Aban 2 1399 - October 23 2020
PAAIA Applauds Introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act

Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, welcomed the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Francis Rooney (R-FL) that establishes a new visa category to allow family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to temporarily visit. The new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category created by the Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) will provide an opportunity for family visitations while boosting the U.S. economy. 10/20/20

Anti-Semitism Envoy appears to accuse Jason Rezaian of being an apologist for Iran

A State Department official accused two prominent Iranian-American figures of serving the Iranian regime, including one Iranian-American journalist who had been taken hostage by the Iranian government for nearly two years. "In case you were not 100% sure [congressional candidate Sima Ladjevardian] is an #Iran Regime mouthpiece this endorsement by [journalist Jason Rezaian] puts all doubt to rest," U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ellie Cohanim wrote in a Twitter post on Monday. The tweet has since been taking down. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 10/20/20

FDD emerges as hub for online harassment against critics of Trump's State Department

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank that has promoted U.S. military strikes on Iran and is funded by one of President Donald Trump's biggest campaign megadonors, served as a messaging hub for a controversial taxpayer-funded project, the Iran Disinformation Project, that engaged in harassment of American critics of the Trump administration's foreign policy in the Middle East. -Eli Clifton, Responsible Statecraft 10/19/20

'Treating us like garbage': New sanctions announced as many Iranian Americans feel fed up with Trump

While some Iranian Americans fully support President Donald Trump, Nazmiyal is among scores of Iranian Americans who have no loyalty to the repressive regime in Tehran, but who are fed up with a White House that has vilified their homeland, banned their family members from visiting the U.S., and stoked fears of a military conflict. From the Muslim ban to an endless stream of sanctions and saber-rattling, they hear about their relatives suffering in Iran and feel increased hostility in their adopted homeland. -Kim Hjelmgaard Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY 10/9/20

Ahead of US elections, artist group highlights 'devastating impact' of Trump's travel ban three years on

In the run-up to the US presidential election this November, the New York-based human rights non-profit Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI) is drawing attention to one of President Donald Trump's most controversial acts, Executive Order 13780, the so-called travel ban that prevents people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. -The Art Newspaper 10/7/20

My experience of growing up "racially ambiguous" in Australia

If you're a first-generation 'anything' you've probably fielded the "Where are you from?" question all your life. Unlike a lot of people, this question has never actually bothered me, but I understand why it bothers others. I'm the over-sharing type and love to teach people about my identity... -Emma Anvari, Fashion Journal 10/7/20

Not white enough: 41 years of othering Iranian Americans

It took me three tries to fill out the U.S. Census. It's not a particularly long or complicated form, but this year was different. I pass as white and have always marked white. This year, I checked "Other," wrote in "Iranian," and made my parents do the same. As the Trump administration fights to end the 2020 U.S. Census count and limit those who can be counted, organizations like the National Iranian American Council and Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans have encouraged Iranian Americans to mark "Other" on their forms and write in "Iranian," building off a similar 2010 campaign, "Check it right; you ain't white!" -Sarah Sakha, Responsible Statecraft 10/5/20

Lawyer: French-Iranian Researcher Fariba Adelkhah Released With Ankle Bracelet

Iran has temporarily released French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, who has been in jail for more than a year over security breaches, her lawyer said on October 3. "Fariba Adelkhah has come out [of prison] on leave with an electronic ankle bracelet," Said Dehghan said in a tweet, without providing other details. 10/5/20

Memories, Tales and Folk Songs: Group exhibition in New York by seven female Iranian artists

Roya Khadjavi Projects is pleased to present "Memories, Tales and Folk Songs", a group exhibition by seven female Iranian artists in diaspora including Afsoon, Arghavan Khosravi, Atieh Sohrabi, Farnaz Zabetian, Leila Seyedzadeh, Parastoo Ahovan, and Roxana Manouchehri. 10/2/20

