Frequently Asked Questions
What is PAAIA?
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, non-sectarian organization that serves the interests of Iranian Americans and represents the community before U.S. policymakers and the American public at large. We work to foster greater understanding of Iranian Americans and their culture, expand opportunities for the active participation of Iranian Americans in the democratic process at all levels of government and in the public debate, and provide opportunities for advancement for our next generation.
PAAIA also has a connected Political Action Committee, IAPAC, which promotes and contributes to the election of Iranian American and American candidates for political office.
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Who founded PAAIA?
In November 2006, a group of approximately 70 Iranian Americans from across the United States gathered in New York City to examine and discuss issues confronting the community. Despite significant individual achievement in all aspects of American life over the preceding three decades, there was a consensus within this group that Iranian Americans had failed to come together as a community to promote their image, support their advancement in public affairs, and present an effective national voice. It was such that PAAIA was born in August 2007.
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Does PAAIA have any political affiliations?
No. PAAIA is a nonprofit organization and is not affiliated with any government, political party, or political personality.
Is PAAIA affiliated with the government of Iran?
No. PAAIA is not affiliated with either the Islamic Republic of Iran or the U.S. government. PAAIA is an independent nonprofit organization focused on representing the interests of the Iranian American community in the U.S.
What is PAAIA's position on US-Iran relations?
PAAIA, through its annual surveys of Iranian Americans, aggregates and provides access to scientific data and information on the community, including their views on the U.S.- Iran relations. Based on input from our constituency and surveys, PAAIA has in the past and may in the future address certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy towards Iran if and to the extent that such policies impact the Iranian American community.
PAAIA supports the rule of law, respect for human rights, and democratic government in all countries, including in Iran and believes that the future of Iran must and will be decided by the people of Iran.
Why does PAAIA conduct national public opinion surveys?
In striving to become the leading source of accurate information about the Iranian American community, since 2008, PAAIA has commissioned scientific surveys of the Iranian American community as well as on American perceptions of Iranian Americans. The surveys are an integral component of better understanding the Iranian American community and having its voice heard through the availability of ongoing accurate scientific data. These invaluable surveys were the first of their kind and have been presented to the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of State, the media, and the general public to wide acclaim.
What programs does PAAIA have for Iranian American youth?
The need to invest in the next generation has been a core focus of PAAIA since its inception and one of its concrete legacies. PAAIA’s programs for our next generation including the Emerging Leaders Program, the Akbar Gahary Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP), and PAAIA’s Ansari Fellowship Program.
Click here to read more about PAAIA’s leadership-building initiatives.
What is PAAIA's position on the human rights situation in Iran?
As Americans, we believe in the ideals and basic human rights that form the foundation upon which the United States stands: democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech and religion, popular sovereignty, tolerance, and free enterprise. We believe that people across the globe, including Iran, share these aspirations and that they should be allowed to fulfill them through democratic processes that include the right to select leaders who represent their best interests. PAAIA has in the past unequivocally condemned the killing of innocent civilians in Iran. However, PAAIA is not a human rights organization. Our advocacy activity is strictly focused on the U.S. process and issues.
As an organization that represents the interests of Iranian Americans, PAAIA seeks to protect Iranian Americans’ right to immunity from harassment and unlawful detention when traveling outside the United States, including Iran. As such, PAAIA continues to call on the authorities in Iran to safeguard the rights, safety, and security of all Iranian Americans traveling to or living in Iran.