Learn more about the NIAC staff here.
We are excited to announce that NIAC Action endorsee David Emami has been officially appointed as City Councilor of Happy Valley in Oregon! We were proud to endorse Oregon’s first ever Iranian-American City Councilor in this competitive race. See what David had to say on his appointment:
“I am humbled, appreciative and thankful for this opportunity to serve as Oregon’s first ever Iranian-American City Councilor. I hope to inspire others out there to achieve their dreams and It is my absolute goal to represent ALL people of Happy Valley. I want to especially thank NIAC for their support and endorsement. Without organizations like NIAC that work to promote a greater understanding between the American and Iranian Community, appointments such as mine may not have been possible. Thank you all for your support!”
We look forward to seeing all that David Emami accomplishes as City Councilor!
We’re excited to announce our official endorsement of Sepi Shyne for West Hollywood City Council.
Sepi Shyne is a front-running Democratic candidate for the City Council seat. She’s an Iranian American, an attorney, and runs two small businesses, including a law firm. If elected, Sepi Shyne would become the first woman of color to serve on the West Hollywood City Council.
Sepi has written, “As a lesbian, Iranian immigrant and woman of color, I was never supposed to run for office … But at a time when our most basic rights are under attack and hateful legislators chip away at the foundation of our democracy, I am running.” We think she’s the most qualified candidate for this seat and are excited to give her our support.
Our endorsement for Sepi joins other notable endorsements for Sepi’s campaign, including endorsements from Congresswoman Katie Hill and John Erickson, City of West Hollywood Planning Commissioner, as well as from over a dozen other elected officials. She’s also been endorsed by the Democratic Party of San Fernando, The National Women’s Political Caucus, Stonewall Democratic Club, Equality California, and The Unite HERE Local 11! Labor Union.
Sepi is running a grassroots campaign, and is heavily focused on canvassing, phone banking, GOTV efforts, and community events.
Sepi can’t do this without our help. She’s up against three incumbents for her election on March 5th, and she needs our support to make this happen.
Electing Iranian-American candidates is a key part of building political power for our community. We hope we can count on you.
At NIAC Action, we’re advocating for a return to the Iran nuclear deal to bring back diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran. Recently, 2020 presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren has been vocal about her support for returning to the JCPOA.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 23, 2019
In the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Senator Warren called for returning to the Iran nuclear accord and advocated for extending New START Treaty. See the full video:
Last November, NIAC released a report calling for Congress and 2020 candidates to commit to returning to the Iran Deal. We are hard at work with allies like J Street to ensure each 2020 candidate makes a commitment to return to the JCPOA.
We’re excited to announce our official endorsement of David Emami for City Councilor of Happy Valley!
At NIAC Action, we strive to identify and build up rising civic leaders who have the vision and leadership needed in our surrounding communities. David Emami is such a leader.
David exemplifies the kind of community leadership needed to give Happy Valley a champion of its values. Born and raised in Oregon to Iranian immigrants, David stands proud as an Iranian-American. His multifaceted identify affords him an empathy and understanding of the diverse communities he hopes to represent as part of the council. And as a father, David is committed to protecting and helping make thrive the future of Happy Valley, the place his children call home.
David is one of six finalists for this seat on Happy Valley’s City Council. David’s appointment would represent a historic breakthrough for the State of Oregon, as he would be the first Iranian-American City Councilor in the state’s history. It would further underscore Happy Valley’s commitment and dedication to making the city’s leadership more representative of the beautiful community it seeks to represent.
We enthusiastically support David’s public service ambitions and are confident he will diligently work alongside other City Councilors to make Happy Valley a stronger community.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, February 20, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6319 | email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, the Democratic National Committee officially announced that it has 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). The resolution, which was submitted by DNC Committeewoman Yasmine Taeb and adopted over the weekend, 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. NIAC Action, the political arm of the National Iranian American Council, endorsed Taeb in her race for the Virginia State Senate earlier this year.
VIEW THE RESOLUTION HERE: https://www.niacaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/JCPOA.pdf
“As President Trump and his warmongering advisors continue to stoke confrontation with Iran, it is vital that 2020 hopefuls push back on Trump’s reckless actions and voice support for returning to the nuclear accord. Hardly a week goes by without renewed efforts from the Trump Administration to push the nuclear accord toward collapse. If successful, Trump’s team may decimate the chances of any future administration restoring U.S. credibility by returning to the JCPOA. Worse, Trump may start a disastrous war with Iran,” explained Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council.
