Disrupting discourse

Chaos at Amnesty event, NIAC responds


Disrupting discourse
by Babak Talebi

On February 22, Amnesty International hosted a panel presentation and discussion titled, "Human Rights in Iran: How to Move Forward," in Beverly Hills, California. The event was disrupted by Mohammad Parvin’s MEHR-Iran organization, various monarchist factions, and members of the outlawed Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK); and was cancelled after the opening remarks.

The Amnesty event featured four Iran specialists (including National Iranian American Council President, Trita Parsi), and was organized to highlight Iran’s abysmal human rights record. Amnesty International organizers hoped to use this event to initiate talks with the Iranian-American community in Southern California about Iran’s human rights situation.

The MEHR-Iran, monarchist, and MEK groups in attendance rejected Amnesty International’s extended hand of cooperation, and instead embarrassed not only themselves, but the entire Iranian-American community. By setting back the efforts of one of the world’s premiere human rights groups, these radical Iranian Americans managed to do the Iranian government’s dirty work for them.

As an extension of our working relationship with Amnesty International—including NIAC’s own July 2007 conference, “Human Rights in Iran and US Policy Options,” held on Capitol Hill (transcript here)—Trita was invited to participate on the February 22 panel. In the days prior to the panel discussion, MEHR-Iran (a self-described Human Rights organization) demanded that Amnesty exclude NIAC from the event (a tactic they tried at NIAC’s July conference as well). Their belligerent harassment of Amnesty staff in July reached so high that Amnesty’s lawyers had to step in and put a stop to it.

Still, MEHR-Iran and its friends pressed on, intent on disrupting the efforts of a leading human rights organization. They organized a counter-event in the same building as the Amnesty event. This MEHR meeting became the breeding ground for their plans to demonstrate against and disrupt Amnesty’s panel.

An Iranian-American (and former Amnesty International board member) acted as the event’s moderator. His introductory remarks (in English) were met with a loud outcry from the Iranian oppositional groups, complaining in Persian that they do not understand English and demanding that he speak in Persian. Amnesty, an American organization whose events are always in English, had six staffers present, only one of whom spoke Persian. Similarly, the audience included dozens of non-Iranian guests that had come to learn about the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.

When the audience settled down a bit, the moderator, continuing in English, reminded the audience that Amnesty was videotaping the event, and that no other recording of the event was permissible.

Chaos commenced.

Standing up and shouting in Persian, a producer with PARS TV demanded that, “on behalf of Iranian media outlets in Los Angeles,” Amnesty International must permit PARS TV to tape the event. As he finished, a few dozen people started shouting at the top of their lungs “Maarg bar Jomhoorieh Eslami” (Death to the Islamic Republic), very reminiscent of the “Death to America” chants we still hear in some quarters in Iran. People started marching around the room with placards held high, continuing to scream and yell. A few members of the audience started yelling back. One woman came to the front and insisted, “I drove two hours from Orange County to hear this talk; you are taking away my right to listen to this panel!”

Police officers, library staff, Amnesty’s own staff from DC, and about half of the audience in the 150-seat hall were all in shock, and were not able to control the demonstrators. It was obvious that the protesters only attended to disrupt the event—not to create meaningful dialogue. Amnesty International was forced to cancel the event.

With the announcement of the event’s cancellation, the most bizarre incident of the night erupted: Sparked by some of their own chants, the demonstrators started to scream at one another. Only minutes before, these groups were on the same side of the battle. Now bitter foes, the monarchists lined the room on one side, and MEK supporters lined the room on the other side. Profanities flew, as people chanted, screamed and yelled at each other. It was absolute chaos and an absolute embarrassment to the Iranian-American community living in California.

This incident illustrates the great frustration that legitimate human rights organizations have when working on Iranian human rights issues in the United States. Instead of being able to tap into the expertise and experience of the Iranian-American community, these organizations have learned to keep a healthy distance from our community—from the radicals still mired in the mindset and tactics of a bygone era.

And it’s no wonder why.

The destructive and disruptive behavior exhibited by MEHR Iran, an isolated human rights organization, does not legitimize the cause. Instead, by stifling the ability of internationally recognized human rights organizations to function in our community, these groups are actually providing a cover and a service to the very same Iranian theocracy they profess to oppose.

