An Iranian musician announced on Wednesday that he has cancelled his performance at an event organized by the controversial National Iranian American Council (NIAC), following widespread protests by Iranians on social media.
Los Angeles-based Iranian singer Kamyar Ahmadzadeh, known as Kamyar, was set to perform at NIAC’s “Annual Sapphire Gala” in Los Angeles on September 21.
Assuming Kamyar was unaware of the council’s pro-regime activities, a group of 20 Iranian journalists and political activists wrote a letter to the singer last Sunday to provide him with information about NIAC.
“NIAC is recognised by many Iranians as the lobby of the Islamic Republic in the United States,” reads the letter.
The letter accused NIAC of “only serving the interests of the oppressive mullahs (clerics) in Iran,” and “easily ignoring and whitewashing the atrocities committed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iran and the Middle East.”
At the end of the letter, the signatories of the letter urged Kamyar to choose between standing for “the oppressed Iranian people,” or “an organization that lobbies for its tyrannical founders.”
Many other Iranians took to Instagram, where Kamyar is active, and called on him to cancel his performance at the NIAC event.
Kamyar responded to the calls from his fellow countrymen on Wednesday, announcing in an Instagram post on his official account that he will not be performing for NIAC.
“I [will] always stand and fight alongside the people of my country for the freedom of Iran,” he wrote.
The Instagram post, with over 500 comments, was filled with expressions of gratitude from Iranians to Kamyar for his decision to cancel his performance for NIAC.
One Instagram user praised Kamyar’s decision, saying: “Endless greetings to you dear Kamyar, you have joined the people and those who fight for the country’s freedom.”
“No national Iranian artist should waste or tarnish his or her precious talent on an unscrupulous cult like NIAC,” tweeted Reza Behrouz, one of the signatories of the letter to Kamyar, thanking him for his decision.
As one of the signatories of the open letter to Mr. #Kamyar Ahmadzadeh, I'd like to thank him for canceling his performance at the @NIACouncil gala in Los Angeles. No national #Iranian artist should waste or tarnish his or her precious talent on an unscrupulous cult like NIAC. pic.twitter.com/AEpSeaZQJM— Reza Behrouz (@RBehrouzDO) September 11, 2019
“Dear Kamyar, you have disappointed the enemies of freedom and have given hope to the freedom-seekers,” commented another Instagram user.
Despite NIAC's claim to be a non-profit and non-partisan organization, it has been repeatedly accused of lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime and against the interests of the Iranian diaspora in the US, whom it claims to represent.
The organization, founded by Trita Parsi, has links with the Iranian regime and has been accused of coordinating in the past with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.
Emails appearing to show NIAC coordinating lobbying activities, despite being formally listed as a charitable organization rather than a lobby, surfaced after the group tried and failed to sue Hassan Daioleslam of the Iranian American Foundation for defamation in 2007.
Members of the Iranian diaspora gathered in front of the office of NIAC in Washington DC on July 19, 2019, to protest against the organization.
Thousands of users on Twitter had also used the hashtag #NIACLobbies4mullahs to express their anger toward NIAC back in May, alleging the lobbyist group does not represent their interests but rather those of the Iranian regime.