After the Midterms: Across the Country, Iran Warmongers & Muslim Ban Defenders Lost Big

Group Calls on House Democrats to Take Action to Save the JCPOA, Prevent War with Iran, and Repeal Trump’s Muslim Ban

For Immediate Release: November 7th, 2018
Contact: Yasmina Dardari | yasmina@unbendablemedia.com | (407) 922-8149 

Jamal Abdi, executive director of NIAC Action, issued the following statement:

“Across the country, candidates dedicated to overturning Trump’s outrageous and discriminatory Muslim ban and stopping war with Iran won big. To have a check on Trump is a huge victory for the Iranian-American community, our country and the global community.

“This victory was absolutely necessary given that the very foundations of our democracy, along with the security of immigrant communities in the United States, were deliberately targeted by an administration that has excelled in nothing but demagoguery. Faced with this concerted assault, Republicans either cheered Donald Trump on or stood silent as he separated us from our families and stacked his cabinet with warmongers.

“That’s why we are proud to play a key role in replacing many of Trump’s lackies with strong candidates who will defend our community. NIAC Action members donated their time and money to candidates that support the Iranian-American communities priorities, including by registering voters, organizing phone banks, text banks and canvassing trips to fight for a new Congress. All of that hard work has paid off in a major way.

“Iranian Americans also took major strides to ensure that we have a seat in the halls of power, with Anna Eskamani and Zahra Karinshak winning their races to their respective state legislatures by flipping red districts. In Utah, Shireen Ghorbani also ran an inspiring campaign in a deep red district, though fell short to the incumbent Congressman. We look forward to supporting many more Iranian Americans in the near future.

“We are tremendously excited by the Harley Rouda, Mike Levin and Jennifer Wexton elections and look to the next Congress to take action to save the vital nonproliferation accord with Iran, stop the Trump Administration’s path to war, and take serious action to repeal the President’s discriminatory Muslim ban.”

In its first ever slate of endorsements for federal office, NIAC Action, a grassroots, civic action organization advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community, announced its backing of Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Mike Levin (CA-49), Katie Porter (CA-45), and Shireen Ghorbani (UT-02) for Congress.

In addition to its federal endorsements, NIAC Action endorsed candidates running for state and local office, including Anna Eskamani running for Florida State Representative in the 47th District, Zahra Karinshak running for Georgia State Senator in the 48th District. Both Karinshak and Eskamani won their seats.

The federal candidates who won NIAC Action’s endorsement have all pledged to overturn President Trump’s Muslim Ban and oppose war with Iran. They ran against opponents who have blocked a vote in Congress overturning Trump’s Muslim ban, and have stood lockstep with Trump on his discriminatory agenda and decision to violate the Iran nuclear deal.

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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 American and Iranian people.

Candidate Profile: Shireen Ghorbani, UT-02

“I see decisions being made everyday that violate the values that Utahns and Americans hold dear” said Shireen Ghorbani. “I am deeply troubled by the President’s actions and words that harm immigrants, specifically people of color, in this country.”

A proud first-generation Iranian American, University of Utah employee, and full-time mom, Ghorbani is running for U.S. Congress to represent Utah’s 2nd District. As the daughter of an Iranian immigrant, Shireen is “particularly distressed by the travel ban,” because “under this ban, families like [her] own are kept apart,” something that is unacceptable to her. If elected, Shireen will “support Congressional efforts to defund and rescind the Muslim ban,” including the Statue of Liberty Values Act that has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Shireen believes that “this ban is misguided and harmful” with “no evidence that it makes us any safer.”

In response to the Trump administration’s recent actions towards Iran, Shireen says she feels considerably less safe with the current president’s “saber-rattling” when there is no discernable plan in place. She also suggests Trump’s actions toward Iran are “distractions for a series of failed policies and scandals plaguing the administration.”

Hailing from outside of Bismarck, North Dakota, Shireen earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Communication Studies in 2013 from St. Cloud State University. Shireen and her fiance spent two years serving in the United States Peace Corps in the Republic of Moldova, an experience that has helped shape her campaign.

Shireen later went on to earn her Master of Arts in Communication Studies from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Master of Philosophy in Organizational Communication and Policy from the University of Utah. She currently works as the Associate Director for Organizational Development and Communications for the University of Utah and is board chair of a local center that serves victims of sexual violence.

Shireen is challenging Republican incumbent Chris Stewart this November. Her campaign is focused on building grassroots support and Shireen is refusing any corporate donations.  Instead, she is focused on an “aggressive ground game…knock[ing] on thousands of doors across [the] state.” If elected, Shireen would become the first Iranian American in Congress, something she hopes will “start a movement for more people with deeper roots to the community to have a seat at the table.”  