The February 22 Amnesty event, though shameful and tragic for the Iranian oppositional groups involved, has revived our conviction that NIAC has to step up to the plate. We have to work twice as hard with organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch—as well as with groups in our own community who legitimately work for human rights—to correct the wrongs of groups like MEHR-Iran, radical monarchists, and the MEK.

NIAC urges the Iranian American community to engage in the same kind of pluralistic discourse we all wish to institute inside Iran. We can, indeed, make a difference. First, however, it seems we have to institute these democratic values inside our own community here in America.

Babak Talebi is Director of Community Relations at the National Iranian American Council.


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Manesh, you almost hit the nail on the head.

by Amir Khosrow Sheibany (not verified) on

But only almost. The mentality of absolutism and ego centric view of the world is what stops many Iranian's from uniting. So I praise you for understanding that and raising yourself, one hopes, above this state of mind.

But then you state "His point is that unless and until you put your foot down, recognize no middle ground, refuse to recognize anyone else but him, he will not cooperate." Manesh.... Exactly when did I say in my writing below you must recognize only me? Are you trying to befuddle the readers here? I have not had my family murdered. I have not been tortured or humiliated by the regime NIAC is so keen on protecting from Iranian and International Justice. I do know, however, people who have suffered greatly at the hands of this regime. I sympathize with them and their families. I do know persons killed in the war to liberate Jerusalem via Baghdad. I feel sorry for them. I do know I am a refugee because of this regime. And I use my opportunity to speak, in a free country, against the Tazi regime, and don't dispense energy on how to graft this regime onto the Iranian population. I am absolutist in that I will not permit anyone to try and wipe the dirty laundry of the Islamic Republic in Iran under the Persian carpet, in the hope of making a living out of the status quo.

I find groups like NIAC are not only trying to shine a light "away" from the crimes of the IRI, and blame the USA, but that they seem to be shedding crocodile tears for those suffering from Human Rights abuses. And they seem to be actively trying to profit from the situation as well.

Back to our questions below that have never been answered. I'll add another one. Please provide me one example of NIAC attempting to bring the leadership of the IRI government to trial? Or Mobilize the Iranian-American's to do so.


@ Jamshid

by manesh on

Amazing is yourself.

I made a contribution to NIAC once (I don't know what CASMII is).  How can you even suggest that supporters of NIAC are IRI supporters?  I'm not.  Do you have evidence or just a (persian) suspicion?

Could it be that in your mind anyone who does not, from morning to night,  scream "IRI BAD" must be a supporter?  There are other things to do and other ways of doing them.   Maybe they don't shout IRI bad because they need to get close to the animal? Maybe they've seen 28 years of solitary "IRI BAD" slogans haven't amounted to much.  


Re: It is amazing...

by jamshid on

There have been three articles posted by NIAC/CASMII in this site recently. All were interesting and informative.

But it is making me wonder why in this site and also elsewhere, mostly pro-IRI people are thanking and supporting NIAC/CASMII.

It makes me wonder who the constituents/members of NIAC/CASMII are? Please don't ge me wrong. I am not "accusing". I am asking questions because the answers are important to me at a personal level. 

If NIAC/CASMII's members are not majority IRI supporters, then why either NIAC or CASMII do not directly and firmly criticize the IRI for the atrocities it is committing in Iran? Not having an answer to this question is bothering many Iranian Americans and is stopping them from coming foward and joining NIAC/CASMII.

Also, why do NIAC and CASMII invite Amnesty International and other human rights group to conferences only to convince them that it is the US pressures that is causing the IRI to commit human right violations?

What is the philosophy behind this argument?

Why aren't they talking about the human rights violations that occur in Iran based on IRI's constitution and judicial/Sharia laws? Which has nothing to do with Bush or other foreign entities. And which were taking place ever since the IRI came to power.

Do NIAC and CASMII have certain "obligations" that does not allow them to defend the Iranian people? Or do they believe that the majority of Iranians support the IRI, and since NIAC/CASMII are "grassroot" organizations, therefore they have to represent that majority by not "offending" the IRI in any ways?

P.S. I am not asking these questions to attack NIAC and CASMII. I am asking because we Iranians were fooled too many times and are rightfully pessimistic. I want to ABSOLUTELY make sure that NIAC and CASMII are not IRI fronts operating in the US. The burden of proof should not be on ordinary Iranian's shoulders to spend hours upon hours researching this to find an answer.

It should be on NIAC and CASMII's shoulders by simply coming out clean and by clearly and unambiguisly comdemning the IRI for the atrocities that it is committing in Iran. If they do, I promise that their membership will increase by hundreds of thousands.

This is how they can cater to the wants of the Iranian-Americans living in the US.


I just saw the youtube video

by manesh on

Truly embaressing!

Those hooligans who disrupted the meeting might have shouted "death to IRI" but they sounded very much like IRI itself.  Pitiful.

By the way, did you notice no death came to IRI after all.  Just shut down a meeting.  I bet they are proud of themselves now. Idiots.



The reason why IRI is still in power:

by manesh on

Because we can not unite.  Why can't we unite? because of ABSOLUTISM!  Mr. Amir Khosrow Sheibany in this thread is a perfect example.  His point is that unless and untill you put your foot down, recognize no middle ground, refuse to recognize anyone else but him, he will not cooperate.  We must talk big and live small forever with these attitudes. Childish, really.

I support NIAC with small $.  I'm not that involved either.  But, I can see it is a modern organization doing the very basics of building a voice for us here.   I don't have to DESTROY NIAC if it is not EVERYTHING I ever wished for.




by azadeh_rassaf on

How truly embarassing...  No wonder we still don't have democracy in Iran.  We can't even bear to hear each other talk.  Which is what people do in a democracy, by the way, no matter how much they disagree with each other!  Do you see democrats, republicans, or independents going to each other's meetings and rallies and shouting and screaming like a bunch of uncivilized..... ?

In a democracy, people FOLLOW the law, no matter how bad it is.  They don't like it?  They use CIVILIZED methods to change it. They shut up and let the other side speak, then they express their opinions.  How do you expect people to shut up and listen to you when you can't do that yourself.  Growing up here, they teach us: treat others like you want to be treated.  Obviously some of us haven't learned that yet.  We're still stuck in the ancient behaviors of uncivilized people of ages ago.  We just want to shut the other side up before we have a chance to hear what they have to say! Oh yeah, because we already KNOW what they want to say.  We have that power.  We don't need to listen!!  Who has the time for that?  Let me just yell and scream and yell and let the whole world know how horrible the other side is!!  Well you know what?  The world's gonna look at that and say:  Wow, no wonder their country is the way it is.  Why would anyone want to get involved and help after that?  (I believe the great Cyrus was more civilized than you.  Allowing people of different views to live with one another instead of crushing them.  Seems like our society doesn't progress, rather digress)

So no matter how much you hate it, democracy means you have to SHUT UP when you go to a meeting and at least ACT civilized if you're not, and speak when it's YOUR turn!!

Oh and if you didn't get the memo, Iran is NOT a monarchy anymore.  I believe the majority of people didn't want it to be, and that's why it's not.  I can't believe most of the people wanted a monarchy, but just a few people managed to change that.  So we have to move FORWARD not BACKWARD for the future of Iran.  No matter how good or bad it was for our contry, it's NOT a monarchy anymore, if you didn't get the memo.  Even if you're in a democratic Iran and have your own political party to express your views, you can't expect the future of country to be in ONE person's hands.

And the fact that everyone thinks they're right just goes to show how ignorant they are.  By taking just taking a couple of political science courses, you'll realize how much you really don't know.  In our community, everyone thinks they're a political expert.  In a democracy, people VOTE for the politicians they think will work towards ideal goals.  That's how they express their views.

And by the way, Amnesty International is an internationally recognized organization that is not affiliated with ANY government and works to make the lives of people living under opressive governments BETTER.

One more thing, it's really childish and high schoolish to accuse someone of belonging to some faction just because you don't like what they have to say.  If you don't have evidence that that person belongs to that group, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

If you don't have anything to say, keep quiet and quit embarassing us as a community.

And Mr. Babak Talebi, I'm sorry the meeting was cancelled because of a bunch of immature people, and your efforts wasted.

I would be sorry if this happened to anyone's civilized gathering.



For those of you that question NIAC's source of funding...

by B-Naam on

...I suggest you talk to someone that has attended one of their fundraisers so he or she can tell you how easily Iranian-Americans of all walks of life take out their check books, credit cards, and hard-earned money, and donate to NIAC.  I don't want to trivialize NIAC's fundraising efforts, but this organization has had great success in connecting to a large number of Iranian-Americans despite all of the lies and does not need to beg for funds from IRI.  And no, not everyone that supports NIAC agrees with its policies wholeheartedly, but everyone recognizes NIAC's efforts to give us a voice as a legitimate organization that has earned the respect of other prominent nonprofit organizations in the U.S.  



NIAC must disclose its source of funding

by Anonymous! (not verified) on

If NIAC is an honest organization they must disclose their source of funding. No white lies please!


To Mehazar

by ashamed (not verified) on

I am not a spokesperson for NIAC but I only can assume that NIAC is made from top to bottom as oppose to being a grass root organization because the grass root, including you and I, have been busy trying to rip each other apart.
Just to let you know, as my experiment has been, there are many grass root organizations in our community. The problem is that the membership never grows and in very rare occasions that they do, it gets tagged as pro IRI, USA, Israel, MKO, or monarchists.
It feels that the saw is going to tear coming in or going out....
Very ashamed...



by Midwesty on

A friendly advice. It is about time to put aside the blame game. The "oppo" groups are as guilty in disturbing the event as you guys in your poor crowd and event planning and management. Both parties (NIAC and oppos) that contributed to the mess should be proud though! It was a signature Iranian gathering or was it? I beg you two parties, next time when you are about to tear each other apart, just remove anything around that is labeled as Persian or Iranian.

I want the chance to thank especially the MEKs and Monarchs for their profound contribution to a civil gathering. We may follow your footsteps.


Thanks Ali

by Anonymous00 (not verified) on

Thanks Ali for your valid criticism of people such as MasoudA and other so-called opposition.

First of all, NIAC cannot solve all the mess created by the U.S., Mullah's, Shaholah's, etc.

Second, provide a proof.

Third, we were NOT free to criticize Shah and Savak; we are NOT free to criticize Mullah's.

Fourth; get a life Masoud, Babak 56, and others. NIAC is innocent until proving guilty.

Fifth: Do not expect NIAC to get into shouting match.

Sixth: If one does not shout and use obscene words towrads someone and/or organization, it does not mean this person supports IRI.

Seventh: Do something constructive you idiots.

Eight: Thank you NIAC.



by Majid on

Please verify if at the end they found that "Sang-e Paa"....LOL

Funny clip!


To those who make all these

by Ali (not verified) on

To those who make all these baseless accusations against NIAC; it is up to YOU to prove your claims, NOT to NIAC to prove its innocence!!

Thank you NIAC for your efforts.



by Pissed Off (not verified) on

"One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are a statistic." Joseph Stalin the Soviet dictator

Trita Parsi and his organization are viciously trying to cover up thirty years of brutalities committed by the IRI regime by blaming G.W. Bush for recent human rights violations in Iran.

Even if I were to believe Trita Parsi's latest tactic of befriending Human Rights organizations as an honest gesture(I don't!), Iranians have a much greater task than saving a life or two.

They need to bring down the mullahs' regime and get their country back!


Why did NIAC start as top to bottom organization?

by Mehrazar (not verified) on

More, why didn't start as a grass root organization from bottom having support of us ordinary hard working-hard earning Iranian-Americans?


Among Iranian ex-pats they

by asd (not verified) on

Among Iranian ex-pats they were also ex-political prisoners of the IRI...If that is true, then their outrage makes sense.


Propaganda Again !!

by masoudA on

First of all my young NIAC propagandist -

You failed to mention PersianPAC as a major opposition to NIac, you, or Trita PArsi to represent us, Iranian/Americans.   In it's short life PersianPAc has 1000 Iranian/American memebers - how many does NIAC have ?  

Second - You keep using Iranian.com as a new tool for propaganda !! as if we are the same crowd as the Omat.   If you are here as a gesture you should have made long long ago to finaly have a communication line with those you have faked to represent - then change your ways.    


Thank you

by Amused (not verified) on

That was so funny, reminded me of chalemeydoon.
Thanks for the great laugh.


Dear Mr. Amir Khosrow Sheibany

by Babak56 (not verified) on


Perhaps, we need an opposing

by Anonymousf (not verified) on

Perhaps, we need an opposing lobbying group to give voice to the rest of us who don't agree with the reformist vision for future Iran.

We should think about the consequences of NIAC's ultimate strategic goal of installing the pro-US reformers in power with the help of the democratic left in the US. Is that what Iran needs? Reformers??

What is NIAC's rationale in supporting the reformers? Why are the best alternative? Please, somebody, anybody, answer these question if you can.

Ali P.

What everybody else does:

by Ali P. on

NIAC is a controversial group. Like every -usually political -group  that's loved by some and hated by others, there are supporters and opponants. You should always expect  some members of your audience to speak up against you. Why not beef up the security, and escort out the ones that are disruptive? You have an obligation to those who want to come and listen to your message, and make up their own minds.


Thank you Babak Talebi

by Azad1234 (not verified) on

Shame on those so-called "opposition" groups who have brought nothing but trouble for the genuine democratic movement in Iran.

When the monarchist and MKO radicals disturb people's meetings like the Ansaar Hezbolla in a free democratic society, only God may have mercy on us if they even set foot in Iran again!!

As far as I am concerned, all these "opposition" groups are nothing but fossils who lack both the knowledge and the integrity to achieve anything positive for the situation in Iran.

I put my in trust professional organizations such as NIAC and some of the emerging young and creative groups.


Thank You for correction. I meant Mehr.org not Homa.org

by Amir Khosrow Sheibany (not verified) on

In my previous comment scrutinizing the sincerity of NIAC (posted below), I had meant to say Mehr.org, not Homa.org. Thank you Mr. Talebi for the timely reminder.

It is by clarifying NIAC’s position vis-à-vis the Islamic Regime in Iran in black and white terms, and also clarifying why they have thus far neglected to promote the most prominent of Iranian-American desires, a National Referendum with International Observation to determine the future Democratic and Secular government in Iran, that NIAC can hope to get it’s project off the ground. As it stands the only people I see associated with the NIAC are those aligned with the reformist faction (i.e. original US hostage takers) within the inner sanctum of the current regime. A group that feigns the role of an internal opposition for one audience only, the US policy makers, and at the same time relies on the same regime for protection, and is complicit in the very same crimes that brought the regime to power and maintain it's power.

I watched the YouTube video of that meeting with dismay and some admiration. (Someone please provide a link to YouTube video of that event here as well). I was dismayed that the Monarchist are still not able to understand the meaning of the unity their Monarch demands of them. My admiration is in knowing that much like our ancestors, who successfully disrupted the divine pluralistic discourse of the primitive Arabs in establishing their lovely, beautiful, humanistic, enlightened Ummah on our soil, the new generation whether they be left or right, short or tall, slim or fat, Ghazvini or straight, will have nothing to do with the current Tazi regime, or those suspected to be aligned with them.

Readers beware: This regime is more brittle than they appear.

Trita Parsi States: [It is in the] US’s long-term interest to make any improvements in relations with Iran contingent upon Tehran’s adherence to the UN human rights declarations.

Trita Parsi neglects to state: The regime in Tehran, whether it chooses to adhere to UN human rights declarations or not, does not represent Iran. It rhetoric is even anti-Iranian and pro-Arab nationalism. Furthermore the statement might even confuse Western policy makers. Dialogue with a faction of the revolutionary regime, belittles the chosen political representatives of the Iranian people, none of which are able to run for office. It is in the long term US interest to deal with the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, and not to legitimize a rogue regime or those suspected as being their lobbyist abroad.

Conclusion: Since its inception, NIAC has mustered all it’s energies to dilute the Iranian oppositions demand for a National Referendum under international observation, to determine the future the shape and form of a legitimate Iranian government. This aligns it, in the minds of many, with the IRI regime supporters who prefer the status quo. It is also this simple fact that is the basis of many accusations against the NIAC as a pro-IRI lobby in the USA.

The NIAC focus on Human Rights today, shortly after Reza Pahlavi’s renewed drive to shine a light on the human rights abuses of the regime in Tehran, could also be construed as an attempt to co-opt and dilute that very message by a prominent member of the opposition. Again the timing of Trita Parsi’s article on Human Rights despite NIAC neglect of this issue since its inception (see petition by www.Mehr.org) , and NIAC shift from “promoting Iranian-American participation in American civic life”, to that of a Political Action Committee defending the core-values and vested interest of the Khatami faction within the IRI regime, and it’s website as a clearing house for all those who were shouting death to America 30 years ago, are also suspicious. At best this group is aligned with the Democratic Party in the Jimmy Carter sense of the word, not the Harry Truman and represents a small minority of Iranian population, not a significant minority.

