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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Call-for-action by NIAC

by MM on

NIAC usually sends an email about an upcoming issue that pertains to the Iranian-American community and they will argue points about the issue.  Then, they will ask you to go to a NIAC site that has a form letter to send to a congressman in your district, a senator in your district or the white house.  You either agree with the points in the letter or change it the way you want and click send.  NIAC then sends you a thank you note for responding to a call for action.  I then receive a thank you note from the congressman or the senator for my opinion and then we hope that the government will act on the issue “partly” based on what the constituents desire.  I hope that answers your question.  It may not be perfect, but it works and NIAC has gained respect, certainly a lot more that 2002; I tell you. 

PS, no one has to convince me that I do or do not want to see nukes exploding in Iran.


Leadership in NIAC - Global Human Rights Organization

by MM on

Ever since I joined NIAC Trita Parsi has been at the helm.  We do not have elections to depose Trita Parsi. I agree with their policies and I would never want to be in his shoes doing this 24/7.  I do not know of anyone else who has his credentials to replace him either.  I certainly have my own job and besides an occasional blog or comment, I cannot do much else.  If I disagree with NIAC's policies, all I gotta do is ignore their calls for action and concentrate on a different organization, but NIAC has had good people like John Limbert, who is the undersecretary for the Iranian Affairs in the State department.  John Limbert advised NIAC before he went to work for the government.

I am not sure what the difference is in the organization you are advocating versus the Human Rights Organization that exists right now.  Or even the current calls by NIAC for observing the human rights issues in Iran.  We may want to join the main WRO faction or NIAC's calls instead of diluting the efforts by forming an even third organization, but I do not know much about it so I will reserve judgment.


sargord Pirouz

by ramintork on

Fair criticism not tanks, reinforced anti-riot vehicles that easily run over people and soon chinese anti-riot vehicles equipped with cannons that shoot boiling water, burning chemical etc.

Sargord Pirouz


by Sargord Pirouz on

Ramin, there have been no tanks rolling into Tehran during the post-election unrest. When you throw out outlandish statements such as these, you lose all sense of credibility. I advise you write with greater discipline to be taken more seriously.

(Just a bit of constructive criticism.) 



by ramintork on

This is not an attack, it is open debate and despite my skepticism I'll try to be fair. You have made a lot of good points I think if I was living in U.S. and had to face a very hostile environment I might have joined such an organization. Europe is more multi-cultural some might even say too multi-cultural!, and crazy political factions like the neocons equivs. are powerless here, actually according to Noam Chomsky (perilous Power) they are not as powerful as people think they are anyway!

I am opening this debate because we need unity and we need to bring such issues into the open. I know you have followed some of my Blogs so I think you know what it is I'm trying to acheive here. In fact if you recall I also mentioned the Cuban model. By the way how is the NIAC leadership decided?

Like you I don't want to see a War in Iran,

Don't want crippling sanctions etc.

I still have an issue with Mr Parsi's association with IRI figures. Also all those points that you made are very good for the community but none seem to challenge IRI in a positive way. Now if NIAC was running a call for ban on chinese goods in U.S. on the basis of them selling oppressive technology, or did the petition I am running like looking for legistlative change to stop EU companies selling oppressive technology to Iran that would be a move which would be credible. I know NIAC has asked for disarming of Basij, but what muscle power do they want to show to Iran if they don't listen?

As someone with strong NIAC loyalties, do you think we should form a seperate Global organization for Human rights issues?

If there was such an organization would someone like you join?

For one thing I'm not sure if NIAC manifesto covers all the aspects of what we need, certainly at a Global level.


BTW, we are united on American issues, but not IRI

by MM on


I think that most Iranian-Americans are pretty much united on issues that affect our daily lives here in the US.  I never heard anyone complain about NIAC before Trita's comment on let's talk first or targeted vs. broad sanctions.  No Iranian-American is calling for beating us, having discriminatory laws against us or deporting us.

The difference is more pronounced on how to handle the Un-Islamic regime of Iran.  I welcome all Iranian-Americans with opposing views on bombing Iran, Nuking Iran, broad sanctions, etc. to form a lobbying group to represent them in the Congress or the White House, or we can also debate them here in a forum dedicated to specific issues, after which we form a united front.  Yes, the idiot John Bolton (a neo-con, an American Enterprise Institute member and staunch AIPAC supporter) has even advocated nuking Iran.  EXCUSE ME, BUT THAT IS BLOODY EXPLODING ATOMIC BOMBS IN IRAN (UNEXCUSABLE AS A POLICY TO ME).  What is acceptable to us, the Iranian Diaspora?  How far do we want to push the foreign intervention button?

My only requirement is that we debate and not talk over each others’ head.  In many blogs, I see that the comments are totally ignored and instead, something completely different and unrelated is brought up, which turns me off and I just move on.


Niac must have  bought

by vildemose on

Niac must have  bought influence in Washington through lobbying the right people. hobnobing in the right circle and getting/paying for  the legal advice of many in  foggy bottom much before launching the organization. This is not unique to NIAC. That is how things are done in the US. Money talks...

We as ordinary people don't have that kind of money.


OK Ramin

by MM on

Thank you Ramin.  I am a NIAC member.  I am neither in the leadership position nor at the board of NIAC, but I feel that I have to write something about this issue.

Before 2001, I, like many educated Iranians here in the US and Europe, was working hard and thought that was just enough.  I joined NIAC in 2002 because after the horrible murderous acts of 9/11, and especially after the idiotic phrase by Busch "axis of evil" comment fomented by David Frum (need I say more), I realized that the Iranian-Americans needed strong representation in Washington D.C.  The model that comes to my mind is from the Cuban community where there are 3 distinctive categories 1. The poor people of Cuba, 2. The communist murderous leaders in Cuba and 3. The strong Cuban-American lobby who no one accuses of being a Castro agent.  Could we have said the same about Iranians?  The answer was a resounding NO.  As the Iranian expression said so well; “They were beating all of us with the same stick”.  But, right now, things are a lot more different, thanks to the efforts of NIAC.  

While, we, as the Iranian Diaspora, are mainly against the government of Iran, we really could not do much in 2002.  So, the main objectives of NIAC, in my opinion, were to protect our rights here in the US, e.g.

Prevent discriminatory laws from passing in the congress.  For example, Trita called me in 2003 and asked me to join in a writing campaign to my congressman who was drafting an amendment to expel all Iranian visitors and students and deny visas to ALL persons of Iranian origin.  Well, Iranians still come here.  Since then, NIAC has been talking to the congress and the white house about Iranian-American issues, and that is good.

* Prevent celebrities and government officers from derogatory comments bordering prejudice.  Through our writing campaigns, e.g., we have gotten apologies from congressman Harman, MSNBC and its former famous announcer, Imus in the Morning.

Protect Iranian Treasures: NIAC and Iranian lawyers (IABA) have been very active legally and in fund-raisers in protecting the Persepolis tablets from being the subject of a legal suite brought about by the victims of an Israeli bomb attack.  In our area, we raised a lot of $$$ for the Persepolis Tablets defense-fund.

Others: Also see the blog by “Q” who lists many more actions such as registering Iranian-Americans, census, National Geographic’s Persian Gulf vs. Arabic Gulf, and movies portraying Iranians in honor killings.  


So, I am puzzled that all the sudden, people come out of everywhere attacking NIAC and its members, based on something that an MKO member has alleged or the neo-cons and the AIPAC lobby agents with talking-points in their pockets accuse us of being IRI agents, just because of one comment that “we should talk first before we make war/targeted strikes”.  HELLLO, does Iraq war mean anything.  You said it well that " so what that Trita has emailed the rep of Iran in UN" and as a result we are tied to the Alavi foundation,........ouch. 

BTW, as far as the sanctions, I certainly am not against sanctions.  I just want sanctions that target the agents of this Un-Islamic regime and not the people of Iran.  Right here in, we can have a rational debate (and not talk over each others heads) about what is acceptable to the Iranian Diaspora and what is not.  For example, sanctions on airplane parts for Iran Air suck, for obvious reason that it kills Iranian people in Iran Air crashes.  Others…., well, let’s debate them and come to conclusions.  As my boss used to say: “Either you tell us what you want to do or else we will tell you what you should do”.   

Darius Kadivar

I welcome this but do They ? ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

To my knowledge NIAC has always avoided debate with it's contradictors.

Most of their public speaches or interviews on TV have been with likeminds and not with those who opposed their views.

My humble opinion,




Thanks eroonman

by ramintork on

I don't recall saying 'NIAC is a perfect organization'. I am a secularist myself so I take some of your points. Now to keep this debate clean, we need to come up with constructive points, another words if this was a court of law what would you put forward as the case for or against NIAC.


NIAC is a perfect Iranian Organization...

by eroonman on

... if by perfect you mean a dictatorship. They follow the unfortunate historical pattern.

Thanks for your post and raising this important issue. 

Don't assume the majority population of Iranian-Americans was ever asked, "Do we want or need a National Council?", they weren't. NIAC and it's not-surprisingly secret founders merely wished to be this.

Don't get me wrong, they have worked hard to become a Council for us. But as usual, the "build it and they will coma" (spelled corrrectly) approach is at play here. They have tried to build something hoping we all get behind them, but that's not democratic. That's dictatorship, in all it's ridiculous glory. No surprise why the thinking within the NIAC box is so funny and sad to watch. They don't ask members before acting, the membership is just one of the fund raising arms.

NIAC is the train wreck that keeps hitting the same wall over and over and over again.

Sadly, we are a damaged people, who can't stop orgs like this from stepping up to the CNN mike, or visit the White House and blather a bunch of nonsense in our name. AND we are too apathetic to do anything better by our own hand.

Until we take responsibility for being Iranian, and stand for something right and just, rather than "Let's wait and see what happpens, don't say anything for now, and in the meantime let me buy a new Mercedes and visit my well to do relatives in Tehran for the summer...", nothing will change.

You are looking for unity? To get there, Iranians around the globe must stand for this:

We must demand that the current government of Iran abdicate, having demonstrated for 30 years it's gross incompetence with the treasure, and ill-intentions and contempt towards it's own people. No more discussion, no transition, simply stop, and leave.

We must demand the right to freely, speak, write, read, and think.

We must demand the right to fairly and safely choose a non-religious government of our choice. No more experimentation, debate, or discussion on running things with religion.

We must reject any form of forced rule, forced opinion, and forced ideology.

When we choose these, collectively, you will have your unity. Until then, we are merely seeds in the wind, who cannot grow in the soil, until they stop blowing about aimlessly.


By the way

by ramintork on

This is not a trial by Blog either I know how fallible such debates can be, I am not intersted in defending or accusing NIAC but want to see removal of obstacles from unity within our diasporic community.

It seems like asking for a miracle, but it was done before back in 1979 if you forgot! I do not see why given the peril our country is in all factions can not find a neutral zone in the form of symbolic leader (as in the case of former CSSR) and join in opposition.