Category Archives: Latest News

Nahal Iravani-Sani on the Quest for Justice

With the goal of harnessing the untapped potential of Iranian-Americans, and to build the capacity of the Iranian diaspora in effecting positive change in the U.S. and around the world, the West Asia Council has launched a series of interviews that explore the personal and professional backgrounds of prominent Iranian-Americans who have made seminal contributions to their fields of endeavor. Our latest interviewee is Nahal Iravani-Sani.  Read more.

Iranian-American Judge Receives Prestigious Awards

Judge Ipema has received a prestigious award by the Tom Homman LGBT Law Association. This year’s “Friend of the Community Award” will go out to the Honorable Tamila E. Ipema at THLA’s 2016 Annual Awards Dinner.

This is what the THLA had to say about Judge Ipema in it’s Awards Recipient Announcement today: “Judge Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema was born and educated in Iran. In 1978, Judge Ipema moved to the United States to pursue higher education, including her two law degrees. Judge Ipema has been a judicial officer for over ten years, and has extensive judicial experience in variety of cases. Judge Ipema has been dedicated to advancing opportunity and equality for all individuals. Judge Ipema serves or has served on the Judicial Council’s Access and Fairness Advisory Committee, ADA Advisory Subcommittee, Racial and Ethnic Fairness Advisory Subcommittee, and the Board of Directors of the National Association of Women Judges, just to name a few. Closer to home, Judge Ipema has served as a mentor to many law students of color, LGBT students, and students whose home is abroad. Judge Ipema has touched the lives of many high school, college, and law students through her community outreach and involvement. THLA is proud to award its Friend of the Community Award to a great ally of the LGBT community.”

Judge Ipema is also receiving the “Outstanding Jurist Award” on May 6, 2016 during a Luncheon by the San Diego County Bar Association. The 2016 SDCBA Service Awards will be presented at the SDCBA’s Annual Awards Luncheon& Celebration of Community Service on May 6, at the Westin San Diego(Emerald Plaza) from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.The event takes place during the SDCBA’s celebration of Law Week and will also highlight the various public service activities, events and community outreach initiatives the SDCBA participates in throughout the year. If you would like to attend, tickets will be available through the SDCBA website at www.sdcba.org/AwardsLuncheon2016.
IABA Member Receives Prestigious Scholarship
IABA member, Safora Nowrouzi, has been selected as the recipient of the National Association of Women Judges Access to Justice Scholarship. This scholarship is given to an enrolled second or third year law student in good academic standing who has demonstrated a sustained and passionate commitment to the achievement of equality of opportunity and access in the system of justice. She is a rising star and the first Iranian-American to receive this award.

Ms. Nowrouzi will receive her award at the Tom Homann Law Association Awards Dinner and ceremony on April 14, 2016.

The Bita Daryabari Endowed Fund for Middle Eastern Students Seeking an LLM (Master of Laws) Degree at Golden Gate University (GGU) School of Law for 2016-17 academic year (DUE APRIL 15, 2016)

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Bita Daryabari is a graduate of Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California, USA, where she earned an M.S. (Master of Science) in Telecommunications Management. In gratitude to GGU, and in recognition of her commitment to expanding educational opportunities to students from Middle Eastern countries, Bita Daryabari established and endowed a graduate law fellowship at GGU. Her endowment aims to increase GGU’s presence and reputation as a premier global educator and to recruit students from the Middle East.

The Bita Daryabari Graduate Fellowship is a one-year fellowship awarded to a qualified applicant who is a lawyer residing in a Middle Eastern country*** and who has five to ten years’ experience practicing law to pursue an LLM degree at GGU’s School of Law. The successful applicant must have engaged in significant work that advanced the public interest in general and the interests of women in particular.

The fellowship of $45,000 will be used to support a tuition scholarship in an amount up to 75% of the tuition, with the remainder of the funds awarded to help pay for the graduate fellow’s living expenses. This fellowship will allow the successful applicant to spend an academic year (nine months beginning in mid- August 2016) at Golden Gate University School of Law pursuing an LLM degree. The successful applicant will enroll full-time and may choose among the following LLM programs: Environmental Law, Intellectual Property, International Legal Studies, and United States Legal Studies.

