IAPAC is creating false hopes and making impossible
By Ladan Afrasiabi
May 27, 2004
IAPAC -- the Iranian
American Political Action Committee -- came
to existence in 2003 following what seemed to be more of a "coup"
inside American Iranian
Council, when three of AIC board members,
Hassan Nemazee, Akbar Ghahari and Faraj Aaalei collectively resigned
AIC and formed this well funded organization. Tapping into the
and intellectual wealth of successful Iranians in the US and banking
their political ambitions, IAPAC is claiming to be the voice of
American diaspora in the US.
The backgrounds of IAPAC's three founders are as contradictory
organizations' vague mission statement. Hassan Nemazee is
a NY investor
whose political career with the Democratic Party during Clinton
when White House withdrew his nomination as the Ambassador of Argentina,
following a publication of the Forbes magazine article about his
business dealings and even falsifying his identity as Cuban and
the other hand Mr. Ghahari is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist
whose open, warm and long time relations with the Iranian officials,
including Kamal Kharazi, has raised eyebrows even among his colleagues
IAPAC. As for Aalaie, he is known as the New Kid On the
Block -- a political
novice and a protégé of Kamran Elahian, the well-known
capitalist in Silicon Valley.
A look at IAPAC organization reveals that this colorful mosaic
and key players has manifested itself in an identity crisis for
organization, while creating false hopes and making impossible
many enthusiastic Iranian Americans.
" ... IAPAC focuses exclusively on domestic policy issues
such as civil
rights, immigration and civil liberties, and encourages Americans
descent to actively participate in the electoral process, to
vote and run
for political office. In forming IAPAC, the twenty-two founding
agreed that in order to provide a voice on domestic issues
that unify our
community, IAPAC's bylaws would exclude the organization from
issues pertaining to U.S. foreign policy towards Iran."
Historically, the successful lobby groups representing the
diaspora are those that have very clear cut relations with
their respective motherland, as
in the case
of Israelis and Cubans; with unconditional support
State of Israel and Anti-Castro Cuban hardliners.
However, in the case of Iranians, we are deeply divided in our
the government of Iran. We differ on the very notion of dialogue
Iranian officials. Some go as far as promoting harsher sanction
against Iran and some are waiting for American "angels" to
march into Tehran, etc. In this complicated and controversial
political landscape, IAPAC claims to be bi-partisan and is promising
above the very obstacles it intends to remove.
Aren't we forgetting that all cases of discrimination against
Iranian immigrants are based on the poor state of US-Iran relations?
Would Iranians and their parents have any visa issues if relations
normal? Isn't it true that the only reason scientists
and students are
not allowed to publish their papers in the U.S. is because their
country of origin is a member of the "Axis of Evil"?
What are the "other civic
and domestic policies" that are specific to
Iranians and NOT related to the US-Iran relations? Case in point
is Libya. When Libya decided to stop WMD production, the U.S.
lifted all restrictions applied to
Libya, including travel and investment.
IAPAC needs to explain how it can possibly succeed in removing
the visa ban on Iranian students or change the fingerprinting procedures
without having to engage and address, one way or another, the
root cause of these laws, namely the US foreign policy toward Iran
The "non political" status of IAPAC is a contradiction
of terms and the
upcoming IAPAC Gala in Washington is a manifestation of this inherent
dichotomy. The sight of Goli Ameri and Shirin Ebadi participating
this event is simply an eye sore. Ameri, a hard line Republican,
advocate of American invasion of Iraq who recently wrote an open
Powel demanding harsher sanctions on Iran would be sitting next
Ebadi, a nationalist Muslim, a human rights activists who has spoken
against the US war in Iraq and is promoting dialogue with Iran?
really think that Ameri, as accomplished as she may be, if
elected to U.S. Congress, would vote differently on the very same
issues, regardless of how
many Iranians have contributed to her campaign? The elitist composition
of IAPAC comes at a cost of
genuine hope, trust and enthusiasm of Iranians who want to create
a dent in
the anti Iran policies and the discriminating laws in the US, but
with lack of any better alternative.
May is Mamnoon
Support your favorite site