Forough Parvizian-Yazdani

Meets Obama, emphasizes human rights violations in Iran

Yesterday, I had the honor of meeting President Obama in the White House. My name is Forough Parvizian-Yazdani, and I am a board member of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC).

I was invited as a representative of NIAC to witness President Obama sign the recent sanctions bill into law. Even though NIAC opposed the bill, we accepted the White House’s invitation in order to continue our dialogue concerning Iran policy with the aim of reaching an approach that helps ordinary citizens, resolves tensions, avoids war and promotes human rights. Only 10 out of the 60 seats were reserved, and NIAC was honored with one of them.

In my conversation with President Obama, I emphasized NIAC's desire for a policy approach that addresses the human rights violations in Iran, and I pointed out the detrimental effects of the sanctions regime on ordinary people.

The President agreed with our concerns for the people of Iran, and told me he emphasized human rights in his speech for that very reason.

Once again, NIAC gave us Iranian Americans a voice. A voice that needs to be strengthened and spread throughout the country on every level.

The influence of those who, together with NIAC, have pushed for greater focus on human rights was evident in President Obama's speech and in the human rights measures that were inserted into the final sanctions bill. But that influence was not enough to shift the paradigm away from sanctions that will hurt innocent Iranians, and so we still have work to do to amplify the voice of the Iranian-American community.

While I was sitting in the East Room of the White House, I was overwhelmed with excitement, pride, and exhilaration but also disappointed because I witnessed policy towards Iran being shaped and implemented by groups that were concerned primarily with pressuring Iran on its nuclear program, not standing up for the human rights of the Iranian people. Of course, both of these issues must be considered when shaping policy towards Iran, and NIAC gave me the chance to tell the President this directly.

Much has been gained over the years, and through NIAC, Iranian Americans have clearly secured a seat at the table – but much more remains to be achieved.

We need NIAC, but more importantly, NIAC needs us. It is the support of NIAC’s nationwide grassroots network that keeps our voice strong

The conversation with Obama will continue next week and beyond, and with your support, I am confident that our voice will not only be raised – it will be heard.

Forough Parvizian-Yazdani, DDS
Board of Directors

P.S. Read President Obama’s statement
P.P.S. Read NIAC’s statement on the signing of the Iran sanctions bill


more from NIAC

I agree with Ali P.

by Bavafa on

As much as I support NIAC, I think this is a blunder to have attended this charade. A decline of invitation would have been a much better protest then attending and softly say, we don't like it.


Ali P.

Again I am confused...

by Ali P. on

In a democratic society,you need to honor the democratic process, by accepting the results and decisions made.

 But nobody said you have to be happy about it!

If NIAC is against sanctions, it needs to act like it is against sanctions, by turning down the invitation, and leaving the seat open for whatever group that supports the action.

It is a photo op : The president signs the bill into law, and everyone applauds.

Did you applaud, Dr. Yazdani?

You don't see the NRA president go to a bill signing on gun control, do you?

(It is like inviting a khaastegaareh semej, whom you turned down a million times, to your daughter's wedding!) 


It just seems odd to me.

That's all.

Immortal Guard

Professionail symptoms!

by Immortal Guard on

Almost all the dentists end up having a crooked back! It must come form practising dentistry where they have to bend their back all the time and squint into other people's mouths! They also seem to have lots of jitters which seems to come from the sound of the dental drill!


Speaking of Churchill

by benross on

It is good to see NIAC lobby being forced to focus on Iranians’ human rights and putting its policy of lets get cozy with the Islamist Rapists on the back burner.

Speaking of Churchill, he has a saying about U.S which can easily be applied to Iranians too. He says (off memory):

"United States always do the right thing... after exhausting all other possibilities."

Mohammad Ala

Human Lives before Human Rights

by Mohammad Ala on

These sanctions are illegal.  The USA has violated all the international norms (Alger Accord is one example).  Using Human Rights card is a cheap way of hiding behind illegal sanctions.

Human Lives before Human Rights.Human Lives must be protected.  Punishing Iranian people will not get rid of regime.  Regimes change but our people will NOT forget Western hostility towards our people.  The same way Iranians have not forgotten Brits' atrocities towards our country.

Reminder: Over a million people (mostly children) died in Iraq over illegal USA and Brits sanctions.  Secretary of State Albright said: "we do not care if people die due to our sanctions."

Sheila K

Good to have NIAC, but they are too passive

by Sheila K on

I don't like NIAC's passive methodology. Many of the other lobbying organizations take stronger stands. What kind of a "voice" are they? meeting the president doesn't mean agreeing with him. Did she say anything about how sanctions hurt Iranians and how history has proven that sanctions don't work? If so, what was his response? Did she ask why is he doing this knowing that it will not stop IRI? Did she ask not to bomb Iran?

How can Iranian community support an organization that doesn't really represent its people? However, I am glad we have NIAC, is better than nothing.



by Ferfereh on

As you know, they say that once Winston Churchill had been asked that why with all colonies which Great Britian has had, they couldn't conquer the Irland. He answered: because in all those countries we found the traitors who didn't care about their country and their people, the only thing they cared about was money. NIAC is not my voice, my people like Shiva Nazar Ahari, Mansour Osanloo, Majid Tavakoli, .... and all those fighters are my voice.

If you want to know what really NIAC is, watch these :

Iranian regimes lobby in US

Interview with Hasan Daei, Andishe TV

Interview with Hasan Daei, Meybodi





by Fred on

It is good to see NIAC lobby being forced to focus on Iranians’ human rights and putting its policy of lets get cozy with the Islamist Rapists on the back burner. 



by Anonymous8 on

what are you talking about "supporting human rights"? Sanctions is against human right. who suffers if there is no gasoline in iran? if you are for human right and against sanction, why go to white house and watch american president sign it??? you are being used as TOOL can't you see?


I know you all worked hard to get our voices heard


sadly the pressure from the hawks and pro-war advocates is simply too much and I for one completely understand the tough spot you are all in. but I'm proud of you. Thank you for all that you did and continue doing, dont ever give up!