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Jamal Abdi
Jamal Abdi is the Policy Director of the National Iranian American Council, the largest grassroots organization representing the Iranian-American community in the US. He previously worked in Congress as a Policy Advisor on foreign affairs issues. He is based in Washington, DC and blogs at Follow Jamal on Twitter: @jabdi

Entries by Jamal Abdi

Is Congress Accusing Dual Nationals of Holding Dual Loyalties?

(31) Comments | Posted February 19, 2016 | 11:40 AM

Over the past several weeks, Iranian Americans and our friends in the Arab American community have grappled with the reality that, soon, we may face new restrictions on our travel simply because of our heritage.

Under a new law passed by Congress, certain dual nationals are now barred from the...

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The Summer of War or Peace With Iran

(78) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 1:14 PM

This summer, the US Senate will choose between war and peace with Iran. If the right decision is made, Obama's pending nuclear deal with Iran will be sustained and both a war and an Iranian nuclear bomb will be avoided. If the wrong vote is cast, diplomacy will collapse and...

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Smart Senators Must Abandon Cotton and the Iran Hawks

(91) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 10:24 AM

Yesterday, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Angus King (I-ME) went to the Senate floor to decry the latest outrageous stunt pulled by Congressional hawks to try to torpedo nuclear talks with Iran.

The stunt in question was, of course, the shocking open letter signed by 47 Senate...

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Why Is Bank of America Closing Iranian Students' Accounts?

(13) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 11:50 AM

Students across the world grow up dreaming of the opportunity to study at the best universities the United States has to offer, either to bring their skills back to their home country or to start a new life in the land of opportunity. Many go to great lengths to achieve...

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How Congressional Inaction Could Kill a Peaceful Iran Deal

(2) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 1:28 PM

To get a final deal with Iran, Washington is going to have to be ready to trade in nuclear-related sanctions in exchange for Iranian nuclear concessions. But unless Congress gives the President the authority to lift sanctions, the President will be limited to extending temporary waivers...

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Historic U.S.-Iran Deal Halts the Slide to War

(185) Comments | Posted November 23, 2013 | 11:46 PM

Today, diplomats from the U.S., Iran, and the UN Security Council plus Germany (the P5+1) pulled off the diplomatic equivalent of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

With the deal that was signed in the early morning hours in Geneva on Sunday, the two sides managed to change course...

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Tide Turns Towards Diplomacy as Key Senators Oppose New Iran Sanctions

(69) Comments | Posted November 15, 2013 | 2:34 PM

President Obama and the White House have been engaged in a battle in the Senate to block the chamber from passing new sanctions that could derail ongoing negotiations with Iran. The White House has been clear: new sanctions could kill the talks and put the U.S. on a...

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Don't Let Netanyahu Block U.S.-Iran Diplomacy

(154) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 8:14 PM

Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech at the UN this week that will make hardliners in Iran proud.

On the heels of a historic phone call between President Obama and Iran's new president Rouhani -- a call that ended three decades of silence between the two countries -- hopes for a...

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Rouhani's Electoral Honeymoon Won't Last Long

(47) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 11:13 AM

This week's events at and surrounding the UN General Assembly will help determine whether the U.S. and Iran can resolve their differences, or if hardliners on either side will once again succeed in sabotaging reconciliation.

Iran's new President, Hassan Rouhani, has arrived in New York seven weeks into his...

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Obama and Iran's Rouhani Must Seize the Moment In Spite of Hardliners

(5) Comments | Posted June 21, 2013 | 12:59 PM

The election of Hassan Rouhani to be the next President of Iran presents a major potential opportunity for progress on human rights in Iran and nuclear diplomacy with the U.S. Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator and political insider, promised to "pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace," and...

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Obama Lifts Sanctions, Iranians Win, Regime Loses

(72) Comments | Posted May 30, 2013 | 9:58 AM

This morning, President Obama did the unthinkable. He lifted sanctions on Iran. No, we're not talking about sanctions that some say should be lifted in exchange Iranian nuclear concessions. He lifted these sanctions unilaterally. We're talking about sanctions that actually prevented ordinary...

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Time for a Humanitarian Solution to Iran Sanctions

(17) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 3:50 PM

In the past week, Iran has been struck by two earthquakes that have killed dozens of people and leveled hundreds of homes. And because of the political standoff with Iran's government, Americans -- including Iranian Americans with family in the affected regions -- are largely unable to provide...

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The Senate's 10-Year Iraq War Anniversary Gift: War With Iran

(77) Comments | Posted March 14, 2013 | 5:13 PM

When we mark the grim 10-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq next Tuesday, most Americans will be reflecting on the enormous human, economic, and geopolitical costs that the disastrous war and occupation inflicted.

What they won't be doing is hoping for an anniversary gift from the people...

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Senators Push Promise to Support Israeli Strikes on Iran

(304) Comments | Posted March 1, 2013 | 4:52 PM

New legislation introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) calls for the U.S. to provide military, economic, and diplomatic support for Israel should its government decide to launch military strikes on Iran. The measure would effectively signal that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can decide not...

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Distorting the Facts to Sell War and Sanctions in Wall Street Journal

(5) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 5:29 PM

Today, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) that promotes an outright distortion of the facts in order to argue for more crippling sanctions and potential military strikes on Iran.

The authors--Reul Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz--claim...

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New Senate Push to Pledge Unconditional Support for Israeli Preventive War on Iran

(367) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 7:49 PM

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is planning to press the Senate next month to pledge U.S. troops, money, and political support to Israel should Bibi Netanyahu launch a preventive war on Iran.

Graham claims his effort would merely make explicit that the U.S. has Israel's back. But when your friend is...

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Meet the Press Gives Netanyahu Cheney's Bully Pulpit for War

(214) Comments | Posted September 19, 2012 | 2:16 PM

If you happened to catch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Meet the Press this past Sunday, you may have thought you were watching a rerun from ten years ago.

After all, it was September 2002 -- almost a decade ago to the day -- that Dick Cheney...

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Commentary's Racist Attack Against Iranian Americans

(50) Comments | Posted July 20, 2012 | 6:48 PM

Commentary magazine today published a racist attack against Iranian Americans, cynically exploiting the disgusting terrorist attack in Bulgaria that took the lives of seven Israelis as an opportunity to settle petty domestic political scores and disenfranchise our community.

In a column today, Commentary's Alana...

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House Voting to Shift U.S. Redline for War with Iran

(284) Comments | Posted May 15, 2012 | 1:25 PM

Today the House is planning to take up H.Res.568 -- a resolution that shifts the U.S. redline for war with Iran -- on a suspension vote. There has not been a single hearing on this measure and no debate about its very serious implications.

If passed, the House will...

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Washington and Tehran's Vicious Spin Cycle

(16) Comments | Posted April 18, 2012 | 2:25 PM

The crux of negotiations between the U.S. and Iran is that, at some point, in order to succeed, each side will have to take a deep breath and shake hands on a deal. But thirty years of mutual demonization and fear mongering, means it takes serious political courage to come...

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