FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 20, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | firstname.lastname@example.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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, January 28, 2019
CONTACT: Brett Abrams | email@example.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 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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 | email@example.com
“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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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.
NIAC Action is proud to endorse Reza Seena Soltanzad as CADEM District Delegate for California Assembly District 24. Soltanzad is a young but thoughtful progressive candidate committed to Medicare-For-All, vigorous action on climate change, public housing, and grassroots politics instead of corporate interests.
Soltanzad majored in Political Science and communications at Santa Clara University and is a recent graduate. During college he gained experience as a refugee resettlement intern with the International Rescue Committee in San Jose and as an intern for the National Iranian American Council in Washington D.C. Progressive candidates such as Bernie Sanders inspired Soltanzad to enter grassroots politics. He believes the Democratic party must adopt a progressive platform to truly represent the working and middle classes. “I would like to see the Democratic Party adopt and endorse Medicare-For-All as a part of the domestic healthcare reform platform, endorse the Green New Deal as the strategy to combat climate change, and call for tuition-free public colleges and universities,” said Soltanzad. That’s why he decided to run with the ‘Grassroots Progressive’ slate.
Soltanzad is also deeply committed to issues that directly impact the Iranian-American community. He supports the JCPOA and opposes military conflict with Iran. He also stands firmly against the Muslim Ban which he views as unconstitutional and unethical.
If you are in CA Assembly District 24, please vote for Reza Seena Soltanzad 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 Soltanzad, you can register or change your party affiliation on site.
Thanks in large part to the activism of impacted Iranian nationals studying and working in the United States and rapid response of NIAC Action, 2018 is almost certain to end without passage of H.R. 392/S. 281, the so-called “Fairness for Highly-Skilled Immigrants Act.”
This bill would eliminate nationality-based caps on key visa categories, which would benefit nationals from India and China at the expense of immigrants from smaller countries who would be hit hard. For Iranian nationals in particular, subject to the Muslim ban and relying on single-entry visas, the passage of the legislation would have been a tremendous blow – adding years of wait-time to an already-difficult period where they are separated from loved ones in Iran.
The bill was subject to furious lobbying from Indian immigrant advocacy groups and several major tech companies, which succeeded in adding it to the House homeland security spending bill. The negative side effects of this legislation were largely ignored or misunderstood by Congressional offices, and in August it appeared to be on the fast track to passage.
NIAC Action was one of the first organizations to publicly oppose H.R. 392/S. 281 and mobilize against it. We led an effort against the legislation that included meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, disseminating briefing materials on the negative effects of the measure, and engaging immigration policy and advocacy organizations to consider opposing the legislation. We also mobilized our grassroots network and provided resources to potentially impacted individuals who wanted to express their voice through calls and meetings with Congressional staff. Ultimately, we secured commitments from key legislators to prevent the measure from becoming law.
Through these actions, NIAC Action and Iranian nationals across the country made clear that the bill would be a major shakeup of America’s immigration system undertaken with little consideration of its impact, helping to arrest the bill’s momentum. Just this past week, a column in the widely-distributed Foreign Policy highlighted the major ramifications of H.R. 392’s passage on the Iranian community.
Moreover, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) – which represents a broad group of South Asian Americans and nationals in the United States – published a detailed analysis of this issue warning that passage of H.R. 392 would merely shift the burden of wait times onto other nationals, including those from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and nationals impacted by this administration’s discriminatory immigration policies like the Muslim Ban. Other groups such as the American Hospital Association also announced their opposition to H.R. 392 publicly.
Any remaining possibility for passage via 2018 spending, however, was eliminated when negotiations fully broke down over funding for Trump’s border wall. In insisting for spending for his wall, Trump spiked the possible vehicle that could have potentially passed H.R. 392 in 2018. This shifts the fight to 2019, when negotiations over spending bills will once again resume. Given H.R. 392’s attachment to the 2018 House spending bill on homeland security, it is likely that it will still be in the mix of increasingly complicated negotiations. However, NIAC Action will seek to build on our momentum in 2019, block the successor to H.R. 392 from being passed in the months ahead and ensure that Iranian nationals are not again subjected to unfair immigration legislation. Our legislative and grassroots organizing combined with our relationships on Capitol Hill place us in a position to block H.R. 392/S. 281 so long as it unnecessarily and unfairly threatens our community.
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) is leading a sign-on letter pressing the administration to ensure that sanctions do not block humanitarian goods – including life-saving medicine – from the Iranian people. We need you to encourage your Representative to sign the Huffman letter.
Many in the Iranian-American community have heard from loved ones in Iran worried that sanctions are leading to shortages of life-saving medicine and skyrocketing costs of basic goods. Unsurprisingly, Trump officials have not taken these widespread concerns seriously.
That’s why Rep. Huffman is leading this important letter right now.
The letter will close this week, and we need as many Representatives to sign as possible. Can you take 3 minutes to call your Member of Congress TODAY and urge them to sign the Huffman letter?
>> Here’s how you do it
Step 1: Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC
Step 2: Ask to be connected to your Representative (Look up your Representative here)
Step 3: Urge your Representative to sign the Huffman letter
I am a constituent calling to encourage Rep. [NAME] to sign Jared Huffman’s letter pressing the administration to answer key questions on whether Iran sanctions are blocking humanitarian goods from reaching the Iranian people. This issue is personal for many Iranian Americans who have friends and family who have already been impacted by medical shortages caused by sanctions. Congress must ensure that its sanctions target the regime, not deprive the Iranian people of food and medicine. Has Rep. [NAME] signed the Huffman letter, which closes Thursday, December 20?
Step 4: Encourage your friends to do the same!
The Huffman letter is just one step toward ensuring that sanctions do not harm our friends and family in Iran. Please call your Representative today.