On behalf of everyone here at the American Iranian Council, we wish you a warm Nowruz greetings! Nowruz is the first day of spring and also the first day of the new Iranian calendar year, which will be 1396 on March 21 (2017). Nowruz has been celebrated for over 3000 years, and Iranians of all religious and ethnic orientations share in the joys and prosperity it promises. We sincerely hope that this Nowruz will usher in better US-Iran relations.
The closure of 1395 was admittedly a rocky period in US-Iran relations, with increased rhetoric on both sides, the imposition of a blanket travel ban on Iranians, ballistic missile testing by the Iranian government, and the new Trump administration putting Iran “on notice.” Of course, rocky times are not new. As a long-standing organization with nearly three decades of experience in this field, we recognize that US-Iran relations have always been challenging. And yet, with time and effort, real progress has been made in the past and can be made moving forward.
While serious difficulties remain between the governments, there have nonetheless been several recent heart-warming displays of people-to-people diplomacy, from the U.S. wrestling team receiving a warm welcome at the Iran-hosted Freestyle Wrestling World Cup, to the American people standing by Muslims and Iranians in protesting the travel ban, and the hashtag #LoveBeyondFlags trending on Twitter.
In light of our mission to further dialogue between the U.S. and Iran, AIC will continue to support and promote bridge-building efforts between the two people. After the travel ban was imposed, AIC provided a platform for concerned Americans to show their support of the Iranian people via an open letter, which received tremendous support and was even reflected in many Iranian news outlets. Moving forward, you will see further action from AIC focused on people-to-people relations, including innovative exchange programs and educational documentaries.
This year, AIC is also continuing and broadening its educational initiatives to reach a wide range of constituencies. Specifically, this year we will be:
- Publishing a 2017 Whitepaper with recommendations for the Trump Administration
- 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 informed news and analysis, publications, conferences, and social media outreach
Supporting improved US-Iran relations is a noble goal and you can help us achieve it by making a tax-deductible contribution today. All donors who contribute $25 or more will also receive our new “Heart Iran” pin, pictured below.* After the recent travel ban, a talented graphic designer offered AIC their services pro bono to create this meaningful pin so that Americans could show their support of the Iranian people and help distinguish the country of Iran from its government. In that spirit, we hope many of you will post pictures of yourselves wearing it, with the hashtags #AIC and #LoveBeyondFlags.
Senator J. Bennett Johnston Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi
*Pins will be sent out beginning in April. New donors who contribute over $25 will automatically receive this pin while supplies last. If you have already donated in 2017, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your free pin.