In addition to seeking an LLM, the Bita Daryabari fellow will have the opportunity to broaden and deepen legal knowledge in the substantive areas of the fellow’s choice, which will enhance the ability to practice law and to serve others. The program will provide professional networking opportunities and opportunities to engage with members of the Law School and local legal communities at specially organized events and activities.

To apply, students must complete the normal LLM application process (http://law.ggu.edu/admissions/apply/) or the Law School Admissions Council process (https://os.lsac.org/Release/Logon/Access.aspx). In their personal statements, applicants must explain what legal or other activities they have performed to advance the public interest and the interests of women in particular, how they will continue to perform these activities in the future, and how they would benefit from earning an LLM. The personal statement shall be no longer than three pages, double spaced, in 12 point font. Although preference is for a woman from Iran, men who meet the qualifications and students from other Middle Eastern countries also may qualify. Applications are due April 15, 2016.

***Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine (Gaza Strip and West Bank), Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Download: GGU-Law-LLM-Application_02.05.16

Download: 2016-2017 Law School Academic Calendar-020916

Urgent Action Needed on Visa Waiver Bill Affecting Our Community

Dear members and friends:

Urgent action is needed to stop H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver bill rushing through Congress, which can turn Iranian Americans into a “second class” of U.S. passport holders. Despite various communications on this issue, there still appears to be some confusion about it, including what the legislation is, how it affects our community, and the extent to which an urgent response is needed. We urge you to review this brief summary, and spend a few minutes in the next two days to help with an issue of critical importance to our community.

What Is The Issue:
Currently, nationals of 38 countries can travel to the U.S. without visas for stays of up to 90 days; and in exchange, U.S. citizens and nationals can travel to those countries without visas (Visa Waiver Program). The proposed legislation will likely have the effect of excluding Iranian-Americans, and anyone who has visited Iran in the past five years, from the Visa Waiver Program – effectively meaning they will need visas to travel to the 38 countries in question. So, for example, Iranian Americans who are dual U.S. / Iran nationals, or any who have visited family in Iran in the past 5 years, would likely need visas to travel to places our community frequently visits, like most of Europe, Australia, Japan and other countries.
This legislation appears to have been written to increase security for the Visa Waiver Program, in an effort to prevent terrorists from entering the U.S. It was modified based on the stated concern of excluding nationals of countries where ISIS (or ISIL) operates, such as Iraq and Syria. However, inexplicably, the House amended this bill to include a few other countries, including Iran, even though there has not even been a purported claim of links between ISIS (or similar terrorist threats) with Iran or those of Iranian descent.
So, in sum, despite the fact that Iranian Americans are one of the most successful minorities in this country, if this legislation successfully proceeds as written, we may all very well become “second class” passport holders who need visas to travel to locations where nearly all other U.S. passport holders can go without them. – all based on our ancestry.

For more information about the Visa Waiver Bill, please click on the following link to see a detailed explanation by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA): Everything you Need to Know about the Visa Waiver Bill

What You Can Do:
This issue is of critical importance to our community and our time is extremely limited. The House of Representatives fast-tracked and passed the bill by an overwhelming majority (including almost all Democrats) on December 8, 2015. A vote set in the Senate was postponed by few days – until Wednesday, December 16, 2015 – while the it considers different versions of the bill. And unfortunately, the White House has already expressed support for the House version of the bill. This means that our best chance to affect the outcome of this legislation will be in the Senate, and we only have 2 DAYS to act.
The good news is there are a few quick and easy things you can do, all of which you can accomplish within minutes:
  1. Contact your House Representative and Senators. The most effective way to be heard is to contact your congressional representatives, and either talk to their staff or leave a message, urging them not to pass the bill as written. Be sure to identify yourself and your city. The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has created a useful page that will help you identify and contact (via phone or social media) your representatives and senators. It will only take you a few minutes. Contact Your Representative.
  2. Sign one or more petitions opposing the bill. There are petitions by both PAAIA and NIAC already in existence. Signing them will take seconds, and the more people that sign on the better. Links to each are here: PAAIA petition; NIAC petition.
  3.  Spread the word. Email this summary to, and share this issue with, your friends and urge them to get involved right away.
What IABA Is Doing:
In addition to educating and calling the Iranian-American community to action, IABA will remain closely involved with this legislation. Among other things, IABA will:
  1. Contact Senators and House Representatives in an effort to stop the bill from passing;
  2. Work with other community and advocacy groups to coordinate efforts in stopping this bill;
  3. Research whether this bill, if passed, will be subject to legal and/or constitutional challenges; and
  4. Monitor the situation and provide updates as appropriate.

