Tavalod, Tavalod, Tavalodet Mobarak NIAC!

Happy birthday to us!


Tavalod, Tavalod, Tavalodet Mobarak NIAC!
by Nobar Elmi

Ten years ago today, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) was born. While I technically wasn’t there as a staffer to see it for myself, I’d like to say I was there in spirit.  The reason being, as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted an organization that fights for the rights of the Iranian-American community.  And, as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted our community to have a voice and be more than what the media and others define us to be.

I was born and raised in the Midwest, or as my home state’s motto says “The Heart of it All.”  While I feel incredibly blessed to have been brought up in a warm and supportive community, a girl named Nobar sporting big brown hair and packing “cotelette” sandwiches for school lunch made me somewhat of an odd ball. I was asked if I “spoke Muslim” and was told I’d go to hell because of my religion. I remember also being told in elementary school that my friend could no longer play with me because I was “a Saddam Hussein.” (Ahem … Michelle, sorry, but I’m still bitter about this!) 

I’m not complaining. I love my name, despite the fact that it was easy fodder for the jokesters in school. And, I love my heritage, despite the fact that I complained relentlessly about having to go to Farsi school as a kid.  But, these differences didn’t make me weak or scared. They made me stronger, and left me wanting something bigger and better for our community.

And, yet, my story is not a unique one.  We’ve all felt the dilemma of being proud of our heritage, but tired at times of feeling like we have to defend it. We’ve all felt the desire to be treated as one of “us,” instead of one of “them.”  We’ve all wanted to be heard, rather than told what our community – and loved ones still living in Iran – should do/say/feel. 

And, that’s exactly why I joined NIAC.

I started with NIAC as a member, but officially joined the team as the Director of Community Outreach & Programming in October 2010.  While it’s been extremely challenging at times, this is hands down the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.  It’s rewarding because I get to interact daily with Iranian Americans across the country.  It’s rewarding because I know that we are making a difference in the lives of the thousands of people who constitute our membership.

For ten years now, NIAC has been proving itself time and time again by its actions and ever-growing list of accomplishments. Whether we are galvanizing our grassroots for letter writing campaigns, organizing briefings and conferences on Capitol Hill, working with our Ambassadors to plan events at the local level, scheduling in-district meetings between our members and their Representatives, giving Iranian-American students opportunities to intern on Capitol Hill, or shining the media spotlight on issues that matter to us most, the NIAC team is working hard to make sure our community has a voice here in DC.

While others have often tried to intimidate or prevent us from succeeding, we don’t back down because we know we have the support of the Iranian-American community.  Our membership helps us determine our policies and priorities.  But not only do our own internal polls show the support we have for our positions, external polls do as well. Ten years ago, the overwhelming majority of Iranian Americans who opposed war and wanted to stand up for human rights were not a part of the debate in Washington.  And, now we are.   Ten years ago, the overwhelming majority of Iranian Americans who wanted an organization to support our rights and help us learn about American democracy, had no place to go. And, now we do.

So … Happy birthday to us! We’re growing up fast, but thanks to our amazing leadership and membership, we just keep getting better and better with age.

And, only because I believe we deserve it … here’s a little diddy from me to us: (insert beautiful Googoosh-like voice here) “Tavalod Tavalod Tavalodet mobarak! Mobarak, Mobarak, Tavalodet mobarak!”


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@hamsade ghadimi

by choghok on

Well it is not strange that sometimes your goals are the same. It would be really strange if you would welcome bombing of Iran or if you saw how the embargo affect people in Iran of course there would b a debate if it is wrong or right. I myself am a bit divided about the embargo, but I would not go that far to say NIAC is IRI agents because they are anti embargo.

The winners in this world are not the ones that are rigid but the pragmatic ons, that is why IRI and mullahs hs survived, they are very pragmatic and bend the rrules so they can survive. If we want to survive them we have also to b pragmatic, that does not mean though that we should accept atrocities.

NIAC has never branded itself an opposition group or a human rights group so they have not spend their energies there. I do not blame them for that sine they are sincere about this issue. If they would b focusing on those issues they could not tackle anything else.

hamsade ghadimi

choghok jan, i think that

by hamsade ghadimi on

choghok jan, i think that you summed it up very well: niac is chummy with the iri officials and they're doing their darnedest to acheive iri's goals.  and being concerened with human rights since 2009 can be verified easily.  no further proof needed.  don't worry about mr. rainbow.  :)


@rain bow movement

by choghok on

How do you "know". Knowing is not believing, you need to have facts. Even if NIAC would have jumped in joy when Neda was shot in Tehran as one would have thought by your comment it does not prove that they are IRI agents as you put it.

Could you give a fact beside that they have had meetings with IRI people and that they are against war and embargo? They do not prove that they are agents, just that their way of doing things is not shared by you.  


FALSE claims by rainbow


If you had bothered to do a google search you would imediately begin to laugh at your own claims:

NIAC has indeed spoken againt human rights violations:



we know NIAC as IR agent

by rain bow movment on

I haven't seen any letters from NIAC to condemned human rights violation in iran,or how US government can help Iranian to  change the regime in Iran.or preparing a list of the IR agents in US and submiting it to congress.

so I don't belive that NIAC helping Iranian in any way to change the hideaus Islamic regime in Iran.

you guys have your own agenda.no happy birthday from me.

 There is no limit to stupidity & ignorance of hipocrits

Imam-e Zaman


by Imam-e Zaman on

Thanks Nobar for posting. I hope NIAC will keep growing. Iranian Americans need an organization (You may call it lobby? fine) to take care of their intersts and concerns just like others. NIAC has done a remarkable job during the short  time it has been on the scence. I appreciate that the NIAC leadership has been smart not to get involved in the ususal bickering and name-calling that is unfortunately so common among the Iranian diaspora.  For detractors, NIAC is not a lobby of the Iranian regime. It has tried to do what is best for the Iranian community at large. You'd better look at yourselves and see what they have done.



by choghok on

Did you really mean what you write or is it sarcasm? If it is not sarcasm you really should think if you really did not answer your question yourself?

IRI is being seen as supporter of terrorism by US so any help from IRI to any loby organisation would hawkishly being seen and reported by AIPAC and alikes. AIPAC would not lose a second to close down NIAC and they are powerful.

iraj khan

Jenab anglophile,

by iraj khan on

بحث را در موضوع‌هایی‌ که با بحث فیصله نمی‌‌گیرد،

 باید کنار گذاشت.

We can't standby and let Tehran turn into Baghdad

For ten years our community has had a voice



Getting Crowded in NIAC Phone Booth!

by Faramarz on


Nobar Elmi,

I don’t know if you realize it or not, but your description of your tough times during your teen years and your desire to find a supportive community to stand up for you is a classic case of people who join gangs.

The gang gives you protection against the bullies, but they also demand 100% loyalty.

While I empathize with you and many Iranians that went through some difficult times in the US after the hostage crisis and 9/11, I believe that you should really see the Regime in Iran as the instigator of all the ills and not the ignorant redneck that made fun of your name.

NIAC is a business lobby group that at its core is trying to lift the sanctions so that the big US corporations can do business with the Sepah Mafia in Iran.

It is really that simple.


did khayenei

by shushtari on

pay for the cake and candles LOL


I asked for evidence not excuse Iraj joon!

by anglophile on

and you don't need to go too far back:  just 10 to 7 years ago. By the time your fellow NIACIs realised that supporting HR was "good for image" the pool was full of dead fish.


Thank you

by Sepidar on

Thank you for all the hard work. 

iraj khan

ماهی‌ رو هر وقت از آب گیری تازه است

iraj khan

When it comes to why.. 

Human Rights for political activists never really existed in Iran but for a very short period of time, here and there.

How far does one would be willing to go back?

Ghajar's era, Pahlavi's era, the present regime?

But as the saying goes:

"It's better late than never!" 

I'm just saying,



Did human right violations begin in 2009 in Iran?

by anglophile on


Among NIAC's achievements, was one on supporting human rights (in Iran I presume). I couldn't see any objections to such violations by NIAC dated earlier than 2009! Can NIAC supporters produce evidence of such "achivements" dated any earlier? Surely human rights violations did not slow down or stop in the first seven years of NIAC's exstence! So why did it take NIAC so long to protest?

iraj khan

Happy Birthday Indeed,

by iraj khan on

Iranian Americans have come a long way since ten years ago. I have been aware of NIAC and its activities on behalf of Iranian Americans for the last several years.

Here is how you describe it:

"And, yet, my story is not a unique one.  We’ve all felt the dilemma of being proud of our heritage, but tired at times of feeling like we have to defend it. We’ve all felt the desire to be treated as one of “us,” instead of one of “them.”  We’ve all wanted to be heard, rather than told what our community – and loved ones still living in Iran – should do/say/feel."

Maa Baa Shomaa Hasteem,



Self apointed NIAC

by Manam_Babak on

I wounder how is NIAC is getting paid by IRI , now that IRI's Banks are under US sanction?


I have been following NIAC only for a year or two...

by Bavafa on

And it has certainly been a work in progress with some ups and downs.  But these are just as expected specially for such young organization and in such competitive and often time hostile environment.

I have been a [cautious] supporter and will remain so as long as the goal remains to represent the members (Iranian-Americans) in the US and to act in sprit of unifying Iranians to protect Iranian-American interest.

With that, my best wishes and happy Birthday NIAC.

'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 




by bambi on

great job and a much deserved happy birthday.


thanks Nobar - keep at it.

by MM on