News & Views
IIC members in San Francisco Protested against Senator Feinstein's Allegations against Iranian Students in the US
San Francisco, May-15 - On Wednesday, May 13, 1998, officials of IIC (Iranians for International Cooperation), a not-for-profit network of concerned global citizens, who strive to facilitate friendship between Iran and other nations of the world, especially United States, met with Ms. Cathy Widener, San Francisco field director at Senator Diane Feinstein's office.
The IIC officials including Hadi Nahari, a senior computer engineer from Silicon Valley, Amir Fassihi, a medical student at University of California, and Dr. Kamiar Kallaantar, a board certified, licensed physician in California, expressed their concerns with regard to Senator Feinstein's comments about the risk for "terrorism" Iranian students in the US constitute.
Late February, Senator Feinstein had urged stricter visa restrictions for Iranian students, despite mending ties between Iran and the US. An increase in cultural exchanges between the two countries, which may lay the ground for a resumption of ties, require liberalized visa regulations. Due to new regulations issued by the new Iranian government, American citizens can get their visas to Iran processed in less than a week. Iranian citizens, on the other hand, may wait for more than 3 months and must make a stop in a third country, in order to get their visas to the US.
The Iranian-American community, a highly integrated and productive community with a remarkable educational background, with over half a million of them residing in California, felt very offended and frustrated by Senator Feinstein's unfair and insulting comments, a sentiment conveyed to the Senator by the IIC officials.
Bearing in mind that no Iranian has been involved in any terrorist act on US soil, and that both US and Iran are attempting mutually to improve their relations, calling for stricter visa regulations at this time is counterproductive to the expressed objectives of the US.
The IIC Officials urged Senator Feinstein to clarify her allegations as to which cases of terrorist activities were ever carried out or attempted, on US soil, with the direct or indirect involvement of Iranian-Americans.
Three major steps were proposed to Senator Feinstein in order to achieve better understanding and cooperation between California Iranians and their Senator: (1) Supporting cultural exchange between the two nations including liberalizing student visa restrictions for Iranians. (2) Attempting towards the lifting of US imposed sanctions on Iran. (3) Positive gestures to seek reconciliation with Iranian-Americans including greeting messages to the Iranian community during their new years festival (March 21), as other officials including President Clinton, the governor of California have kindly been doing.
© 1998, Iranians for International Cooperation, IIC