Calling for debate over NIAC


by ramintork

I have stayed open minded about not judging NIAC sometimes at the cost of biting my fingers!

The problem is that I see a great potential in such organizations but at the same time cannot ignore some of the criticisms, so given that we desperately need to unite I am opening debate on NIAC. Why NIAC? Because for better or worst they seem to be more often grabbing headlines than other organizations

I do not believe in trial by media and some of the accusations made against NIAC need to go through the judicial process and I believe in innocence before a court proves the accused as guilty.

I also make a distinction between the NIAC leadership and members, no doubt IRI would try to infiltrate any significant Iranian organization and with all the power and money that they have I'm sure they have been very successful and if so it doesn’t mean we have to rubbish the entire organization (well depending on how badly the organization has become corrupted or if the entire thing was a confidence trick to waste what would otherwise be useful legislative and positive lobby power).

No doubt some of the accusations such as the correspondence between Mr Parsi and Mr Zarif even if for the sake of Book research seems at the very least for someone heading a non-partisan organization rather naive if not sinister.

This is from the NIAC web site:Parsi suggested that the first step towards such diplomacy would be to talk to the Iranian UN ambassador in New York. In a few occasions, US lawmakers asked if Parsi could introduce them to the Ambassador, since Parsi had interviewed him on numerous occasions for his book. Parsi obliged and did make introductions”

Living in Europe perhaps I did not even bother to pay too much attention to U.S. based organizations but given that like many I have been asking for unity, and a democratic means to find a leadership I look for those who take action rather than deliver words.

Now it is easy to ask IRI not to arm the Basij knowing very well they would not listen, what I am looking for is this:I believe that we need to create a constant media presence outside Iran for the benefit of Iranian Human rights issues and this needs to go outside the bubble of Iranian community.

I see this in the form of rallies and Marches, flashmob events, concerts, conferences that would capture the heart of the general public and not just a handful of the politicians. By my experience of doing my small part to fight the apartheid regime, I know that when you capture the heart of people politicians follow.

Given the turn of events and an overwhelming case for the regime being uncompromising, we should now be looking for a complete regime change rather than negotiating with its leadership and provide a neutral ground so that all political factions of opposition could join. I’m not sure if NIAC manifesto allows for this.Given the current state of a country we should be seeking legal means for bringing about long-term change so for instance in Europe where I discovered that using the citizens’ initiative clause of the Lisbon treaty if I was to collect one million signatures I could go and make a law change I have been asking for support from our IC community.

I see pursuing legal change as more effective and unlike short-term feel good moral booster campaigns law change shows real lobby muscle power.

I am not a NIAC member, and NIAC and its members do not owe me an explanation but if I was one of the decent members I would very much try to get the house in order because as an asset such organizations when they actually work towards Human rights issues can be extremely valuable and with Tanks rolling on the streets of Tehran we seem to be running out of time and options and we do need a very powerful united lobby not just in U.S. but a global organization to highlight the Human rights issues, provide a presence and challenge foreign powers when they act outside our interest. If existing organizations do not deliver this then perhaps we should create one.

It seems such a waste though, so I urge the NIAC members as well as their critics to put their case.

Perhaps you should answer me for this:

Because NIAC is sending me emails ( I never registered with them or provided my email) about a leadership for the Iranian community and the text seem to suggest a kind of leadership beyond your membership, and because you talk to foreign powers as the representatives of the Iranian view and that seem to include your non-members. And because we need to unite and bring all building blocks across the globe together and in our dire strait situation we have to work with the material at hand so I would like to know how many of our cousines across the water ( as the Brits call the Americans) can actually be trusted!


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I really don't care much

by vildemose on

I really don't care much about Trita Parsi's past even the fact that he lobbies for the IRI indirectly. However, I'm curious as to why would he want to not disclose simple info as his elemntary or junior high school name. As a public figure, he should be vetted just like any other public officials in the US. Has anyone done that??


Thanx Ahura

by masoudA on

Every single one of the points you raised is valid - As you can see - as soon as you make such great points - a NIAC guy comes along calling us axis of evil - zionist/monarchist/leftist/MKO......  That is what NIAC does best. 

MullahNasredin - what a pathetic list of accomplishments - which BTW, every single one of them is either politically a non-factor, or has pro IR tones.   NIAC did not stop a military attack on Iran - it stopped armed aggressions against the mullahs who have occupied Iran.  

Mola Nasredeen

To the Axis of Evil aka "Israel Lobby/Mojahedin/Monarchists"

by Mola Nasredeen on

Some of NIAC's individual successes include:

-- In 2008, NIAC defeated a Congressional resolution that would have paved the way for a US-Iran war.

