Let us begin by sending you a warm New Year greetings from everyone at the American Iranian Council. As we predicted back in April in a statement entitled “Staying Ahead of the Curve," and given the expected composition of President-Elect Trump’s upcoming cabinet, US-Iran relations could deteriorate in the months ahead despite the fact that Iran has implemented its commitments in the JCPOA (the nuclear deal). Even more daunting are the challenges that come with a new US Administration, the upcoming Presidential elections in Iran, and a Middle East in serious disarray.
However, and notwithstanding this concern for a possible decay in US-Iran relations, we strongly believe that, with your support, we can make 2017 a year of substantive achievements.
As we affirmed in our statement on the US election in November, AIC is a long-standing non-profit, non-partisan educational organization with nearly three decades of experience working with administrations on both sides of the political aisle. Because of our longevity and expertise, as well as the caliber of our leadership, we are well-positioned and prepared to work with the new Trump Administration to achieve meaningful results towards improved understanding and dialogue.
No doubt 2017 will be a time of serious challenges for our work, but US-Iran relations have always been challenging. Despite these difficulties, AIC has achieved unparalleled accomplishments throughout the years. Many developments in US-Iran relations have occurred through an AIC platform or through AIC mediation, and notable among them is the historic speech of State Secretary Madeleine Albright in 2000 in which she expressed regret about the CIA-engineered 1953 coup in Iran, and lifted certain sanctions.
AIC has also hosted, through its conferences and private events, many American and Iranian statesmen including Vice President Joe Biden, State Secretary John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, State Secretary Cyrus Vance, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Mehdi Karubi, and many US senators, ambassadors, distinguished academics, and media personalities.
Besides, we have published helpful policy papers, including the 2009 AIC Whitepaper, which became a roadmap for the Obama Administration, 15 books, which now constitute a rich source for the history of US-Iran relations in the past quarter century, and hundreds of AIC Newsletters, Updates and Digests.
As we look forward to 2017, AIC is particularly focused on addressing the intensely negative view that the vast majority of Americans hold about Iran -- not just about its Islamic Republic. Recognizing that public opinion can directly affect the course of policy making, the Council believes that a more accurate public perception of Iran will ultimately lead to better US-Iran relations. Therefore, we are working hard towards making the causes of these negative perceptions better understood by addressing the misconceptions that may be fueling them.
We are hoping that through this educational work, the Council will be able to ultimately create a more informed citizenry. In light of this new initiative, the AIC plans to broaden its educational initiatives to reach a wider range of constituencies. Specifically, this year we will be:
- Publishing a 2017 Whitepaper with recommendations for the incoming U.S. President
- Holding Congressional Roundtables to advise members of Congress
- Issuing Media Guides to inform news outlets reporting on Iran
- Demystifying Iran for the broader public, through news and analysis, publications, conferences, and social media outreach
- Fostering people-to-people relations and diplomacy through innovative exchange programs and educational documentaries
We have a great number of young interns working with the Council to implement these programs. However, they cannot accomplish their tasks without your support. Please help the Council and its aspiring young interns with your tax-deductible contribution today. Click here to show your support for improved U.S.-Iran relations.
We look forward to sharing our work with you through our newsletters, publications, social media, and events, and we thank you in advance for your support.
Senator J. Bennett Johnston Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi