ACTIVITIES & ACCOMPLISHMENTS
CYRUS CYLINDER RESOLUTION
At the urging of PAAIA, Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL) introduced a bipartisan resolution (H.Res.130) in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, recognizing the Iranian New Year (Nowruz) and acknowledging that the Cyrus Cylinder has, over the centuries, come to symbolize one of mankind’s first documents on human rights. The resolution marks the first time that members of Congress have introduced a measure recognizing the achievements of Cyrus the Great and commemorates the 2013 Cyrus Cylinder tour of the United States.
PAAIA urged the introduction of the Nowruz resolution as a part of its broader efforts to foster greater understanding of the Iranian culture and heritage as well as projecting an accurate and positive image of the Iranian American community that truly reflects our values and achievements. Staff initiated discussions with, and met with over 30 members of Congress and/or their staff to help draft and build bipartisan support for the Nowruz Resolution, which passed both chambers of Congress in March 2010 with over 70 co-sponsors.
COLLABORATION AND COALITION BUILDING
PAAIA seeks to collaborate with and/or build coalitions with other Iranian American organizations for greater impact. In 2009, PAAIA partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau and helped launch the Iranians Count 2010 Census Coalition (“ICCC”) aimed at securing an accurate count of Iranian Americans that by March of 2010 had grown to an unprecedented 47 partner organizations.
EXAMPLES OF CAPITOL HILL BRIEFINGS
On January 28, 2010, PAAIA held a congressional briefing to present the findings of its 2009 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans. The briefing was co-spsonored by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA). The briefing, which was aimed at educating congressional staffers, was attended by individuals representing congressional offices, nongovernmental organizations, and the U.S. State Department.
On June 26, 2012, PAAIA in conjunction with Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Congressman Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA) held a panel at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill entitled “Behind the Electronic Curtain: Perspectives on Internet Restrictions and Access to Media in Iran. The overall goal of the panel was to provide information about the Electronic Curtain in a balanced manner and to assist congressional staffers, many of whom work closely on issues that impact the Iranian American community, in better understanding how such issues can impact the communities they represent.
ANNUAL CAPITOL HILL NOWRUZ RECEPTIONS
PAAIA’s annual Nowruz receptions on Capitol Hill is part of its broader effort to celebrate and foster greater understanding of Iranian culture, and to project an accurate and positive image of the Iranian American community. Participants in attendance had an opportunity to learn about Nowruz and Persian culture and heritage.
WORKING WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS AND OTHERS TO DEFEND CIVIL LIBERTIES
PAAIA’s connected PAC, IAPAC, worked on a bi-partisan basis with Congressmen Marty Meehan (D. MA) and Christopher Shays (R. CT) to assist them in their introduction of H.Res.476, which condemns discrimination and bigotry against Iranian Americans. The resolution, previously introduced in the 109th Congress, is a response to documented reports of discrimination targeting members of the Iranian American community. H.Res.476 is part of IAPAC’s broader efforts in connection with the “Iranian American Know Your Rights Campaign,” which was launched in cooperation with other organizations and which seeks to educate Iranian Americans about their civil rights and liberties, and other civic matters.
PAAIA’s biannual Congressional Scorecards rate members of Congress on votes and other positions taken in the House of Representatives and Senate, which affect the Iranian American community. The primary purpose of the Scorecards is to ensure that Iranian Americans are informed about the voting records and performances of their members of Congress. In addition, the Scorecards ensure that members of Congress are aware that their votes and positions on issues of importance to the Iranian American community will be analyzed and made public.
US SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN
PAAIA’s reports provide information on the US Sanctions against Iran, including setting up and holding local presentations on these sanctions with other local and national Iranian American entities and U.S. Department of Treasury OFAC representatives.