At Uber, a New C.E.O. Shifts Gears

Dara Khosrowshahi is charged with turning the scandal-plagued startup into a traditional company-without sacrificing what made it successful... Khosrowshahi sometimes wears a T-shirt with the words "We Are All Dreamers" printed across the front. He often speaks of his experience finding asylum in America after his family fled Iran, in 1978. -Sheelah Kolhatkar, New Yorker 9/28/20

NIAC Statement on New Visa Restrictions on Iranian Students

Jamal Abdi, Executive Director of National Iranian American Council Action (NIAC Action), issued the following statement on new restrictions proposed by the Trump administration that would target international students, including a 2 year maximum visa for Iranian students and other nationals of countries whose governments have been designated by the U.S. as state sponsors of terrorism 9/25/20

State Department Cut Funding for Controversial "Iran Disinfo" Project - but Kept Working With Its Creators

IN JUNE 2019, the State Department suspended a contract for a counterpropaganda program called the Iran Disinformation Project, widely known by its combative Twitter handle, @IranDisinfo. The project had come under scrutiny because, on Twitter, it was dedicating a significant amount of its output to attacking U.S. critics of President Donald Trump's Iran policy. Within days of complaints being brought against Iran Disinfo, the project was suspended; by early June, the remainder of the $1.5 million contract had been terminated. -Negar Mortazavi, Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept 9/23/20

Race to watch: Iranian-American activist faces Texas conservative

A congressional race between staunchly conservative House Republican Dan Crenshaw and Iranian American progressive Sima Ladjevardian has garnered national attention while encapsulating the shifting Demographics in the one-time Republican bastion of Texas. Crenshaw and Ladjevardian are competing to represent the state's second congressional district, which includes parts of northern and western Houston. - Joseph Stepansky, Al Jazeera 9/23/20

Golriz on Ghazaleh

My friend Ghazaleh Golbakhsh is a film-maker, a writer, actor, Iranian, Kiwi, woman of colour, citizen of the world, and wild dreamer. Her new book of essays examines the impact of her identity and its formation, on everything from dating to growing up in war torn Iran. I released my memoir, a bit of the journey to becoming that so called first so-called "Refugee MP", this year too. She's a prominent character in that story, and we compared notes a lot as we wrote our accounts. -Golriz Ghahrman, Newsroom, NZ 9/22/20

Paria Farzaneh echoes 'troubles in America' at London fashion week

The strangest London fashion week yet continued on Sunday with a show that brought drones, explosions and military garb to an idyllic spot in the Buckinghamshire countryside. The show was produced by Paria Farzaneh, a rising British star who has described her work in fashion as "merely a platform for something bigger". It was the latest and most unusual fashion week attempt to reflect current, discombobulating times, while also sticking to social-distancing guidelines. -Hannah Marriott, Guardian 9/21/20

Iranian-American Candidates

The 2020 Election may be the most critical vote in our lifetime. It is more important than ever that Iranian Americans and our allies have a powerful voice at the ballot box. And this year, we have an opportunity to elect more Iranian Americans into office than ever before. Below are all the Iranian-American candidates running for office this election. -NIAC Action 9/18/20

"Most non-Iranians only know about kebabs": One Toronto woman's quest to elevate her culture's cuisine and raise money for charity

I grew up surrounded by good cooks, but I only started cooking seriously in my mid-twenties. I'm Iranian and my family would always make elaborate dinners to bring people together. I was born in Tehran, but we moved to Toronto when I was 12. -Toronto Life 9/16/20

A Chef's Childhood in Iran Shaped His Cooking in the Pandemic

In times of crisis, the California chef Hanif Sadr learned to forage and preserve food, and use it to heal. Mr. Sadr, the chef and majority owner of Komaaj, a pop-up restaurant and catering company in Berkeley, Calif., first discovered these treasures in the summer of 2013, a little more than a year after arriving in the United States. He has been foraging there ever since. -Leena Trivedi-Grenier, New York Times 9/11/20

