Will Iranian Americans have a voice in America?

Being silent and deferential doesn’t work in a democracy


Will Iranian Americans have a voice in America?
by Shapoor_Cali

In the spirit of strengthening my voice, I chose to attend the National Iranian American Council (NIAC)’s Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. held between Sep 30th and Oct 2nd.  While attending the conference, I met Iranian Americans from across the country.  Through hands-on interactive workshops I learned how an unprepared community can be defenseless and at risk while an organized and engaged community can build strong relationships and project considerable power.  I met leaders from other communities who shared stories of their challenges when they were first starting to stand up for their beliefs and, more importantly, gained inspiration from their success and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  My voice has grown stronger indeed but it has room to grow yet... if you, my fellow Iranian American, would join me.

The more recent immigrant communities which make up the melting pot of America, like the Cuban-American, Indian-American, and Armenian- American communities, have all succeeded in having a voice.  We can too.  I took a few notes during one of the panel discussions on what steps other communities took to succeed and what Iranian Americans can learn from them: 

Lesson #1:  Build Strong Relationships
In order to reach our full potential as a community, we need to build strong relationships both within our community and with others.  We need to know the common ground and areas of disagreement and be able to discuss and deal with these disagreements openly and constructively, without resorting to name calling. As panelist Aram Suren Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America, stated:  “If you do not manage your differences, others will manage your differences for you.”

One particularly good example of a community overcoming inner-differences in order to advocate for their greater good is the Arab-American community. Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, spoke about how the Arab-American community grew out of the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s.  They became politically involved with the campaign of Jesse Jackson in 1984 where they had 4 Arab American delegates at the Democratic National Convention.  By 1988 they had 52 Arab American delegates.  As they grew, they encountered internal issues related to identity.  Some Arab Americans identified themselves, and still do, based on their country of origin, others based on their religion, still others based on the village or tribe they belonged to.  These conflicts, however, had to be successfully dealt with in order to achieve the community’s core objectives.  There were also external conflicts with other ethnic communities attempting to delegitimize the voice of the newly emerging Arab-American community.  Although these attempts were painful and difficult to overcome and still an issue at times, the Arab-American community addressed them by reaching out to allies in other communities like Jesse Jackson, Ron Brown and Joe Lieberman.  I strongly recommend listening to the video taped session of this panel.

Lesson #2:  Have a Clear Mission & Strong Grassroots
To have a strong voice we need to have a clear mission, which is supported by the majority of the community.  Being able to effectively communicate and/or advocate for this mission will require both an understanding of the policy-making process as well as an energized grassroots.  For example, if we as a community are opposed to a U.S./Iran war, then intervening to prevent a bill advocating for war needs to be done not once the bill has already passed, but rather when we still have a chance to change its course.  As panelist Tom Dine, former Executive Director of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), stated:  “Grassroots political action is just not grassroots. That’s where you live.  It’s what you do where you live.”  Being silent and deferential doesn’t work in a democracy.  We need to be, as one panelist put it, the “squeaky wheel” in order to be heard loud and clear.   

As reflected by these notes, there are many steps involved to owning a strong voice, but the first step is to show up.

This strategy works.  Iranian Americans, through NIAC, have been able to identify issues important to us, engage with our representatives, defend our civil liberties and achieve our objectives.  Some examples include:

● Leading the fight to change single entry to multiple entry visas for students studying in the United States.  The burden of single entry visas was both personal and professional; for example, it prevented people from attending a family member’s funeral, or precluded them from attending international conferences in their field of study.

● Earthquake relief via an extension of sanctions waiver by the US Treasury department on Oct 9th, after grass-roots outreach by the Iranian-American community.

● Consistently opposing war, including blocking Congressional measures in 2008 and 2010.

Overall, the NIAC Leadership Conference provided a great opportunity to learn about our participatory democracy and make some great new friends (I’ve already met up again with several of them both socially and to continue the important work ahead.) The NIAC platform which consists of: no war with Iran, support for targeted sanctions against human rights violators as opposed to broad indiscriminate sanctions, and the demand for human rights to be protected as part of any final negotiated settlement between the US and Iran, is compiled based on feedback from the NIAC membership.  If you agree with this platform, then join and add your voice.  Otherwise, we risk having others speak for us.



