September 19, 2022
Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) Condemns State Department funded E-Collaborative for Civic Education for promoting a company with ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran and endangering security of the Internet users in Iran
Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) strongly condemns E-Collaborative for Civic Education (aka Tavaana) for recklessly and maliciously promoting a company with ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Internet company, known as Betternet, was falsely promoted by E-Collaborative for Civic Education (ECCE) as a safe way for users in Iran to access the Internet without censorship and the risk of interception by the Iranian government.
However, the company promoted by ECCE is owned by family members of high-ranking Iranian government officials. One of the key figures in the company is the son of the current Iranian vice president in charge of women’s affairs. The CEO comes from a family with a history of extremist fundamentalist ideology and support for the Iranian government, headed by a prominent clergyman and ayatollahs.
To make matters worse, the VPN service operated by Betternet had known technical vulnerabilities at the time that it was promoted by ECCE. Those vulnerabilities would allow the Iranian government to intercept and identify users of the VPN which include political activists and Iranians who would want to access the Internet free of the Islamic regime’s censorship.
We condemn such wanton disregard for safety of Iranian internet users. However, such malfeasance at ECCE is not coincident. There have been red flags of incompetence, nepotism, preferential treatment in assigning contracts, and corruption in ECCE for over a decade. ECCE was cofounded by Akbar Atri and Maryam Memarsadeghi, and its main goal apparently has been to obtain funding from various US State Department programs to pursue the ideological agenda of its founders.
One of the founders of ECCE, Akbar Atri, has a nefarious history of association with Islamist student organizations inside the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prior to moving to the US, he was a prominent leader in Daftar Tahkim Vahdat, which stands for Office of Strengthening Unity Between Religious Seminaries and Universities (OSU). OSU was founded by the extremist fundamentalist and supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini who took dozens of US diplomats hostage from 1979 to 1981 shortly after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. For most of its history, OSU’s main function has been to suppress the voice of critics of the Islamic Republics inside the Iranian universities. To this day, OSU has Ayatollah Khomeini’s face at the center of its official logo.
Given this history, it is no coincident that many of the current and former contractors and/or employees of ECCE have similar backgrounds and a history of affiliation with the Islamist OSU organization. Moreover, similar to OSU, many of the so-called experts at ECCE lack basic knowledge and technical expertise about the subjects that they purport to be an expert on. The main criteria for staff selection at ECCE has been the cult of personality of Akbar Atri and his former wife Maryam Memarsadeghi rather than their merit or subject matter expertise. Therefore, it is not an accident that ECCE promoted a faulty VPN service with easily identifiable security flaws.
We are also disappointed that the US State Department funds these types of organizations without proper vetting and oversight. ECCE has been receiving funding from the State Department since the Obama Administration. We call on the US Congress and the State Department Inspector General to look into the programs that were used to fund ECCE.
We find the funding of ECCE by the US State Department to be troubling on other levels as well. Many of the people affiliated with ECCE are overt and covert Democrat party activists. For example, Maryam Memarsadeghi herself openly endorsed and supported President Biden’s presidential campaign in 2020. We are gravely concerned at a pattern of US State Department funding being used to fund groups who lack knowledge and expertise, have close ties to the Iranian government and act as the campaign arm of the Democratic Party.
May 20, 2022
The Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) strongly condemns the violent suppression of the protest from peaceful Iranians across the country. In this past week, we have witnessed yet another wave of Iranians from all walks of life and from all parts of the country take to the streets to protest the grave economic conditions created by regime’s policies, and as with all previous protests, the protests have rapidly progressed to open calls for the overthrow of the regime. The brave Iranian people are chanting "Death to Khamenei" openly in the streets of Iran. We have and will continue amplifying the voices of the Iranian people.
For far too long, the plight of freedom loving Iranians have been ignored by US politicians enthralled with fantastical ideas of rapprochement with a terrorist regime and special interests aligned with regime's lobby, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
"IAL calls upon the Biden administration to put an end to the shameful policy of appeasement of the regime and cease the nuclear negotiations indefinitely. The time is now for Biden to walk away from the Regime and to voice his support for the freedom seeking Iranian people." said IAL's President Dr. Daniel Jafari
During a 2021 IAL Congressional Meet & Greet, Representative Byron Donalds (FL-19) stated "I fully support the Iranian people standing up for their freedom and rights." IAL post this video clip on May 16, 2022 and Representative Donalds retweeted the video to his followers.
On May 16, 2022 - Representative Pat Fallon (TX-04) quote retweeted IAL's tweet: "I look forward to the day when the Iranian people are free from persecution by their own government."
On May 20, 2022 - House GOP Conference Chair, Representative Elise Stefanik (NY-21) sent out a tweet: "As the brave Iranian people take to the streets to protest against Ali Khamenei & his regime - I want to reiterate my support for the Iranian people! It's time for @POTUS to stand with the Iranian people over the Mullah’s and their terrorist regime. #IranProtests"
On behalf of Iranians in the streets risking their lives to oppose the Islamic regime, we would like to thank these Members of Congress; Representative Claudia Tenney (NY-22), House GOP Conference Chair, Representative Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Congressman Byron Donalds (FL-19), Congressman Pat Fallon (TX-04) and many others for their erstwhile support of the cause of liberty and for standing up for brave protesters.
May 20, 2022
ما صدای ایرانیان مخالف جمهوری اسلامی را به گوش جهانیان خواهیم رساند
بیانیه سازمان “ایرانیان آمریکایی برای آزادی” در محکومیت سرکوب اعتراضات سراسری جاری و اعتراض به دولت بایدن به دلیل عدم حمایت از جنبش آزادیخواهانه مردم ایران
سازمان IAL سرکوب و خشونت اعمال شده بر اعتراضات سراسری مسالمتآمیز مردم ایران را به شدت محکوم میکند.
در هفته گذشته شاهد اعتراض ایرانیان در سراسر شهرهای کشور بودیم. مردم صلحطلب در اعتراض به وضعیت وخیم اقتصادی و سیاستهای غلط جمهوری اسلامی به خیابانها آمدند و مانند همه اعتراضات در سالهای گذشته خواهان سرنگونی جمهوری تبهکار اسلامی هستند. شهروندان دلیر ایرانی در خیابانها فریاد «مرگ بر خامنهای» سرمیدهند.
ما همواره بازتاب صدای معترضان رژیم تهران، به قانونگذاران آمریکایی و رسانههای بینالمللی بودهایم و به این کار ادامه خواهیم داد. برای مدت زمان طولانی صدای ایرانیان آزادیخواه و عملکرد ضد مردمی جمهوری اسلامی، توسط سیاستمداران آمریکایی نادیده گرفته شده و با خواستههای رژیم تروریستی تهران، و متحدان و لابیهای حامیاش مانند سازمان نایاک، جایگزین شده است.
دکتر دانیال جعفری، رئیس سازمان IAL از دولت بایدن درخواست کرده است به سیاست شرمآور مماشات با جمهوری اسلامی پایان و مذاکرات احیای توافق ننگین برجام را برای همیشه خاتمه دهد.
همچنین به عنوان جامعه ایرانی آمریکایی، مراتب قدردانی خود را به آن دسته از نمایندگان کنگره آمریکا که از ایرانیان شجاعی که در خیابانها جان خود را برای مخالفت با جمهوری اسلامی، به خطر میاندازند، و از آرمانهای آزادیخواهانه آنها حمایت کردهاند، ابراز مینماییم؛ نماینده کنگره خانم کلودیا تنی، آقای بایرون دونالدز، پت فالون، و رهبر حزب جمهوریخواهان آمریکا خانم الیز استفانیک.
April 7, 2022
On April 6, 2022 during a broadcast of MSNBC’s“Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) argued that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) should be taken off the United States’ Foreign Terrorist Organization list. When asked if the United States should lift the FTO designation, he responded by saying: “Yes. I mean, the practical impact of designating them as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is inconsequential.”
We are not shocked in the least that Senator Murphy stated this because he is directly affiliated with and has been financially supported by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). NIAC recently launched a campaign urging the Biden Administration to lift all sanctions in place against the Islamic Republic, remove the IRGC from the FTO list, and to re-enter the JCPOA with no conditions. One does not need to look far to see how Senator Murphy echoes all of NIAC's talking points.
IAL's Executive Director stated: "Let us be clear – diplomacy with the world’s leading fiscal and logistical sponsor of terrorism will never succeed. More importantly – diplomacy with the Islamic Republic will not benefit the American people, our allies in the region or the liberty seeking Iranian people. Shame on NIAC’s Senator Chris Murphy and any elected official who believes removing the IRGC from the FTO list will do anything but further embolden the Islamic Republic of Iran."
March 30, 2022
The Iranian Americans for Liberty through our Executive Director, Bryan E. Leib, release this statement exclusively to Newsmax:
“We applaud Representative Scott Perry for launching a congressional investigation into the biased media coverage, partisan advocacy, and widespread corruption at Voice of America. A congressional investigation into the wrongdoings at VOA is long overdue.
This investigation was launched by Rep. Perry with strong support from Representative Andy Biggs, Representative Barry Moore, Representative Mary Miller, Representative Bob Good, Representative Dan Bishop and Representative Madison Cawthorn.
VOA Persian must answer for their blatant acts of biased media coverage and partisan advocacy – including but not limited to the video from December 2015 of Masih Alinejad directly engaging in electioneering, which violates federal law. We will be following this investigation closely because we find it to be completely unacceptable for a U.S. Government agency to violate their charter without any repercussions.”
March 9, 2022
Washington DC – The Iranian Americans for Liberty condemn the U.S. Government funded Voice of America (VOA) for promoting individuals who have openly threatened critics of activists and journalists that are employed by VOA.
VOA is controlled by U.S Agency for Global Media (USAGM), an agency of the US Government which is completely infiltrated and controlled by left wing and progressive activists. The corruption and lack of adequate oversight by AGM has led to VOA becoming a propaganda arm for various left-wing causes and a campaign arm of the Democratic Party during the US federal elections.
It’s our belief that VOA Persian service is one of the most corrupt divisions in the AGM. Many of the activist journalists currently employed by VOA Persian have a history of working for propaganda arms of various factions of the Iranian regime.
Masih (aka Masoumeh) Alinejad is one such individual who worked for various segments of Islamic Republic propaganda machine inside Iran. In March 2007, Ms. Alinejad left Iran.
Even after leaving Iran, she continued to parrot talking points of the Islamic Republic. For example, she expressed her dismay that many Iranians living abroad are sympathetic towards Israel, and she urged Iranian diaspora and journalists to join the antisemitic BDS movement targeting Israel. (1)
Furthermore, Ms. Alinejad has a history of echoing not just Iranian Regime talking points but also those of the Obama-Biden Administration. In 2015, she wrote a ballad romanticizing Javad Zarif and JCPOA. (2)
In December 2015, Ms. Alinejad produced and starred in a VOA video attacking the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. It should be noted that of the +15 individuals that appeared in the video, not a single person interviewed said anything in support of President Trump. This is because Ms. Alinejad refused to show anyone speaking in support of President Trump. (3)
Throughout this video production, Ms. Alinejad can be seen egging on people to make negative comments about President Trump and celebrating with them when they disparage President Trump. This is not journalism – this is electioneering and illegal for a US government funded agency to do.
Furthermore, this is a direct violation of VOA’s Charter which explicitly states they are prevented by law from only covering one viewpoint.
“VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant thought and institutions”. (8)
Given the fact that Ms. Alinejad has attacked President Trump on multiple occasions both using her VOA platform and on her own social media platforms, we are not shocked that VOA had the audacity to then conspire with and openly promote social media accounts of certain individuals who act as Alinejad’s attack dogs.
One such person operates a Twitter account under the pseudonym “Sina Irani”. The individual behind this account, who is based inside Iran, has been invited to VOA programs on various occasions. (4), (5), (6). Meanwhile, our Executive Director Bryan E. Leib, has never been invited to appear on any VOA programs or be interviewed for any online stories despite numerous requests sent to VOA regarding Mr. Leib's availability and willingness to speak on a variety of issues.
On June 5, 2021, this Twitter account made a statement that reads “One day we should torture family members of those who criticize Masih Alinejad in front of their eyes so that they learn a lesson”.
In closing, we call on VOA to apologize for conspiring to threaten critics of Biden Administration and Ms. Alinejad. In addition, we call on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Committee on Appropriates to launch Congressional investigation into AGM to get to the bottom of this mess.
For more information on the Iranian Americans for Liberty, please visit www.ia4l.org
March 3, 2022
The Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) are proud to welcome Samuel Shahan as a new Advisory Board member of the organization. Mr. Shahan is a PhD student at Radford University who is a registered nurse in Virginia. He was born in Iran and moved to America in 2009.
“We are thankful to have Mr. Shahan joining our Advisory Board. He’s a fierce advocate for human rights and he has always used his voice to speak out in support of the Iranian people. Welcome to the team.” said Dr. Daniel Jafari, Board President of IAL
February 18, 2022
Rumors are swirling that a new deal between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran is imminent. Let us be clear – any deal with the IR is a bad deal for America, our allies, and most importantly - the freedom seeking Iranian people.
President Donald J. Trump knew best how to deal with the IR. He projected strength at every turn and through his maximum pressure/maximum sanctions campaign he isolated the IR and put their financial assets on life support. In contrast, every single action taken by the current administration since inauguration day has been to appease the Mullahs in Tehran.
From removing the IRGC backed Houthis off the State Department’s FTO list to lifting sanctions against Americans with direct ties to the Regime to demanding South Korea unfreeze IR assets to remaining silent when Khamenei released a video depicting the assassination of President Donald Trump. It’s been one act of weakness after another.
“Shame on Joe Biden, Antony Blinken, Robert Malley, Wendy Sherman and the entire team. This administration will go down in the history books as the sellout administration and the blood of Americans, Israelis and the Iranian people will be on their hands. Furthermore, all of the activists, organizations and even U.S. Government funded Voice of America hosts and journalists that supported the Biden campaign will also go down in the history books as sellouts. ” Said Bryan E. Leib, Executive Director
February 7, 2022
The Iranian Americans for Liberty applaud the former Acting Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador Richard Grenell for calling on Big Tech to remove Iranian Regime officials from their platforms. During a virtual "Fireside Chat" on February 3rd hosted by IAL’s Executive Director, Bryan E. Leib, Ambassador Grenell stated:
"The Regime continues to have a variety of social media accounts spewing misinformation, violence, antisemitism and homophobia. It’s unbelievable that Big Tech allows this to happen. This hypocrisy of allowing the hate and terror to be spewed on social media is unacceptable.” Stated Ambassador Richard Grenell to Bryan Leib
Grenell added: “The Iranian Regime does not allow their own people to use Google but the elite in Iran do have Google. This is unacceptable.”
On December 30, 2021, IAL called on Congress to introduce bi-partisan legislation to remove Ayatollah Khamenei and all IR regime officials from having access to U.S. based social media platforms.
We agree with Ambassador Grenell that it’s unacceptable for Big Tech to give an uncensored platform to a regime that doesn't allow their own citizens to exercise their own freedom of speech. Furthermore, the Iranian Regime recently voted against a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly that condemned Holocaust denial. The IR was the only UN Member nation to vote against this and the only nation to spread Holocaust conspiracy theories on their social media accounts.
We are doubling down on our call to action. Congress must introduce and pass legislation to restrict the access of Iranian Regime officials who traffic in lies, spread misinformation, and deny the Holocaust. The time is now for action from U.S. lawmakers.
January 26, 2022
The Iranian Americans for Liberty condemn the hypocrisy of Ms. Masoumeh “Masih” Alinejad in welcoming Khamenei to be part of Facebook’s platform in 2013 while accusing Iranian dissidents of being advocates for the freedom of speech for Khamenei.
The Iranian Americans for Liberty have been notified of a video interview of Ms. Alinejad dated January 7, 2013 with US-funded Voice of America, where she welcomes the opening of a Facebook page by Ali Khamenei the supreme leader of the Islamic Regime.
She shamelessly framed the presence of a mass murderer on Facebook as a “positive development” for dialogue. Ms. Alinejad has a long track record of such behavior dating back well over a decade. In an opinion piece she penned for reformist-owned “Etemad Melli” newspaper, she called the United States the enemy, and spoke out against the United States labeling the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Astoundingly, she recommended coordinating the media and non-governmental organizations for a show of support in order to hide the true terroristic nature of the IRGC. In the interview, she goes on to praise the notorious Basij General Hassan Firouzabadi who was responsible for the violent suppression of protests and endless harassment of women and religious minorities in Iran. In one fell swoop, she backed the Basij and defends the IRGC terrorists.
