Memo: JCPOA Giving Way to Destructive Tit for Tat

One year after the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iranian officials are now signaling they may follow suit and halt compliance with aspects of the accord.

Any potential Iranian non-compliance with elements of the JCPOA would be profoundly unhelpful and escalatory. However, such steps would not occur in a vacuum, but in the context of months of pressure from the White House aimed at provoking Iran into leaving the JCPOA. It is President Trump’s drive to undo his predecessor’s signature foreign policy achievement that has put us on the brink of resuscitating the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Worse still, a forthcoming crisis might not be contained. As a senior Trump adviser recently stated, if Iran halts complying with the JCPOA “the military option comes back on the table.”

JCPOA’s Quid Pro Quo Giving Way to Destructive Tit for Tat

The nuclear deal was based on a quid pro quo in which all sides would obtain real benefits.

  • Under the JCPOA, Iran rolled back its nuclear program while enhancing the ability of international inspectors to monitor and verify its nuclear activities. In return, Iran was provided sanctions relief as a means of reconnecting with global financial and economic networks.
     
  • The text of the JCPOA makes clear that Iran has stated it will treat the reintroduction or reimposition of sanctions “as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”
     
  • The Trump administration has not only reneged on the JCPOA and sought to deny Iran the U.S. and sanctions relief it was due, but it has taken unprecedented additional actions such as designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization and terminating sanctions waivers for importers of Iranian oil.
     
  • Recently, the Trump administration further boosted those in Tehran arguing for leaving the JCPOA by revoking waivers for shipping out surplus heavy water and enriched uranium, while limiting the extension of waivers for critical nonproliferation work at Arak and Fordow to 90 from 180 days. This signals a disturbing intent to obstruct the nonproliferation side of the JCPOA.
     
  • In the face of the administration’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign, Tehran has remained restrained for nearly a year and has sought to preserve the accord through cooperation with Europe and other global powers.
     
  • However, increased U.S. pressure has created an increasingly intolerable situation for Iran and has empowered hardline voices in Tehran who believe Iran should pursue a tit-for-tat strategy to raise the costs of U.S. actions against it.

The Looming Specter of War

Since taking over as National Security Advisor last year, Iraq-war architect John Bolton has been steering the U.S. closer to war with Iran.

  • On Sunday night, National Security Advisor John Bolton released a statement threatening “unrelenting force” in response to any Iranian attack against U.S. forces in the region.
     
  • Bolton’s alarmist statement comes in the backdrop of a routine deployment of a U.S aircraft carrier group to the Persian Gulf that was expedited and was reportedly based on vague intelligence regarding potential Iranian plots.
     
  • Last September, Bolton similarly asked the Pentagon to draw up plans for military strikes against Iran in the wake of alleged mortar attacks from Shia militias near U.S. compounds in Baghdad and Basra. Bolton’s request “definitely rattled people,” according to a former administration official. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”
     
  • The administration has since appeared to be repeating the George W. Bush administration’s playbook for war with Iraq—inaccurately tying Iran to al-Qaeda, baselessly stating that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, and politicizing intelligence assessments on Iran.
     
  • Bolton has long been bent on goading the U.S. and Iran into war and has a history of manipulating intelligence to advance his hawkish agenda. As the top arms control official for President George W. Bush, he claimed Iraq possessed WMD’s to justify the administration’s 2003 invasion.

Choice for the U.S.: Save the JCPOA or Follow Bolton’s Path to War

Rejoining the JCPOA is essential to blocking Iran’s paths to the bomb and addressing other U.S.-Iran disputes.

  • Due to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran’s compliance with the accord is no longer ensured and the nonproliferation benefits from the agreement risk being lost.
     
  • The U.S. is isolated from allies and former negotiating partners that continue to support the JCPOA, has empowered Iranian hardliners and ensured a more rigid negotiating posture from Iran, and now is following the playbook of an Iraq-war architect intent on provoking another disastrous war with Iran.
     
  • The choice to the U.S. is clear: ensure Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal by resuming America’s sanctions-lifting obligations, or follow Trump and Bolton’s disastrous path to war.
     
  • Already, most 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have stated they would return the U.S. to compliance with the JCPOA. Lawmakers should follow suit by clearly stating that the U.S. should return to compliance with the accord.

Halt Bolton’s War Push

Congress must send a clear message that Trump and Bolton do not have authorization to start a war with Iran.

  • The Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act (S. 1039/H.R. 2354), introduced by Sens. Udall, Paul and Durbin and Reps. Eshoo and Thompson, would prohibit the Trump administration from using funds to launch a war against Iran without Congressional approval.
     
  • The Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force bill (H.R. 1274) from Rep. Barbara Lee would repeal the 2001 AUMF and prevent the Trump administration from exploiting the authorization to justify yet another war it was never intended to authorize.

Memo: Trump’s Iran Policy Evokes Iraq War Lead-up

It is increasingly clear the Trump Administration is taking the U.S. down a dangerous path with Iran that is reminiscent of the propaganda campaign that preceded the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq.

