PAAIA's Relationship With Iranian Political Figures

PAAIA's Relationship With Iranian Political Figures
by Kabriat

Here's a fact: a number of PAAIA leaders share close relationships with Iranian political figures in the U.S.  PAAIA members and the Iranian-American community at large deserve to know about these close relations because it may influence whether they decide to join or support the organization.  We also deserve to know because it affects whether we trust PAAIA to be the community's voice in politics.  

For instance, did you know that PAAIA Board Member Nazie Eftekhari enjoys a close and personal relationship with Reza Pahlavi  Take the following:

- From the Guardian: "Nazie Eftekhari, who works in Reza Pahlavi's office in Washington and is a close family friend."
- Eftekhari's $25,000 donation to the "Prince Alireza Pahlavi Foundation".

- Eftekhari toast and praising of Farah Pahlavi.

Relationships between PAAIA Board Members and controversial Iranian dissidents is problematic to say the least.  It completely contradicts PAAIA's "no involvement in foreign policy stance".  It also creates a transparency problem - PAAIA leaders can represent us with impunity and while failing to inform us of important political ties.  Indeed, no other prominent Iranian-American organization has one board member or leader who works for an Iranian political opponent, especially one so controversial as Reza Pahlavi. 

These relationships should be transparent so that we as a community can determine whether to trust PAAIA. 


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by Kabriat on

To respond to your comments:

1. My posts (for now) are focused on PAAIA because I believe there are number of reasons to be critical about an organization.  It self-proclaims to represent Iranian-Americans but fails to actually meet the needs of the Iranian-American community.  It suggests that it has no foreign policy platform, but individual members of the organization use their position of authority to advance their own hidden agendas.  There are also a number of Board members, like Nazie which, frankly, have significant credibility issues. I could equally criticize NIAC, but there's no reason for that since others seem to have taken up that role.

2. I have no personal issues with PAAIA or its individuals.  I have never applied for a job there.  I have never worked with them.  And my relationship (past and present) has always been cordial.  My criticisms are based on my obsersations, experiences, and contacts from within the organization.

3. You say I should provide constructive criticism or start (or support) other organizations.  In the case of PAAIA, it's difficult to tell them what they should change.  For the most part, they replicate what other organizations do, but do it worse.  For the second, they are structurally inefficient.  They have a Board which has too many hands in the operation of the organization but with divided agendas.  They have employees which more or less don't have background/expertise in this area of work (community advocacy).  They don't seem to have a focused agenda and their overall philosophy is counter-productive.  They need a re-set button.  What they are doing now, hasn't done anything to truly advance the interests of the community and they don't have the type of prestige or acclaim they accord themselves.  If you want to get things done, and done right, you don't go to PAAIA because they haven't developed the reputation of being an active advocate for the community or a responsive and competent organ.  As a structural matter, I would figure out what the goal of the organization is.  Remove Board members who prevent you from getting to that goal (and there are at least a few).  And hire staff with expertise in the area.  As to the "start your own organization or support another."  Thats just a side-show argument.  Thats not a comment to the substance of my point, so I'm going to ignore it.


Maybe try something different...

by aghareza1234 on


I started reading your posts a couple of weeks ago and at first I was intrigued. Then as I read more, I realized that the posts were so full of anger and hatred at PAAIA that they were no longer objective and professional but very personal. So it made me wonder if you had something personal against them. Did you apply for a job and were not hired or is there something else going on? You obviously spend a LOT of time going through their website to find things with which you have an issue. Maybe if you spent this time and effort on something more productive, we all would benefit from it - cuz you are obviously a good writer and a decent researcher. I even have a recommendation about what you can blog about if you blog about the fact that being such a small immigrant community, every organization serves a purpose; every organization will do some things right and some things wrong but if, at the end of the day, they somehow move our agenda forward in this country, then we should either support them, help them with CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, or mind our own business. Unless you start your own organization that can do better than PAAIA, Pars, NIAC, or IABA, you really shouldn't be commenting on whether or not they are good for us without offering some useful and productive solutions - and telling them to answer your questions is not what I mean by productive solution. (To be honest, I'd ignore you too if I kept reading your blogs).

At the end of the day, if any of these help even a few Iranian Americans, then more power to them.




Can you contact me?

by bahmani on

To read more bahmani posts visit: //


PAAIA's neo-con roots?

by Kabriat on

I'd be curious to know the validity of this article.  PAAIA fails to address this and other concerns the community has about its roots and its leadership.


PAAIA is not to be trusted

by Kabriat on

In my opinion, PAAIA is far more nefarious than NIAC.  With NIAC, at least their opinions are transparent.  We're allowed to disagree with them because we know where they stand.  With PAAIA, it's completely the opposite.  More worrisome, they have people like Nazie Eftekhari on their Board who clearly have political biases that most Iranians don't share.  She's able to manipulate any support the community has for the organization to translate it into support for her political views.  In this sense, and others, PAAIA is a much more problematic organization than NIAC.  Not to be trusted at all.


Freedom to Start a Poltics Club

by bahmani on

While we would expect that we would achieve freedom of speech in Iran before, in fact, in the US , today, as gross as it might seem for some to tolerate, unfortunately Iranians too, yes, even Iranians who live in the US, have the freedom to sadly, create Politics Clubs.

Members of these clubs, can do pretty much whatever they want within them. Including posing as community and political advocates.

And honestly, there should be absolutely nothing wrong with this. As long as you understand it isn't real, and it is only a club.

Yes, to be sure it is a sad diary of Iran and Iranians that we would prefer to pretend and delude ourselves, rather than deal with our issues for real, but what are you going to do?

No, I'm serious, what are YOU going to do?

Yesterday, I came out of Prometheus (turns out there might be a god who created Aliens that want to annihilate Humans) and saw a young man wearing a T-Shirt that said, "Stop Bitching! Start a Revolution!"

Kabriat jan, I think once we are done bitching (you at PAAIA, me at NIAC), we should do as ordered, and stop bitching and start a revolution.

It appears to be quite easy. :)

To read more bahmani posts visit: //


PAAIA and foreign policy

by Kabriat on

I don't know the answers to your questions.  I leave it up to PAAIA to address them.  At minimum though I think the questionable relationships their board members have with Iranian political leaders should be disclosed.  It's a shame that they would even permit someone like Nazie Eftekhari be on their board and further delegitimize the organization.


My question

by MM on

Does the paaia charter say that the individual board members will not have any political affiliation or political opinions?  Are the donations to the campaign of the American politicians with foreign policy influence legitimate?


The public has the right to know

by Kabriat on

About PAAIA's relationship with other political dissidents so that we can make an informed decision about the organization.