Open Letter to President Trump: Serving American Interests by Engaging the Iranian People
Open Letter by Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)
Dear President Trump:
On behalf of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), we write
to wish you success in uniting our nation and bridging partisan divides after a
divisive election. PAAIA works to advance the voice of Iranian Americans as it
affects our interests in the U.S. as well as to offer our perspectives on U.S.
policy toward Iran. The Iranian American community is dedicated to protecting
America's national interests. They are patriots who contribute greatly to
America through their accomplishments, diversity and support for peace and
When it comes to
policy toward Iran, we believe American interests are best served by engaging
the Iranian people and supporting their democratic and economic aspirations.
Iran is one
of the few countries in the Middle East whose people maintain a favorable
disposition toward America. A
survey conducted by Israeli political
strategist Yuval Porat shows that the Iranian people tend to hold liberal and
From a policy
standpoint, efforts should be made to engage Iran and encourage economic and
social reform. Policymakers would be wise to think more
creatively about crafting policies that would support America's greatest ally in
Iran - the Iranian people.
Cultural & Educational Exchanges
The lessons derived from the Cold War indicate that more resources should be
dedicated to cultural and educational exchanges. There is no doubt about the
important role U.S. cultural diplomacy played in improving relations with
Eastern European countries and helping end the Cold War. Such exchanges with
Iran will uphold positive features of American society and help cultivate
Iranian goodwill toward America.
Expand Trade Exemptions for Telecommunication Tools
The U.S. should also look into expanding trade exemptions on
telecommunication tools that would promote private entrepreneurship and
civil society in Iran. Despite restrictions placed on them, Iranians exhibit
a high rate of social media and telecommunication usage. Statistics have
shown that the Iranian people want to engage with and connect to the
Avoid Implementing Unwarranted Visa or Immigration Restrictions
While pursuing opportunities to engage the Iranian people, it will be
important to refrain from implementing unwarranted visa or immigration
restrictions that unfairly target them. Such measures only serve the
interests of those in Iran who use them as propaganda to keep the country
isolated from the West and deter reform.
Ensure Iran Complies with the JCPOA
With respect to curbing Iran's opportunity to develop nuclear weapons, we
must work to ensure that it fully complies with the terms of the JCPOA (P5+1
Iran Nuclear Deal). A recent scientific, data driven report
commissioned by PAAIA concludes that efforts aimed at developing
the Iranian economy would significantly increase the likelihood that it
complies with its non-proliferation obligations. In this context, the
lifting of nuclear-related sanctions has been just as critical in preventing
Iran from developing nuclear weapons capabilities as the verification and
data exchange within the nuclear agreement. The report recommends that the
U.S. uphold the threat of sanctions without instituting new ones.
These policies would have the support of the
Iranian American community.
Since 2008, our
polling data has
consistently shown that while Iranian Americans want to see a secular,
democratic Iran and the promotion of human rights, they are opposed to military
conflict with Iran.
They prefer to resolve differences with Iran
through diplomacy and support U.S. public diplomacy efforts in engaging with the
Americans want to see a free, pluralistic and peaceful Iran
campaigned on the promise of establishing a coherent and rational foreign policy
based upon U.S. interests through new approaches and practical ideas. As your
administration develops its policies toward Iran, we would be happy to meet with
you to discuss ways in which we can best advance our nation's strategic
interests and democratic values.
Director of Government Affairs and Policy
... Payvand News - 01/24/17 ... --