The American Iranian Council was founded in 1990 with the goal of furthering dialogue and understanding between the United States and Iran. It is incorporated as a [501 C (3)] nonprofit and nonpartisan educational organization to provide research, policy analysis, public education, and community mobilization. The Council is tax exempt and accepts no money from any government, including the governments of Iran and the United States. Our funding sources include corporations, foundations, and individuals. Because of its tax-deductible nature, AIC's financial records are open to public inspection and they are publicly available. Transparency is a key operating principle of our organization.
The AIC is not a political organization or political party and as such it takes no political positions and is not organized to take or share in state power anywhere. As a civil society organization, the Council's focus is on public policy, which we hope to influence through research, education, and mobilization. It is impossible to separate the history of the AIC from its mission. This mission focuses upon bringing the two countries together through improved understanding and dialogue. The AIC seeks to help policymakers and citizens improve their understanding of those two great countries and their long, sometimes difficult, relationship. In order for the AIC to be a positive catalyst for a change, it must have relevant programs.
AIC has facilitated major breakthroughs in US-Iran relations through AIC events or mediated through the Council. Examples include:
Secretary Madeleine Albright’s historic speech on Iran, when she expressed regret about 1953 coup and past US policy mistakes, lifted sanctions on carpets and food items, and offered Iran a global settlement. Years later, Iran's President Mohammad Khatami would characterize this initiative as a "missed opportunity";
Vice President Joe Biden’s and Senator John Kerry’s proposals for dialogue between the US Congress and the Iranian Parliament;
Meeting among Speaker Mehdi Karubi and other members of the Iranian parliament and their American counterparts in New York City;
US-Iran dialogue over Iraq and the so-called Grand Bargain initiative;
The American Iranian Council's presence in Iran under a rare OFAC license;
President Obama’s humanitarian attention to Iran’s civilian airline tragedies and his Administration’s agreement to entertain a proposal from Iran to purchase spare parts from the United States
Release of American hikers Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal; and
Introduction of the Shield Iranian-Americans from Sanctions (SIAS) as a civil rights project.