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PAAIA Commissions Report to Strengthen Compliance on the Iran Nuclear Deal
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) has commissioned Global Impact Strategies (giStrat) to conduct a scientific report on the implementation of the nuclear agreement between the P5+1 coalition (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany) and Iran. The report, to be released in September 2016, aims to provide data-driven evidence and strategies to strengthen compliance on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is part of PAAIA’s continued efforts to support the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement.
PAAIA Commends European Commission Decision Against Suspension of Visa Waiver Program for U.S. Citizens
On July 13, 2016, the European Commission formally adopted a Communication about the visa reciprocity situation with the United States. Despite the visa reciprocity mechanism in EU law, the Commission decided not to suspend the visa waivers available to American citizens at this time.
Senate Resolution Calls for the Release of Iranian Americans Siamak and Baquer Namazi
On July 12, 2016, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced bipartisan legislation calling for the immediate release of Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, who are U.S.- Iranian dual citizens currently detained in Iran.
National Security Leaders Praise Iran Nuclear Deal, Urge for More Engagement with Iran
In an open letter to President Obama published July 12, more than 75 former government officials and private sector security professionals praised the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran Nuclear Deal, and urged for a strengthening of ties with Iran.
TAKE ACTION: House Resolution Calls for Release of Iranian Americans Detained in Iran
Today, Congressman Ed Royce (R-39th/CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman Gerald Connolly (D-11th/VA) introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the Iranian government to immediately release Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, who are dual U.S.- Iranian citizens currently detained in Iran. Send a letter to your representative asking for their support!
PAAIA CHIP Fellow Reflects on Internship with Congressman Mike Honda
Aava Khajavi, PAAIA’s 2016 recepient of the Akhbar Ghahary Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP), graduated from American University this May with a B.A. in Psychology. She is passionate about educational equity and alleviating the social stigma tied to mental health issues. Growing up in Los Angeles, a city with an enormous Iranian American population, Khajavi witnessed first-hand how little Iranian Americans’ interests are represented in the political arena. This reality is what inspired her to pursue a career in politics and encourage her community to have a larger voice in government.
Momentum Builds for Iranian American Candidates
With the New York and Washington primary elections fast approaching, Iranian American candidates Anna Kaplan and Cyrus Habib are poised to have strong showings and advancing towards their respective general elections. If successful, they will become the first Iranian Americans to be elected to the U.S. Congress and to state office.
TAKE ACTION NOW: House Judiciary Committee Passes Discriminatory Visa Security Bill
Urge your Representative to oppose efforts that would punish the Iranian people, undermine U.S. interests, and impair the U.S. immigration system.
Cyrus Habib Kicks Off Campaign for Lt. Governor of Washington State
On May 16, the highest-ranking Iranian American in political office and the first Iranian American to serve as a State Senator filed paperwork to run for Lieutenant Governor of Washington State. His campaign for Lieutenant Governor, the highest state office after Governor, began with a kick-off event in downtown Seattle, where he was endorsed by California Lt. Governor and Gubernatorial Candidate Gavin Newsom, as well as several Washington State Senators, and the Washington State Attorney General.
Future U.S. Iran Policy in a Shifting Regional Order
The Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. held a panel on Friday, May 13th, to discuss regional tensions in the Middle East in the wake of the Iranian Nuclear Deal. The panel comprised a diverse group of regional experts: Vice Admiral John M. Miller, former U.S. Naval Commander; Dennis Ross, Counselor and Distinguished William Davidson Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Paul Pillar, researcher and faculty member at the Georgetown University Center for Security Studies; and Alex Vantanka, senior fellow at The Middle East Institute and PAAIA Public Policy Advisor. While there were some differences of opinion regarding Iran’s role in regional stability, the majority of panelists praised the JCPOA for improving dialogue between Iran and the U.S.
Maryam Mirzakhani, First Iranian Woman to be Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
Maryam Mirzakhani, a Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences. One of the highest honors for scientists in the United States, new members are elected by current members based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. These members serve as “advisors to the nation” on science, engineering, and medicine. Past honorees include renowned scientists Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell. Mirzakhani was one of the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates elected into the nonprofit organization this year. She will be formally inducted next April in Washington D.C.
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi Releases Her New Book - Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran
Shirin Ebadi was the first woman to become a judge in Iran prior to the 1979 Revolution. After she was stripped of her position under the new Islamic Republic, Ebadi helped to found the Defenders of Human Rights Center. This too was taken from her by the new regime when it was forced to close in 2008. For her tireless efforts to combat human rights abuses, Ebadi became the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
PAAIA Holds Congressional Briefing
April 26, 2016, Washington, D.C. – On April 20th, 2016, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) held a congressional briefing to present the findings of its 2016 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans, followed by a panel discussion on Iran. In attendance, were more than fifty congressional staffers as well as representatives from the U.S. State Department and members of the media.
April 2016 Newsletter
PUBLIC AFFAIRS ALLIANCE OF IRANIAN AMERICANS NEWSLETTER -- PAAIA Holds Congressional Briefing and Panel Discussion on Iran After the Nuclear Deal
Iranian American Joins Humanitarian Effort to Support Refugees
Iranian American social entrepreneur and former U.S. Marine, Pooya Rezai, recently sat down for an interview with PAAIA about his trip to Greece. Purchasing a one-way ticket, Rezai made his way to Lesvos Island where he spent six weeks working with Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) engaging in maritime rescue and beach lifesaving.
IABA Honors Ali Mojdehi and Darius Shahinfar
The Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) held its sixth annual Nowruz dinner on April 3rd in New York City, honoring special guests Ali Mojdehi and Darius Shahinfar. Darius Shahinfar is the CFO and Treasurer of the City of Albany. Elected in 2013, Shahinfar has attorney experience in both the public and private sectors as well as all three branches of government.
Omar Khayyam Statue Unveiled at the University of Oklahoma
The College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma unveiled a marble statue of Persian philosopher and scientist Omar Khayyam, an 11th-century poet, astronomer, scholar and mathematician. Carved by the well-known Iranian sculptor, Hossein Fakhimi, the statue depicts Khayyam with a globe that contains constellations representing his contributions to astronomy, algebra and poetry and symbolizes Iranian cultural and scientific contributions to the entire world over the centuries.
Meet Iranian American Chef, Entrepreneur, and Diplomat: Maziar Farivar
Iranian American Chef and co-owner of Peacock Cafe in Washington, DC, Maziar Farivar sat down for an interview with PAAIA to discuss his life, career and diplomatic endeavors.
FAQ: The Visa Waiver Program Improvements and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act
The Visa Waiver Program permits citizens of 38 participating countries to travel to the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. In the United States, the VWP is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the Department of State. Permanent residents of designated countries who are not citizens of those countries do not qualify for a visa waiver.
TAKE ACTION: Support Senate Amendment to Protect Dual Nationals from Discriminatory Visa Rules
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has offered his legislation, the Equal in Protection Travel Act, as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill (S. 2658). The amendment, co-sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), would strip the discriminatory dual nationality provisions contained in the Visa Waiver Program reforms passed into law late last year.
PAAIA Hosts Annual Nowruz Reception on Capitol Hill
On March 16, 2016, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) hosted its annual Nowruz reception for members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill. A bipartisan group of eighteen members of Congress served as honorary co-hosts of the reception, which included a beautiful Haftseen table.
Heads of State Around the World Recognize Nowruz
Every year, millions of Iranians all over the world celebrate the Persian New Year, Nowruz. Iranians observe this holiday by visiting family and friends, celebrating a season of new life and wishing for good luck in the year ahead.
2016 Ellis Island Award Honorees
Eight highly accomplished Iranian Americans will be awarded the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding achievement in their personal and professional lives coupled with preservation of their culture and heritage and noteworthy citizenship to the United States.
Congressman Honda Continues to Champion Nowruz on Capitol Hill
Yesterday, Congressman Michael M. Honda (D-CA) issued a statement about the importance of continuing to recognize the cultural and historical significance of Nowruz in the U.S. Congress. Congressman Honda is the sponsor of the annual Nowruz receptions on Capitol Hill for PAAIA and legislation honoring the Iranian New Year.
PAAIA Releases 2016 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) today released the findings of a national public opinion survey examining the attitudes of Iranian Americans with respect to U.S.-Iran relations, the newly implemented nuclear agreement with Iran, and the experience of the Iranian American community.
Meet and Greet Reception with Senator Gillibrand
PAAIA members and friends hosted a meet and greet reception with United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in New York City. The event presented an opportunity for Senator Gillibrand to get acquainted with the Iranian American community and meet with PAAIA members and Iranian American leaders from the tri-state area. Other dignitaries in attendance were Albany City Treasurer, Darius Shahinfar, and North Hampstead Councilwoman Anna Monahemi Kaplan.
Prominent Industry Professionals Send Letter to Congress in Support of Bill to Fix Visa Waiver Provisions
Thirty-five prominent industry professionals have published an open letter to Members of Congress voicing their support for the Equal Protection in Travel Act of 2016 (S.2449/H.R.4380). The bipartisan legislation would strip the dual nationality provisions contained in the visa waiver program reforms passed into law late last year.
After Sanctions: Challenges Facing the Iranian Economy
The John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) the International Monetary Fund (IMF) hosted After Sanctions: Challenges Facing the Iranian Economy.
Democratic Senators Pen Letter Asking Administration to Protect Dual Nationals from Discriminatory Visa Rules
Democratic members of the U.S. Senate sent a letter today urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue waivers to the discriminatory dual nationality provisions contained in the Visa Waiver Program reforms passed into law late last year
Iranian American Organizations Contact Secretary of State Regarding the Imprisonment of Siamak Namazi
Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), along with the Pars Equality Center, the National Iranian American Council, Iranian Alliances Across Borders, and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry advocating for the release of Iranian American Siamak Namazi who is currently in prison in Tehran.
New York City Council Resolution Calls on Congress to Pass the Equal Protection in Travel Act of 2016
On February 5, 2016, New York City Councilmember I. Daneek Miller introduced a resolution calling on U.S. Congress to pass and the President to sign the Equal Protection in Travel Act of 2016, which would protect Iranian Americans and other dual nationals from the Visa Waiver Program reforms passed late last year.
PAAIA Applauds Implementation of Nuclear Agreement Between World Powers and Iran
Today the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has met its initial obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The agreement reached by Iran and the P5+1 nations in July of last year calls on Iran to implement certain measures that will set back its ability to produce enough material for nuclear weapons.






Nuclear Negotiations Center