IAL Board Members, staff and supporters were attacked by Alinejad’s camp when we asked her to retract her false claim that she lied about Trump supporters being Islamic regime trolls. We received an unprecedented level of vile attacks ranging from verbal abuse to threats to the safety of our advisory board members and supporters.
Ms. Alinejad is at least partly funded by US taxpayer television Voice of America. We call upon the Congress to conduct a full investigation of the funds funneled to Alinejad’s camp to ensure none went to a campaign of harassment and threats to Ms. Alinejad's critics.
January 11, 2022
The Iranian Americans for Liberty have learned the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has granted yet another postponement to Mr. Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi on 12/27/21 delaying the trial until 4/20/22. We strongly condemn the Biden Justice Department for again postponing a clearly winnable case against a well-known operative of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
On 10/15/21, Representative Jefferson Van Drew, Representative Yvette Herrell, and Representative Rick Crawford sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland after the 2nd postponement stating: “We strongly encourage the DOJ to not allow him to postpone his hearing anymore, and believe he deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
All Americans should be deeply concerned about these recent developments. We hope Secretary Blinken and Special Envoy Malley are not interfacing with the Justice Department on Afrasiabi’s behalf. We call on the DOJ to immediately reverse this decision and order a jury trial in the next 30 days.
December 30, 2021
In a recent Zoom event with Senator Chris Coons (D) and CNN Senior Policy Analyst John Avlon, activist journalist Masih Alinejad, used a partisan audience to spread lies about how the Islamic Republic (IR) only targeted one side of the U.S. political aisle during the 2020 election cycle. She stated: “They were supporting President Trump, the trolls, on social media from the IR” (1). This is factually wrong. The March 2021 NIC’s report states “Iran carried out a multi-pronged covert influence campaign intended to undercut former President Trump’s reelection prospects—though without directly promoting his rivals—undermine public confidence in the electoral process and US institutions, and sow division and exacerbate societal tensions in the US.”
Iranian Americans are deeply concerned about her partisan call to censorship of right of center Iranian Americans, including Iranian American supporters of President Trump. Indeed, this Zoom segment starts by Senator Coons lamenting that if it was not for Twitter, President Trump would not have been elected in the first place, using that as a basis of his argument to push for censorship.
Given Ms. Alinejad’s well documented history of supporting progressive causes, many feel justified in suspecting the motivation behind her statements and actions. Ms. Alinejad has been a supporter of extreme causes like violent BLM protests and open borders, and helped organize anti-Trump protests with the known anti-Semite Linda Sarsour. She used her position in US government funded Voice of America to attack critics of Obama-Biden policy, including President Trump, and openly supported Obama-Biden policy of JCPOA.
Ms. Alinejad has accused her detractors of being the agents of the IR. This is unprofessional and against the principles of accountability that she was asking the Democrat senator and CNN analyst to uphold. We call upon her to publicly and explicitly clarify her message and show her support for democratic freedoms Iranian Americans are afforded by the US constitution.
IAL strongly condemns the personal attacks against our board members by Ms. Alinejad’s camp in response to our statement (2). IAL will not tolerate the campaign of sexual harassment, online bullying, and physical threats to our advisory board members and affiliates who bore no responsibility for the statement. We invite Ms. Alinejad to show she does not condone such behavior.
In response to the online backlash to her comments, Ms. Alinejad has called upon Twitter to ban Ayatollah Khamenei. While we sympathize with this sentiment that is shared by many Iranians inside Iran, we find this too narrow of a target.
The IR in its entirety, and all its officials and affiliates should not have access to US based internet technology. In fact, Iranian dissidents called for such blanket sanctions in a letter dated 11/20/19, calling for the enforcement of anti-terrorism laws against sanctioned IR officials and bodies including Khamenei (3). They said “officials of the IR that bans its own people from access to the Internet, do not deserve to enjoy access to the free world’s social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Gmail and other Google services”. IAL has been smeared as a pro-Khamenei organization by Ms. Alinejad’s camp. This is inexcusable given that many board members of IAL were signatories to that 2019 letter.
IAL respects the political differences between our organization and Ms. Alinejad. Given our commitment to challenge the IR, we propose to combine our mutual interest in keeping Khamenei and the rest of this evil regime off US based internet platforms as the basis for a bipartisan effort to enforce existing sanctions by the US congress. We proudly supported H.Res.800 this past November, a resolution with 41 cosponsors, recognizing the two-year anniversary of 2019 massacre of civilians by the IR and condemning human rights violations in Iran.
We are confident that we have the support of House Republicans for a resolution to ban access to US based internet platforms by IR officials and its affiliates. As a progressive activist, Ms. Alinejad is well positioned to bring her side of the aisle in support of this resolution. We hope that despite our disagreements, Ms. Alinejad will prove her critics wrong and join us to bring an end to the use of US based technology by the IR to propagate its hateful message.
December 24, 2021
In a recent Zoom event with Senator Chris Coons and CNN Senior Policy Analyst John Avlon, activist journalist Masih Alinejad used this platform to spread lies about how the Islamic Republic only targeted one side of the U.S. political aisle during the 2020 election cycle. She stated: “They were supporting President Trump, the trolls, on social media from the Islamic Republic” (1).
In fact, the National Intelligence Council's report found the Islamic Republic was guilty of overt and covert election interference against President Trump. The March 2021 report states “Iran carried out a multi-pronged covert influence campaign intended to undercut former President Trump’s reelection prospects—though without directly promoting his rivals—undermine public confidence in the electoral process and US institutions, and sow division and exacerbate societal tensions in the US.” (2)
Alinejad then proceeded to openly call for censorship by the Big Tech: “That is why I strongly believe if we really care about democracy, we have to call the tech companies to take a strong action.” What she conveniently forgets to mention is her own hyper-partisanship and her history of attacking the critics of Democrat administrations.
This is no simple matter of misstatement or honest mistake, but a blatant falsehood to advance a sinister agenda. Alinejad never discloses her erstwhile defense of Obama and Biden administration and her previous campaigns against President Trump. In a video reportage commissioned by the Voice of America in 2016, she selectively interviews New Yorkers, egging on one interviewee to compare the presidential candidate Donald Trump to a clown (3).
Furthermore, in a 2020 webinar, she told other panelists that “I am worried. What if Trump becomes president (again) and buries human rights in Iran. That he would shake hands with the (regime’s) president.”
Confusingly, she adds that Biden may do these things even quicker, however she bizarrely states one could not know this (4). This is a politically motivated lie. The Democratic Party platform clearly promised to immediately lift sanctions against the Islamic regime and to re-enter negotiations (5). In our joint letter to President Biden’s campaign, we clearly warned against appeasement with the regime and criticized various aspects of the proposed Iran policy (6). Shaking the hands of the Ayatollahs by Biden’s administration was in no way unknowable, or unpredictable.
Iranian Americans like all Americans detest any threat to their freedoms, particularly their freedom of speech. An invitation by a journalist who appears to be more of an activist to Big Tech companies to censor Americans who disagree with her on political matters is utterly shameful and should be roundly condemned by all Americans.
We call on Democrats and Republicans alike to take active measures against such malicious attacks on constitutionally guaranteed rights of all, and to push back against the Big Tech’s advancements in censorship.
December 23, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty strongly condemn the sustained actions by the Islamic Republic of Iran to intimidate, arrest and silence Iranian teachers who are peacefully protesting throughout the country.
According to the reports, thousands of teachers have taken to the streets to peacefully protest their union demands and the Islamic Republic has responded by arresting and intimidating the teachers. These actions by the Islamic Republic are part of their playbook of censoring, oppressing and ultimately murdering their own citizens for peacefully protesting for their rights.
We stand with the Iranian people, and we will bring their voice(s) to the forefront even as the Islamic Republic tries to silence them. A strong response is needed not only from elected officials in the United States but also from the international community.
December 6, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL)’s Executive Director Bryan E. Leib and The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)’s National President Morton A. Klein issued the below joint press release regarding the failed 7th round of nuclear talks in Vienna:
“Senior diplomats from France, Britain and Germany that were in Vienna last week have voiced "disappointment and concern" at the Islamic Republic’s proposed alterations to a text that had been agreed on in previous rounds. Secretary Antony Blinken has announced that Special Envoy Robert Malley and his team have returned to the United States after the Vienna talks collapsed.
We are not shocked in the least that the Islamic Republic’s representatives have backtracked on the previously agreed points. This deception is part of their playbook and we expected this would be the end result. The Islamic Republic has shown the world time and time again they cannot be trusted and that they are not negotiating in good faith.
The time is now for President Joe Biden to immediately pivot back to a maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic because strength, not appeasement, is the only language that works with the Mullahs. The State Department must stop placing any level of faith in a terrorist regime that has the blood of Americans, Israelis and others, including the Iranian people on their hands.”
November 28, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty strongly condemn social media giant Instagram for suspending the “Hamgam” profile. The “Hamgam” account was providing real-time coverage of the brutality of the IRGC in the Isfahan province of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
We call on Instagram to immediately re-instate this account. By suspending the account, they have silenced the voices of the liberty seeking Iranian people and that is simply unacceptable to our organization and to our community. Do the right thing, Instagram!
November 26, 2021
We have received unconfirmed reports the IRGC has once again turned to lethal force after internet shortages were reported earlier in the week to stop the peaceful protests in Isfahan from spreading throughout the country.
The Iranians who are peaceful protesting in Isfahan are mainly Isfahani farmers who are facing severe water shortages that have left them unable to tend to their crops. These shortages are happening because of the government’s mismanagement of resources.
These shameful acts by the Regime are consistent with their actions for the last +40 years when it comes to the Iranian people peacefully protesting their government. First they ignore the people – then they turn off the internet so their message can’t reach the outside world and when that doesn’t work, they turn to lethal force.
We call on President Joe Biden, Secretary Antony Blinken and all Members of Congress to stand with the Iranian people. Diplomacy with the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism is never going to produce a favorable result that benefits the American people or the Iranian people. Diplomacy with the Islamic Republic was destined to fail from day one.
November 18, 2021
On November 17, 2021, Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) introduced H.Res. 800 “Recognizing the two-year anniversary of the November 2019 massacre by the Islamic Republic of Iran and condemning the human rights violations by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“IAL congratulates Rep. Hagedorn and the below listed House Members for introducing this powerful resolution in support of the Iranian people and condemning the human rights abuses by the Islamic Republic. By introducing this resolution, this group of lawmakers made history in the U.S. House of Representatives. On behalf of the Iranian American community, we thank them for their support of the liberty seeking Iranian people.” said Bryan E. Leib, Executive Director of Iranian Americans for Liberty
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Rep. Maria Salazar (FL-27), Rep. Fred Keller (PA-12), Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Rep. Byron Donalds (FL-19), Rep. Yvette Herrell (NM-02), Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Rep. Carlos Giminez (FL-26), Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48), Rep. Bob Good (VA-05), Rep. Ann Wagner (MO-02), Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13), Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08), Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11) , Rep. Mary Miller (IL-15), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05), Rep. Rick Allen (GA-12), Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03), Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Rep. Tracey Mann (KS-01), Rep. Greg Steube (FL-17), Rep. Jim Baird (IN-04), Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12), Rep. Brian Mast (FL-18), Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10), Rep. Lisa McClain (MI-10), Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04), Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36), Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01), Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04).
November 15, 2021
Per the reports from the Washington Free Beacon, Representative Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) will be introducing a resolution with +20 cosponsors marking the two-year anniversary of the November 2019 protests in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Iranian Americans for Liberty applaud Rep. Hagedorn for his leadership on this important issue to the Iranian American community. The Congressman’s resolution, supported by many of his House colleagues, will send a clear message to the government in Tehran that U.S. lawmakers will not remain silent as the Islamic Republic continues to violate the basic human rights of their citizens on a weekly basis.
We call on President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to immediately revise their March 2021 report and furthermore, to stop engaging in diplomacy with the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.
November 8, 2021
Reuters is reporting a drone attack targeting the Iraqi Prime Minister on November 7th was conducted by at least one Iranian-backed militia. The Iranian Americans for Liberty strongly condemn this assassination attempt and we call on President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to cease and desist diplomatic efforts with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the wake of this latest terror attempt.
This assassination attempt is another prime example of how the IRI directly funds terrorism in the region and around the world. The United States of America should not be negotiating with a Regime that funds terrorism, chants “Death to America” and who does not share or support American values.
“The IRI have never been true partners for peace. They are bad actors who seek to enforce their barbaric style of governing onto the region and the West. The American people must speak out with one unified voice demanding our elected leaders take a strong stance against the IRI once and for all.” said IAL Executive Director, Bryan E. Leib
September 24, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty were sad to learn that a U.S. military drone strike killed 10 civilians, 7 of which were young children. The drone strike was authorized by President Biden and carried out by General Mark Milley.
In the past, organizations and individuals such as the National Iranian American Council, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and Mr. Trita Parsi have labeled IAL and our leadership as ‘war mongers’. We find it to be the height of hypocrisy that these organizations and individuals are not calling for accountability on this deadly drone strike that killed innocent civilians.
President Biden has made one mistake after another in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East. His policies have embolded the Islamic Republic of Iran to expand their sponsorship of terrorist groups, handed over $80B of U.S. arms to the Taliban and left Americans behind enemy lines.
President Biden, General Milley and the entire administration must be held accountable by Members of Congress for their deadly mistakes that left 13 U.S. Servicemembers dead and scores of innocent Afghans dead.
September 17, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty strongly condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) for arresting famous Iranian rapper and activist, Toomaj Salehi on September 13, 2021.
This heinous act by the IRI is consistent with their malign behavior over the last 4 decades of arresting, silencing and executing brave Iranian citizens who risk their lives to speak out against the IRI and their apologists in the West such as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
From turning off the internet during protests to censoring the voices of Iranians on social media to executing high profile Iranian citizens such as Navid Afkari to arresting Toomaj – the IRI has shown us time and time again they don’t support freedom of speech which is a basic human right.
The Islamic Republic is the enemy of artistic expression. For over four decades, it has imposed Islamist ideology on artists with an iron fist. No amount of pandering and blatant lies by fellow Western artists would cover this bloody record.
Toomaj is but the latest victim of a regime that does everything to extinguish the hope for change and will do whatever is necessary to maintain their grip on power.
We are calling on President Biden, Secretary Blinken and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to speak out on this issue and to demand Toomaj is released immediately.
August 27, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty call on our fellow Iranian Americans to join us in extending heartfelt condolences to the families of the 13 U.S. Marines who were killed in action today serving our nation and the scores of innocent Afghans who were killed in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Iranian Americans from around the country are grieving this unnecessary loss of life caused by radical Islamists who exploited President Biden’s weak foreign policy decisions. President Biden has shown the American people and the world that he is utterly incapable of protecting American lives, our interests and our allies in the region.
President Biden put his faith in the Taliban, the same way he has put his faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The time is now for President Biden to end his appeasement of terrorists and to start projecting strength onto the world.
August 16, 2021
We are watching the horrific situation continue to unfold in Afghanistan. President Biden and his administration’s horrendous handling of Afghanistan and the ensuing crisis is emblematic of a foreign policy that is deeply rooted in dogma and detached from reality.
Iranian Americans have warned for years the lethal tendency of certain foreign policy experts to deny what is painfully obvious to everyone, and advocate for treating Islamists who openly chant death to America as negotiation partners. This chaos in Afghanistan is but a lurid preview of what might happen if this administration insists on pandering to Islamists in Tehran.
The time is now for President Biden to address the world to send a strong message to the terrorists in Kabul and Tehran that America will not stand on the sidelines and allow them to murder innocent civilians.
August 3, 2021
On July 29, 2021, the “Mercer Street” commercial shipping vessel was attacked in international waters by a UAV loaded with explosives. The attack killed two individuals that were on the vessel. This is not the first time that a commercial shipping vessel has been attacked in international waters by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).
These attacks on commercial shipping vessels in international waters are believed to have been carried out by the IRI and/or their terrorist proxies. The IRI has but one tool in their repertoire and that tool is terror. They have used suicide bombers against Western interests from the moment they seized power in 1979 and have since perfected this diabolical method with Shia suicide bombers against Americans and Sunnis in Iraq, and now that international waters proved to be a barrier against their agents of chaos, have resorted to the use of technology to continue their reign of terror.
We call on the leaders of the free world to stand up against this terrorist regime, now, before it is too late. President Biden can no longer pretend that his policy of appeasement is working, especially when the lives of Americans and our allies are constantly under threat by the IRI.
If President Biden does not take a strong stance against the IRI now, they will continue to flex their muscles in the region, and it is only a matter of time before American blood is once again spilled in the Middle East at the hands of the IRI.
No more hollow statements and empty threats. Maximum pressure from the United States of America worked and it is the only language the IRI understands. Peace through strength – not through weakness.
July 12, 2021
Iranian Americans for Liberty is pleased to announce we will be hosting upcoming virtual Congressional Meet and Greets with three distinguished Members of Congress: Rep. Mo Brooks (Alabama), Rep. Stephanie Bice (Oklahoma), and Rep. Chip Roy (Texas) in July and August. These events will be moderated by Adelle Nazarian.
Since February of this year, we have hosted 10 Members of Congress from 7 different U.S. states; Representatives Jeff Van Drew (New Jersey), Yvette Herrell (New Mexico), Maria Salazar (Florida), Mike Garcia (California), Jim Hagedorn (Minnesota), Andrew Garbarino (New York), Ashley Hinson (Iowa), Michelle Fischbach (Minnesota), Claudia Tenney (New York), and Nicole Malliotakis (New York).
Among the above-mentioned Representatives; three Members serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, two serve on the House Committee on Homeland Security, and four serve on the House Small Business Committee. We applaud these Members for using their committee seats to effectively legislate on behalf of their constituents.
“I am excited to announce IAL has organized virtual events with three powerhouse members of Congress for the Iranian American community. We are especially thrilled that Rep. Stephanie Bice, the first Iranian American ever to be elected to Congress will be one of the Members we are hosting, along with events with Rep. Brooks and Rep. Roy.” said Bryan E. Leib, Executive Director, Iranian Americans for Liberty
Please visit www.ia4l.org to register for all three of these events.
June 15, 2021
Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) condemn the barbaric attack carried out by plainclothes agents of the Iranian Regime against the Afkari family for protesting the deteriorating health conditions of their imprisoned sons Vahid and Habib. The sons have been in Adelabad prison for over 280 days of solitary confinement. The shameless and barbaric attack on the family of slain Olympic wrestler Navid Afkari on Sunday proves, yet again, that the Islamic Republic of Iran regime is the enemy of the Iranian people and the standard torchbearer for human rights abuses.
Iranian Americans are standing in solidarity with the Afkari family in seeking justice and freedom for their sons and they call on the international community to stop rewarding the Iranian regime for the egregious treatment of its citizens. Until human rights reforms are made to be part of the negotiation process with the Iranian Regime, no new deal should be agreed upon. Otherwise, the Iranian people will continue to suffer with no end in sight.
June 8, 2021
On January 8, 2020, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down a Ukraine Airlines commercial airliner, Flight #PS752, with two surface-to-air missiles shortly after takeoff in Tehran, Iran.
On May 21st, a Superior Court in Canada’s Ontario province issued a ruling that implicates the IRGC. The Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) applaud the Ontario Superior Court for ruling that the IRGC’s downing of the Ukrainian Flight PS752 was an intentional act of terrorism. The IRGC must be held accountable for the murder of 176 souls.
"The plaintiffs have established that the shooting down of Flight 752 by the defendants was an act of terrorism and constitutes 'terrorist activity'..." Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba wrote in his decision.
Prior to this ruling, the Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran concluded that a “human error” was made when setting up the radar of the air defense system of Tehran and they claim that because of this mistake, the radar showed the PS752 flight heading straight for Tehran, instead of away from the city.
We reject this baseless claim by the Islamic Republic of Iran. We believe this was a direct act of terrorism by a bloodthirsty regime that has a track record of murdering innocent men, women and children to achieve their nefarious goals of establishing their own version of an Islamic caliphate.
Furthermore, we believe the only logical explanation for the downing of this passenger flight is that the IRI thought this commercial airliner was a U.S. military plane headed for Tehran and that is why not one but two missiles were fired at the aircraft. Hours before the PS752 took off, Iran had launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. troops in Iraq in response to the killing of former IRGC General Qasem Soleimani by former President Trump. The IRI’s defense systems were surely on high alert, expecting a retaliation from the U.S.
We call on President Biden to publicly support Canada’s court decision and to cease and desist all discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran until they take responsibility for murdering 176 souls.
May 27, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) condemn the horrific acts of violence against Jewish Americans on the streets of America. We express our grave concern regarding the deafening silence of lobby groups who falsely claim to represent the Iranian American community while Persian Jews are being viciously assaulted and terrorized. Once we learned about the attacks in Los Angeles and New York, we started our outreach to community members in the area to make sure they were okay and to offer our support. After we checked in on the communities, we issued a statement in support of Jewish Iranian Americans and strongly condemning anti-Semitism.
The Islamic Republic lobbyists have shown their true colors in light of this unacceptable attack on the Iranian American community. We believe an attack on one is an attack on all of us. Their sickening silence, their dog whistles to brazenly anti-Semitic entities, and their abhorrent moral equivalence between a terrorist group and Israel have not gone unnoticed by the Iranian American community. One such lobbying group is the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). They have been conspicuously silent while thousands of rockets rained down on Israeli citizens and they have desperately blamed Israel instead of Hamas terrorists. In addition, there is no member of Congress that is more anti-Israel, anti-Zionism and anti-Jewish than NIAC’s darling; Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
We believe we are on the right side of history in stepping up to condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Through their silence and their questionable alliances, NIAC and others are sending a message to the American community that Iranian Americans do not stand with them and that couldn’t be any further from the truth. We call on all groups claiming to represent Iranian Americans to condemn Hamas and to stop spreading lies about Israel.
Iranian Americans are standing in solidarity with their Jewish compatriots and the State of Israel, in opposition to murderous thugs who have shown little respect for life and humanity. IAL has been inundated with messages of support from inside Iran for the Jewish people and Israel. We want Americans to hear their voices without obfuscation and spin. These brave Iranians have decidedly chosen peace. It is time for others to join them.
May 25, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) are pleased to announce the addition of Pooya N. Nasseri to IAL’s Advisory Board.
Pooya Nasseri is a San Francisco-based Finance and Investment Manager with over 12 years of experience working with international corporations as a Financial Planning and Analysis Manager, Asset Manager, Investment and Foreign Direct Investment Consultant.
Pooya holds a Bachelors in Civil Engineering, a MBA from HTW Berlin, and a Masters in Finance from Georgetown University. Pooya has written several articles on Iran’s economy and is a Persian media commentator on Iran’s economy, local and foreign trade and investment challenges, international financial regulations, the FATF recommendations and international anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and proliferation (AML/CFT) standards, etc.
“We are thrilled to welcome Pooya to our Advisory Board. Her vast experience and desire to be a strong advocate for the Iranian American community makes her an excellent addition to our Advisory Board.” said Bryan E. Leib, Executive Director, Iranian Americans for Liberty
May 16, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty wish to express our full support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas. While we know the situation between the Israelis and Palestinians is complex - what is not complex is the fact that Israel is a sovereign nation and Hamas is a group of radical terrorists, backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Any sovereign nation that is attacked by enemies foreign or domestic, are within their rights to defend itself.
Hamas, similar to the IRGC, is listed on the State Department’s FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) list. We believe the aggression from Hamas is a direct consequence of President’s Biden’s weak policy towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. The appeasement approach towards the Mullahs in Iran incentivizes them to increase their funding to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and many other terrorist organizations that the Regime supports.
The only foreign government that stands to benefit from this escalation of violence is the Islamic Republic of Iran. We strongly urge President Biden to recall his envoys from Vienna until the Islamic Republic of Iran directs Hamas to stand down.
We fully support Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorists and we send our prayers for strength and safety to the Jews, Arabs, Christians, Baháʼí living in Israel.
May 10, 2021
Since the beginning of 2021, the Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) have organized virtual Congressional Meet and Greets with Members of Congress (MOC’s) to inform and educate the Iranian American community about the domestic and foreign policy positions of their elected officials around the country. All of these events have been for educational purposes and we have never made any recommendations on policy or specific pieces of legislation.
The Iranian American community says thank you to Representative Jeff Van Drew, Representative Yvette Herrell, Representative Maria Salazar, Representative Mike Garcia, Representative James Hagedorn, Representative Andrew Garbarino, Representative Ashley Hinson, Representative Michelle Fischbach and Representative Claudia Tenney for attending our virtual Congressional Meet and Greet events.
The members we’ve hosted currently serve on the following committees: House Foreign Affairs, House Homeland Security, House Judiciary, House Small Business, House Veterans Affairs, House Appropriations, House Budget, House Agriculture, House Administration and House Oversight and Reform.
“Through actions and in words, these nine MOC’s have shown the Iranian American community they are engaged in the issues that are important to Iranian Americans. During all of our virtual events, these MOC’s have thanked the Iranian American community for their contributions to American society. We are thankful to each of these MOC’s for their unwavering support of the Iranian American community.” said Bryan E. Leib, Executive Director
April 27, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty have learned that a criminal court in the Islamic Republic of Iran has sentenced two Iranian citizens to receive the death penalty. They are currently jailed at Arak prison, located 161 miles from Iran’s capital city Tehran.
Yousef Mehrad, a father of three children, was sentenced to death for alleged charges of blasphemy and insulting Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. In the related case, another inmate, Seyed Sadrollah Fazeli Zare, 34, was sentenced to death for blasphemy. They were arrested by security forces last year, and finally transferred to Arak prison.
In another section of the case, Yousef Mehrad was also accused of "propaganda against the IRI", "blasphemy", and "insulting the founder of the IRI and its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei".
Such charges, often without evidence, are a typical tool used by the regime to delegitimize those who are ideologically opposed to the oppressive regime. Fair trials are essentially non-existence in the Iranian judicial system. Furthermore, since the 1979 Revolution, over 8,000 Iranian citizens – mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers – have been executed. Enough is enough! We are raising our voice for those who cannot. Please join us.
April 12, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty commissioned a new video by Iranian investigative journalist Potkin Azarmehr to shine a light on the double standard that many Iranian Americans and Iranian dissidents are facing on Twitter every day.
In early March 2021, IAL’s Board Member, Dr. Shervan Fashandi, was suspended from Twitter for using his account to expose individuals that are alleged to be mouthpieces of the Iranian Regime. While Dr. Fashandi’s account is suspended, Ayatollah Khamenei continues to tweet in 11 different languages, on 11 different accounts without fact checks and without suspension. This blatant double standard is unacceptable to the Iranian American community.
In the video, Mr. Potkin states: Potkin states:
“Imagine if the telephone company could control what you were allowed to say on your telephone. One equivalent of that unthinkable telephone company, which most of us would find unacceptable, is in fact the social media platform known as Twitter.”
“Ayatollah Khamenei, who bans his own citizens from Twitter but himself uses the platform to incite hate and violence and deny the holocaust, has several accounts on Twitter in multiple languages. They aren’t labeled for fact check nor are they suspended.”
“While the Islamic Republic’s officials and its apologists use Twitter to spread their lies, propaganda and disinformation, Iranian dissidents and critics of the Regime face unjustified suspension and permanent bans from Twitter.”
“Any unbiased person can see that something is wrong with Twitter’s inconsistent enforcement of their policies. An investigation by U.S. lawmakers is urgently needed”.
April 5, 2021
A recent article in Responsible Statecraft by Bryan Metzger titled, “How a shadowy, hawkish new group tied to Iranian monarchists is gaining influence in Congress” purports several blatant untruths about Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) and our organization’s work, putting the lives of Iranians abroad and their families at home at grave risk.
We are a bipartisan group of Iranian Americans who are deeply committed to peace and prosperity for the Iranian people, as well as the national interests of our adopted home, the United States of America. Our Board of Directors is committed to ensuring IAL will always be a bipartisan organization. Our Board consists of Democrats and Republicans. In addition, we have in the past and will continue to organize and host events with both Democrat and Republican members of the Iranian American community.
We, like many members of the Iranian American community, reject the false narrative of having to choose between being either a mouthpiece that pushes the propaganda of the Islamic Republic of Iran or warmongers. Indeed, this false choice is deep rooted in a manufactured and patently false dichotomy propagated by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s propagandists inside Iran and around the world. This false dichotomy incorrectly asserts that the free world and the United States either have to appease the regime of Iran or start a war with them. There are certainly more options in the advocacy realm than these two choices.
The undeniable truth is that the Islamic Republic regime of Iran has been responsible for the rise in the number sectarian wars in the Middle East for much of the past four decades. It is unfortunate that the article published by an outfit that calls itself “Responsible Statecraft” serves to perpetuate such a false narrative. The warmongering and responsibility for escalation in violence in the region, including the savage murder of protesters on the streets of Iran sits with those who provide material support and comfort to the hawkish and blligerent regime in Tehran. This regime has been labeled as a state sponsor of terrorism by both Democratic and Republican administrations.
One of the concerns of the Iranian American community are the front groups that are the front organizations that collude with the Islamic Republic’s regime to meddle in the US political elections, academia, research and media spheres.
Four weeks ago, IAL embarked on an educational campaign to highlight the problematic role of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) as the suspected chief Washington D.C. lobbyist for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Among other topics, our campaign exposed how NIAC has protected the Islamic Republic government from any scrutiny over its mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic through the mass dissemination of misinformation and falsehoods. Shortly after the campaign began, NIAC and its affiliates started targeting IAL in an attempt to intimidate us and silence our voice.
Responsible Statecraft is part of the Quincy Institute and has close ties with NIAC; Trita Parsi is a co-founder and executive vice president of the Quincy Institute and also the founder of NIAC. Mr. Parsi started his career as a staffer for disgraced Ohio Congressman Bob Ney who was investigated for and subsequently resigned in the aftermath of his involvement in arms sales to the Islamic Republic of Iran which was a direct violation of the US sanctions on arms sales to the Iranian regime.
We believe that this article from RS about IAL was clearly written at Mr. Parsi’s direction in response to our recent educational campaign and as an attempt to undermine IAL’s critical work, though ironically, the author asserts that Parsi had no role in the article’s publication.
In his first article at the publication, 2020 graduate Metzger conflates and confuses numerous unaffiliated Iranian American organizations and individuals. These claims, including connections to misuse of State Department funds, would be libelous had Metzger made them directly, rather than misleading his readers through innuendo.
Let us be clear: IAL is not receiving and has never received funding from any governments and has no connections to the individuals that are named by Mr. Metzger as recipients of State Department funds, including Mr. Amir Etemadi. If Mr. Metzger or RS had any interest in responsible journalism, they could have independently verified these facts. IAL has no affiliation or ties, formal or informal with Mr. Etemadi. It is up to Mr. Etemadi to clarify on what basis he received funds from the State departments and how he spent those funds. This smear attempt by RS is very similar to the tactics that NIAC has used for years to silence their critics in the Iranian American community.
In addition, IAL is funded and continues to be funded by members of the Iranian American community who support IAL’s mission statement.
Metzger also falsely claims that IAL tamps down voices of Iranian Americans. This is categorically false. IAL advocates for peace with Iran’s Arab and Jewish neighbors, universal human rights, and freedom of speech, expression, and religion. Anyone, regardless of their political affiliation, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or background is welcome to join IAL. While Metzger names numerous conservative members of Congress who have met with IAL, he does NOT name their liberal colleagues who have not accepted our invitations. IAL would be honored to host any member of Congress, regardless of their party affiliation.
In a vile and anti-Semitic trope, Mr. Metzger accuses IAL’s work in advocating for the Persian Jewish community to be motivated and funded by foreign governments. This reminds us of the false narrative pushed by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (another member of Congress heavily supported by NIAC and Mr. Trita Parsi) when she said “it is all about the benjamins”. Mr. Parsi and NIAC, like their puppet masters in Tehran, have a long history of using identity politics to divide Iranians and Iranian Americans on the basis of religion. This is particularly repugnant in light of the fact that Mr. Parsi in the past has falsely argued that since AIPAC purportedly represents the Israeli government, NIAC should counter that by aligning itself with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s government.
Metzger also sought to make unsubstantiated claims about specific Iranians’ involvement in IAL. This is both morally abhorrent and dangerous. It can have real implications for the safety of said individuals’ family members currently living in the region, as the Iranian government and its proxies have continuously engaged in acts of violence to silence their critics on US soil. Metzger included IAL’s statement on these dangers in his article, but that did not deter him. In fact, that quote and one other are the only sections of a five-paragraph statement provided by IAL that Metzger decided to use. Originally, Metzger requested information on IAL’s mission, but ignored the organization’s offer to provide in-depth responses on “global terror, policies of appeasement, human rights, religious liberties, freedom of speech, or any other topic.”
This pattern of behavior by Mr. Parsi and Mr. Metzger is particularly troubling. Mr. Parsi in the past has attempted to raise funds among members of the Iranian American business community by flaunting his ability to arrange meetings with high-ranking Iranian government officials, such as Iran’s top diplomat Foreign Minister Mr. Javad Zarif, for top donors to the organizations that he has been affiliated with including NIAC. Iranian government officials in turn provide a quid-pro-quo in various forms such as the promise to unfreeze assets, or “solve other problems” in Iran or facilitating business opportunities in Iran. Essentially Mr. Parsi has setup a de-facto arrangement where he uses his ties to the Iranian government to entice and intimidate members of the Iranian American community (as the circumstance requires) and increase his sphere of influence.
While Mr. Metzger is eager to highlight the legal political contributions by members of the Iranian American community, he fails to mention that Mr. Jamal Abdi, the President of NIAC, was a registered bundler for the Joe Biden for President campaign. As a bundler, Mr. Jamal Abdi raised more than $100,000 for President Biden. We find it highly suspect that Mr. Metzger was more than eager to quote Mr. Jamal Abdi in his article about us without mentioning this tidbit of critical information.
IAL believes the fate of the Islamic Republic should be solely determined by the Iranian people. Neither the US government nor lobbyists of the Islamic Republic should interfere by providing support to a state sponsor of terrorism that actively finances and encourages sectarian and religious wars and violence. The world should condemn NIAC for knowingly putting the families of its critics in harm’s way and Mr. Parsi for acting as a front for the terrorist Islamic government in Iran.
In closing, IAL will always do everything in our power to be an amplifier of the voices of the Iranian American community as well as Iranians living in Iran. We will always be a denier of the Iranian government’s efforts to achieve its nefarious goals. If Responsible Statecraft, the Quincy Institute, Mr. Parsi and NIAC thought their article would scare us, they were foolish. We will continue forward on our stated mission and we will continue exposing the Iranian Regime’s apologists in America.
March 15, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty are calling on Forbes to reconsider their selection of Negar Mortazavi to their Top 30 Most Inspirational Women’s List. It is widely known throughout the Iranian-American community that Negar has close ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran Regime through her relationship with Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif from her time as a NIAC employee.
Iranian dissidents in Iran and around the world are risking their lives to speak out against this selection. Here are but a few of those voices that Forbes has actively ignored to amplify the voice of Negar Mortazavi.
“We, who have lived in a time of repression and censorship, hope that with the establishment of a system of freedom and democracy, credibility will return to the media and it will be impossible to defend inaccuracies. @Forbes @ForbesWomen That is why we cannot accept that a notorious apologist is introduced as an inspiration in a free world media.” - Majid Tavakoli
“Including @NegarMortazavi in the @Forbes"Inspirational Women for This Women’s History Month" by @TommyASC91 has surprised and offended many victim families including #PS752 families. We ask this Inspirational woman to explain why Iran regime's murders has been justified re #PS752" PS752 for Justice
We strongly urge Forbes to reconsider the selection of Negar Mortazavi to this list. Advocates for the Islamic Republic of Iran should not be celebrated in America by such a respected media empire like Forbes.
March 11, 2021
On March 9, 2021, Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) Board Member Dr. Shervan Fashandi's Twitter account was suspended. Twitter’s email to Dr. Fashandi stated that his account (@GadflyPersia) was suspended for violating their rules. Dr. Fashandi’s tweet was in Persian and is translated into:
“Every sane person agrees that if a Jewish person supports Hitler and the Nazis, s/he is viler than a gentile who does the same. Following the same logic, any woman or homosexual or non-Shia person who supports the Islamic Republic (of Iran) is more evil than a Shia man who does the same (because the Islamic Republic is a misogynistic regime that discriminates against women and homosexuals and non-Shias). Happy International Women’s Day to all women except the apologists of the Islamic Republic regime (called the #CriminalCult by many Iranians).”
In this tweet, he included images of Ariane Tabatabai, Assal Rad, Negar Mortazavi and Faranak Amidi. All four individuals are widely known to sympathize with many policies of the Islamic Republic regime of Iran; two of whom have either worked or used to work for NIAC (National Iranian American Council). NIAC is a US-based non-profit organization with a long history of acting as lobbyists and apologists for the Islamic Republic regime of Iran.
We are deeply concerned by this unilateral action from big tech to censure the voices of dissidents of the oppressive regime of Iran here in America. Dr. Fashandi has used his personal Twitter account to challenge NIAC and other regime supporters on why they use their influence with DC lawmakers to support deals that appease the Regime, like the JCPOA. Many in the Iranian-American community always knew that NIAC maintains strong influence with DC lawmakers but we didn't know or suspect they had the same influence with big tech. Twitter’s action to suspend Dr. Fashandi shows the world their true colors.
While Ayatollah Khamenei’s Twitter account spews hatred for the West, Holocaust denial and all other forms of vile genocidal hate on a weekly basis without any censorship, Twitter censored Dr. Fashandi for speaking out against the Regime. This is a double-standard that we and all freedom loving Americans should refuse to tolerate. Moreover, the infiltration of the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism and/or its agents in big tech is a threat to the national security of the United States can also jeopardize the privacy and safety of millions of dissidents to oppressive regimes across the world.
We are calling on Twitter to stop censoring the voices of Iranian dissidents. Twitter should stop acting as a de facto advocate for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Twitter should immediately reverse the suspension of Dr. Fashandi's Twitter account. The freedom of speech to challenge and criticize another individual or organization should be celebrated by big tech in America, not censored.
February 23, 2021
The Iranian Americans for Liberty strongly condemn the Iranian Border Forces for the reckless murder of innocent civilians on their border. We have learned that the Iranian Border Forces have murdered over 10 Baluchi traders, possibly including youth.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has systematically oppressed minorities, be it ethnic or religious. Four decades of economic mismanagement has left the vast majority of people living in the region on the brink of poverty and despair. So long as this Regime is in power, and is recognized by the civilized world as legitimate, the ordinary Iranians and many living in the region will not be in peace.
We strongly urge American elected officials on both sides of the aisle to speak out with one voice to condemn the repeated offenses of the Islamic Republic of Iran. One day it’s Regime proxies launching rockets at a U.S. Embassy and the next day it’s the Iranian Border Forces opening fire on innocent civilians. Enough is enough!
|January 26, 2021|
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Regime has executed another high-profile Iranian citizen, Mehdi Ali Hosseini. Hosseini, 29, is the second high profile Iranian wrestler to be executed by the Iran’s Regime. In our January 11th statement, we urged the Iranian Government to afford Mr. Hosseini due process and we called on the international community to speak out.
We stated: “Iranians Americans for Liberty have learned that the Iranian Government is planning to execute another Iranian wrestler. Mehdi Ali Hosseini has been transferred to solitary confinement to where he is expected to serve the remainder of his days until he is executed. We urge the Iranian Government to afford Mr. Hosseini the due process that he deserves. In addition, we urge the international community to speak out in support of Mr. Hosseini. The murder of Iranian Olympic wrestler Navid Afkari could have been prevented if the international community had spoke out and took action against it. Mr. Hosseni’s death could be prevented if the international community speaks out.”
These illegal and cruel murders serve only one purpose: to terrorize Iranian people who watch as their livelihoods are being taken away and their rights being denied by thugs who rule Iran. It is incumbent on American lawmakers to ensure terror does not succeed. The Islamic Republic has no place in the international community so long as it continues its reign of terror.
We are calling on American lawmakers to come together in a bipartisan manner to publicly condemn the Islamic Republic’s Regime and their repeated human rights violations. Opposing the savage murder of an innocent Iranian citizens isn’t about politics – it's about right vs wrong.
|January 20, 2021|
The Iranian Americans for Liberty applaud the Department of Justice (DOJ) for arresting and charging “Political Scientist” Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi for acting as an unregistered agent of the Islamic Republic regime.