Massiah Foundation challenge gift to fund UCI chair in Zoroastrian studies

The University of California, Irvine has received a $1.5 million challenge commitment from the Massiah Foundation to establish the Ferdowsi Presidential Chair in Zoroastrian Studies - the first of its kind in the United States. Additionally, the University of California will support the chair with up to $500,000. The Massiah Foundation was founded by Fariborz Maseeh, Ph.D., an Iranian American businessman and pioneer in the field of microelectromechanical systems who lives in Newport Beach. 9/11/20

Jacqueline Saper's "From Miniskirt to Hijab" is a story for our times

As Jacqueline Saper shopped for a gift for her husband on a sunny Tehran boulevard in 1979, she had no idea that she was about to witness history. The young Iranian wife had already lived through events that seemed to shift the earth on its axis. In her lifetime, Jacqueline had endured hardships that few can imagine, but also joys and privileges that Americans would find surprisingly familiar. -Teme Ring, Chicago Now 9/10/20

Siah Armajani, Sculptor of Communal Spaces, Dies at 81

Siah Armajani, an Iranian-born American artist whose architecturally scaled, politically inflected public sculptures have been internationally influential, even as he kept a low profile in the art world, died on Aug. 27 at his home in Minneapolis, a city he had lived and worked in for 60 years. He was 81. 9/4/20

U of O PhD student's smartwatch a timely innovation in COVID fight

Azadeh Dastmalchi's search for a user-friendly blood pressure test triggered a decade-long research effort that ultimately spawned a groundbreaking wearable device and led the University of Ottawa PhD candidate to launch her own company. On Wednesday, the biomedical engineering student and budding entrepreneur earned some well-deserved time in the spotlight. -David Sali, Ottawa Business Journal 9/3/20

'Everything Sad Is Untrue' Is Funny And Sad And (Mostly) True

Do you love a great story? Try Daniel Nayeri's new autobiographical novel, his first, Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story), which begins with these memorable words: "All Persians are liars and lying is a sin." That's what the kids in Mrs. Miller's class think, but I'm the only Persian they've ever met, so I don't know where they got that idea. -Ailsa Chang, NPR 9/3/20

Interview: Composer Aida Shirazi On Music, Success And Her Iranian Upbringing

For centuries, the classical music "canon" has been dominated by European male figures. Times are changing, though, and many diverse voices are finally finding a foothold in the genre - and one need look no further than Davis. Iranian musician Aida Shirazi came to the United States four years ago to pursue a Ph.D in composition at UC Davis. Lately, she's been getting a lot of national attention not just for her music, but also for her role as a co-founder of the Iranian Female Composer's Association. -CapRadio 9/1/20

An Iranian-born progressive unseating a Trumpist veteran in Texas? It could happen.

Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who received a Purple Heart in the war in Afghanistan, is considered one of President Trump's most reliable surrogates. He's currently fighting for reelection against Sima Ladjevardian, an Iranian-born lawyer turned political activist who was a key adviser to Beto O'Rourke in his surprisingly close race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). - Jason Rezaian, Washington Post 8/27/20

Gelareh Zadeh becomes first female chair of neurosurgery at University of Toronto

Gelareh Zadeh speaks about the first time she observed a brain operation the same way one might describe discovering a precious jewel. As a medical student in the early 1990s, she recalls being mesmerized by a skillful neurosurgeon delicately working on the unruly snarl of blood vessels of an arteriovenous malformation. "It was so tantalizing," she says, explaining how the experience put her on the path to choosing it as her specialty. "Technically, it's really a beautiful field." -Wency Leung, Globe and Mail 8/26/20

The Iranian immigrant who conquered online video tech

Shahrzad Rafati was only 13 when she decided she would one day build a global business. She also knew that she wouldn't be able to achieve her dream if she stayed in her native Iran. So at the age of 17 her drive and confidence managed to persuade her parents to let her move by herself to Vancouver to go to university. Today the 40-year-old continues to run BBTV, a company that helps firms around the world secure advertising revenues from videos on YouTube, Facebook and other websites and apps. -Andreane Williams, BBC 8/24/20

It's Official: NIAC Action Endorses Joe Biden for President

Our members have spoken: by a margin of 85%, NIAC Action members have voted to endorse Joe Biden for President! Now it's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We have never endorsed in a presidential election before, instead focusing our efforts on Congressional races and Iranian-American candidates. But this year, the stakes are too high ... -Jamal Abdi, NIAC Action 8/18/20