Iraj Khan

by masoudA on

to ro be jadet - stop following the Arab/American community - baraye ma oft dareh!!

iraj khan

There are other communities who are attempting to delegitmize

by iraj khan on

the voice of the newly emerging Iranian American community.

Read the following observation of Arab American community by Mr Shapoor: 

"One particularly good example of a community overcoming inner-differences in order to advocate for their greater good is the Arab-American community.. They became politically involved with the campaign of Jesse Jackson in 1984 where they had 4 Arab American delegates at the Democratic National Convention. 

1988 they had 52 Arab American delegates.  As they grew, they encountered internal issues related to identity.. These conflicts, however, had to be successfully dealt with in order to achieve the community’s core objectives.  There were also external conflicts with other ethnic communities attempting to delegitimize the voice of the newly emerging Arab-American community."

Excellent observation by Shapoor.

Jeesh Daram

هرکی از یه راه نون میخوره مادر

Jeesh Daram

یکی تاجر میشه، یکی جاسوس میشه، یکی شازده میشه، یکی کبابی میشه و یکی هم وکیل وصی همه ماها میشه، دنیا همینه دیگه مادر، پاشو برو دو تا نون بخر ناهار حاضر شد




یکی بود یکی نبود
سرگنبد کبود
بربریا نشسته بود
اسبه عصاری می کرد
خره خراطی می کرد
شتره نمدمالی می کرد
سگه قصابی می کرد
گربه بقالی می کرد
موشه ماسوره می کرد
بچه موش ناله می کرد
فیله اومد آب بخوره
افتاد ودندونش شکست
گفت:آخ دلکم، دندونکم
چه کنم، چاره کنم
یه چیزی بدین پاره کنم


CAIR is under

by vildemose on

CAIR is under investigation; that will be the fate of NIAC in the future.


All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


Good blog, Shapoor - welcome as a new active Iranian-American

by MM on

PS, don't let the arm-chair generals get you down.

It is really pathetic to try to make fun of one's name or the way they look as if mouse, moose, pussy or nokar as part of the avatar is any better! 



by fgtary on

nago NIAC bego NAPAK


Clarification for soosan khanoom

by Shirzadegan on

 " siavash , you have a tendecy to misquote your opponents and accuse them " soosan khanoom 

On Feb 8,2012 Iraj khan in the article "anti war protest in new york" wrote: 

"Israel is using everything in her power to destroy Iran." Iraj khan

in above sentese, the writer doesn't distinguish between Iranians people and the government. He says "to destroy Iran". He doesn't say to destroy ruling mullahs. In his view, mullahs and iranians are the same.  

On Sept.27,2012 in the article "Yes, I confess" in the comment "jenabe Mamoor". Iraj khan wrote:

"They are all pro Starving and Bombing Iran and if one disagree with them and stand up for the Iranian people (not Iranian government) they accuse that person of being a IRI supporter and their attacks starts." iraj khan

On Feb 8, 2012 Iraj couldn't distinguish between Iranian people and ruling mullahs, but on Sept, 27, 2012 he finally realized that Iranian government is different with Iranian people.

So you see Soosan khanoom, I did NOT misqote anyone. I said exactly what people claimed. What I am saying this individual don't have that much high I.Q but he eventually realized the Iranians are different from ruling mullahs. Iranian people's wishes, ideas, goals and the way they look at the world are different from ruling mullahs. It took Iraj several months to realize, but eventually he got it. I am happy for him.





Excellent Comparison: Trita = Ghotbzadeh

by seannewyork on

That is one of the best comparisons I have heard.  He is very much like the traitor Ghotbzadeh who ran around Washington DC in the 1960s and 1970s.

Everyone knows what happened to him when IRI was done using him. 

 Good luck Trita Ghotbzadeh.


Soosan khanoom false accusation

by Shirzadegan on

"Siavash, You are pro sanction and pro war" soosan khanoom 

None of my notes here says I was "pro war and pro sanction". This is false accuation. In fact, I posted the link from crown Reza Pahlavi who said don't bomb Iran. Here is the link again to prove soosan khanoom false accusation and misquote:


Ruling mullahs and their supporters are the reason our people are suffering, not me. Everybody knows it except soosan khanoom and her comrades in NIAC.  Mullahs keep saying they want to wipe out Israel and kill million innocent people, not me.Funny part is soossan khanoom having "peace logo" and wants mullahs have bomb and kill million innocent people in Israel LOL. Mullahs, by burning U.S flags, keep saying death to Israel and death to America, ask for sanction and further hostility, they got it now. Why I should be blamed?  They don't want to come on the table for negociation or give up their ambition for developing bomb, not me. They're the one who sponsor terrorism around the world, especially in Lebanon, not me. NIAC didn't do anything to condemn mullahs and their ambition of having bomb. NIAC tried very hard to stablize mullah's power and their positions in the middle east.

So Mullahs don't want to give up making atomic bomb.?  So they prefer our peole suffer? Supporters of this kind of thinking are as guilty as mullahs. That is fine, but it is good for Iranians to know their enemies.


Mehrdad A

by MehranYazdi on

Are you suggesting a dress code?  Do you know them personally? I don't. Can you tell us about the issues you have experienced , beside the fact that you don't like how they dress?


Iraj Khan,

Baleh Iraj Khan, it is the same old divide and conquer strategy. Vaghti daseshoon ham roo misheh, baaz rooshoon kam nemisheh.

iraj khan

“If you do not manage your differences..

by iraj khan on

others will manage your differences for you.”

what a deep observation by Mr Shapoor and he continues:

In order to reach our full potential as a community, we need to build strong relationships both within our community and with others.  We need to know the common ground and areas of disagreement and be able to discuss and deal with these disagreements openly and constructively, without resorting to name calling. As panelist Aram Suren Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America, stated:  “If you do not manage your differences, others will manage your differences for you.”

This is how Israeli Lobby crept inside this website and started to act as the referee.



NIAC has only 500 members?

by vildemose on

Excerpts FROM: //iranian.com/main/2012/oct/growing-concern-about-war-and-sanctions#comment-524868

In the recent Washington, DC court case Parsi and NIAC vs Diaoleslam, Parsi failed to prove that National Iranian American Council has any more than 500 members and admitted under oath that not all of them pay dues.

Your second claim of having 43,000 supporters is also a farce. During Parsi's depositions he was specifically asked for this information and his answer was that he counts his email list as active supporters and in fact still counted many people as supporters who had specifically writen to NIAC and asked to be removed from that same list. So, not long after a US Judge sanctions Parsi and NIAC, you are right back to your same old games.


All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir

Mehrdad A

Lesson #3

by Mehrdad A on

Find some blue-color Iranian Americans, will you? For NIAC, the eminent Iranian Americans are only those in Nordstrom suits and foppish outfits, priding themselves on luxury and banality. I have no use for these guys in the photo except on Macy's parade.


To Shapoor_Cali

by Walt on

There are a few comments posted here: //iranian.com/main/2012/oct/growing-concern-about-war-and-sanctions#comment-524868

You may want to educate yourself a bit before you propagate for the IRI in Iran.  The visa changes Parsi conned the State Department into, how many were for dissidents? How many were for IRI regime sons and daughters?  The earthquake aid was stolen by the regime and the aid workers in Iran were arrested for accepting the aid.  Ask Trita why he fails to report and file proper tax returns.  Ask him about Bob Ney and why he tried to smuggle sanctioned aircraft parts to Iran.  Ask Parsi why he lied to the US House and NED on numerous occasions.

There is one thing Parsi excells in; He's a damn good con man! 

Soosan Khanoom

Nuclear weapon / bomb should be banned !

by Soosan Khanoom on

No county should have it and let us start with Israel.

But, No one here talked about Nuclear BOMB and or the rights of any country to have it... Misleading behavior would not do you any good ... 


You are pro sanction and pro war and you like to quote Tony Blair and perhaps Bush the liberator in that regard.   Why I should bother with you while I can watch Fox news...

