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Projects on Iranian-Americans

● About this project

While recent Census data shows that Iranians are one of the most successful ethnic minorities in the U.S., both in terms of education and wealth generation, they have a disproportionately underrepresented in the American political arena. This can be attributed to fragmentation in the Iranian community, as well as the precarious position of Iranian-Americans in emphasizing their Iranian heritage in face of U.S.-Iranian relationships in the last 25 years and the negative stereotypes associated with Iran. There is a growing recognition among Iranian-Americans about importance of getting involved in the civic life in the United States. Specifically, in the aftermath of September 11th tragedy, increasing restrictions and regulations are being set in the national level that in many cases violate the rights of Iranian-Americans.Such regulations are creating a lot of hardship for this community and underline the importance of involvement in political process, if Iranian-Americans want to preserve their basic rights for which they have chosen this country to live in. Increasingly, Iranian-Americans now realize that they deserve a bigger share of policy making in the community and society level. However, as a community, Iranian-Americans have little experience of participating in civic activities. Therefore there is a gap between the desired level of participation and the capacity to motivate and organize such involvement. This study is an attempt to provide the Iranian-American community with a perspective of why such participation is important. The report is presented in two main sections and four appendices. In the first section, we discuss why it is both necessary and beneficial for Iranian Americans to get involved in the political process. Having a good answer for this question is important from different aspects. On the one hand, in order to convince potential donors to spend their money, or community members to spend their time, one needs to have a set of convincing arguments that can persuade people with different values and priorities. On the other hand, having a broad view of potential benefits helps community leaders and organizers to keep motivated, as one can better appreciate the importance of the task s/he is doing. Furthermore, we discuss some strategies and planning steps that need to be considered for increasing the chances of success in this campaign. An important note should be made here. In developing this report, we have mainly focused on those reasons and avenues for involvement that are mainly independent of any particular candidate. This focus is motivated by the belief that getting involved in the national and local politics, independent of party-lines, is beneficial for the Iranian community as a whole. Moreover, this focus is pragmatic because it enables the community leaders to involve more individuals based on what is in common between Iranian -Americans, rather than specific political orientations.

● ISG report

Download the ISG report about the role of Iranian-Americans in the presidential campaign 2004