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