National Iranian American Council
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

-based non-profit organization
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 "dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community." Trita Parsi
Trita Parsi
Trita Parsi is the current president and founder of the National Iranian American Council, and author of the 2007 book, Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States.-Biography:...

 is the organization's current president and founder.


In 2002, Parsi founded the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) "to enable Iranian Americans to condemn the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and that he has since run it as a grass-roots group aimed at strengthening their voice." The organization supports engagement between the US and Iran in belief that it "would enhance our [US] national security by helping to stabilize the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and bolster the moderates in Iran." On the group's formation, Parsi commented, "We realized that our primary thing that separates the Iranian-American
Iranian-Americans are Americans of Iranian ancestry or people possessing Iranian and American dual citizenship.Iranian-Americans are amongst the most highly educated groups in the United States...

 community from the Jewish-American community, the Arab-American community, the Armenian-American
Armenian Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Armenia. During the United States 2000 Census, 385,488 respondents indicated either full or partial Armenian ancestry...

 community is that the Iranian-American community has shunned political participation."

Lobbying controversy

In November 2009, the NIAC came under scrutiny when Washington Times national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 correspondent Eli Lake
Eli Lake
Eli Lake , is a national security correspondent for the Washington Times and a frequent contributor to the He was previously a national security reporter at the New York Sun and the State Department correspondent for the UPI...

 alleged that the organization, registered as a 501(c)(3) educational organization, could be "operating as a foreign lobby
Advocacy group
Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...

 in violation of federal law". Lake writes, "Mr. Parsi's history suggests a continuing commitment to changing U.S. policy on Iran, and he has clearly become more influential in Washington since the change of administrations." In response, NIAC published a point by point rebuttal of the article written by Eli Lake, stating that "NIAC is a 501 c3 educational organization with an H election. As a result, NIAC is permitted to engage in lobbying up to 20% of its budget. NIAC and its staff are in full compliance with all regulations and laws" elaborating further that "Educational activities and advocacy for general policies, such as opposition to war - as opposed to specific legislation - are not lobbying under the law."

External links

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