We did it!

Obama fixes visa policy for Iranian students


We did it!
by jamal.abdi

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) applauds the Obama Administration’s decision to repeal the Single-Entry Visa policy for Iranian students. The decision will expand opportunities for Iranians to study in the US at a time when record numbers of Iranian youth seek to escape repression in Iran.

“There are few better examples of how the United States can reach Iran's youth than by increasing their opportunities for a brighter future,” said NIAC President Trita Parsi. “Despite the repression at home, Iranian students were reluctant to come to the US due to the Single-Entry Visa policy that forced them to chose between their education and their families.”

Under the Single-Entry Visa policy, Iranians students could not leave the US for the duration of their studies without losing their visa.

NIAC led the campaign to fix the Single-Entry Visa policy and to allow Iranian students to receive multiple entry visas, educating officials in the White House, State Department, and Congress about this issue. NIAC worked with Congress to require the White House to investigate how to expand the number and types of visas available to Iranian students--a measure that passed a critical Senate Committee vote last year but that has yet to be passed into law.

NIAC also organized meetings between Iranian Americans and their representatives in Congress on the topic, and NIAC members sent thousands of letters to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton calling for the policy to be changed.

Iranian students at American schools have often found that restrictions under the Single-Entry Visa policy cost them academic opportunities, cut them off from their families, and even prevented some students who left the country from finishing their studies. Students told NIAC of being unable to attend important academic conferences, being separated from family members in emergencies, missing the weddings of siblings, and not being able to see ill loved ones for a last time or to attend their funerals.

The burdens of the policy became particularly acute when visa security clearance processes for Iranians became more stringent in 2002. With lengthened wait times for visa processing and little guarantee that the process would yield success, Iranian students at American schools found it increasingly untenable to leave the US and risk being stuck in limbo for months or even never being able to return.

NIAC urged the US government to change the Single-Entry Visa Policy, especially as the number of Iranian students applying to American universities grew as a result of increased repression in Iran. Cases of blacklisting Iranian students from universities for allegedly participating in pro-democracy protests have steadily risen, and other repressive measures sponsored by the state have been taken against students. Iranian officials have sparred for control of private universities and the government has worked to stem dissent in schools by eliminating "western thought" in university curricula.

Last year, President Obama declared on the Iranian New Year, that the US would “sustain our commitment to a more hopeful future for the Iranian people…by increasing opportunities for educational exchanges so that Iranian students can come to our colleges and universities…”

Now the President has taken a major step to put his promise into action.

NIAC thanks all of its members and all those involved in helping make today’s change happen.

Jamal Abdi joined the National Iranian American Council as Policy Director in November 2009, directing NIAC’s efforts to monitor policies and legislation, and to educate and advocate on behalf of the Iranian-American community.


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by Sepidar on

Congradulations. A united community can achieve so much. With so much talent and strength as individuals, there is so much we can achieve as a team. Cheers.  

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

No Sean

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Dai is related to MKO and it was not NIAC who did it. I asked him point blank and he refused to give me a straight response. There are many here who oppose NIAC. But only a few like Dai are MKO. 

I try to keep an open mind but BS is just that. Please do not try to whitewash Dai. Who else did NIAC accuse of being MKO? I am not saying NIAC is good; just asking a question. Please respond or do not make unfounded accusations.



Are you Iranian? If so I do not know many named Sean. What is so bad about Khorsow or Jamshid or many other beautiful Persian names.





by MM on

While I praise PAAIA for their comments on May 22, 2011, and their possible actions previously behind the scenes, the author here clearly states that NIAC led the effort.  And, a quick look at  hits on this subject reveals NIAC's work going back to 2010 (did not push the issue), e.g.,


ASSESSING A CHANGING LANDSCAPE - NIAC_March_10__2010_Conference_Transcript

Senate Bill is a Major Step Forward for Students Seeking Single-Entry Visa Fix – NIAC alert – June 7, 2010