President Trump’s latest decisions appear aimed at bating Iran into halting its compliance with the JCPOA in an apparent move to hasten the path to war. This is most likely the goal of Administration hawks like John Bolton, who has advocated for war both outside the administration and in the White House. A senior Trump official has also set the stage, telling the New Yorker that if Iran were to leave the JCPOA, U.S. military options will be “back on the table.”

Members of Congress must challenge the administration’s dangerous misinformation campaign and take steps to ensure that the Trump administration cannot lead the U.S. into an unauthorized and disastrous war against Iran.

Politicizing Intelligence on Iran’s Nuclear Program

A recent State Department report on international nuclear compliance raised strong concerns that the White House is politicizing assessments of Iran’s nuclear program.

  • The report strikingly makes no mention of continued Iranian compliance with the JCPOA, but instead uses a hypothetical to argue that Iran is at risk of violating the NPT. Last year, the same report both noted Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA and that its steps had resolved prior findings of NPT violations on the part of Iran.

  • “It’s piling inference upon inference here to try to create a scary picture,” a Congressional aide told Reuters about the report. A State Department source added: “There is significant concern that the entire sort of purpose … was to help build a case for military intervention in Iran in a way that seems very familiar.”

In January, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel confirmed that U.S. intelligence “continues to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.”

  • Trump afterwards attacked the intelligence community, summoning Coats and Haspel for contradicting him and stating that “the Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran.”
     
  • Since that time, Sec. Pompeo refused to answer a question from Rep. Abigail Spanberger on whether Iran was adhering to its commitments under the JCPOA. Moreover, this month Pompeo warned Iran to “[e]nd your pursuit of nuclear weapons,” while in February Bolton claimed “Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons.”

The IAEA has consistently confirmed Iranian compliance with the JCPOA in 14 consecutive reports since the deal was implemented in 2016.

  • The JCPOA’s Joint Commission, comprised of the EU, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, also “welcomed and acknowledged Iran’s continued implementation of its nuclear-related commitments” at their most recent meeting in March.

Iran, al-Qaeda and the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force

The Trump administration has falsely asserted that there are strong ties between Iran and Al-Qaeda, echoing the George W. Bush White House’s false allegations that Saddam Hussein had close ties to the terrorist organization.

  • There is a well-established track record of hostility between Iran and al-Qaeda. Ironically, Iran was accommodating towards the 2001 U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan and, according to U.S. officials, played an active and constructive role in the Bonn process that created a new central government in Kabul.
     
  • Nevertheless, The Washington Times reported in February that “the administration is focusing increasingly on the unlikely alliance between Iran and al Qaeda, with what some sources say is an eye toward establishing a potential legal justification for military strikes against Iran or its proxies.”
     
  • Secretary of State Pompeo declined to answer questioning from Sen. Rand Paul on whether the 2001 authorization to use military force (AUMF) enables the President to attack Iran in recent Congressional testimony, while alleging that there is “no doubt there’s a connection” between Iran and Al Qaeda.
     
  • Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and spokesman, said that the Al-Qaeda claim may be part of a wider campaign by the Trump administration to establish “a rationale for regime change” in Tehran. He underscored that the CIA has had a “longstanding understanding of the consistently tense, and occasionally openly hostile, relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda.”

Trump’s Escalatory Moves Risk Breaking the Nuclear Deal

Iran’s continued adherence amid sanctions pressure cannot be counted upon indefinitely, and unprecedented moves like seeking to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero create an increasingly intolerable situation for Iran that may compel it to leave the JCPOA.

  • On May 2nd, the Trump administration will have to decide to renew waivers to continue international efforts to remove significant proliferation risks at Iran’s Arak reactor and deeply-buried Fordow facility. Failure to issue these waivers would be a departure from denying Iran benefits from the deal to outright obstruction of the nonproliferation benefits of the agreement.
     
  • The designation of Iran’s IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization – the first ever for a foreign state’s conscripted military service – raises significant concern that the rules of engagement with the IRGC have been altered. When questioned on whether the head of the IRGC Quds Force – Qassem Soleimani – would be treated the same as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Pompeo responded affirmatively.

Congress Must Act to Constrain Trump’s War Powers

Amid the administration’s dangerous escalation against Iran, Congress must act to prevent an unconstitutional war whose consequences for the U.S. and global peace and stability would dwarf the costs of the Iraq War.

  • The Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act (S. 1039/H.R. 2354), introduced by Sens. Udall, Paul and Durbin and Reps. Eshoo and Thompson, would prohibit the Trump administration from using funds to launch a war against Iran without Congressional approval.
     
  • The Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force bill (H.R. 1274) from Rep. Barbara Lee would repeal the 2001 AUMF and prevent the Trump administration from using it as legal justification to attack Iran 17 years after it was introduced.

NIAC Action Memo: IRGC Economic Exclusion Act (S. 925)

S. 925 — the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Economic Exclusion Act — would have minimal sanctions impact on the already heavily-sanctioned IRGC, Iran’s primary military force that has historically thrived amid broad sanctions on the Iranian economy. However, S. 925 would have a deleterious impact on the Iranian people while restricting a successor administration’s ability to de-escalate tensions with Iran.

The bill seeks to preempt efforts to return the United States into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the nuclear deal between the U.S., other major world powers, and Iran—by sanctioning all sectors of Iran’s economy, which would have a significant harmful impact on the livelihood of the Iranian people. In addition, the bill has the effect of undoing any benefit to Iran from adhering to the nuclear-related limitations outlined in the JCPOA, thus incentivizing Iran to halt its compliance with the accord and generating a new nuclear crisis in the Middle East. Proponents of diplomacy and the judicious but effective use of U.S. sanctions should reject this bill.

Disproportionate Harm to the Iranian People

S. 925 would have a significant deleterious impact on the livelihood of the Iranian people, as U.S. sanctions turn the Islamic Republic into an effective “hermit kingdom.” This bill:

  • Sets the groundwork for the effective closure of Iran’s airspace to civilian airlines; and
  • Cordons off Iran’s entire economy to the outside world, depriving an entire generation of Iranians social and economic opportunities

Meanwhile, the bill imposes little direct cost to the IRGC–its ostensible target. The IRGC is the most heavily-sanctioned entity in the entire world, and the U.S. has used multiple sanctions authorities to target it. Recognizing this, the bill targets Iranian parties with indirect, if not entirely attenuated, connections with the IRGC in the hopes of imposing additional costs. This includes broad sectors of the Iranian economy.

In doing so, however, this bill creates ripe opportunities for the IRGC to thrive, at the same time that its commercial competitors inside Iran are targeted for U.S. sanctions; cut off from the outside world; and forced into collapse. Sanctions have historically empowered hardline forces in Iran who use their proximity to the Iranian state to win state contracts, engage in smuggling operations, and direct sanctions evasion activities. If the U.S. wanted to impose direct costs on the IRGC, it would lift sanctions on Iran’s private sector and ensure their competitive edge, while maintaining sanctions on the IRGC.

The bill sets the stage for the effective closure of Iran’s airspace to civilian airlines.

Section 5 of the bill would add Section 315 to the Iran Threat Reduction Act so as to require the President to report on Iranian state-owned enterprises that engage in activities subject to sanctions under Executive Order 13224—the U.S.’s counter-terrorism sanctions authority. The bill notes that the Iran Airports Company—which is the holding and operating company for Iran’s civilian airports—is reported to facilitate activities for Mahan Air, an Iranian civilian airline that is sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13224. As such, the bill argues that the Iran Airports Company is engaged in activities sanctionable under E.O. 13224 as a result of its support to Mahan Air and mandates the President to make a determination as to whether the Iran Airports Company should be designated under E.O. 13224. If designated, the effect would be the closure of Iran’s airspace to civilian air travel as foreign airlines would be at risk of sanctions for flying into civilian airports operating under the ownership or control of an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Restraining a Successor Administration

The bill would undermine efforts for the United States to restore its credibility on the world stage by returning to compliance with the JCPOA. Specifically, the bill would impose terrorism-related authorities on broad sectors of Iran’s economy, all for the purpose of constraining a future administration from reaching diplomatic solutions with Iran.

The bill would block the President from being able to lift sanctions on certain designated Iranian parties, thereby negating the purpose of U.S. sanctions which is to effectuate a change of behavior.

Section 2 of the bill amends Section 301 of the Iran Threat Reduction Act so as to bar the President from waiving the application of sanctions with respect to a designated person unless the President makes certifications on IRGC activities. Unless the President certifies that the IRGC is reducing its material support to the Government of Syria or Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the President would not be able to waive the sanctions. By amending the waiver provision in this manner, the bill conditions the lifting of sanctions with respect to a designated Iranian person not on the behavior of the sanctioned person itself but rather on the behavior of the IRGC. For instance, if an Iranian entity is determined to be owned or controlled by the IRGC and forces the divestment of the IRGC’s interest or control so as to remove the basis for its designation, this bill would prevent the President from lifting sanctions with respect to the Iranian entity unless the IRGC–as a whole–had reduced its material support to the Government of Syria. The likely effect of this amendment is not only to bar the President from waiving the application of sanctions but also to disincentive sanctioned parties from changing their behavior in ways that are otherwise consistent with U.S. interests.

The bill seeks to close off Iran’s telecommunications, mining, and manufacturing sector from the outside world.

Section 2 of the bill amends Section 301 of the Iran Threat Reduction Act to require the President to determine whether major operators in Iran’s telecommunications, mining, and manufacturing sectors are owned or controlled by the IRGC. If determined to be so, then such parties would be designated pursuant to multiple U.S. sanctions authorities and foreign parties and banks would be subject to U.S. secondary sanctions for dealing with them. In making such a determination, the bill permits the President to consider persons in which the IRGC has an ownership of less than 50 percent. The 50 Percent Rule—i.e., where sanctioned parties have a 50 percent or greater ownership interest—has long been OFAC’s governing standard as to whether a sanctioned party has a sanctionable interest in an entity, and adopting a new standard with respect to the IRGC threatens the judicious use of U.S. sanctions in the future.

The bill seeks to impose an effective boycott on any business—U.S. or foreign—with Iran.