“By prioritizing bringing the U.S. back into compliance with the JCPOA, the Democratic National Committee is recognizing both the danger of Trump’s approach and the urgent need to return to the accord – while signalling both to Iran and to U.S. allies that the days of this reckless foreign policy approach are numbered. Other lawmakers and 2020 hopefuls should follow the lead of the Democratic National Committee and lay out a competing vision to Trump’s bankrupt approach,” Abdi continued.
NIAC has worked to preserve the nuclear agreement by encouraging lawmakers and 2020 candidates to indicate that the U.S. will return to the deal under a new administration. The group’s 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.
“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,” added Abdi.
# # # # #
NIAC Action is the grassroots, civic action organization committed to advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community. We are a nonpartisan nonprofit and the 501(c)4 sister organization of the National Iranian American Council, which works to strengthen the Iranian-American community and promote greater understanding between the U.S. and Iran.
Contact your Senators and Representatives by calling 1-877-ACT-NIAC:
Here’s a sample script of what to say:
“Hello, my name is (your first name). I live in (your city) [and am a member of NIAC Action]. I’m calling to ask Rep./Sen XX to oppose HR1044/S386. While HR1044/S386 may serve as a short term solution to the green card backlog for immigrants from large countries, like India and China, it will extend the wait time for those from smaller countries. Iranians, who are by in large in this country on single entry visas, will be especially impacted because we cannot see our families due to the Muslim ban. For those that wish to stay in the United States, a green card is the only opportunity we have to see our families. In addition, removing per-country caps lowers the diversity of the high skilled immigrant workforce, something that many of us here in the US take pride in. So I strongly urge the Congressman/Senator to oppose HR1044/S386.”
We have a positive update on the effort to scale back and ultimately overturn Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban. As part of the spending bill that will become law today, the Trump administration will be forced to turn over important information on the ban that will enable Congress to finally have oversight of this policy.
The Trump Administration must now report on the implementation of the sham waiver process that continues to deny spouses, sick family members, and others who are supposedly exempt from the ban. It must also explain to Congress its justification for continuing what was supposed to be a temporary policy.
This will help enable Congress to hold hearings, press the Administration to issue more waivers, and reduce the negative impact of the ban until it can be repealed.
This small victory is the culmination of efforts we coordinated last year with over fifty organizations—including the ACLU, Brennan Center, J Street, and Iranian-American organizations like PAAIA and IABA—to urge Congress to demand this information. We then worked closely with Sens. Van Hollen (D-MD) and Leahy (D-VT) to pass an amendment to turn those demands into law. While the effort was delayed over the disputes that led to the government shutdown, the amendment will become law later today. We are tremendously thankful to Sens. Van Hollen and Leahy for ensuring that these reporting requirements passed.
Even as Americans brace themselves for Trump’s pending declaration of a “national emergency” to try to build his border wall, we must also relish today’s small but significant step forward for everyone impacted by the Muslim Ban. Now, we must take the next step by passing new legislation supported by NIAC Action and over 100 organizations to hold hearings and block funding for the ban.
The Trump administration’s re-imposition of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran has placed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the nuclear deal between the U.S., other major world powers, and Iran—on the brink of collapse. Not only has the President’s National Security Advisor John Bolton sought war options against Iran, but the Trump administration has also utilized existing Iran sanctions authorities in unprecedented ways by targeting entities involved with humanitarian trade that are far removed from sanctionable conduct. It is imperative that Congress demonstrate leadership by working to protect the JCPOA and avoid providing the Trump administration with new ammunition to escalate tensions with Iran.
In this context, we are concerned that the sanctions mandated by H.R. 31, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019, can be utilized by this administration to redouble its efforts to unravel the JCPOA by targeting Iranian parties far removed from Syria. Because the Trump administration has not shied from using its sanctions authorities toward Iran, H.R. 31 could – however unintentionally – (1) further empower the Trump Administration to undermine Iran’s continued compliance with the JCPOA, increasing the risk of collapsing the nuclear agreement entirely and leading Iran to ramp up its nuclear activities; and (2) complicate any efforts by a successor administration to bring the United States back into compliance with the JCPOA, particularly if the Trump administration uses H.R. 31’s authorities to impose sanctions on those Iranian parties whose designations were formerly rescinded pursuant to the JCPOA.
We recognize the desire to pressure Assad and that this bill has been under consideration for some time; however, we believe that the first foreign policy action by the new Congress should advance priorities like salvaging international agreements that this administration has so callously imperiled and encourage the pursuit of diplomatic solutions the challenges within the region. It would be more appropriate to move H.R. 31 through regular order and ensure that the legislation does not in any way jeopardize the JCPOA. Moreover, we would strongly encourage proactive steps to ensure that the window to return to the JCPOA remains open throughout the 116th Congress and to safeguard the prospect of diplomatic solutions to resolve regional challenges.