-- In 2009, NIAC launched a successful campaign seeking a retraction from California Representative Jane Harman, whose controversial statement regarding the "separation" of Iran's ethnic groups offended many.  In response to NIAC's efforts, Rep. Harman quickly retracted her comment and expressed regret for the concern it caused. 

-- NIAC successfully compelled the National Geographic Society to correct their 8th edition maps to read "Persian Gulf" instead of "Arabian Gulf."

-- NIAC successfully challenged's discrimination against Iranian Americans, compelling the company to give Iranian Americans a fair chance to compete in the job market.

-- NIAC sought and obtained an apology from MSNBC's Don Imus for a derogatory comment he made in 2004 about an Iranian airliner crash that killed 43 passengers.

-- NIAC worked with writer/director Wayne Kramer and the Weinstein Company to make changes to the screenplay for Crossing Over (2007). The film originally depicted Iranian Americans committing an "honor killing." Had the script not changed, the movie would have had similar effects for the Iranian-American community as the film Not Without My Daughter (1991)

--NIAC has registered thousands of Iranian-American voters.

--NIAC published the first-ever IranCensus, showing the make-up of our community. 

Now you can go to their website and get the updates on their most recent achievements for Iranian Americans. // 



by Ahura on

Thank you Mr. Ramintork for initiating this forum for exchange of ideas. As a nonmember who somehow has ended up on NIAC email list I acknowledge the contributions of NIAC to the Iranian-American community on social and educational issues but have great reservations about their political activities that have effectively supported IRI regime. Here are some points of contention.

1. With unknown number of members (no such information could be found on NIAC website) they constitute only a portion of the Iranian-American community in USA but implicitly claim to speak for all. It should be explicitly stated that NIAC speaks for its limited membership, and not for the whole Iranian community in USA.

2. NIAC claims that it reflects the current views of all Iranians, who oppose war with Iran, in advocating diplomacy with IRI. The poll conducted by NIAC of its members, which I as a nonmember was solicited to complete, had obviously wrong question of total war instead of surgical war to remove the nuclear weapon installations.  Also, the no war vote does not mean a vote for accepting IRI and legitimizing it.

3. I challenge NIAC to conduct a poll from their members or general Iranian community on whether they want the present Islamic Republic Theocracy with its Sharia laws for Iran or a secular democratic regime.  The results, which I anticipate as unanimous rejection of IRI, should keep NIAC current on what Iranian-American community wants.

4. Until now, similar to AIC (American Iranian Council, headed by Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi) NIAC has advocated continued negotiations and has opposed imposition of further sanctions on IRI regarding nuclear arms issues.  Besides the suspicion that these two organizations are front shops for financial gains by few shady characters in their business dealings with IRI mafia, the main problem is that IRI does not represent the people of Iran and must not be legitimized through agreements and treaties with US government.  There lies the main concern with NIAC activities on Capitol Hill and US administration, namely, that NIAC advocates appeasement measures that hinder the regime change movement in Iran.

5. I take Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) as the enemy of Iran and Iranian culture that does not have the support of the majority of Iranians in the country, and must be removed by the people through any affordable means. Our job as Iranian expatriates in USA and elsewhere is to support and not hinder the freedom movement in Iran. NIAC is welcome to get onboard.

Incidentally labeling individuals to refute an argument or a point is quite discredited, and every Iranian regardless of political affiliation (IRI supports included) has a right to express her/his opinion and has one vote in Iran’s future democratic society.


Good points Vildemose

by masoudA on

But have you noticed - other than MM - none of the people who have been supporting NIAC show any interest to resolve such easily resolvable issues?   I never had a chance to communicate with Parsi - but I did with his right hand man in NIAC - Babak Talebi right here on   I asked the question got no response.   What is so difficult in producing  a name of an elementary and middle school?  

For those of you who may think me an Vildemose are on a wildgoose and unimportant chase - you are very wrong.  We are focused on how "Political Personalities" are created by ???? to keep strangglehold on countries like ours.   Just pay attention to the smoooth ride someone like Parsi has had to get to the point he is - I bet he never had to think about college tuition!!!!!   If you realy look close - Obama is not much different........but let's leave that for after Iran is freed. 


MasoudA: Maybe noone has

by vildemose on

MasoudA: Maybe noone has ever asked him about his records in elementary school and junior high in Sweden.

How is his Swedish? Does he speak it with an accent?? Does anyone know?



by masoudA on

I don't know anyone in Sweden - but why should'nt Trita provide that info?  Why should'nt NIAC members ask for it?   As I said - I think Trita Parsi lived in Iran and went to elementary and middle school in Iran - with a different name.   This is just a guess/allegation - one that Trita can resolve with ease. 


NIAC self-declaring itself

by vildemose on

NIAC self-declaring itself as an Iranian-American advocacy group better be doing a good job and in some ways it has done a good job.

 That's the least they can do...They are not doing us a favor, we are. By allowing them to use Iranian-Americans as their tool for whatever agenda they have.


MasoudA: He should have

by vildemose on

MasoudA: He should have pretty good record of his elementary and junior high school in Sweden. I think those information are public. Do you know anyone in Sweden who can find that out?


Thanks MM

by IRANdokht on

I just saw your comments in response to all the questions (read accusations) made about Trita and NIAC. I admire your patience.

As the equivalent of the fringe group "the birthers" in US, these anti-Parsi folks will not care for the facts. No amount of information, proof and reasoning would make a dent. Their mind is made up and they will continue to believe MKO's Hassan Daieoslam and repeat his accusations no matter what you say or what they learn. 

All that matters is that for the members of NIAC, the organization is doing its job. If we decide that NIAC's swayed from the objectives that are important to us, we can easily stop supporting them. As for people who doubt Trita's education, birth place, religion or integrity, they can continue not to pay NIAC a membership fee!

We have a strong voice in DC and the media. They should find their own and good luck!



MasoudA: I think you're

by vildemose on

MasoudA: I think you're right. His level of literacy in Persian literature comprehension   is key. One can easily examine that...



Vildmuse & MM & Ramin

by masoudA on

You are on the right track - as you can see there is no history of his elementary school, middle or high school from the links provided by MM.  I also appreciate MM's attitude now - in taking time to research the issues raised.   You may be interested to know Zartoshtis usualy name their 3rd child Trita - so there may be two siblings - and I would bet with different last names.    I personaly think the guys is Not Zartoshti, his name is totally different - lived in Iran until the age of 15........ Trita can resolve all if he produces the nemes of elementary and mmiddle schools he has attended - I have raised those questions to NIAC members and officials - with no response.   Also - there is a good reason for our paranoia - since creating characters like this with no ARabic names is a typical IR standard procedure.  

Dear Ramin - Please follow through - it is a must - and let's make sure we build the base of the pyramid first.  

Here is a link that will help you understand a lot more about NIAN activities.   It also includes detailed communications between Trita and IR officials released by US court.






progress so far - Within the constraints of Blog land

by ramintork on

It looks to me that in a hostile environment of U.S. politics there was a need for organizations representing the American-Iranian interest and this did come about and some good work was done.

It seems that as far as NIAC is concerned that people outside the organization have a problem with its leadership and have a crisis of trust (well founded or not this is a common theme in our Iranian culture, by the way I also include myself in suffering from this) but people on the inside are loyal to Mr Parsi for his efforts.

Again the critisms seem to point to close affliation with IRI interest or characters, and the undemocratic means that the NIAC leadership has come about. If I'm wrong on this please put your case.

Case of Iraq-Iran boarder issue was brought up. Vildemose can you expand on this? Playing the devil's advocate here, one could argue that this is something in our national interest even if it does coincide with IRI interest but I don't know enough about this issue.

By the way one excellent proposal was to use IC as a backbone for a political/Humanitarian structure, something that I have also been thinking of and wanted to propose to JJ. It seems that there is a need to form a new organization.

Here is how it works, this is a rough draft:

As a new section to IC we would have a seperate section for a new body lets call it "International Iranian Congress".

It would be strong lobby like the Miami Cubans but International

It would have well respected Humanitarians such as Mehrangiz Kar as Governors, Governors would raise the alert if the organization is being hijacked.

Membership would be free, but policy making members need to pay $25 annual donation, and $1 + advertising revenue would go to JJ as our host.

Leadership would be elected all the way, and leaders would not go off tangent and talk to foreign powers without raising this with the policy making members.

Debates would be either open as in IC or be closed to policy makers.

Rules of netiquette would be absolute for the policy making debates.

We would have a section for petitions, writing letters of protest

We would have events and organize marches, flashmob events, concerts, fundraisers etc. around the globe and get non-Iranians involved as in the anti-apartheid campaign.

A strong mainly Humanitarian/political lobby that is international and acts as a neutral zone, and can be trusted, one that can bring all camps of opposition could do wonders for our future.

I have a particluar dislike for the traditional Iranian political organizations. They are too hierarchic, too old fashioned in their methods etc. We are the Internet generation and many of us grew up here and have learnt politics from the societies we live in so I think we could do a better job with such an organization.