Section 4 of the bill would add Section 313 of the Iran Threat Reduction Act, which requires the President to publish annual reports identifying (1) all foreign persons listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange, as well as a determination as to whether or not the IRGC or its officials, agents, or affiliates own or control the person; (2) foreign persons operating business enterprises in Iran valued at more than $100 million, as well as a determination as to whether or not the IRGC or its officials, agents, or affiliates own or control the person; and (3) Iranian financial institutions valued at more than $10 million, as well as a determination as to whether each Iranian financial institution has facilitated a significant transaction for or on behalf of the IRGC or whether the IRGC or its officials, agents, or affiliates own or control the Iranian financial institution. This bill is consistent with recent actions by the Trump administration in which Iranian parties have been designated for highly-attenuated connections with persons alleged to be affiliated with the IRGC. By requiring this report to be made public on U.S. government websites, the bill would also signal to foreign parties that all business with Iran is subject to sanctions risk, rendering Iran a no-go zone for the international business community.

New reporting requirements would limit the President’s discretion to impose sanctions in ways that undermine the Executive’s foreign policy prerogatives.

Section 3 of the bill requires the President to submit reports to Congress on a biannual basis regarding foreign persons determined to engage in transactions with designated Iranian persons. Sanctions are to be imposed with respect to any parties identified in the report. This reporting requirement is consistent with the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy under which the success of U.S. sanctions policy with respect to Iran is predicated on the total number of Iranian parties added to U.S. sanctions lists rather than whether U.S. sanctions have caused the Government of Iran to abandon policies deemed anathema to U.S. interests. This is a myopic view of U.S. sanctions that threatens the effective use of the sanctions tool in the future.

Congress Must Rein in Trump’s War Cabinet

Trump has stacked his cabinet with Iran warhawks, withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal that is successfully guarding against Iranian nuclear weapons and – according to recent reports – Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton and the President himself sought plans from the Pentagon to attack Iran.

These developments are dire and, barring Congressional intervention, the U.S. may launch yet another ill-advised war of choice that could haunt the U.S. and Middle East for generations.

The 116th Congress must investigate the Trump administration’s war plans for Iran, impose legal and political restraints to block an unconstitutional war with Iran and take steps to salvage the nuclear accord.

Bolton Asked for War Options Against Iran

  • John Bolton asked the Pentagon to prepare options to strike Iran in September – an act of war that has not been authorized by Congress.
  • The options considered reportedly included “a cross-border airstrike on an Iranian military facility” as well as “options to respond with strikes in Iraq and Syria as well.”
  • The response rattled national security officials, with one former official warning that it was “mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”
  • voicing deepening fears” that Bolton “could precipitate a conflict with Iran.”

Mattis Scuttled Bolton’s War Push

  • The strikes were contemplated after two attacks in Iraq attributed to Shia militias tied to Iran – neither of which led to damage or casualties. It is unclear if Iran knew of the attack or to what extent it is tied to the militias involved.
  • In one attack, “mortar bombs landed inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where the U.S. Embassy is located.” A second involved a rocket attack on the airport near Basra, near to where the U.S. consulate was located. That incident followed raucous protests in Basra that led to the torching of the Iranian consulate.
  • U.S. officials warned it would hold Iran accountable, saying “Iran did not act to stop these attacks by its proxies in Iraq, which it has supported with funding, training, and weapons.”
  • The push to strike Iran directly over this murky affair was strongly opposed by former Defense Secretary James Mattis and other Pentagon officials, who argued successfully that the attacks were “insignificant.”

The President Reportedly Pushed Mattis to Sink Iranian Ships

  • In 2017, “Trump repeatedly asked his national security team for plans to blow up Iranian fast boats” patrolling the Persian Gulf.
  • Following a promise on the campaign trail to shoot Iranian ships “out of the water,” Trump was “incredulous” that the U.S. hadn’t sunk Iranian boats that have often had close run ins with U.S. ships, which he thought was a “humiliation and sign of weakness.”
  • Fortunately, 2017 saw fewer run ins between Iranian and U.S. vessels in the Persian Gulf, as the sinking of an Iranian ship could spark a major regional conflagration.

Trump Is Seeking to Kill the Iran Nuclear Deal

  • Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and snap back sanctions – which was finalized in November – puts at risk severe limitations and comprehensive inspections over Iran’s nuclear program.
  • Iran has warned that it could respond to the provocation by expanding its nuclear program or limiting the access of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • By killing Iran’s benefit from the deal, the Trump administration appears to be baiting Iran to escalate its nuclear program – which Bolton could use to put his war plans in motion.
  • By targeting our allies with sanctions for seeking to uphold a UN Security Council-endorsed agreement that the U.S. negotiated, Trump has undermined U.S. leadership and sapped America’s diplomatic power.
  • In order to forestall a push to war, re-secure vital nonproliferation safeguards and restore U.S. diplomatic credibility, Congress should push for the U.S. to return to compliance with the deal.

