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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.
65 Organizations Urge Congress to Pass Bill to Fix Visa Waiver Discrimination
An impressive coalition of 65 different civil rights, faith, refugee and humanitarian aid organizations joined together to send a letter to Congress, voicing their support for the bipartisan Equal Protection in Travel Act of 2016, proposed by Senator Flake (R-AZ). If this act were to pass, it would eliminate the discriminatory clause imposed on citizens with dual nationalities.
Cyris Habib Named to DNC Platform Committee
The highest-ranking Iranian American in political office was recently appointed to the 2016 Democratic National Convention Platform Committee by DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Support Legislation to Protect Dual Nationals from Discriminatory Visa Rules
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would strip the discriminatory dual nationality provisions contained in the Visa Waiver Program reforms passed into law late last year.
US Implements New Visa Rules
Today the Obama administration announced the new visa requirements for travelers who are dual nationals under the Visa Waiver Program. The new regulations are in response to the Visa Waiver Program reforms passed into law 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