Thank you for taking the time to deal with this important issue.
Babak Yousefzadeh, President
IABA National Board of Directors


 

Re: People v. Tanber Docket: 15HF1045

Dear Mr. Rackauckas and Mr. Yellin:
We, the Iranian American Bar Association, Pars Equality Center, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, write to you on behalf of the Iranian American community regarding the case of People v. Tanber (15HF1045). It is our understanding that your office has charged third-striker Craig Matthew Tanber with one felony count of murder with sentencing enhancements for the death of 22 year old Iranian American Shayan Mazroei.
As your press release notes, Defendant Tanber is a known white supremacist gang member who has prior convictions for other violent offenses. It has come to our attention that witnesses at Patsy’s Irish Pub in Laguna Niguel stated that Tanber made several ethnic slurs toward Mr. Mazroei preceding the fatal stabbing.

Upon hearing about Tanber’s gang affiliations and the witness accounts, many in the Iranian American community are understandably outraged that this may have been a hate crime gone under-charged. As you surely know, hate crime enhancements may be imposed if bias based on the victim’s ethnicity was a substantial motivating factor in defendant’s commission of the crime. Pursuant to California Penal Code section 190.2(a)(16), the penalty for a defendant who is found guilty of murder in the first degree, with the special circumstance of the victim being intentionally killed because of his nationality or country of origin, is death or imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole. We are mindful that your office made its charging determination based on the evidence at hand at the time of filing. We urge you to continue a thorough investigation and consider adding hate crime allegations/enhancements which accurately reflect defendant’s motive and bias. In the meantime, we respectfully request that you provide us with the rationale for your current charging decision, specifically the decision not to allege hate crimes.

Furthermore, please provide information regarding Beth Thornburg who was present with Defendant Tanber and was heard making ethnic slurs toward victim Mazroei at the time of the fatal stabbing. Please explain why charges were not filed against her. We trust the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will be transparent in communicating the relevant information with the community who is grieving the loss of victim Mazroei in this senseless murder. We thank you for your time and attention to this inquiry and look forward to hearing from you expeditiously. Please direct your response to attorney Sarvenaz Fahimi, Pars Equality Center, at 408-297-6700 or nfahimi@parsequalitycenter.org.

Sincerely,
Iranian American Bar Association
Pars Equality Center
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans

Joint Statement of Iranian-American Organizations on the U.S.-Iran Nuclear Deal

Bay Area Iranian-American Democrats * International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran * Iranian Alliances Across Borders * Iranian American Bar Association *
Iranian-American Democrats of San Diego * National Iranian American Council *
Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County* Pars Equality Center *
Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans

As organizations that represent the Iranian-American community, we welcome the news of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to by the United States, UN powers, and Iran. This historic diplomatic achievement will benefit the American people and the Iranian people alike by taking war off the table and creating the possibility for sustained peace and renewed relations.

As members of the Iranian-American community, we are proud Americans who are dedicated to our country. We are also proud of our heritage, and many of us visit Iran regularly and maintain strong ties with our friends and family in the country. We are hopeful this deal will open possibilities for greater people-to-people ties between the United States and Iran, including through cultural and educational exchanges. We are also optimistic that this diplomatic breakthrough will help advance economic opportunities for the Iranian people and enable new opportunities to advance human rights in Iran.

Public opinion surveys show that a majority of Iranian Americans and the broader American population alike are supportive of an agreement with Iran designed to place limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and we celebrate this great achievement with them. In the 60 days ahead, we hope Congress will support this historic achievement and avoid any measures that may derail the international agreement, impede U.S. diplomacy, or take this opportunity for peace off the table.

Iranian Americans congratulate all the parties who have showed the courage and confidence to undertake these negotiations for peacefully resolving the decades-old nuclear dispute. History will look kindly on their efforts.
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IABA-DC Meets with Senator’s Office

A group of Iranian-Americans recently met with Senator Mark Warner’s office to raise awareness about the various Iranian-American organizations and businesses in Virginia. This was the first meeting of its kind and was organized by the Iranian American Bar Association. Some came on behalf of their organization, and others came as business owners/residents of Virginia.