Trump Has Assembled A War Cabinet

  • Bolton previously published an op-ed entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” and promised a cult-like group that was designated as a terrorist organization until 2011 that they would celebrate regime change in Iran by the end of 2018.
  • Mike Pompeo pushed 2,000 bombing sorties on Iran as an alternative to nuclear negotiations in 2014, suggested that the U.S. pursue regime change in Iran, and  encouraged Trump to first decertify and then kill the nuclear accord.
  • James Mattis, the so-called “adult in the room,” is no longer there to push back on ill-advised military strikes in Iran.
  • Trump himself has tweeted in all caps against Iran, warning “YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Trump Has an Expansive View of War Powers

  • The Trump administration did not seek Congressional authorization prior to launching strikes on the Assad regime in Syria both in 2017 and 2018.
  • In later justifying its strikes, the Trump administration stated that the action did not risk rising up to the level of a “war” and that the administration could conduct strikes in the national interest, thus the administration did not seek approval from Congress.

Congress Must Rein in Trump on Iran

  • Failure to rein in Trump and his war cabinet could lead to a military confrontation with a nation of 80 million that is nearly four times the size of Iraq.
  • Congress should investigate Bolton’s request for war options against Iran as well as the murky events in Iraq that precipitated the request. Sec. Mattis is no longer in a position to scuttle Bolton’s half-baked plans for war.
  • Congress should impose political and legal restraints on the administration’s ability to start a war with Iran. Last year, legislation was introduced (the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act – S. 3517/H.R. 7277) to prohibit the Trump administration from using funds to launch a war against Iran without Congressional approval.
  • Congress should push for a return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal in order to shore up vital nonproliferation safeguards and restore American diplomatic credibility.
  • The American people do not want another war under a reckless administration – the 116th Congress must act without delay to rein in Trump on Iran.

What Does it Mean to Organize the Grassroots?

When I say I’m the Organizing Director of NIAC Action, I often get asked “So what do you do?”. When I say that I build and execute the strategies that mobilize the public to influence our elected officials, I get puzzled faces and confused nods. I get it – organizing is not very intuitive. While prominent people, like Barack Obama, talk about how organizing wins campaigns and elections, most people still don’t entirely understand what it means. Even organizers have a hard time explaining what we do. But one thing we learn as organizers is that people learn best through stories. So I’d like to give a little insight into grassroots organizing by sharing the story of my first campaign victory.

I first dipped my toes into political organizing as a freshman at UC Davis, back in 2011. I had been an environmentalist all my life, so I quickly got involved with a campaign to ban plastic grocery bags in California. For those that don’t know, there is a giant mass of trash over twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific, called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It kills millions of birds and marine life, like the sea turtle, every year. Too much of this trash comes from things that we don’t need, like single-use disposable plastic bags. So one part of the solution is to ban these bags. In California, our strategy was to pass local bag bans to show broad public support and get state representatives to support a statewide bag ban.

With no idea what grassroots organizing was, I dove in, got trained by a professional community organizer, and quickly rose in leadership. By the end of my freshman year, I was running the campaign. Because our opposition consisted of the plastics industry and some very prominent  community members, we knew the only way we could win was to show strong community support for the ban.

First, I recruited over 100 volunteers to build the team we needed in order to mobilize our community. Over the next two years, that team collected over 8,000 petition signatures by having one-on-one conversations on campus and at community events. We also ran educational events and press conferences that got local media coverage to build visibility for the campaign. When that wasn’t enough to convince the city council, we contacted those 8,000 petition signers and asked them to email their city council members. We were told the next day that this was the most that the city council had ever heard about any issue. After employing that tactic, along with getting 5-10 people to attend every city council meeting for almost 2 months, we were able to convince the city council to vote on and unanimously pass a single-use plastic grocery bag ban in Davis.

After the vote, the city council members went straight to the students in the room, shook our hands, and told us that they wouldn’t have banned plastic bags if we didn’t push them to do so. Us. The students. A group that people often write off as not having any power. It was in that moment that I realized grassroots organizing is how we make social change happen.

The opposition will always have more money and sometimes better access to decision makers. But if you gather a group of people to grab their clipboards and have one-on-one conversations with their community, we can mobilize the public to the point where our elected officials can no longer ignore our voices. It was right after that meeting that I decided to drop my plans to go to medical school (sorry Mom and Dad) and decided to become a professional grassroots organizer.

Since then, I’ve been a part of a number of campaign victories. Like getting Connecticut to start an open textbooks program, passing clean elections reform in Maine, and getting McDonalds and Subway to stop serving meat raised with routine antibiotics, just to name a few. Now, working with NIAC Action, I’m looking forward to saying I was a part of ending the Muslim ban and extreme vetting. I’m looking forward to saying that Iranian Americans turned out to vote in record numbers in 2018. Ultimately, I’m looking forward to saying that our community put aside their differences and united around shared values to demand that their elected officials do what is right.

I have this vision that one day our community will be so organized that everyone running for office comes to us asking what they can do to be a good ally for our community and secure our vote. But we can only do that if everyone does their part. Whether it’s signing an action alert or calling your member of Congress, volunteering on one of NIAC Action’s campaigns, going to a NIAC Power Building Summit, or even becoming a professional organizer like I did. So I hope you share this vision. And I hope to see you on the streets with a clipboard along with me.

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 Survey Reveals Great Concern About War and Discrimination

NIAC’s annual survey of over 1,000 of its donors and supporters reveal a community that is increasingly impacted by discrimination and which remains committed to advocating for diplomacy and preventing war and reversing Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.