Momeni Foundation announces the Recipients of 2020 Scholarships

Momeni Foundation is dedicated to providing scholarships to graduating high school students and full time college students of Iranian descent anywhere in the world. Award Recipients for year 2020 (Total awards = $20,000 USD). Scholastic Achievement Scholarships (Total = $5,000 USD) 8/12/20

Iran-born actor Sahel Rosa on the hardship and help she had growing up in Japan: interview

There are many examples of children of foreign nationalities falling by the wayside in Japan, after arriving unable to speak the language and then struggling to fit in at school or in society. But Sahel Rosa, 34, came to Japan from the chaotic aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, and went on to become an actor and TV personality. -Mainichi Japan 8/11/20

How One Homegrown Fashion Designer Is Keeping Busy and Giving Back during the Pandemic

24-year-old Iranian American Amir Taghi got his start showing his designs in Houston while he was still in high school. Now he's making a name for himself in NYC. -Houstonia 8/11/20

"Just Get Rid of It": Hollywood's Accent Problem

When our culture is better represented, we can spread ideas and change people's opinions, not just about accents, but about people with all sorts of backgrounds. So that down the road, when a child moves here from another country, instead of seeing themselves villainized, ridiculed, or both, they're able to see and hear themselves as the heroes of their own story. -Prem Sai Ramani, Lainey Gossip 8/7/20

Iranian-American painter Behnaz Sohrabian showing her work this month at Edmond Fine Arts Institute

Behnaz Sohrabian's goal is to communicate with people through her paintings. "I think I want to say something through these compositions, through these lines and visual elements. Even when I choose the title, I try to choose a good title that is a match or suitable for the painting, for the composition, for the concept," she said in a spring interview. -Oklahoman 8/6/20

Love, floss, and La Jolla - married dentists from Iran forge successful practices

husband-and-wife Ali and Nikou Rahbar Fakhimi, both Iranian immigrants, who found each other - and new careers - practicing dentistry after coming to the United States. Surprisingly enough, Dr. Ali Fakhimi, DMD, did not start in dental science. He worked for his father, a successful real estate developer. Now after running a 20-year practice, Soft Touch Dental at 3735 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Fakhimi has forged a national reputation as a "comprehensive dentist." -San Diego News 8/6/20

First Person: Turning 'apathetic people into climate activists'; a young person's view

An 18-year-old environmental campaigner from the United States has told UN News how she wants to "turn apathetic people into climate activists". Sophia Kianni, whose family originally comes from Iran, is one of seven young people from across the world who have been selected to participate in the UN Secretary-General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. The group which was launched at the end of the July aims to engage young people in "an open and transparent dialogue" about climate issues. -UN News 8/4/20

Call me Iranian

I can't tell you the exact moment when I went from calling myself "Iranian" to "Persian." I know that it happened post 9/11 and that the decision was made when I went to a predominantly white middle school... I asked an older student I had been paired up with for peer- advising about this. She was the only other Iranian girl at the school and, in retrospect, that was probably the only reason we had been paired up, since we had very little else in common. "Stop saying 'Iranian,'" she advised me. "Say you're Persian. It makes a difference." -Nedda Sarshar, This 8/3/20

Yara Shahidi Has Been Preparing For This Moment Since Birth

"A lot of the work that I'm hoping to do is about pointing people toward the organizers and the people on the front lines of this (Black Lives Matter) movement." -Kaitlyn Greenidge, Elle 7/16/20

Stuckeman School graduate student awarded Scientific Merit Award

Nastaran Tebyanian, a Penn State Stuckeman School doctoral candidate in architecture with a focus on landscape architecture, recently won a Scientific Merit Award from the Journal of Digital Architecture for her article titled "Application of Machine Learning for Urban Landscape Design: A Primer for Landscape Architects." -Pennsylvania State University 7/14/20

