We Iranian-Americans take pride in our push for policy change
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As leaders of vibrant Iranian-American communities in California, Texas, and Missouri, we are sometimes amazed, but not really surprised to see how often our campaign for democratic change by the people of Iran, in favor of a free Iran, has come under fire. After all, we seek to oust the world’s number-one state-sponsor of terrorism and leading per capita executioner of its own citizens, a goal which certainly serves American national security interests.

But our cause does not serve the interests of the handful of discredited apologists of the Tehran regime. Or of that regime’s lobbyists in Washington. (Yes, even the mullahs have a D.C. lobby!) Of late, we have seen particularly venomous and defamatory propaganda targeting former U.S. officials who addressed scores of conferences and seminars we organized on U.S. policy on Iran.

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We care more deeply than most about U.S. Iran policy because we came to this country after enduring unspeakable brutality and hardships at the hands of the ruling theocracy. Many of us have lost family members due to repression in Iran, and many have relatives among the ranks of the main Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which for nearly a decade enjoyed the protection of U.S. Military in Iraq. After the U.S. withdrawal, they were repeatedly targeted by the Iranian regime sponsored terrorist attacks in Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq, before finally resettling in Europe earlier this year.

Because of our personal histories, we also appreciate the freedoms and opportunities of life here in the United States perhaps more deeply than most. Our communities’ members are generally very successful, taxpaying professionals, committed to paying it forward, and using our good fortune to promote the secular, democratic, and non-nuclear Iran that best serves the interests of our homeland, Iran, and our new home, the United States.

We have been privileged to enjoy the support of many patriotic American leaders who helped our communities inform U.S. policy-makers and the public about the threats posed to this country by the epicenter of Islamic extremism and the central banker of international terrorism, namely, the clerical regime in Iran.   

After three decades of time-consuming, tiring, and sometimes demanding work in our Congressional districts and trips to Washington, phone calls to our representatives, meetings, and letters, our campaign now enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of the U.S. Congress. We are honored to have sponsored conferences and seminars, in the course of which we hosted more than 80 distinguished and patriotic former officials, including Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Govs. Howard Dean and Ed Rendell, and Ambassador John Bolton, whose names have been mentioned in the media recently.

These events were protected by our First Amendment rights as Americans, enshrined in the United States Constitution and therefore consistent with U.S. law. Dozens of them were broadcast into Iran via satellite, and made public thru traditional and social media. It is our hope that they helped make millions of ordinary people in Iran aware of the falsity of the narrative propagated by the ruling mullahs, that America is the Great Satan.

We are proud that our community members shouldered all the costs of organizing and facilitating these events, and we will continue to do so. In the interest of transparency, we welcomed and fully cooperated with the Treasury Department’s thorough review of our activities that began in 2012 until the Department sent us “its final enforcement response,” in 2013, saying that it had “completed its review” and cited no violations.

Iranian-Americans are loud and proud about the work we have accomplished, about the distinguished officials who have joined us in our call for policy change, about the support we have received from our Congressional representatives, and most of all about the alarm bells we have set off in Tehran.

Ahmad Moeinimanesh is the Executive Director of the Iranian American Community of Northern California, Ali Soudjani is President of the Iranian American Community of South Texas, Kasra Nejat is the President of the Iranian-American Cultural Association of Missouri.


The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.