Concerns of War and a Permanent Muslim Ban

Two-thirds of respondents are concerned that the U.S. may go to war with Iran under the Trump administration. Of even greater concern is the possibility that the courts may reinstate the Muslim Ban and permanently ban Iranians, with 72% of respondents indicating that they are ‘very concerned.’

Sadly, respondents reported that instances of discrimination have increased over the last year. One third of respondents reported that they know someone who has been impacted by the Muslim Ban and 42% feel they are affected by negative depictions of Iranians in U.S. media.

Advocacy and Political Priorities

Advocacy goals of NIAC Action members.

Advancing diplomacy with Iran to protect the nuclear deal and avoid armed conflict was ranked as the highest advocacy priority by supporters, followed by seeking an end to the Muslim Ban. Protecting civil rights was ranked as the third priority, followed by lifting sanctions to enable US-Iran trade, and supporting human rights in Iran. These priorities reflect those of past surveys with the notable and unfortunate addition of the Muslim Ban.  

Respondents said they would like to see NIAC Action continue to   support political candidates who are committed to advancing Iranian-American interests: 45% prioritized helping to get Iranian Americans elected to Congress; 43% prioritized helping Democrats retake Congress in 2018; and 29% would like to work with NIAC Action to donate to candidates who will work with our community on issues like protecting the Iran deal and ending the Muslim ban.

Continuing our mission

NIAC surveys its donors and supporters to set its advocacy priorities for the current year. The results of past surveys have consistently mirrored the views of the majority of Iranian Americans, as expressed in statistical surveys of the broader Iranian-American community conducted by universities and professional pollsters.

We wish to thank all those who took part in this year’s survey. Your participation ensures that our community is unified as we move forward to tackle the most pressing issues confronting Iranian Americans. We look forward to working together to accomplish our goals and increase our community’s political influence in the years to come.

Deal-Killing Iran Bill Stalled in Senate

Washington, DC – A critical bill from Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AS) and Bob Corker (R-TN) that would violate the Iran nuclear deal appears to have stalled due to lack of support. Contacts on Capitol Hill have indicated to NIAC Action staff that negotiations on the bill have led nowhere and that few Senate Democrats have been tempted by the Cotton-Corker proposal. This is a key development in the fight to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, as Cotton-Corker appeared to be the most likely legislative vehicle to move following Trump’s October 13th decision to withhold certification of the accord. Yet, a full month later, deal opponents have yet to convince Democrats to back any legislative proposals that would violate the accord.

NIAC Action members have pushed back strongly against the bill, including by calling and writing their Members of Congress and organizing phone banks in key states. These actions have helped to highlight the risks of the U.S. killing the deal, which could put the U.S. and Iran on the fast track to war.

Additionally, a November 9th article in The Jerusalem Post concludes that Corker, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pulled the bill due to insufficient support following pushback from Senate Democrats and European parties to the accord.

Based on a draft summary of the Cotton-Corker bill that was circulated in October, the proposal sought to automatically re-impose nuclear-related sanctions under various scenarios without regard to whether Iran is upholding its nuclear commitments. Under one such scenario, sanctions would be re-imposed if Iran ever moves under a one year “breakout” timeline, which is not prohibited in the out years of the agreement. At a briefing held by NIAC on October 18, former Obama administration official Robert Malley warned “The legislation that the administration is pushing and that some in Congress are supporting… is a violation of the deal.”

While Cotton’s spokesperson indicated the legislators “are very much still working together on a bill that reflects the same framework laid out last month,” Corker’s spokesperson did not dispute assertions that the legislation had been pulled, according to The Jerusalem Post article.

If the Cotton-Corker bill is dead in the water, there are still several legislative threats to overcome to preserve the nuclear accord. An alternative threat would be a watered-down version of the Cotton-Corker legislation that would still seek to alter the agreement’s terms by moving the goalposts on sanctions relief. This could lead to a fracturing of the agreement by undermining the notion that the U.S. intends to uphold its end of the bargain. Additionally, under the sixty-day window triggered by Trump’s October decertification, Congress has roughly one additional month wherein it could snapback nuclear-related sanctions under expedited procedure. However, there appears to be no Congressional appetite to kill the deal in such a direct manner.

Even if Congress gets through the 60-day window without snapping back sanctions or seeking to amend the terms, there may be additional pressure to pass problematic legislation given Trump’s lingering threat to terminate the deal if Congress abstains from action. In January, the administration faces another 90-day certification requirement under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, and must act once again to waive existing sanctions in order to uphold the JCPOA.

America Needs a Diplomacy-Centric Approach to Iran

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Trump’s decertification: The Trump administration decertified the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last month despite Iran’s continued verified compliance and the broad consensus that the accord remains in the U.S. national interest. The decision to decertify gives Congress 60 days – until December 12th – to introduce legislation under an expedited, filibuster-proof process that would reimpose the sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal – effectively ending U.S. compliance with the 7-party agreement.

What happens now: Under the expedited process Trump triggered, Republicans in Congress can kill the Iran deal with a simple majority vote – meaning no Democrats would need to be brought along. However, while every Republican in Congress publicly opposed the Iran deal, few of them have been willing to kill the agreement outright now that they have the opportunity. Instead, Trump has called has called for Congress to unilaterally alter the accord by passing legislation that ties sanctions relief to Iran’s missile program and makes “all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity permanent under U.S. law.” Such efforts would be a violation of the agreement.

Will Congress pass legislation: Senator Tom Cotton (who authored the infamous letter behind Obama’s back to Ayatollah Khamenei during the nuclear talks) and Bob Corker have been circulating draft legislation to enact Trump’s vision. The legislation is not subject to the expedited process – meaning all Senate Republicans and at least 8 Democrats would need to support such a bill. So far, Cotton and Corker have failed to convince any Democrats to get on board.

History has proven that the United States’ only successes in changing Iranian behavior have been the result of a diplomacy-centric approach. Eschewing this strategy threatens to weaken and isolate the United States, spark a renewed nuclear crisis, and lead to eventual war.

Trump’s Twitter Diplomacy is Making International Engagement Impossible – Particularly with Countries Like Iran

  • The Trump Administration has not engaged in serious diplomatic efforts with Iran. Tweets and outrageous public speeches are not how sensitive diplomacy works. The Trump administration reportedly decided to attempt to meet with President Rouhani following Trump’s  provocative speech attacking Iran and North Korea at the United Nations. There did not appear to be any serious plan in place for such an effort.
  • Instead of working with allies and pursuing further diplomacy, Trump has antagonized our partners in Europe by decertifying the deal and undermined moderates in Iran who have supported engagement.
  • Trump’s careless diplomatic freelancing is only doing damage and preventing real diplomatic engagement. It took the U.S. and Iran 30+ years to engage in real diplomacy and produce an agreement. This is not a Manhattan real estate deal, this is sensitive international diplomacy and Trump is in over his head.

America Needs a Diplomacy-Centric Approach to Iran

  • There is only one approach that has enhanced U.S. and regional security with Iran: the serious, multilateral negotiations that produced the JCPOA.The Iran nuclear deal was negotiated with our allies in Europe as well as Russia and China – none support Trump reopening the agreement or Congress unilaterally altering it, let alone Iran.
  • The JCPOA could be a foundation to build upon, but only if the U.S. maintains its credibility by fulfilling its commitments under the accord; undermining and decertifying the accord will close off diplomatic opportunities – with Iran as well as the EU.

The Iran Deal is Working

  • Just like Obamacare, Trump and Republicans claimed they wanted to kill the Iran deal but have no real plan to replace it. Trump accidentally called the bluff of Iran deal opponents. After years of Republicans claiming the JCPOA was a bad deal and promising on the campaign trail that they would “tear it up”, now that they have the opportunity they are balking because the Iran deal is working and killing it would be devastating to U.S. interests.
  • Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently affirmed that staying in the JCPOA is in the national security interest of the United States.
  • The JCPOA has rolled back Iran’s nuclear program and subjected it to the “world’s most robust nuclear verification regime,” according to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.
  • IAEA Director Amano visited Tehran on October 29, 2017 and again publicly stated that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA.
  • The IAEA gained access to the Parchin military facility as a result of the JCPOA in 2015, and can gain access to any facility in Iran in short order under the JCPOA. No credible evidence of any malfeasance at Iranian military facilities has emerged to date.
  • Although some lawmakers are concerned about certain sunset provisions, if the U.S. leaves the JCPOA and it disintegrates then everything sunsets immediately.

No, Iran’s “Malign Activities” in the Region Have Not Gotten Worse After the Deal

  • According to Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Iran has directed the preponderance of the money gained from sanctions relief to “economic development and infrastructure.
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford indicated in September that “Iran has not changed its malign activity in the region since JCPOA was signed.
  • Iran has continued to undertake ballistic missile testing at a rate that is consistent with past practices. However, thanks to the JCPOA, those missiles cannot be fitted with a nuclear warhead.
  • Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is politicizing the intelligence on this issue. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has cast Iran as “dramatically” increasing its malign activities since the JCPOA was signed. Pompeo, who has a history of skewing the facts on Iran and is a close political ally of Trump, has been criticized for politicizing his position at the CIA. According to one official, “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.”

Trump is Taking the U.S. Towards a War Path with Iran

  • There are numerous tripwires for conflict across the region, including in Syria, Yemen and the Persian Gulf. Yet, there is no existing de-confliction channel and no diplomatic relationship with Iran to prevent a conflict from quickly spiraling out of control.
  • A comprehensive American approach towards Iran must:
    • Re-establish U.S. credibility with our international partners and Iran by making it clear that the U.S. will not abrogate the JCPOA.
    • Establish a high-level bilateral channel with Iran to avoid an escalatory spiral and engage Iran on remaining issues of concern, including regional security and detained dual nationals in Iran.
    • Launch comprehensive, multilateral diplomatic efforts with Iran aimed at resolving tensions. Such an approach should be based on a “more for more” approach, meaning the U.S. should propose lifting its remaining sanctions and embargo against Iran.