Sohrab Mohebbi to Curate 2022 Carnegie International

Writer and curator Sohrab Mohebbi has been named curator of the Carnegie International's 58th edition, set to open in 2022. Mohebbi, who is thirty-nine and grew up in Iran, is the first Western Asian person to helm the contemporary art survey in its 124-year history -Art Forum 7/9/20

THE BROAD STAGE AT HOME Presents Red Hen Press Poetry Hour

On Thursday July 16 at 6 pm PT, a program entitled Finding Truths and Creating Art in Exile features Award-winning playwrights Iranian-American Sholeh Wolpe and Iranian Nassim Soleimanpour. Soleimanpour's most recent play Nassim will be performed in The Broad Stage 2020/21 season in April 2021. -Broadway World 7/9/20

Iranian-American Organization Pars Providing COVID-19 Financial Assistance to Community

As the pandemic continues to cause unprecedented trauma and profound financial hardship, Pars Equality Center (Pars) strives to support the community through various initiatives. Thanks to the generosity of private donors, philanthropic foundations and government grants, Pars offers the following assistance to qualified individuals and households. 7/3/20

Being brown in America: Stories of exile, identity and belonging

Written over a period of more than 10 years, Porochista Khakpour's collection of essays, Brown Album, is a reckoning with what it means to be an Iranian in America today. An acclaimed novelist, Porochista Khakpour launched onto the literary scene with her novels Sons and Other Flammable Objects (2007) and The Last Illusion (2014). -Iman Sultan, Middle East Eye 7/2/20

The art of discomfort: Sogand Tabatabaei doesn't push the anxiety under the carpet

Sogand Tabatabaei, a young artist and a Master of Fine Arts student at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been living all by herself during the entire lockdown, away from her husband and parents, who are in Iran. During this period, she has created art that reflects some of the anxieties and uncertainties she has been feeling. 7/2/20

Webinar: Iranian-Americans Conversation on Racial Justice

A conversation on racial justice with panelists Abdi Soltani, Executive Director of the ACLUNC, Mitra Jalali, St. Paul City Councilwoman, Tehran Von Ghasri, comedian and activist, and Cyrus Mehri, civil rights attorney. The conversation will be moderated by media anchor, reporter, and producer, Shirley Jahad. -PAAIA 6/26/20

Why Black Lives Should Really Matter to Iranian Americans

I work as the executive director of a civil rights organization, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. I am calling on Iranian-Americans to speak up and take action vigorously to support the Black community in the United States. -Abdi Soltani, PAAIA 6/22/20

Iranians mark milestone in diaspora with LBGTQIA Pride event

'Out in the Diaspora' (Zoom event on June 20th) builds representation for future generations. The reading hosted by San Francisco State University's Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies and Diaspora Arts Connection will be followed by a dance-focused component on June 25. The Center's chair, Persis Karim, will moderate a conversation with designer Hushidar Mortezaie and choreographer Shireen Rahimi before a joint performance. -SF Examiner 6/19/20

Public Art commissioned for City View Park (in Burlington, Canada)

Hooman Mehdizadehjafari has been selected for the City View Park public art commission. Mehdizadehjafari's artwork, Soar, will be installed in front of the new pavilion being constructed at City View Park. Creator of Hoomanart is an award-winning Iranian-Canadian visual artist and designer based in Vancouver, Canada. - 6/18/20

Golriz Ghahraman: 'I feel such sorrow when I imagine my parents' fate'

The Iranian-born New Zealand MP describes a 'central heartbreak' of being a migrant child in this exclusive extract from her book Know Your Place -Guardian 6/15/20

The magic of paper and ink: A conversation with Iranian-American artist Hadieh Shafie

Born in Iran and raised in the United States, Hadieh Shafie is fascinated with reimagining the book form. She is also interested in drawing textual forms and exploring the emotive power of color, as well as "looking at new modes of collapsing the space between what is drawing and sculpture." Shafie's works have been collected by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others. In October 2019, her work "Transition 7″ was included in Christie's Middle Eastern Modern & Contemporary Art auction -Omid Memarian, Global Voices 6/10/20

Webinar: Iranian-American Women Building Political Power

Join our virtual conversation with leading Iranian-American women building political power on Thursday, June 11 at 5-6pm PST. We will be featuring Yassamin Ansari, candidate for Phoenix City Council, Shireen Ghorbani, Salt Lake County Council Member, and Nilofar Ganjaie, moderator and NIAC Action Board Member. -NIAC Action 6/8/20

My Shadow is My Skin: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora

The Iranian revolution of 1979 was a watershed moment in global history, but also created a massive upheaval in the lives of Iranians, many of which left their native country in its aftermath. Despite the caricatured images of the Middle East and Iran in the United States, Iran is home to a diverse population of varied peoples and stories. As such, Iranians who have immigrated to the U.S. over the course of several decades, reflect a wide-range of experiences. -NIAC 6/3/20

Goldman's Eccentric Couch-Surfing Trader Plans a Credit Fund

Not many Goldman Sachs partners seek out citizenship in a tiny Caribbean island to speed through airports. Ali Meli wasn't your typical Goldman partner. Couch-surfing inside the investment bank, an almost $US10 million ($15 million) pay cheque as a junior trader and clashing with peers are all parts of the legend of Meli, described by colleagues as an unlikely figure in Wall Street's most elite club: Abrasive but brilliant, subversive but successful, and above all one of its most "eccentric" figures. -Sridhar Natarajan, Bloomberg 6/1/20

I Belong In This Country, But The Census Doesn't Recognize That

A couple weeks ago, my friend sent me a TikTok of someone ranting about whether they should be considered a person of color as a Middle Easterner. Her text read something along the lines of, "I feel like this is you in a nutshell." I laughed, knowing full well that I've shared the same gripes with her countless times. I also instinctively looked over at the U.S. census postcard collecting dust and cat hair on the floor of my foyer and cringed. -Nicki Ghafari, Huffington Post 5/27/20

Brown Album by Porochista Khakpour review: a question of self-discovery

New York-based Khakpour is the author of two novels, Sons and Other Flammable Objects (2007) and The Last Illusion (2014), and a memoir about illness, Sick (2014). Brown Album brings together a number of her autobiographical essays about being an Iranian American in the 21st century, which first appeared in publications such as the New York Times and Salon. They tell a fairly typical first-generation immigrant story of identity confusion and gradual self-discovery. -Houman Barekat, Guardian 5/22/20

Shahin Shahablou obituary

My friend Shahin Shahablou, who has died of coronavirus aged 56, was a photographer and teacher born in Tehran, who moved to the UK in 2011. He was 15 years old in 1979 when the Islamic Revolution profoundly changed Iranian society, and his life was inevitably caught up in the dramatic events of his country. -David Gleeson, Guardian 5/6/20

First the Muslim Ban, Now Coronavirus - Iranian Families Separated by One Trump Order After Another

THE SHAMELIS ARE an extraordinarily tight-knit Iranian family. Forty-year-old Amin, the eldest of five brothers, first arrived in California in 2003, and was followed slowly but surely by his parents and siblings. All of them, that is, except for Masoud, who for a decade now has been trying to join the rest of his family in the United States. The situation had been looking hopeful, until the global coronavirus pandemic and a couple strokes of the U.S. president's pen blew it all up. -Felipe De La Hoz, Intercept 4/30/20

Forget 'Uncut Gems' -- Meet London's Real-Life Jeweller to the Stars

Rocking Dior calfskin trainers, diamond-encrusted Cartier glasses and a chain with a bedazzled "A" logo pendant, it is hard to distinguish Abtin Abassi from the blinged-out clientele at the launch of his new flagship store. Influencers, rappers, ex-Love Islanders; all gathered at A Jewelers in London to celebrate its launch in February. Camden mayor Maryam Eslamdoust was present to cut the ribbon, and his ruffled livery collar wasn't even the most ostentatious adornment in the room. -Vice 4/27/20 4/27/20

Iranians Hope to See Population Numbers Reflected in US Census

Actress and Comedian Tara Grammy has made a name for herself drawing form her Iranian heritage for her roles, including her latest film, A Simple Wedding. But because she was born in Iran, and grew up in Canada, she didn't realize she could count in the U.S. census. -Spectrum News 4/16/20

Iranian American Organizations Call for Release of Unjustly Detained Dr. Sirous Asgari

PAAIA and a coalition of Iranian American organizations have come together to campaign for the release of Dr. Sirous Asgari from Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. Dr. Asgari is currently unjustly detained in a civil immigration detention center in Louisiana, which has put his health at serious risk amidst the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure. 4/13/20

Virtual Event on Humanitarian Relief Efforts in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis in Iran

Iran is one of the nations hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the country continues to struggle to contain the devastating pandemic, many in our community are asking what is being done and what they can do to help. Join us this Thursday, April 9th at 8 pm EST for an interactive webinar to hear from leading experts about the challenges and proposed solutions to battle COVID-19 in Iran. 4/8/20

Powerful light installation by Nanda Sharif-pour at Soho Lofts on Las Vegas Boulevard

The bright lights of Las Vegas' Strip may have gone dark, but art remains a beacon of light in Sin City. As the city is placed under a 30-day lockdown for entertainment and all non-essential businesses due to the global pandemic, a public art installation, ONE by Iranian-American artist and refugee Nanda Sharif-pour, uses art to inspire kindness, reflection, equality and unity during these times of global political and social unrest. -ArtfixDaily 4/3/20

Metro Bank hit with fresh lawsuit by Iranian customers

Embattled lender Metro Bank has been hit with a fresh lawsuit by a group of Iranian customers who say their accounts were unfairly suspended without notice or explanation. The group of 17 claimants, who are expected to seek at least 1.5m pounds in damages, include dual British-Iranian citizens, Iranian citizens living in the UK and several UK-based businesses including an engineering firm and a consultancy. -Guardian 3/17/20

New Travel Restriction on Iranians: What You Need to Know

On February 29, 2020, President Trump signed a new Presidential Proclamation restricting the entry of individuals who have traveled to Iran in attempts to stymie the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States. These new restrictions go beyond the President's Muslim Ban and will further limit the entry of Iranians into the U.S. The Proclamation adds Iran onto a previous proclamation restricting travel to the United States from China and was put into effect on March 2nd at 5 P.M. EST. -NIAC 3/6/20

Jumping Over the Fire: Bay Area Iranians Carry On

The Iran I know and the Iran I see in the news have been stubborn puzzle pieces that simply refuse to fit together. The Iran I know is reaching under a bed for my grandfather's cane in Ahvaz at the age of four, one year before his death. The Iran I know is on the balcony of my mother's childhood home in Shiraz, sleeping under the stars with cousins in 2002. The Iran I know is jumping over beach bonfires late into the night for Nowruz, the Persian New Year. -Ida Mojadad, SF Weekly 3/5/20

IAPAC Proudly Endorses New Slate of Iranian American Candidates

Today, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) proudly announces its support for a new slate of Iranian American candidates running for federal, state, and local office. The latest list of endorsements includes Alan Khazei and Sima Ladjevardian for U.S. Congress, Kimi Abernathy for Tennessee State Senate, Ahsha Safai for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC), and Nima Rahimi for San Francisco DCCC. 3/4/20

Iranian Model Megan Pormer Spearheads Effort to Send Medicine and Supplies to Iran During Coronavirus Outbreak

Iranian-American model Megan Pormer, who made headlines after wearing a dress promoting peace between the US and Iran at the 2020 Grammys, is working with medical professionals and companies in Beverly Hills to send critical medicine and supplies to Iran. Over the past month, Iran has been ravaged by the coronavirus and the death toll continues to rise. -Clout 3/3/20

'I'm not a terrorist': Iranian Canadian who lost wife in Iran plane crash denied entry to U.S.

When Iranian-born Canadian citizen Farzad Alavi was denied entry to the U.S. on Jan. 10, he said a border officer told him the reason was his past mandatory military service in Iran - which the officer claimed effectively linked him with terrorists. "They're telling me I'm a member of a terrorist organization. It's very, very difficult for me to digest," said Alavi. -Sophia Harris, CBC News 3/2/20

Trump's Muslim ban: Iranian-Americans are treated like the enemy within

"I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you," US President Donald Trump said on Twitter in Farsi last month, presumably talking to the Iranian people. My reaction as an Iranian-American was one of sheer rage. This is a president who issued a ban targeting Iran and other Muslim countries, imposed devastating sanctions on the people of Iran, and threatened to bomb Iran's cultural sites. His administration has detained and deported Iranian students with valid visas, and treated Iranian-Americans, including US citizens, as suspects. -Azadeh Shahshahani, Middle East Eye 2/21/20

Why is the Justice Department trying to defend the officers who killed Bijan Ghaisar?

THE TRUTH about the death of Bijan Ghaisar, the young accountant shot to death by U.S. Park Police officers in 2017, has not become less true in the 26 months since he died. Ghaisar's killing was unwarranted, unjustified and unjust. That fact remains unchanged despite the meandering two-year FBI investigation, despite the Justice Department's gutless decision last year against prosecuting and despite the legal mumbo-jumbo now emanating from federal officials. -Editorial Board, Washington Post 2/20/20

Census 2020 "Write in Iranian" Campaign Launch

Today, Pars Equality Center (Pars) announced its Write In Iranian campaign for the upcoming 2020 Census. Pars is partnering with the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) in an effort to increase awareness among the Iranian American community about the importance of participating in the upcoming census. 2/19/20

PAAIA Launches Campaign to Combat Increasing Discrimination Against Iranian Americans

Amid mounting tensions between the U.S. and Iran that have resulted in renewed discrimination of Iranian Americans, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) today launched Iranian Americans Are American to reaffirm that Iranian Americans are, first and foremost, American. This campaign launches as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admitted to inappropriately targeting Iranian Americans and breaching agency protocol last month when they detained hundreds of Iranian Americans at the U.S.-Canadian border simply because of their national origin. 2/18/20

Commissioner: Officials overzealous in Iranian border stops

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said Tuesday that border officials in Washington state "got a little overzealous" when they detained Iranian and Iranian-American travelers at the U.S.-Canada border last month. As many as 200 people of Iranian descent were held up for as long as 12 hours as they crossed the border from Canada into Washington state the weekend of Jan. 5-6, following a U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general. -AP 2/12/20

Iranian-Americans in the Age of Trump, the Travel Ban, and the Threat of War

I was born and raised in the United States to Iranian parents and, like many children of immigrants, grew up with a sense of alienation from my fellow Americans. Though raised in the most populace location of the Iranian diaspora in Southern California, my hyphenated identity seemed to be in conflict with itself as Iran was consistently vilified in U.S. media and politics. But rather than attempt to hide my identity, I became determined to move beyond the surface politics to understand more about Iran and, ultimately, to try to bridge the divide between my country of heritage and the country I called home. -Assal Rad, Common Dreams 2/11/20

Professor Of Cultural Anthropology Uses Her Work For Iranian Activism

Professor of cultural anthropology at UCI Roxanne Varzi is making her mark on the world of Iranian activism through her art and educational pursuits. In addition to being a UCI professor, Varzi is a writer, filmmaker and multimedia artist. Much of her work focuses on her Iranian identity and strives to educate others about Iranian culture and issues to break down the "Us versus Them" mentality that furthers the gap of understanding between cultures, most poignantly the U.S. and Iran. -Tatum Larsen, UC Irvine 2/9/20

Iranian American Civic Engagement Forum: February 22, 2020 at Stanford University

PAAIA's first Iranian American Civic Engagement Forum of 2020 is being held on February 22nd at Stanford University, in collaboration with the Hamid & Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies at Stanford University and PARS Equality Center. PAAIA's Civic Engagement Initiative is a new program committed to encouraging and enabling Iranian Americans to get involved as concerned members of their communities, both nationally and locally. 2/6/20

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