Trita Parsi States: “This approach will enable Washington to develop a stake in Iran's future and ultimate stability, but not a stake in the survival of the Iranian theocracy.”

Trita Parsi neglect to state: This has been the same argument used by the theocratic regime to ensure its survival. It is a red-herring that Senator Obama’s team needs to be aware of, and a key element of the ‘experience’ they will need to catch up with, in order to understand the tactics of the regime and it’s supporters, how it fits into existing Iranian cultural norms, and the psychology behind Iranian political activity

Finally Trita Parsi states: “using the Bush administration's Iran Democracy Fund as a pretext, Iranian [Tazi] authorities have clamped down on Iran's civil society with thousands of arrests”

Trita Parsi neglects to state: The clamp down occurred ‘before’ the Bush Administration entered office. Iran’s civil society has been brutally clamped down for 29 years now, with tens of thousands of arrests, tens of thousands of murders, all of which, I would like to remind Mr. Parsi and Mr. AmirAhmadi, will have to be accounted for by the collaborators with the current regime.

The statement above is also suspicious as it neglects to mention that (so far) more opponents where eliminate, newspapers shut down, best and brightest accepted self-exile (amongst the now many millions strong Diaspora) during the Clinton/Khatami administrations softly softly approach, than under the Bush/AhmadiNejad’s confrontation.

Conclusion: NIAC’s leadership is using the same excuse as the Tazi regime in Tehran to justify its actions, and whitewashing the unspoken realities we have stare at every day.

If it were not for the prospect of an Obama presidency, one would not need to put pen to paper and state the obvious. It has taken US policy makers a long time to “get it”, but eventually they do get it, and Barak Obama’s team will not be any different.

Here are some more questions to think about, if you plan on reading between the lines of “democratic and pluralistic discourse” as Babak Talebi puts it, here in the US, and contrast that to how the ‘Iranian’ authorities whom the NIAC leadership advertise that they have access to, deal with us when we are in our own country.


Thank you

by Abarmard on

Thanks for your article. I am glad to have you on board in the Iranian.com community. Many including myself will benefit greatly.


I must admit, I envy the

by bird flu1 (not verified) on

I must admit, I envy the judiciouness of the NIAC people.

Now, they are Lobbying the human right's organization to influence their efforts and policies in regards to human right's violation in the IRI by injecting their own false and unture narrative.(see Trita's post on Iranian.com)

By cozying up to the human rights organization's staff, they will make them to go easier on IRI's human rights records. Sure, it would be nice if the human right organizations were detached and objective, but the truth is that human rights activists are just human an easily swayed. When NIAC organizes a meeting with their attendance, the human rights activists participating in the meeting are bound to listen to NIAC's version of existing political views outthere in the Iranian community. Once they've decided which Iranian-American organization is their ally, it's hard to get them to change. To hell with the facts and reality...It's all in the delivery and PR camapaign...

The hapless monarchists, MEK and Jebeh Melli, or whatever oppositions that are out there would benefit from studying the tactics that NIAC et al have launched to change hearts and minds of Americans in favor of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Mr. Talebi

by Anonymous4now on

It is not good enough to ask us to trust you to make the right decision for us.  A number of questions were asked of you in this thread:    //iranian.com/main/2008/what-should-we-talk-about   which you have not answered.  As long as you do not answer legitimate questions your intentions will be suspect.  We are 30 years wiser and will not delegate our authority, blindly, to supposed “well wishers”.  Your intentions may be honorable, but the means by which you may want to achieve your goals, can be questioned, to find out if your have thought deeply about the consequences of your actions.  Don’t you think that is a legitimate concern?  The onus is on your to prove your good intentions and the wisdom of your actions, if you wish to be taken seriously by the "IA" community.


The populist side of NIAC

by Fred on

You state: “NIAC urges the Iranian American community to engage in the same kind of pluralistic discourse we all wish to institute inside Iran. We can, indeed, make a difference. First, however, it seems we have to institute these democratic values inside our own community here in America.” How about practicing what you preach and set an example by deed and not words. Anyone who has had questions about the genesis, funding, lobbying practices, changing of mission statement in midstream,  the political mission decision making process and alike has been branded by your organization as discredited MEK, monarchist and lately Mehr-Iran member or sympathizer. And why do you push for exactly what the Islamist Republic is asking for, VOA is a shinning example, one of many, where you both want the same thing.