America Needs a Diplomacy-Centric Approach to Iran

View as PDF:

The Trump administration is planning to de-certify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) despite Iran’s continued verified compliance and the broad consensus that the accord remains in the U.S. national interest. Worse, reports indicate the Administration will leverage decertification to significantly escalate pressure on Iran while failing to engage Iran diplomatically. History has proven that the United States’ only successes in changing Iranian behavior have been the result of a diplomatic-centric approach. Eschewing this strategy threatens to weaken and isolate the United States, spark a renewed nuclear crisis, and lead to eventual war.

Iran’s Non-Nuclear Activities Are Unchanged But Far Less Dangerous Under the JCPOA

  • According to Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Iran has directed the preponderance of the money gained from sanctions relief to “economic development and infrastructure.”
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford indicated in September that “Iran has not changed its malign activity in the region since JCPOA was signed.”
  • Iran has continued to undertake ballistic missile testing at a rate that is consistent with past practices. However, thanks to the JCPOA, those missiles cannot be fitted with a nuclear warhead.
  • Prior sanctions targeting Iran’s missile testing has only resulted in Iran escalating its program. Iran views its missile program as a conventional deterrent vital to its national defense; threats will not change that posture, diplomatic engagement can.
  • Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is politicizing the intelligence on this issue. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has cast Iran as “dramatically” increasing its malign activities since the JCPOA was signed. Pompeo, who has a history of skewing the facts on Iran and is a close political ally of Trump, has been criticized for politicizing his position at the CIA. According to one official, “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.”

Undermining the JCPOA is Devastating to U.S. National Security Interests

  • Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently affirmed that staying in the JCPOA is in the national security interest of the United States.
  • The JCPOA has rolled back Iran’s nuclear program and subjected it to the “world’s most robust nuclear verification regime,” according to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.
  • The IAEA gained access to the Parchin military facility as a result of the JCPOA in 2015, and can gain access to any facility in Iran in short order under the JCPOA. No credible evidence of any malfeasance at Iranian military facilities has emerged to date.
  • The IAEA, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. intelligence and our European allies all continue to affirm Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA.
  • If Trump fails to certify the JCPOA despite Iran’s compliance and its clear benefits, U.S. credibility will be tarnished, particularly with those states who helped secure the deal and will be critical to any future nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.
  • Decertification, even without Congressional sanctions snapback, will poison the well with Iran and our allies. Any efforts to counter Iranian activities will be significantly de-legitimized as part of an attempt to abrogate the nuclear agreement.  

America Needs a Diplomacy-Centric Approach to Iran

  • There is only one approach that has enhanced U.S. and regional security with Iran: the serious, multilateral negotiations that produced the JCPOA.
  • The JCPOA could be a foundation to build upon, but only if the U.S. maintains its credibility by fulfilling its commitments under the accord; undermining and decertifying the accord will close off diplomatic opportunities – with Iran as well as the EU.
  • There are numerous tripwires for conflict across the region, including in Syria, Yemen and the Persian Gulf. Yet, there is no existing de-confliction channel and no diplomatic relationship with Iran to prevent a conflict from quickly spiraling out of control.
  • A comprehensive American approach towards Iran must:
    • Re-establish U.S. credibility with our international partners and Iran by making it clear that the U.S. will not abrogate the JCPOA, including by certifying the accord and halting the politicization of the IAEA’s critical role in verifying Iran’s compliance with its obligations.
    • Establish a high-level bilateral channel with Iran to avoid an escalatory spiral and engage Iran on remaining issues of concern, including regional security and detained dual nationals in Iran.
    • Launch comprehensive, multilateral diplomatic efforts with Iran aimed at resolving tensions. Such an approach should be based on a “more for more” approach, meaning the U.S. should propose lifting its remaining sanctions and embargo against Iran.

Let’s Send an Iranian American to Congress

Do you remember where you were on the night Trump first imposed his ban against Iranians? 

Kia Hamadanchy was working in the U.S. Senate. As he saw the nightmare unfold, he decided that enough was enough – we needed an Iranian American in Congress. That’s when he made up his mind to run for U.S. Congress to represent his hometown of Irvine, CA.

Kia is running in California’s 45th district – which has the second largest Iranian-American population of any district in the country. The incumbent is a Tea Party Republican who is in lockstep with Donald Trump. Like too many lawmakers, she ignores her Iranian-American constituents on core issues like Trump’s ban and preventing war with Iran.

What better message to deliver to Washington than sending the first Iranian American to Congress? 

>> Learn more about Kia and how you can help send him to Washington

NIAC Action is proud to announce our endorsement of Kia Hamadanchy for Congress because he stands firmly on the right side of the issues most important to our community: he has pledged to work to dismantle Trump’s shameful Muslim ban; he is an unapologetic defender of the Iran deal who supports diplomacy over war and sanctions; and he wants to foster greater ties between the American and Iranian people.

Already, Kia raised an impressive $200,000 in his first quarter. But he faces a crowded primary election and a tough battle in the 2018 general election. It is imperative that our community unite in support of his candidacy so we can finally have a pro-peace, civil rights champion representing the Iranian-American community in Congress.

To get the latest updates on Kia’s campaign and find out how you can help, visit his website at www.kiafororangecounty.com.

If you would like to contribute to Kia’s campaign you can make a donation here.