Statement on IAPAC’s Mission and Accomplishments
Washington, DC - Over the past year, certain groups and individuals on several occasions have leveled various accusations against the Iranian American Political Action Committee (“IAPAC”) and its members. These accusations have ranged from insinuations that certain of IAPAC’s members are sympathetic to and act to promote the policies of foreign governments such as the Islamic Republic of Iran to suggestions that the organization is designed to promote the narrow interests of only a few persons. While categorically denying such allegations, IAPAC does not see any purpose to responding to particulars of these attacks; they consist of no more than reckless and baseless ad hominems that should have no place in reasoned political debate. Instead, we trust that our audience will look beyond the dissonance caused by a few that are insistent on capitalizing upon issues that divide our community by circulating and recirculating a set of false rumors and look to the organization’s purpose and accomplishments to judge its merits. We therefore publish this communication not only to reintroduce ourselves, but also to present a report on some of our activities.
IAPAC is a registered bipartisan federal political action committee that contributes to candidates for federal office. The principal criterion for making donations is whether the political candidate is attuned to the domestic policy concerns of the Iranian-American community residing in the United States. IAPAC focuses exclusively on these domestic policy matters, which, broadly speaking, thus far have consisted of civil rights and immigration issues. While supporting candidates on the issues, IAPAC also seeks to build and strengthen our community's political influence by, among other things, encouraging Iranian-Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, to participate actively in the political and electoral process and supporting Iranian-Americans who run for political office in the United States.
The purposes of IAPAC reflect the concern of its founders about what they perceived to be a need for a voice for the Iranian-American community within the political institutions of the United States. For too long, Iranian-Americans have not had a coherent, let alone influential, voice in American politics, even though individually they have succeeded at the highest levels of their educational and professional endeavors. The reality of the American political system teaches, moreover, that a community’s voice will be heard only if it is organized, is financially strong, and has a coherent, persuasive message. As such, IAPAC’s founders concluded that a political action committee representing our common interests was indispensable. This political action committee required (and will always require) strong financial backing and community support.
IAPAC is a bipartisan political action committee, meaning that it endeavors to advance its stated policy goals by reaching out to and building influence for the Iranian-American community among the ranks of both the Republican and Democratic parties. As such, IAPAC's trustees include individuals of diverse political persuasions and affiliations. While recognizing their differences of opinion, IAPAC's trustees have chosen to emphasize our community's common interests and to work together towards achieving the organization's stated goals. This is a model of collaboration that undoubtedly best serves our collective interest and that we sincerely hope and trust will be increasingly adopted by ever-larger segments of the Iranian-American community.
Recognizing both the need for political and civic success and the absence of the necessary organizational framework, the twenty-two founding Trustees of IAPAC sought to create a mechanism to fill that void for the Iranian-American community. The impact of recent legislation (actual and proposed) on our community provided the necessary impetus to found the organization. Founded in 2003, IAPAC has grown at a rapid rate because of the dedication and support of a broad, bipartisan, and geographically diverse group of Iranian-Americans from all walks of life.
Click here to learn more about IAPAC’s organizational structure.
Our recent activities demonstrate that IAPAC has become a credible and strong voice for Iranian-Americans. For example, IAPAC’s efforts have helped counteract recent legislative and regulatory developments in the field of immigration law that had a prejudicial impact on Iranians. In this regard, in collaboration with other Iranian-American organizations, IAPAC has brought the detention of approximately 1000 Iranians to the attention of Congress and has assisted scheduling and publicizing bipartisan briefings on Capitol Hill on the issues of immigration law and its implementation under the NSEERS program. In addition, IAPAC has supported candidates for Congress whose positions promise to further advance the concerns of our community.
One final matter. Since IAPAC’s inception, many have asked what the organization’s position is with respect to Iran. As noted above, IAPAC is singularly dedicated to matters of American domestic policy. But we add the following thoughts. It goes without saying that the vast majority of, if not all Iranian-Americans ardently hope for a free, tolerant, and democratic Iran. However, in our experience, more specific discussions touching on matters of Iranian domestic politics traditionally have engendered great division within the community. Therefore, in forming IAPAC, the twenty-two founding trustees concluded that the organization would succeed only if it were built around domestic issues of interest or concern upon which there was consensus in the community. Thus, the goal has been not to confront and divide, but to encourage the community to believe that America belongs to it as much as it does to anyone else, and to get involved so that the Iranian-American community can define its own image and can have a say about its future in America.
We believe that those who continually seek to hurl baseless accusations and recycle the same old insinuations against IAPAC do a great disservice to all Iranian-Americans who are seeking to establish their rightful place within the American political system. We at IAPAC believe that it is more important for Iranian-Americans to participate and engage in thoughtful and deliberate discussions – regardless of what their views may be – than for them to sit on the sidelines or to perpetuate innuendo. We only hope that Iranian-Americans will enter the political debate aiming to persuade with facts and sound reasoning. We invite you to learn more about us by visiting our web site.