We discussed our organizations and shared some personal stories about how our community has been affected by Sanctions. We also explored strategies to strengthen our relationship with the Senator and other members of Congress. We highlighted the significant economic contributions made by Iranian Americans in the DC Metro area. The Senator’s office found it helpful to hear personal stories and eye-opening that so many Iranian-American organizations are in existence.

Our next goals are to meet directly with the Senator and continue to build relationships with elected Representatives. Please contact us (LeilaMansouri@gmail.com) if you are interested to learn more about how to get involved in your state or to join us in future meetings.
IABA Senator Warner Staff Photo
Signed,
Leila Mansouri, Iranian American Bar Association, Mansouri Law Office PLC
Mahnaz Motevalli MD, Children of Persia, Board President
Soheila Rostami MD, Medical Director Sanctuary Cosmetic Center & Rostami OPC
Alidad Mafinezam, West Asia Council, President
Jamal Abdi, National Iranian American Council, Policy Director
Fred Aryan, Lasership, Inc. Co-Founder

Law Clerk Needed (Northern VA)

Law Offices of DAIN, WALKER, SOBHANI & NICOLI, PLLC, (Reston, VA) is now seeking a law clerk for an externship/internship position for the Summer of 2015.

The position offers valuable learning opportunities and exposure to a variety of legal issues in the following areas:
Corporations, Torts, Contracts, Litigation, Family Law, Real Estate, Immigration, Criminal, Trusts & Estates, Business and Federal Laws.

Responsibilities will include assisting attorneys during the various stages of the cases, including research, analysis, preparation of legal documents, memoranda, motions, and other related tasks.

Flexible work schedules.
This position is paid.
For more information please contact:
Koorosh Cyrus Sobhani, Esq. at:
DAIN, WALKER, SOBHANI & NICOLI, P.L.L.C.
703-435-0000, Ext. 116.
Please email resumes to ks@sobhanilaw.com

Iranian Organizations Unite Over Graham Controversy

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May 27, 2015 – Press Release

As organizations that represent the Iranian-American community, we are deeply concerned by the sentiments expressed by Senator Lindsey Graham suggesting that all Iranians are “liars.” There is no place in our political discourse for such comments and we call on Graham to immediately retract his remarks and apologize.

Senator Graham’s comments are offensive to the Iranian-American community in the United States, as well as to members of the Iranian diaspora and the Iranian people. As a Senator who is running for our country’s highest office, Graham should know better than to engage in such offensive rhetoric against an entire group of people. The Senator’s criticisms toward the ongoing negotiations involving the U.S. and Iran are not an excuse to engage in outrageous stereotyping of Iranians and Iranian Americans.

The United States is home to the largest expatriate Iranian community in the world. Iranian Americans are among the most successful immigrant communities in the U.S., making significant contributions in business, technology, art, and education. Far from being “liars,” people of Iranian descent have won the Nobel Prize, been recognized for their scientific contributions, and headed some of the top tech companies in the world. The Iranian people’s history and culture is thousands of years old; Iranians developed the first declaration of human rights, have written some of the world’s great poetry and literature, and are heirs to one of the world’s first civilizations.

While the governments of the United States and Iran continue to have their differences, we must not allow political disputes to characterize the relations or sentiments between the people of the two countries. The rhetoric of some Iranian officials has invited condemnation and has justly been denounced. However, there has been a disturbing and dangerous pattern here in the U.S. of dehumanization of the Iranian people. Such efforts, and sentiments such as those expressed by Senator Graham, reveal a serious lack of understanding of the Iranian people and society.
Especially at this moment, in which there is hope for progress in the relations between the two country, it is critical that we look to build bridges instead of engaging in discriminatory tropes and hateful stereotypes. We hope that Senator Graham will address this issue and make clear that he does not believe that Iranians are liars, and we look forward to his response.

Signed:

Aftab Committee * International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran * Iranian Alliances Across Borders * Iranian American Bar Association * National Iranian American Council * Pars Equality Center * Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans