NIAC wonders why Iranians don't enter Politics!


NIAC wonders why Iranians don't enter Politics!
by bahmani

This week in NIAC, brought another stunner, namely the puzzlement as to why more American-Iranians don't run for political office in the US.

No, really. They aren't sure why.

Let me clearly explain it.

The biggest reason why Iranians don't run for office here in the US, is because most Iranians come from Iran!

You see for over 2500 years not one single Iranian has EVER been actually free, nevermind had the benefit of a working democracy they could participate in, nor have the actual freedom to speak, write, or even think for that matter. Nor have they been practicing in their overly marbled homes. This is kind of a big limiting factor. And not the kind of endemic culturally reinforced complex that anyone can easily get out of their heads. Even if you live in DC.

Not even while Cyrus the Great ruled Persia, did we get any sort of political nudge. Probably because good old Cy was too busy freeing the Jews after conquering Babylonia, and restoring the second building of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Lesser Known Cyrus The Great Factoid: Among the many"Firsts" that Cyrus is known for, is that he was the very first recorded Iranian Real Estate Developer, paving the way for many Iranians in Southern California to follow in his footsteps centuries later. Although neither the Temple, nor the latter day ranch-style 5 bedroom 3.5 bath homes with Subzero, Viking, and quiet flush Kohlers thoughout, have ever lasted long enough for the loan to go through.

NIAC seems genuinely puzzled though, as to why more Iranians don't want to submit themselves to the complete embarrassment of public scrutiny of their most private affairs, specifically how much money they have. While I am sure you could find a good number (is 50 a good number?) of Iranians that probably have nothing to hide, there is that greater in-bred fear and superstition, that if people know how much you've got, they will most certainly covet it, or at the very minimum perform all sorts of Persian voodoo evil eye casting at you, hoping in blood that you lose everything, and are homeless, and get cancer, and die. And honestly, come on, who needs that? Especially when it works!

However the primary reason why Iranians don't, or rather shouldn't enter US politics, is rarely do Iranians ever think about serving the greater good, or all of America. I have never seen an Iranian put down the bowl of tahdeeg long enough, to coach little league baseball (although I have seen Indians doing it!), or even serve on the local school PTA (and you know Indians do that!). Getting involved in everyday civic life of America, simply isn't high on our lists of things to do today. Plus, America owes us for overthrowing Mossadegh in 1953.

To win an election though, you need more than the measly $40k fund raiser (before the tab) at the Darioush Winery (Merlot anyone?) half from Republican Iranians who think they can't vote for you, the other half from Democrat Iranians who can't vote in your district, and the other half from Independent Iranians who haven't picked a party yet because they think that you are legally required to vote for your party's candidate. And Sonoma Valley goose pate is so so. Kind of gamey.

Iranians think if all they do is show up, the election is as good as won. The closest thing any Iranian has ever come to an election is when he or she enters the race. Having worked on several campaigns, including Obama's last one (as a registered Republican!), I have yet to see an Iranian working by my side. Or even at any of the meetings. I have heard though that more and more, younger Iranians are starting to get involved, which is always great to hear, if ultimately doomed.

But to ask why more Iranians don't run for public office, and not know, is the height of ignorance and a good example of why NIAC and other groups like them, are utterly out of touch with; a) who Iranians are as a diaspora community and what they truly look and smell like outside DC and in American Suburbia, and b) what one of the most well educated, privileged, wealthy minorities in the US actually need. Which is to be left alone. So they can accumulate even more wealth.

Iranians are far smarter than to risk losing everything they have gotten. Again! Being Iranian means you used to be Persian, which means you know that at the end of the day, politics and politicians, empires and emperors come and go. Survival and surviving politicians, above all, is the key extra sensory perception that Iranians have developed. Just look at the recent US presidential race, surviving and thriving under the Bush years, if you listen to the Iranian American Bar Association or the stories from the PARS Equality Center, it sounds like under Obama things have gotten actually worse for Iranians! Yet 2012 is just around the corner. 

The added ability to not only survive, but to thrive and prosper while under the very oppression they have existed under for 2500 years, is the beautiful play that Iranians have become Olivier in. We have even named a Salad for it.

Brutal Oppression is our Hamlet. Tyranny and Torture, our Macbeth. But Politics? Politics is our Much Ado About Nothing! 

To be fair, NIAC isn't the only one encouraging Iranians do the utterly uncharacteristically un-Iranian thing and run, just to lose an election. Groups like PAAIA almost gleefully build up the ridiculous notions in poor Iranians or sadder half-Iranians' heads to actually make the mistake of throwing their hats into the ring, and then conveniently forget to post the sadder results the day after the election is blessedly over.

Which begs the real question; "Why should Iranians run for public office in the US?"

Asking this of the over-bedazzled and over-Bordeaux'd attendees at the Darioush Winery while the traditional Persian dancers traditionally perform the same traditionally out of sync traditional dance to yet another traditional Sattar oldie, one usually hears the pre-requisite traditional wrong answer of wrong answers. "So we can get greater influence."

Which is always sad to actually hear coming out of another dot com millionaire's mouth. Because we always you have such high hopes for these guys. Not because we don't actually need any political influence, but more because using the power of your elected office to unfairly give advantage to your fellow Iranian constituents, is technically illegal.

Bless his Bentley-driving heart!

Politics, like charity, begins at home. Assuming Iranians can put aside centuries of being Iranian and oppressed, and suddenly blossom into the American Beauty Rose (Offical Flower of Washington DC) overnight or after 30 years of shivering in fear, is true delusion.

To help Iranians become more politically involved, NIAC needs to focus on the root cause of our clinically diagnosed apathy, namely that as long as Iran is not free, and under this kind of tyranny and oppression, even transplanted Iranians, even Iranians in LA can't function normally out of the box.

To scream loudly against the current political conditions inside Iran (and not the ones here that are working perfectly fine) should be the charter mission, and daily procedure at NIAC.

I mean isn't that the whole reason for the very existence of Washington DC?


more from bahmani


by Escape on

you know its true


  Odd question for the

by Escape on

  Odd question for the NIAC to ask,when they have been busy destroying Iranian's image for the past how many year's?

Still I have to agree with Ayatoilet and say yes,American's hate Iranian's but it is because Iranian's hate Americans..These ones,of course are hated..In reality,most American's could care less.

Maybe this old saying will have use 'America,You get out of it what you put into it'..

There are alot of languages in the US but Farsi is a really rare one and you're Isolationist's.

Youe anomosity toward the country is great than your gratitude.

We will accept your strange names,it's no big deal but right now Islam is really a problem for anyone from the Middle East simply because of a clear Middle Eastern threat.Still,you can overcome.You can attain anyone's trust just like any other person.

It's true Iranians are a special case of Immigrants socially and economically.Iran is a rich country with centuries of accumulation,overtaken by Islamic Terrorist's in 1979.Becoming a American immigrant was less of a choice.You're similiar to Russian's but you're not in the same category as Mexican's who crawled through a desert to get here.

Most all of things in the past,were not true.The generation before you was not like that.In that sense you have become snobby spoiled brats,trendy and materialistic and take things for granted...Americanized just like a Real American....

That should make sense sense,your parent's were more Iranian than you.And they had Iranian customs of being naturally friendly,outgoing and most of all : M O D E S T Y...

They were smart,they barely spoke the language and laid the foundation in a foreign land,after picking up and starting over..Everything..They had not your isolationist society you do and the luxury of that peer relativity that really is,just mental...They overcame and you will,eventually become just like your parents..

Ari Siletz

Votes aren't everything!

by Ari Siletz on

ayatoilet1, there are many ways to be of service to the community and build or exert influence other than running for office. To support bahmani here a little, compare the Iranian American Dental Association's mission statement to it's Indian counterpart. The Iranian mission statement lacks any mention of community serives whereas the Indian version includes:

"To help the needy through its charity drive, donation of professional services by its members and by providing a forum for various organizations for their charitable cause ."


Also, "us" meaning Iranian is not a mindset with which to go after American votes. "Us" should project a meaning that encompasses every voter's idea of who the community is.


They Hate US - That's Why

by ayatoilet1 on

American literally hate Iranians and Muslims for that matter. That is that. I've worked for many campaigns, ran for several offices etc etc.You just can't get the votes.

We are second class citizens here - now worse off than african-americans (because we have noone to defend our rights and protect us).

Not only in the US, but in Europe too. Iranians are unelectable. With weird names ...unless of course you sell your soul and call yourself Freddy or Bob ...but if you're running with your real Iranian identity, then forget about it. That is the sad truth. Look at the poor Iranian guy who killed himself by burning himself alive in Holland ...they are not issuing visas to Muslims anymore! He could not stay in Holland - they don't want him and he could not go back to Iran (he would be raped then killed in Iran as an opponent of the regime). He and frankly every Iranian expatriate (in the Diaspora) is trapped. Its a crazy way to live a life. That is why I entered politics and started the TV show. We're trapped.

In the final analysis, we are better off campaigning for a change in Iran, and going home where in a new regime and new environment we might - just might - be electable and serve our communities. Our contribution to Iran could be far greater than our contributions here.

I can only hope that change comes sooner rather than later. I am doing everything I can ... Americans hate us, and we just need to get used to it. We all know it. Check out the interactions at the mall when people ask Iranians where they are from and they say Italy, or Turkey or ...whatever. Iranians are ashamed of themselves in the U.S. Talk to your kids. Talk to your friends.

Its the sad truth. And for a great nation, for a great people...THE MOST SUCCESSFULL IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY IN THE US - EVER! 1.3 Trillion dollars in net worth, 5000 doctors, 4000 professors ... and they are all hiding their true identity. Americans simply hate us. Can't get the votes.



Reply to James D:

by bahmani on

Iranians also tend to work on every single other problem, rather than the main ones they need to be focused on. Especially Iran, is very broken. There are numerous issues that need to be exposed, analyzed, written about, and yes, lobbied for to the US government. This is why I complain about why NIAC is focused on problems that we don't have, rather than the bigger ones in our immediate history.

NIAC is precisely safe as an American organization, and therefore MUST use that protection to scream bloody murder at the Iranian government. What they are doing now would be great if we were willing immigrants. We aren't, we are unwilling immigrants and whether we admit it or not, we are ALL political prisoners here as political refugees. NOT ONE of us will tell you that if Iran was free, that we would still stay in the US. 99% would go back in a heartbeat.

Actually, I do believe that by my complaining here, I can help to change things in Iran. At least as much as one person writing consistently against the policies of Iran can do. I don't know if I will be successful, but I will continue as long as I can.

NIAC, while correctly an American foundation, is simply wrong in not fulfilling it's potential as our defacto opposition group.

Yes, I know that's not what their charter and mission is, but it should be. Their mission and charter would be better if they spoke out against the Iranian government (there is so much more to speak out against!), rather than lobby the US to not attack Iran or help senators write bills that will never become US law.

The greater problems are over there, not over here. I want NIAC to re-focus and get on the real ball, not waste time coming up with and then tying to fix made up problems that we don't have.

Crying to the UN about Iran's Human Rights? As I understand it, NIAC wants the UN to "study" Iran's record, then put that "thought" into a lovely report six months from now, and then someone will no doubt print the report, and then someone else is supposed to hand it out to people who can't do anything about it, and then I guess, we're all going to sit down and have a good read.

Meanwhile, according to Iran's set constitution and established and tested laws, the people in jail suffering these abuses that we will possibly read about in say six months from now (very optimistic, I say we don't see it sooner than a year), when we get together and read the report, are technically, constitutionally, legally, convicted felons!

That means that according to Iranian law (Yes, they have lawyers, judges, and courts and everything!) the "felons" convicted by the courts, deserve the punishment meted by the court. And just as the human rights in US jails and prisons are violated in much the same way, every single day in America, after all of that, do you think Iran cares about the UN's impression that legal court ordered punishment is too harsh?

I bet the UN will conclude that since Iranian law, and punishment, is legal in Iran, that the UN can have no say. I say this because the same UN considers Iran to be a democracy.

The greater effect and morally responsible thing to do would be to question and challenge the laws and the constitutional basis that Iran mis-uses and mis-applies, to convict the folks we will be reading about in a year.

But NIAC isn't planning on doing that. That's my problem.

What NIAC is doing today is like saying that because the US speed limit is 70, that the UN should look into cases of speeding in Iran. Knowing full well that Iran's legal speed limit is 150.

What NIAC should be doing instead, is telling the Iranian government directly (of course through public and safe channels), that 150 is way too fast, and that it is wrong, unsafe, and that real civilized countries go with 70 as the speed limit and don't go with 150 as the speed limit, and if Iran wants to be thought of as a safe considerate country in the modern world, it should really change it's speed limit, because too many people are being killed and tortured at 150.

And then send them the studies and stats to prove it.

Huh? Am I still high?

Ari Siletz

What we can do...

by Ari Siletz on give greater visibility to Iranians who are active in their community. This way our own stereotype of ourselves as uninvolved people will vanish--because it wasn't real to begin with. It's too early to shoot for Congress, but I know several Iranian fathers who have happily taken on the responsibility of coaching their childrens' sports teams at school. I know several Iranians who have enrolled in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In fact, here's an active young Iranian with an interesting line of community service that I had the pleasure of writing about on IC. Mr. Naderi has plans for public office, by the way. 



by bahmani on

All the more reason or NIAC to focus on Iran instead of the US. The US is doing fine and so are Iranians in the US. The problems that need to be exposed are the many problems in Iran. NIAC Should be doing that instead of trying to fix problems that don't exist.

James D.

Why aren't Iranian Americans a more influential group?

by James D. on

Bahmani, you say "To scream loudly against the current political conditions inside Iran
(and not the ones here that are working perfectly fine) should be the
charter mission, and daily procedure at NIAC."

That's the problem. Iranians waste all their energy screaming into the wind.

NIAC is an Iranian-American organization. They operate in America and only in America. Bahmani, do you believe that you can change the Iranian government's behavior by bitching an moaning on No? Well neither can NIAC. That's why they focus on working for the community in America.

And NIAC actually does a lot of work and puts out a lot of statements about the human rights situation in Iran. (// But you might have noticed they usually call on the US Government or international community to take actions to address the human rights crisis in Iran. Why? Because they're an Iranian-American organization that can only influence things through actions in the United States.

Sheila K

because Iranians want to go back home when Mullah's leave

by Sheila K on

Unlike other immigrants to the US (don't know about Europe or elsewhere) who come to achieve their American Dreams, Iranians come to a temporary shelter so that when someone takes out the Mullah's (for them) they can go back to their humpty dumpty lives.