You can keep reading my comments on this blog as well as comments I made before. Also read comments I made on this site  about Shirin Ebadi whom I am a huge fan and have a great respect for . I have attended various speeches given by Shirin here in the states.  Her antiwar position is basically the same as mine. She had also given an interview which can be found on the  NIAC website.

I  have no obligation to proof myself to you or anyone else on this site.  My comments and blogs are here for everyone to read.  

With all due respect, since you have a tendecy to misquote your opponents and accuse them , I see no reason to further get engaged with you.   





by vildemose on

  grassroots following?

Another blatant falsehood. Purchasing emails from IC does not make your organization a grass root. Lying will not add credibility to you, yourself, or the Iranian-American community as a whole. You are giving the Iranian-American community a bad name by misleading and staging false events, empty gesture, phony photo-ops for political gain. Judge Bane saw right through you and so will everyone else, eventually.

Tell a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."
--Quote by Adolf Hitler


All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


Atomic bomb and "peace" logo

by Shirzadegan on

Soosan khanoom, To develop atomic bomb don't go with peace logo. please take a look at this video as well. Please listen to what they're saying very carefully.


Again, it clearly shows Mullahs hostitility against west and Israel. Paid crowd by mullahs were chanting that was their right to have bomb. Do you see the crowd? Every single of this crowd has a blood of our NEDA and SOHRAB on their hands. This crowd is the one who kept Shirin Ebadi, Nasrin Sotudeh, Hengameh Shahidi and many more of your heroes behind the bar. They didn't even allow Nasrin to see her children since her captivity. They're the most heartless, brutal and vicious creatures on the face of the eath. If these ruthless criminals have access to atomic bomb, they will kill million of innocent people with no mercy. They will do it in a heart beat. Your mistake is that you think these are like average Iranians. No my dear. They are not average Iranians. They are criminal gang who are different from average Iranians.

  Look at Iraj. He doesn't have that much high I.Q, but he understand this crowd is different from Iranian people. Once he wrote in his comment..."Iranian people, not Iranian government".  It took him a long time to realize that, but he finally got it. I am happy for it.



iraj khan

Jenabe shapoor,

by iraj khan on

One may ask why The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has such a large grassroots following?

I have discovered it has to do with quick responses to the needs of our community by NIAC when it's attacked, ignored or discriminated against.

A good example is when Apple company refused to sell Apple products to Iranian Americans. I was getting emails from friends who had never heard of NIAC before but they were forwarding me the protest letter to Apple that was put together by NIAC. This is only one instance.

Jenabe shapoor, there are a few here who will not be happy unless Iranians are starved and bombed, Ala, Syria. Don't waste your time on them, You don't have to respond to them, they mostly represnt the Israeli views here, and they usually pose as monarchists, //iranian.com/main/blog/iraj-khan-1 

Instead use your time for the betterment of Iranians' lives through NIAC and other organizations.



 Parsi cunningly managed

by vildemose on

 Parsi cunningly managed to convince Iranian-Americans that indeed he was a part of the opposition and was there to represent their concerns. After all, as Judge Bates noted: “any moderately intelligent agent for the regime would not want to be seen as unremittingly pro-regime, given the regime’s reputation in the United States.”

 Judge Bates noted: "There is no question that plaintiffs [NIAC and Trita Parsi] have repeatedly tried to evade their discovery obligations, ..." Cognizant of Trita’s obfuscation tactics, Judge Bates went on to say: “In awarding sanctions, the Court is mindful not just of the need to compensate defendant, but also of the need to deter plaintiffs from future discovery abuses.”

Furthermore, the Judge, troubled by NIAC’s refusal to hand over most of its sensitive internal documents, computer hard drives and membership lists, ordered Trita Parsi and NIAC to pay for: 60% of the expenses associated with bringing the instant motion and pay for the expenses involved in bringing defendant’s motion to compel production of NIAC’s server...


All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


Shapoor_Cali: Do you read

by vildemose on

Shapoor_Cali: Do you read Persian?

You choosing NIAC as a platform is a reflection on your character and your value system as it would be if you voted for Romney (republican) or Obama (democrats). If you are choosing NIAC, then your principles and morals are much more aligned with the Republican right wingers than with the democrats.

 Considering NIAC a Principled and ethical also leads me to question your real agenda. For someone who says they are not defending NIAC, you certainly can or should be on their payroll or ask for a raise.

All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


Author's response

by Shapoor_Cali on

Thanks for taking the time to read my first Article on Iranian.com.  I’m seeing some genuine interest in making a difference and that’s a great sign.  
Just wanted to reiterate a few of the important points in the article.

  1. Written from the perspective of an Iranian American.  I don’t really want to decide what form of government Iranians will have or chose.  My perspective, let those who live in Iran everyday make that decision.  I want to impact US policy debate.
  2. I don’t want war nor support war with Iran or any other country come to think of it.  I’d like to see this stand-off between Iran and the West end so the Iranian American community can focus on issues of more direct impact to our daily lives here in the USA.
  3. Having reread the article I feel my call to action was clear.  I want you to chose a platform that resonates with your personal views and champion it.  There’s power in numbers.  United we stand.  I champion my idea of peace for all and will stand with others who share this platform.
  4. I’m not here to defend NIAC, which I consider a principled and ethical organization.  If you believe in the platform of another organization then more power to you.  I chose NIAC because their approach is constructive, open and effective... and I encourage those who support diplomatic resolution of conflict and a focus on human rights for all people to join NIAC as well :^)  Peace.


Soosan khanoom, these are speculation

by Shirzadegan on

Did you even bother to watch this video?


it says clearly that the purpose of sanction is to bring these Islamic criminals to the table of negociation. What part of this video is unclear? The rest is speculation. What neocon or else is thinking is just pure "mind reading". You just guess what they think. It is like Dae jan napolean way of thinking. This video is fact. Now, you have a choice. Either to take side with Iranian people who are suffering because of sanction or take a side with Islamic criminal gang and their ambition to have atomic bomb. it is your choice. I take my people's side.

Tony Blair gave the same choice to the Taliban. They either take a side with decent world and surrunder Al Ghaedeh for justice or take a side with terrorists Al- ghaedeh. Taliban took a side with terrorists. We saw what happened then.

I am surprise you are not aware all those games Islamic criminals played. Several meetings in Iraq, Turkey, Geneva..... were all fruitless. Islamic gang were buying time to develop bombs. They were not allowing IAEA to inspect nuclear sites, etc.. They're still playing games until now. Now the ..... hit the fan. it is become world wide issue. Now, mullahs are not only Iranian's issue. They're world's issue. No country in the world trust those bastards. All the modern world have been united against those criminal gang. They all united to stop the monsters to develop atomic bomb  It is crystal clear. The Islamic gang who occupied Iran want to have atomic bomb (which by the way doesn't go with your "peace" logo). They want to have atomic bomb to wipe out Israel. Everybody knows that except Iraj khan and his comrades. Hello...ooooo...

also take a look at this video. The paid crowd by mullahs are saying:  "energy hastehie ghadre mosalam mast".


We didn't have such a problem when shah was on power. Did we?



Romeny and Trita have a

by vildemose on

Romeny and Trita have a lot in common; they repeat the same lie over and over and louder and louder hoping it would stick. They manufacture fake concerns for photo ups. 

 Paul Ryan stages another 'charity' stunt

 Trita, the reincarnation of *Ghotbzadeh revealing himself as a fool, a liar and a fraud in the Court,  has no shame exploiting Iranian-American community's causes to push the oil mafia's and the IRI's agenda.

Why do we need such an odious organization with absolutely no integrity to claim to be "our voice"?

*On Ghotbzadeh:


All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir

Soosan Khanoom

Siavash, save it ! would you?

by Soosan Khanoom on

Or, If you have difficulty understanding my earlier post which is not my words but  UN Charter of Economic Rights , please have a friend translate it for you to Farsi.  

Neocons agenda has nothing to do with the nuclear issue.  Even a fool can see this.  Iran can go ahead and gives up all the rights to any nuclear technology, that may delay it but will not erase the Neocon's plan.

