An unprecendented win for the Iranian-American Community

Parisa celebrating her historic win during her election watch party with Governor Terry McAuliffe and NIAC staff members and supporters.

On Tuesday night, NIAC Action endorsee Parisa Dehghani-Tafti won her election in a highly contested race for Commonwealth Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, unseating the long-time incumbent prosecutor. Parisa’s candidacy gained national attention after receiving endorsements and unprecedented amounts of support from notable figures like billionaire philanthropist George Soros and musician John Legend!

A victory like this is rare, as prosecutors are rarely unseated and traditionally remain in their seats for their lifetime. But Parisa’s track record of success signaled the possibility of change, and NIAC Action was proud to support her candidacy from its earliest days all the way through her election win.

NIAC Action also congratulates its endorsee Yasmine Taeb, who ran an impressive campaign for Virginia State Senate against an establishment candidate that remained unchallenged for 40 years. Although being outspent 10-1 by one of Virginia’s top corporate fundraisers, her grassroots efforts brought her within a few hundred votes of achieving a historic upset victory. Like Parisa, Yasmine’s campaign also received national attention, forcing her opponent to campaign in-person for the first time in decades.

These political gains represent real power across the Iranian-American community. They also mark critical steps towards building a strong political pipeline for other Iranian Americans interested in securing a seat at the table of all levels of government.

NIAC Action supports and encourages Iranian-Americans to participate in the U.S. democratic process and run for office. As we approach 2020, we will seek a fresh wave of progressive Iranian-American civic leaders looking to represent this community.

NIAC Action Endorsee Unseats Incumbent in Virginia Primary Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x 103 | mana@niacaction.org

VIRGINIA— Moments ago, the Virginia Department of Elections polling results indicated that NIAC Action endorsee, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, has unseated incumbent Theo Stamos to become the state’s new Commonwealth Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, by a margin of 58.5% to 41.5%. Separately, NIAC Action is continuing to monitor the election results for NIAC Action endorsee and DNC delegate Yasmine Taeb in her race for Virginia’s 35th Senate District.

In response to Dehghani-Tafti’s win, NIAC Action Political Director Arzo Wardak said:

“Rarely are prosecutors unseated, and many find themselves in their seats for a lifetime. But that trend is changing–beginning with Parisa. Parisa is an extraordinary woman who now holds the honor of being the first Iranian-American ever elected to this position. Parisa’s influence was felt long before the election results came in. She is among a fresh wave of progressive Iranian-American leaders inspiring a new generation and nurturing civic engagement among a community that has historically shied away it.

“Her candidacy marks an important step forward for the Iranian-American community, and for all communities looking to secure a seat at the table. And her victory illuminates the growing trend of Iranian Americans not only casting off previously ingrained hesitation about civic engagement, but actually wholly leaning into the idea of building political power.

“Parisa is poised to reform the criminal justice system to the benefit of all Virginians–including for minority and immigrant communities who have traditionally found themselves disenfranchised by the system. With Parisa now steering the state toward the path to progressive politics, Virginia voters can now rest assured that there is a candidate in office who is driven by only one thing: the best interests of her constituents.”

NIAC Action Is Proud to Endorse Yasmine Taeb for Virginia State Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, February 2, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | mana@niacaction.org

VIRGINIA — NIAC Action is proud to announce its official endorsement of Yasmine Taeb, candidate for Virginia’s 35th Senate District. Yasmine is waging a primary challenge against the Virginia Senate’s Democratic Minority Leader, Dick Saslaw.

“Yasmine has been on the front lines standing up for the Iranian-American community and against the bigotry that Trump rode to the White House. We are proud to have worked with her, and are thrilled to endorse her candidacy for State Senate today,” said Jamal Abdi, President of NIAC Action. “Whether leading marches against the Muslim ban, advocating for human rights, or blazing a trail at the DNC, Yasmine has the leadership and vision to give the 35th Senate district of Virginia a champion of its values and to make our community proud.”

Yasmine’s dedication to championing progressive values is a result of her own origins. At the age of six, she fled Iran with her family to escape the Iran-Iraq war. Being an Iranian-American immigrant has afforded her a unique, nuanced understanding of the needs of underrepresented groups. As a longtime Northern Virginia resident, Yasmine has worked diligently to highlight women’s issues and to eliminate unlawful discrimination. Her experience has emboldened her to advocate for the same marginalized communities regressive politicians like Northam and Saslaw have abandoned. 

Yasmine Taeb has joined other Virginia Democrats in calling for Governor Ralph Northam to resign after shocking photos emerged showing the governor in racist attire. Yasmine’s opponent, Dick Saslaw, was the only Democrat in the General Assembly to defend Northam, and characterized the outrageous photos as a mere youthful indiscretion. Saslaw’s attempt to excuse this behavior underscores the importance of bringing new leadership to Richmond.

As a lifelong activist committed to amplifying the voices of those frequently sidelined and marginalized by regressive politicians, Yasmine will stand firmly against the bigotry driving today’s politics. Yasmine serves as Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Victims of Torture and has dedicated her career to public advocacy and service, including serving as a 2012 NIAC Congressional Fellow. Yasmine has been endorsed by more than 50 community leaders and local elected officials, including by the leaders of Indivisible, MoveOn, PCCC, and Demand Progress and by progressive groups such as the Progressive Democrats of America – VA, Our Revolution Northern Virginia, and Emgage PAC.

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