Congressional Gridlock Blocks Progress on Iranian Single-Entry Student Visas – NIAC altert – Dec 22, 2010


Tell President Obama Keep his Promise and Fix the Single-Entry Only Policy for Iranian Students in the US - NIAC action altert for e-letter campaign - May 12, 2011 – April 14, 2011

Urge Obama to Fix the Single-Entry Visa Policy for Iranian Students Once and For All – NIAC action altert for e-letter campaign - May 12, 2011


On May 18, 2011, (//hakemiat-e-mardom.blogspot.com/2011/05/niacs-dog-and-pony-show.html) PDMI, the other Iranian-American organization, gave NIAC "full credit" by stating

"Question to NIAC: Single Entry Visa Policy:  Do you have any document or a survey of the Iranian students who are studying here who have complained about not being able to return to Iran during their student years? Or, is this another NIAC smoke cloud, helping you hide your true intentions? Most Iranian youth are fleeing Iran for better employment and education and life opportunities. Trust me Trita, they do not even want to look back once they free themselves from the repressive and horrid yoke and lifestyle under Islamic government"


Obama Fixes Visa Policy for Iranian Students – NIAC News altert – May 20, 2011 



NIAC trying to take credit for PAAIAs work

by seannewyork on


Also NIAC sounds so much like IRI.  What happens when IRI does not like someome: they call them mohareb, MKO, Israeli spy, monarchist ect.

NIAC doesnt like someone they call them MKO, Israeli, monarchist. 

Similar to me.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

For just one

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


time may we work together? I see all these posts trashing Pahlavi; NIAC and various others. We are at each others throat while IR rapes our nation. Destroys Persepolis and so on. Thankfully they are also at each others throat.

How could anyone beat up on Reza Pahlavi is beyond me. At least I see why NIAC is controversial. But all we do it insult and kick at one another. Instead we should give credit to those when they deserve it. Reza Pahlavi volunteered to fight for Iran. NIAC has helped solve some of Iranian American problems. Neither is perfect. But if we want to get success we better get used to differences. Democracy starts with us. With being able to disagree while showing some decency and respect.

They are not perfect; fine I agree. Are you pefect!


NIAC is a lobby for opportunists

by Rostam on

Folks anyone of you can do the following and then take credit for it. It's smart, cheap and easy to do:

1. Inform yourself of Senate/Congress activities and pending bills.

2. If you see that one of these bills is related to Iran and is gaining momentum and it does not contradict with your views (or your master's views, if you have a master), then get active by wrting a few letters to a few senators/congressmen and making a few noises here and there.

3. Once the bill is passed, take credit for it. If you can slip it through, go further and even take "full" credit for it by using phrases such as "We did it!" and making people go wow! And if the bill is not passed, you can still make some noise and take some credit.

It's a win/win situation and it's called marketing 101. In other places, it's called opportunism.

NIAC can serve the Iranian/American community by focusing on human rights and the freedom of our political prisoners, which for the majority of Iranians abroad is the number one priority. NIAC is not serving these kind of goals.

However, there are also some Iranians who would love to see the business barriers between Iran/US be set aside, and have the opportunity to do business with the IRI and make handome profits. Most of these are either "khodi" from the upper ranks of the IRI, or pure business opportunists, itching to make money from Iran by joining the IRI ranks and files in the looting of Iran.

NIAC is serving the goals of these businessmen by acting as their lobby in the US. Clear and simple. But it needs a "human" face to make a name in the Senate/Congress in order to further its real goals.

Now, I would love to hear from NIAC's internet response team, which in my opinion badly needs a face-lift in their approach.


If we can bring ourselves to….

by Bavafa on

The first step is to acknowledge that this is a positive news and ought to be congratulated.


We can go and see who deserves the credit for it.


Dr. Mansur Rastani

Please don't be Naive

by Dr. Mansur Rastani on


NIAC has nothing to do with the new Iranian student visa rules. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the day of announcing this rule said:

“the United States is easing visa terms for Iranian students here as part of efforts to support the iraspirations for political change back home.  We want more dialogue and more exchange with those of you who are shaping Iran's future. We want to be able to share what we think is great about America. Because as long as the Iranian government continues to stifle your potential, we willstand with you. We will support your aspirations, and your rights, and we will continue to look for new ways to fuel more opportunities for real change in Iran.”

So as you see this decision is a political move in support of young Iranians' movement in Iran and has nothing to do with NIAC. Of courseNIAC has always acted an opportunist in such cases; however we should not let them fool people. NIAC are IRI lobbyist and are supported by the criminal slamic regime in Iran.


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Dear friends

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Let us not mix things up. NIAC has accomplished some things. However that does not take away from Pahlavi and its greatness. Because of Pahlavi Iran was becoming great. Now with them gone we are back to ***. 

NIAC with all its power has not done 1/1000 of what Pahlavi did for Iran. If we have Pahlavi we would not need NIAC. Or any other lobby because we would be powerful.

I hope Reza Pahlavi does become Shah and I am not ashamed to say it.


Ramin Spreading Tritas prop wont work

by seannewyork on

I know how you guys like to take credit for everything.  But almost every point you have up there is a lie.  For example regarding the national geographic  read:


Regarding Pahlavi supporting Mubarak, obviously you did not see his cnn intervie with Mr. Piers intereview when stood with the people of egypt.

Pahlavi running for king is another lie, he has never said anything to that nature but that the people of Iran should decided the future.

 You niac supporters are put in a bad position because it is the Iranian people 100,000 and NIAC 0 zilch.  You guys wanted the grand bargin for Khamenei and it back fired since millions poured into the streets and chanted death to him.

By the way why would people in the green movement say Trita works for IRI?  Why would Makmalbaf who is very close to moussavi say such thing?  You are getting attacked because of the positions you took and the Iranian people blew that position out of the water and embarassed all NIACIs. 

Ramin J

why AIPAC, MKO and the Monarchists envy NIAC

by Ramin J on

I think much of the attacks on NIAc are out of pure jealousy.

Some quick research on the web reveals the following:

2003 - NIAC forces Monster.com to stop discriminating against Iranian-Americans. Neither the MKO nor Pahlavi lifts a finger. MKO too busy fighting for Saddam, Pahlavi too busy getting instructions from AIPAC.

Score: NIAC 1, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0

2003/4 - NIAC raises hundreds of thousands for victims in Bam. MKO fundraises to kill Iranians. Pahlavi fundraises for Israel.

Score: NIAC 2, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0

2004 - NIAC reverses National Geographic's use of Arabian Gulf, corrects it to Persian Gulf. Rajavi uses Arabian Gulf in interview with French paper. Pahlavi watches Dallas Cowboy's game.

Score: NIAC 3, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0

2005 - NIAC forces Don Imus to apologize on air for insulting Iranians. MKO forces its members to say prayers to Rajavi. Pahlavi cant force anyone to do anything.

Score: NIAC 4, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0

2006 - NIAC registers Iranian-Americans to vote. Rajavi cancels vote and declares herself President-for-life-in-exile of Iran. Pahlavi has the brilliant idea of running for King so that people can vote for him.

Score: NIAC 5, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0

2008 - NIAC defeats AIPAC bill that would have greenlighted war with Iran. Rajavi and Pahlavi lobby for war and cant believe their mentor AIPAC lost to NIAC.

Score: NIAC 6, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0

2009 - NIAC forces Jane Harman to retract statement calling for civil war in Iran. Rajavi infuriated. Pahlavi pretends to be upset at Harman.

Score: NIAC 7, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0

2010 - NIAC kills the Step Act, which would have Iranians deported from the US for being Iranian. Pahlavi wonders if this will affect his bid to become a US citizen. 

Score: NIAC 8, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0 

2011 - NIAC fixes single entry visa issue for Iranian students. Pahlavi goes on TV and defends Mubarak in Egypt! Rajavi on a tour in Europe and US funded by Israel to get off of the US terror list.

Score: NIAC 9, Rajavi 0, Pahlavi 0 

NIAC wins with knock-out in all rounds.

Well, no wonder the MKO, Pahlavi and AIPAC supporters on Iranian.com keep on attacking NIAC! Their irrelevance, impotence and disregard for Iranians have been made evident by NIAC's victories for the Iranian-American community.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I have said the before and will repeat. Yes some NIAC policies may benefit the regime. However NIAC is not in a position to do that. NIAC is limited in its abilities. They are able to help Iranian students with VISA: Good!

They are not able to lift sanctions or change American policy towards IR: Good! Therefore their net impact is to help improve situation of Iranian Americans. The regime will not be kept in power by NIAC so do not worry about it.

The USA has its own plans as to Iranian people. The regime is going to be history. About the "1000" years. It is this kind of writing that discredits people. Shoe me one regime in history that lasted 1000 years. Maybe ancient Egypt but who knows.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

Maybe NIAC is trying to get a visa for its leader Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Maybe they should. While at it get one for Khamenei and one for AN. Get them out of Iran and out of power! I will gladly see them all move away to God knows where. Hey they could go into "Witness Protection Plan". Get a new identity as a used car dealer in Midwest and be done with it. 

Not a bad idea is it?



Join NIAC? what a joke

by seannewyork on

NIAC loves stroking itself and getting its interns to post positive things on different sites. 

 Are you guys kidding that we should join NIAC.  They make you proud?  Proud of what?  Wanting the Islamic regime to be in power for 1000 more years to rape and torture?  NIAC has supported the regime in Iran with its policies.

 That is why they have a very small membership.

Maybe NIAC is trying to get a visa for its leader Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Long live the freedom seeking people of IRan.


Congratulations to all Iranian students who wish to come to US

by Bavafa on

This is indeed a victory for Iranian-Americans to successfully lobby (thru NIAC) the US government to hear their voices and concerns. A small step but great accomplishments can be done in small steps. We have proven that we can have a voice in Washington.


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

One more thing

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


About Trita Parsi. Yes he does have high level contacts with IR. If you want to get anything done in Iran you need to. That does not mean that one supports them. I know plenty of Iranians in Iran with contacts with the government. They are not great fans of IR but need the contacts to get things done. There is an old saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer! The best way to fight IR is not to sit at home and hold your breath. Sometimes it makes sense to have relations.


VPK - Thank you. That was just my point.

by MM on

we have an Iranian-American organization with a voice in DC who actually accomplishes tasks, whether one believes in the tasks or not.  I also differ in some NIAC points, but instead of poo-pooing the whole organization I send them feedbacks.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Let us face it there are people who will never say anything good about NIAC. If tomorrow NIAC went and Trita Parsi personally kicked Khamenei in the *** they will find a reason to condemn him anyway.

Do not get me wrong please. There are things I question about NIAC. However as I said before: they have done some good things. This is one. The other is protect  Persepolis Tablets. Nothing is "black and white".  


What if it was Shirin Ebadi

by MM on

What if it was Shirin Ebadi who appealed to the US administration to change the single-entry visa policy for the Iranian students?  Would the same people who are blowing punches here and in other blogs stand up, applaud Mrs. Ebadi for her influence/clout and declare a victory for all Iranian-Americans?

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I normally agree with you but you are 100% out of line. First of all Obama did not put IRI in power Jimmy Carter did. 

Second Obama did not come up with the Visa BS it was Bush. Obama is doing his best to manage a bad situation. NIAC is controversial but this particular action is right.

And no IRI will not be around for 1000 years. No government in history has lasted 1000 years! You are so blinded with rage and hate that have lost all objectivity. Give credit where is belongs and make criticism when it is deserved.

Just making slogans gets us no where. 

Now back to more slogans!



What a Joke, First You create an Injustice, then you fix it!!!!

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

So then we have people clapping for NIAC.  This is pathetic. Not a positive start!

You guys put an islamic regime in power in Iran and literally order the
Shah to leave the country and with everything that entails and now you
are trying to pretend you have compassion for Iranians.

We'll think about that very carefully as we reflect on the millions of
orphans you have created for Iraq, iran, afghanistan and the weapons you
are selling the pro-democracy/al-quaeda trained libyans as your
companies are profitting from libyan oil, while denying the libyan army
the ability to buy weapons.

Human rights? Compassion? Justice? Democracy?

Thanks Hilary? just kidding LOL... YOU DON'T NEED ANY THANKS, IF YOUR
AND UNREST, YOU WOULDN'T BE the American Secratry of state ow would you,
Secretary Clinton.  You don't need thanks, your pay check will be good
enough as they say.

At this Rate of Progress IRI will be around for 1000 years. What we need answers to are why is the USA so in love with Islam for Iran?  You removed mossadegh by cutting off 100% of Irans oil income in a day and allowing the shah to organize teams togther.  Today the IRI has access to al ts oil income 100's of times more than mossadeghs time and shah is muzzled and told he can not even hold public speeches????

Who do you crooks think you are fooling democracy, human rights????

You are among the most despotic tyrants in human history.  Comparable to stalin.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


We have to start somewhere. This is just step one. Next will be ten year visa.


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


This is a very important thing because it sets a path. It reverse penalization of Iranian people. We are not responsible for IRI behavior.

Now the USA government recognizes this fact. This is a gigantic deal. While we may not approve of all NIAC actions we should approve of this.

Let us not get caught up in our bickering over things. Give them credit they deserve. They did a good job as did President Obama and his people.

With Respect



James D.

It's a very big deal

by James D. on

That's not factually correct, Afshin. Only students studying nuclear issues do not qualify for multiple entry visas.

USAdarFarsi's FB page: پرسش: منظور شما از رشته های غیر حساس، غیر فنی
تحصیلی چیست؟ آیا منظور این است که اکثریت دانشجویان ایرانی همچنان مشمول
مقررات پیشین می شوند؟ منظور از رشته های غیر حساس تحصیل و تحقیق رشته هایی
هستند که به فعالیت های ایران در جهت گسترش سلاح های هسته ای مدد نمی


No Big Change!

by afshin on

Before everyone goes around stroking themselves and each other, this new policy has a few caveats.  First, it only affects new applicants.  So students that are already here, when they leave the US they have to reapply and at the time, if approved for another visa they will get the multiple entry 2 year visa.  More importantly however, is the fact that this new rule does not apply to those studying "sensitive" fields of study.  Most Iranian students are not studying horticulture or under water basket weaving.  A good chunk of them are in technical majors including science and engineering, which more than likely will be considered "sensitive" subjects.  The comedy of it all is that most likely the consulates in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, are probably issuing 10 year multiple entry visas to their wahabi applicants.  I wonder, how many Iranian nationals, or Americans of Iranian origin have they caught in the act of "terrorism" so far in the last 32 years.  The whole thing is a joke.


The connected lobby

by Fred on

NIAC lobby should be lauded for its part in rectifying to some degree, a nonsensical student visa policy.

In light of court documents arising from the lawsuit which NIAC lobby has filed against an Iranian asking it uncomfortable questions—revealing that NIAC’s lifetime president and chief lobbyist is close with the different officials of the Islamist Rapists Republic—would it make sense for the lobby to use its connection to free few, if not all, of the many Iranian students rotting in IRR’s dungeons?

Ramin J

Thank you thank you thank you NIAC!!!!

by Ramin J on

We are so blessed to have an
organization that is so effective and so responsive to the needs of our
community! You guys give me hope!

to all other Iranian-Americans- if you ever were waiting for a reason to join NIAC, now is your chance.  No other group has given our community so many successs and so much to celebrate: