access to finance.

Moreover, in mandating the administration to report on all foreign entities on the Tehran stock exchange and all foreign persons operating major businesses in Iran, the bill may undermine its own goals of increasing sanctions pressure. The Obama administration set a precedent by threatening to veto the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act (H.R. 1638), indicating that similar reporting requirements under that bill would:

“incentivize those involved to make their financial dealings less transparent and create a disincentive for Iran’s banking sector to demonstrate transparency. These onerous reporting requirements also would take critical resources away from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s important work to identify Iranian entities engaged in sanctionable conduct.”

The Obama administration also indicated in its veto threat that JCPOA participants would view the public reporting requirement as hedging on U.S. JCPOA commitments. Given the breadth of reporting requirements the bill would impose on the Treasury Department, H.R. 5132 would almost certainly raise similar concerns.

Coaxing Trump to Violate JCPOA

Section 6 of the bill declares that it shall be U.S. policy to prevent Iran’s accession to the World Trade Organization and similar international bodies, which is contrary to U.S. obligations under the JCPOA to facilitate Iran’s access to trade and finance. This risks undermining efforts by international bodies to facilitate changes to Iran’s economic and financial character in ways that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives.

Broad Sectoral Sanctions Stifle Communication and Violate the JCPOA

Section 2 of the bill requires the President to determine whether major Iranian entities, including those in Iran’s telecommunications, construction, engineering, and mining sectors, should be sanctioned as under the effective ownership or control of the IRGC. In doing so, this bill seeks to sanction broad sectors of the Iranian economy in ways that are even more aspirational than those sanctions pre-dating the nuclear agreement. Doing so would be not only anathema to U.S. obligations under the JCPOA to facilitate Iran’s access to trade and finance, but would effectively nullify any benefit to Iran from agreeing to long-term restrictions on its nuclear program.

Moreover, by targeting Iran’s telecommunications sector, the bill could prevent outside telecommunication vendors from working in Iran. Such vendors are crucial for the cell phone, Internet, and other communication infrastructure that the Iranian people rely on to communicate freely, both internally and with the outside world.

We’re Proud to Endorse Anna Eskamani for the Florida House

We’re excited to announce our endorsement of Anna Eskamani, who is running for the Florida House in District 47 and would become the first Iranian American ever elected to the Florida legislature!

Anna currently serves as the Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Planned Parenthood and is an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida, where she is completing her PhD in public affairs.

“I grew up in a working class family as a first generation Iranian-American,” Anna tells us. “Tough comes from struggle, and I have lived through struggle.”

She is the daughter of Iranian immigrants – her mom was born in Tehran, her dad in Tabriz, and they met in Orlando. “My first trip to Iran was to bring my mom’s ashes to the Caspian Sea, as she passed away in 2004 from cancer,” she says. 

Her connections to the Iranian-American community, and the issues that affect us, run deep – she has organized activists locally against Trump’s Muslim ban and is a supporter of the Iran deal.

Recently, Anna was featured on the cover of Time magazine as one of the many inspiring women running for office this year. “I have served as a community advocate for nearly ten years,” Anna says. “I made the decision after the 2016 elections that it was time for women like me to step up, and pave the way for a new generation of elected officials who are community-driven and people focused.”

The Florida House has come under the spotlight recently after it voted down a proposed ban on guns like the one used in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that claimed 17 lives. Anna knows the issue well – the district she is running to represent in the House includes the location of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting that was, at the time, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The event prompted Anna to become a founding member of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.

Florida House District 47 is an open seat that has been held by both Democrats and Republicans in recent years. She is the only Democrat in the race and faces two Republican candidates. With our community’s support, we can help send her to the Florida legislature this November.

>> Make a contribution to Anna’s campaign
To learn more about Anna check out these links: Anna’s Facebook pageAnna’s bio