I will take this idea to a seperate Blog at some stage.

JJ would also need to provide a spell checker!




by MM on

Trita's bio states that He is fluent in Persian/Farsi, English, and Swedish. (//

Education (also at //

PhD, International Relations, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC, 2006.  Parsi studied for his Doctoral thesis on Israeli-Iranian relations under Professor Francis Fukuyama at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.


Stockholm School of Economics,2000.

MSc,International Relations,

Uppsala University,2000.

BA,Political Science,

Stockholm University,1999. 

Based on graduation with BA in 1999, leaving Iran at the age of 4 seems plausible.  A four year old in Iran probably speaks basic Farsi ok. I could not find anything on when or when he went to high school or his knowledge of Persian literature.  I will ask him next time I see him.


It would be great if you

by vildemose on

It would be great if you did.  How did he learn to read and write in Farsi?? Did he go to school in Sweden? which school?



by MM on

I have had Farsi discussions with Trita, especially when an only-Farsi speaking person was around, and he did fine.  OK, let me correct: he did better than me.  I really do not know about his Farsi writing and Farsi literature skills.  I will be happy to find out, though.


MM: How fluent is he in

by vildemose on

MM: How fluent is he in writing and reading?? What I meant was is he literate in Persian. Can he read Iranian poetry and understand them? I want to establish whether he is telling the truth whether he left Iran when he was 4 years old. Where did he go to elementraym junior high and high school?


masoudG and Vildemose

by MM on

Vildemose: Yes, we have talked in Farsi.  Maybe his Farsi writing is even better than me?  Do not know.  Are you going to doubt my Iranian heritage too?

MasoudG: please give hyperlinked references for your questions.  Otherwise, you have to wait for a while.   I can not answer you based on a snipet you picked up somewhere.  Sorry.


Can Dr. Parsi read or write

by vildemose on

Can Dr. Parsi read or write Persian??


did Trita Get his phd?

by masoudA on

Are you sure MM?    Again - I made two very specific and serious allegations about Trita Parsi and NIAC.   He made those comments represented you and I in congressional hearings.   I did not raise these points, so we can have something to debate - I raised them so someone like you can understand how out of touch and clueless you can be - while still following the empty wagon.   Instead of making useless responses  - The least you can do is to research the validity of my claims.   Interests of Iran and Iranians was being hurt by NIAC - an organizations you belong to.   Aren't you a bit concerned you may have been used?   Please don't turn NIAC into an MKO style cult.  If it is proven to have issues - fix it, instead of blindly support it or follishly cover it.  

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

M & M excuse me, how can a person be full Iranian when moves to sweden at age 4 or what ever from Ahwaz (during war)as refugee and goes to all school level and get a chance to come to u.s by swedish grant and hand pick some how by ohioan dude will qualify as MY voice in the u.s of A ?            

some thing is fishee..........

I wish him the best in life but please spare my life ,I don't need his voice thanks .   Maziar



by MM on


Your phrases were not referenced so I do not know in what content and when those words were spoken.  So, I do not have an answer for you there.  Please reference your quotes to newspaper articles and I will respond after reading them.  

However, as a member, I did not have to email NIAC to ask whether nuking Iran was to the benefit of Trita and ask his permission to mark the idea as coming from a bunch of nuts.  I did not ask for anyone’s permission to knock down your idea of surgical strikes that had come down straight from neo-con and AIPAC websites.

They send emails about their activities to us, but last time Trita Parsi was called to testify on hours notice to the congress. But I can tell you that, as a PhD holder in political science, while testifying in a hearing without previously prepared questions, I do not expect Trita Parsi to tell the committee "ok, wait a month while I ask my members".  He can definitely express his opinion.  If I do not agree with him, I am free to tell him off, argue with him or get the heck out of there.  

NIAC was formed to counteract the prejudice that was put on Iranian-Americans mainly due the stink of the neo-cons and AIPAC after 9/11 (cf., my previous comments too).  Trita was one of the founders of NIAC and I joined as soon as I knew about them.  As a US resident here, Trita has most of the rights we enjoy, even be drafted into the armed forces.  He just cannot vote in elections yet.  He is a FULL Iranian, in spirit, religion and spoken language.  Please do not throw "you know what" and hope that it sticks.

Ramin Jaan - here you see a sample of how issues are argued.  I may not even respond to nut-jobs anymore.