NIAC Action Endorses Champion of Immigrant Rights, Shabnam Lotfi

NIAC Action is excited to announce our endorsement of Shabnam Lotfi, who is running for the Wisconsin State Assembly in District 77 and would become the first Iranian-American ever elected to the Wisconsin legislature!

“I was born in Tehran in 1982 and came to the US when I was just four years old. From a very early age, I wanted to be a lawyer and fight for justice.” Shabnam tells us. “The first lesson I learned in life was that democracy matters.”

Lotfi, a University of Wisconsin Law School graduate, currently serves as an attorney at her Madison-based firm Lotfi Legal LLC, focusing on immigration law. In March 2018, in the midst of Trump’s Muslim ban and the revelation that the State Department had issued a shockingly small number of waivers, she filed a class action lawsuit against the Trump Administration that is now pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Lotfi is also known for her popular Facebook group, Immigrants United, which she established to bring people together during times of crisis. In 2017, when the airports were a mess, Shabnam was instrumental in getting Iranian Americans the information and help they needed to navigate a difficult situation.

Shabnam is very active in the Iranian-American community and was a vocal supporter of the Iran deal, saying it “was a win-win agreement for everyone.” She lists government accountability, gun violence, and the University of Wisconsin as a few of her top priorities if elected to Wisconsin’s State Assembly.

Shabnam has been endorsed by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, City Council President Samba Baldeh, former County Board Supervisor John Hendrich, two former Alders Robbie Webber and Eve Galanter, University of Wisconsin Law Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes, and many others.

Wisconsin State Assembly District 77 is an open seat that has been held by retiring Representative Terese Berceau (Dem) for the past 20 years. Shabnam faces a primary that will be held in 3 weeks on August 14th. Since no Republican is running in this race, the winner of the primary will win the election in November. With our community’s support, we can help send Shabnam to the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Make a contribution to Shabnam’s campaign

To learn more about Shabnam check out the links below.

Campaign: https://www.shabnamforwisconsin.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShabnamLotfi77/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShabnamLotfi77

Candidate Profile: Melody Shekari, TN-28

“As the daughter of immigrants, I have watched firsthand our family’s fulfillment of the American Dream,” says Melody Shekari, “through hard work, struggle, and the many kindnesses of so many people, we have built a comfortable life in the US and have been able to give back to our community as well.”

As a proud first-generation Iranian American, and an accomplished attorney and community advocate, Shekari is running to represent the 28th District in Tennessee’s State House of Representatives. Born in Texas and raised in Chattanooga, Melody went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Economics from Bentley University, a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Washington, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

Shekari decided to return to Chattanooga following her education and serve her community in various capacities, including as a board member on both the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU) and the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee, as well as a founding member of the Empower Women PAC.

Advocating for the rights of all immigrants is a key issue to Melody and educating the immigrant community on these issues is vital: “As an attorney, I have become concerned with the infringement of the civil rights of all immigrants. I work with immigrant communities (including Iranian-Americans) to help them understand and advocate for their rights.” Melody is highly critical of President Trump’s Executive order, banning immigration from five Muslim majority countries, “I absolutely oppose Trump’s ban on immigration from Muslim countries. This is nothing more than blatant discrimination.”

In response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Melody has pledged to oppose any and all efforts at the state level that would undermine the tenants of the agreement. “By all accounts (even independent inspectors), Iran has been in compliance with this treaty.  There is no reason to rescind this agreement. What does it say to the world, if the US cannot be counted on to keep its word? We must continue to stand with our allies in support of the JCPOA,” says Melody.

In 2016, Melody decided to run for a House seat in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District. While she was ultimately not able to pull off an upset in this heavily Republican district, she did manage to win the Democratic nomination. Now, as she runs for a seat in the state legislature, she comes to the campaign with a unique set of skills honed on the trail in 2016.

With incumbent Democrat JoAnne Favors vacating her seat in the 28th district of the Tennessee House, a highly competitive field of five candidates is facing off in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Republican Lemon C. Williams in the November 6th general election.

Melody truly believes if she is elected she can institute change and improve the lives of her constituents, “I am running for State Legislature in Tennessee to make sure that every person can achieve his or her unique American Dream. There is nothing that cannot be achieved if we all work together. I want to move beyond today’s divisive partisan politics, and work with my colleagues to begin to get things done.”

To learn more about Melody’s campaign visit: http://www.melodyshekari.com/.

Melody’s primary election is set for August 2nd.