They can either just invade based on the fabricated lies like what they did in Iraq, or they can accept some friendly gesture from Iran but only to invade it later; exactly like what they did in Libya.   Obama said all options are on the table. so ,who knows they may even start a civil war just like what they did in Syria.  

I said it before and i say it again they are in it to win it.  Within last ten years we sat and watched it being unfolded towards other nations in the region. Now, sadly. it is Iran's turn.

NO WAR means NO WAR.   Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, sanctions are an act of war and they are also illegal. Neocons including Obama should be held responsible for all their illlegal attacks and actions that they have taken in direct violation of the international laws.  




by Shirzadegan on

NIAC could make a difference by suggesting to ruling mullahs in Iran to come to the table of negociation regarding cease of developing atomic bombs which threat lives of million innocent people. NIAC can advise stinky ruling mullahs to permit IAEA full access to those nuclear sites, so the international community  left the sanction or save our people from suffering. Not NIAC nor mullahs are going to do so. Consequently, our people continue to suffer.

It is funny Soosan khanoom has an avatar of "no war". At the same time she promotes ruling Islamic murderers in Iran have acces to atomic bomb and kill million innocent people in Israel. LOL. Now, I learned new meaning of "No war".   

    It is the time to know Iran's enemies. They're betryaing our country. They make our people suffer. They're enemies in friend's clothing.

Please take a look at below video, it clearly says about purpose of sanction, but NIAC, ruling mullahs and their supporters prefer our people suffer. That is the shame.


iraj khan


by iraj khan on

explained by shapoor,

followed up effectively by Soosan Khanoom, thanks.


Soosan Khanoom

by MehranYazdi on

Good information. Thank you

Soosan Khanoom

A noble idea Mehran. Thank You. Also,

by Soosan Khanoom on

let us not forget these current sanctions are by far the most illegal actions taken by any U.S president against Iranian nation.  It is an act of war and it is against international laws. NIAC should be continually condemning it. Obama administration should be ashamed of their wrong doings and should be held responsible in the international court.   

"The General Assembly's 1974 Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States says no nation may use or encourage use of economic, political or other measures to coerce another country to to subordinate its sovereign rights in any way.

Under Part IV, Section 1, Chapter III, Article 54 of the Protocol 1 Additional to the Geneva Conventions (1977):  

(1) Starving civilians during war is prohibited.

(2) Attacking, destroying, removing, or compromising indispensable items is prohibited. They include foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, irrigation works, and other essential products, services, and facilities relating to them.

UN General Assembly Resolution 44/215 (1989) prohibits political and economic coercion against developing countries.

It specifically covers trade and financial restrictions, blockades, embargoes, and other economic sanctions. It calls them incompatible with UN Charter provisions. They adversely affect the ability of nations to function politically, economically and socially. They harm civilians most.

The International Conference on Nutrition, World Declaration on Nutrition, Food and Agriculture Organization, and World Health Organization (1992) recognized the right to access nutritionally adequate and safe food as a fundamental right.

US Code defines international terrorism as follows:

A. "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;

B. appear to be intended -

i. to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

ii. to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

iii. to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

C. occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States...."

Crimes against humanity breach fundamental international law. Civilian populations must be protected at all times. Illegitimate sanctions harm human rights grievously. Imposing them violates international laws and norms. Targeting nonbelligerent countries is especially unconscionable." 

The Sanctions Game :


NIAC is one of the best

by MehranYazdi on

NIAC is one of the best among all Iranian American organizations. It is time to do another good deed for Iranians and provide Iranians in need of medicine with necessary drugs and medical supplies to save their lives. If not by NIAC by some other humanitarian organization directed by NIAC. US and Europe claim they are not blocking the purchase of medicines and medical supplies. Iran cannot buy them due to sanction on banks, but if we provide the funds, the issue is resolved.


Great article

by yasminr on

Really wonderful article, Shapoor -- thank you for writing it! I love this line in particular: "My voice has grown stronger indeed but it has room to grow yet... if you, my fellow Iranian American, would join me." We have a lot of work ahead!