NIAC is doing a great job

by xalephbet on

I think NIAC's position really reflects the position of the majority of Iranians. I believe they are doing a great job. They are very transparent and it's very easy to communicate with them and share ideas and opinions.


maziar 58

Sir Ramin Tork to.........

by maziar 58 on

answere to your last phrase....NONE.

they're all B.S artist  just see who started supporting and creating NIAC ? an ohioan dude in congress who speak fluent farsi ??? what's their mission ? you tell me . 

hope we see a free Iran in our life time if not the 22nd century history book will tell our end less journey to the youngsters of universe.

happy new year BRO.    Maziar


Any answers MM?

by masoudA on

Your last response was even sadder than everything else you have said so far and a clear indication that you are a perfect fit for NIAC.   Instead of responding to either one of the two serious cases I raised about NIAC and Parsi, you chose to try to undermine my character!!   For your sake and the sake of Iran - please read my last post again and see if you A: Agree with it? B: Can get an answer from NIAC - as a member, you have that right.    Don't consider this an attack - This is how democracy works.   Unfortunately, This is also individuals abuse a group for personal gains.  And worst - it is also how Cartels make sure Uncle Sam does not hurt Dictatorships they are milking!!    I wonder if you get the last comment - because if you do, then you would understand how NIAC was formed, and how your buddy Parsi became the Director of an Iranian/American organization - while being neither American and not quiet Iranian !!



by MM on

I am not sad buddy.  I am very happy living here in the US, but feel sad for the people of Iran.  Please go ahead and form your organization and show us what your core-beliefs are.  As I recall, you were calling for surgical stikes against Iranian targets?  What else do you believe in and how far would you take it?  Would a nuke explosion be acceptable to you?  Whose talking-pooints do you carry in your pocket?

A sad case.  Give me a break!



by masoudA on

You are a sad case - good intensions but sadly out of touch.   Did NIAC ask from you or any other member permission when they told US Congress to honor Islamic Republics teritorial rights!! in the Middle East?   Do you even know what that means?   It means they were pressuring USA to divide Iraq with the mullahs.   Were you consulted by Trita Parsi when he practically threathened USA that any military attack on Iran will result in serious reactions from Iranians all over the world?  And he said that a week after AN had said IR has 20,000 operatives in USA!!   Do you undertand that?  He was issuing threaths to USA in our expense.  

To others - NIAC is not the problem we are.   One way or another NIAC has managed to round-up a couple of hundred paying members - out of a couple of million.   A political organization with membership paying members is what it takes to have a political say in USA - and it is what we need.   We need 500 Iranians to first stand together (as the base) - then proceed electing officers, etc.   One of the reason all efforts failed in that past was because several well intentioned people first created the head of the pyramid and then asked for others to join and form the base.    Again we need 500 to stand togther as a base.   I also think JJ and may be the perfect venue to form this organization.  

Baba Taher-e Oryan

A National Organization

by Baba Taher-e Oryan on

My understanding of a 'National Organization' is of an Umbrella organization made up of smaller specific organizations such as 'Women Rights Organization', 'Actors Organization', 'Writers Organization' etc etc

I believe that some American Immigrant communities have formed their organizations this way and hence  earned the right to use the word 'National'

The leadership of such organizations are normally elected during a convention held say every four years

However, I do not doubt the effort made by NIAC to promote the Iranian American profile


PS2, I called for the boycott of Chinese.......

by MM on


I called NIAC and for boycott/sanctions/outcry agaist the Chinese expedited sale of the anti-riot trucks to IRI.  So, NIAC listens to us (constituents) as well. 



by ramintork on

Thanks for your contribution to the debate.

The difference of what I'm proposing is using the anti-apartheid style of campaign as a model to get non-Iranians turning the pressure to a global scale and forcing the politicians to follow.

I recall, as part of that campaign there was a 24/7, 365 days a year shift in front of the South African embassy, all celebrities joined in, and marches and rallies used to attract 100s of thousands of people.

The other difference is seeking legal change so with the Citizens' initiative clause and the one million signature collection that would be a test case so it would attract media attention to the campaign on a daily basis. Similar campaigns can be run elsewheer outside EU.

Such an organization could have a symbolic leadership in a trusted figure such as for instance someone like Mehrangiz Kar who could bring factions of opposition under one roof. One would hope that this would reduce the lack of trust epidemic which we all suffer from.

You see as a secularist I don't want reforms I want a complete change from the Islamic Republic model. Now if we don't form a democratic organization that represents our majority wish, we end up with whoever can bargain the chips with the Western powers. In addition a trusted Human rights group could cater for Humanitarian aid, if people in Iran need it. With the lack of leadership inside Iran or at least the incredible constraints the opposition has to suffer we need to provide that voice.