While this a step in the right direction, it is merely the tip of the iceberg. There are many Iranian nationals like Afrasiabi in America who are lobbying for the Islamic Republic regime and we call on the DOJ to take decisive action and hold such people accountable.
One of those individuals is Mr. Hossein Mousavian. He has been a visiting research scholar at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs since 2009. Mousavian served as Iran’s Ambassador to Germany from 1990-1997, where he presided over the assassination of over 90 dissidents across Europe by the Islamic Republic death squads. Individuals like Mousavian are a clear and present danger to the life and safety of Americans, and Iranian- Americans in particular, and should not be given shelter in America.
We urge the Department of Justice and President Joe Biden to take a strong stance and decisive action against Islamic Republic regime officials that are hiding in plain sight throughout America.
|January 11, 2021|
The Iranians Americans for Liberty have learned that the Iranian Government is planning to execute another Iranian wrestler. Mehdi Ali Hosseini has been transferred to solitary confinement to where he is expected to serve the remainder of his days until he is executed. Mr. Hosseini is from Andimeshk in the province of Khuzestan and he was accused of participating in a fight and allegedly murdering someone in 2015. The Iranian Regime handed down a conviction that carries a death sentence. However, there is no evidence or proof to support these charges. This is why we are urging the Iranian Government to provide Mr. Hosseini with the due process he deserves.
Some famous wrestlers that are trying to stop the death sentence of their fellow wrestler, Mr. Hosseini, include Hamid Soorian - the holder of seven world and Olympic gold medals in wrestling - Saeed Abdoli, Habib Akhlaghi, Mohammad Talaei, Ali Ashkani, Hamid Bavafa, Mehrdad Mardani and Abdolkarim Kakahhaji.
We urge the Iranian Government to afford Mr. Hosseini the due process that he deserves. In addition, we urge the international community to speak out in support of Mr. Hosseini. The murder of Iranian Olympic wrestler Navid Afkari could have been prevented if the international community had spoke out and took action against it. Mr. Hosseni’s death could be prevented if the international community speaks out.
Iranian Americans for Liberty
|December 20, 2020|
OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY IRANIAN AMERICANS FOR LIBERTY IN REACTION TO CANDIDACY OF TRITA PARSI AND NIACMEMBERS TO BE A PART OF THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION
A recent article in the Washington Free Beacon reported that Trita Parsi, an accused lobbyist for the Islamic Republic regime in Iran, as well as other members of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) have been recommended by progressive foreign policy groups for senior roles in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
The The Iranian Americans for Liberty believes that appointing Mr. Parsi and members of NIAC in any government role would constitute a threat to US national security. There are indications that Mr. Parsi operates closely with the Islamic Republic in Iran. Ample publicly-available evidence suggests Mr. Parsi was, at one point in the past, actively lobbying on behalf of the Islamic Republic regime. There are also speculations that NIAC was founded by Mr. Parsi under the direction and supervision of the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The Although Mr. Parsi is no longer affiliated with NIAC, members of this organization openly advocate for the Islamic Republic regime and promulgate anti-American propaganda on social and mainstream media platforms. Mr. Parsi himself is currently the Executive Vice President for the Quincy Institute, a newly-founded think tank whose senior members have been accused of harboring anti-Semitic sentiments.
The We ask the Biden transition team to be cautious and avoid the catastrophe of recruiting in the upcoming administration’s foreign policy apparatus individuals who may be compromised by a hostile regime. In addition to threatening national security, involvement of such individuals in any capacity in the US government could endanger the safety and livelihood of Iranian-Americans who oppose Iran’s current rulers. The abduction and cruel execution of Rouhollah Zam by the Islamic Republic regime serves as a memento for the constant fear Iranian dissidents have for their security; even here in the US. Mr. Parsi and NIAC members occupying positions in the US government would justifiably exacerbate those trepidations.
The In solidarity,
The Iranian Americans for Liberty
|October 26, 2020|
IRANIAN AMERICANS FOR LIBERTY IN REACTION TO A RECENT ARTICLE WRITTEN BY A MEMBER OF NIAC
The Iranian Americans for Liberty issues this statement in reaction to an appalling opinion article published in Al Jazeera with the title, “What the US election means for Iranian Americans.”
We found ourselves compelled to react due to a multitude of issues that surround this article including who the author is, the nature of the organization he represents, and the platform on which it was published.
The author, Sina Toossi is a former (and possibly current) protégé of Hossein Mousavian. Mr. Mousavian is an ex-Islamic Republic diplomat who currently resides in the US and acts as an agent of influence for the regime under the disguise of a “scholar” at Princeton University. He was the Islamic Republic’s Ambassador to Germany when four Iranian dissidents were assassinated in central Berlin in 1992. This act of terror was directly linked to the Islamic Republic regime at its highest echelons of power, and it is highly suspected that Mr. Mousavian was aware of the plot and complicit in its orchestration and execution.
Mr. Toossi currently works as a Senior Research Analyst for the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). There is ample evidence to suggest NIAC at some point acted as the Islamic Republic’s de facto lobby in Washington DC. Today, NIAC primarily functions as a propaganda apparatus for the regime in Iran. As such, the organization only represents a minute segment of Iranian Americans. NIAC often deceptively proclaims it represents the Iranian American community as a whole. It certainly and unequivocally does not. In reality, a large number of Iranian Americans view NIAC as part of a malevolent syndicate linked to the Islamic Republic regime.
The platform that published Mr. Toossi’s column is also suspect. Al Jazeera is a controversial media company that is seemingly tasked with disseminating propaganda that favors the State of Qatar and its allies, including the regime in Iran. Recently, the Justice Department ordered a digital news network based in the US and owned by Al Jazeera to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Although we respect Mr. Toossi’s right to express his opinion, we take serious issue with his attempt to speak on behalf of the Iranian American community in its entirety. This is an effort by NIAC and the regime’s operatives in the US to take advantage of the Iranian American community’s grievances and once again, deceptively claim that they represent all of us. Iranian Americans comprise a vibrant community that is characteristically diverse in ethnic backgrounds, faiths, and political persuasions. One organization cannot speak on behalf of us all and NIAC is far from having that privilege. In light of their connection to the Islamic regime and advocating in its interests, Mr. Toossi and the organization he works for have relinquished the right and the merit to speak for Iranian Americans; now and ever.
Iranian Americans for Liberty
|October 22, 2020|
On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that the Islamic Republic regime in Iran was responsible for a series of emails sent to intimidate US voters ahead of the November 3 presidential elections. The ominous emails allegedly instructed registered Democratic voters to “change your affiliation to Republican” and “vote for Trump” or else face consequences.
The Iranian Americans for Liberty is deeply concerned about such intrusion in our democracy by a hostile regime. We hold the Islamic Republic’s Ministries of Intelligence and Foreign Affairs, both operating in coordination with the designated terrorist entity the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, responsible for this cyberterrorist attack against the American people.
The Islamic Republic regime’s intimidation campaigns are nothing new. Over the past two decades, Iranian-American dissidents have been targeted and threatened by regime operatives on social media or via direct contact. In the past two weeks in particular, the Islamic Republic’s henchmen have specifically targeted vocal critics of the regime in the US, threatening them with abduction and transport to Iran to “face trial.”
The regime’s disinformation operations go back to the early 21st century, when a so-called “echo chamber” ostensibly financed by the Islamic Republic was created to force upon the American people the unsound and defective Iran Nuclear Deal. That campaign infiltrated the US Government at the time and was compounded by the regime’s intricate network of lobbyists and talking heads in the US. The current campaign of disinformation targeting US elections is being fortified by the same syndicates and cadre of individuals.
The Iranian Americans for Liberty urges the US Government and law enforcement to pursue this matter diligently in order to prevent future attacks by the Islamic Republic regime meant to compromise the elections, terrorize the American people, and undermine our democracy. We also implore all American people – particularly the Iranian-American community, to be conscientious about the regime’s malevolent intents and coercive campaigns.
We ask the American people and in particular Iranian-Americans to reconsider their support for campaigns and politicians advocating for blinding trust in the Islamic Republic as a responsible actor, and for those who have repeatedly announced plans to unconditionally return to the negotiating table with a regime that has been founded upon hatred for America; one that has never shown any compunction in endangering American lives and global security.
Iranian Americans for Liberty