When most people imagine a Donald Trump supporter, they imagine the statistical epitome of a Trump voter: a white, male, working class voter in Appalachia or the Deep South.
What they may not imagine is a group of Iranian-Americans based in upscale suburban McLean, Virginia, doing everything they can to get Donald Trump to the White House. And yet, that’s exactly what the Iranian American Patriots are doing.
The Iranian American Patriots (IAP) was initially founded as a social group to bring together Iranian ex-pats in the Washington, D.C. metro area through networking, cultural events, and political involvement. Now, the IAP is endorsing Donald Trump for President.
The group has held fundraisers for Trump and strives to mobilize volunteers to help spread the word about Trump’s candidacy. On its website, the Iranian-American group is not shy about its politics:
“The IAP embraces Donald Trump’s vision of ‘Making America Great Again.’ In order to sustain a free and stable economy and provide job opportunities for U.S. citizens to achieve the American Dream, we need strong leadership. Because of his vision and his proposed policies, we believe Mr. Trump is the best man for the job.”
In addition, the interests of the Iranian American Patriots are not confined by the borders of the United States.
“As Trump’s Iranian-America coalition, it is our privilege to inform the community of Trump’s constructive policies toward the people of Iran and the entire region,” reads the group’s self-description.
According to Dr. Mohammed Hamzepour, founder of the Iranian American Patriots, the IAP believes that a Trump presidency would be in the interests of Iranians as well as Iranian-Americans.
Hamzepour said he and the Iranian American Patriots are very enthusiastic about Donald Trump. According to Hamzepour, they feel that Trump would revive the American economy and bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Hamzepour made clear that he feels America’s economic and military influence have weakened during Obama’s years and that Trump’s policies would bring about an American resurgence.
The IAP also feel that a Trump presidency would “restore the dignity of the culture of Persia.” By most accounts, this is an unorthodox reason for supporting Trump. Hamzepour said the IAP is adamantly opposed to the current Iranian regime despite the overwhelming majority of Iranians being Muslim. He believes that a Trump administration could “overthrow the terrorist government of Iran.”
Hamzepour holds that economic sanctions would be the best method of forcing the current Iranian regime to capitulate. He described both Clintons as “corrupt” and unable to put necessary pressure on the Iranian government. Essentially, the IAP want to see the Iranian regime gone and more American strength on the world stage. They think Donald Trump is the man to accomplish both of those goals.
“American interests are aligned with Iranian and Middle Eastern interests. . . if you get rid of this terrorist regime in Iran, it will significantly increase the safety of U.S. citizens,” Hamzepour said.
But there is certainly an elephant in the room: Donald Trump called to ban all Muslims from entering the United States in December 2015. According to Sophia Moshasha, a member of the Iranian American Patriots, many members of the organization are practicing Muslims. One would think that Trump’s position would be at odds with the interests of the Iranian American group.
Hamzepour said the IAP denies the validity of Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country.
“Donald Trump understands the difference between radical terrorists and peaceful Muslims,” he said.
Speaking on Mr. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration, in an interview on Kayhan London TV, Hamzepour said, “the media is exaggerating what Mr. Trump said. His intention is not to be prejudiced against any religion or nationality. All he is trying to do is make sure Americans are safe and re-secure the boarders so no terrorist or ISIS member can infiltrate the country and hurt American citizens.”
Sophia Moshasha, an IAP member who will vote Trump in November, said she supports Trump’s plan to grow and revitalize the American economy and pointed to his business experience and acumen.
“He is a businessman, and he’s good at what he does. And I think on that level, I think as far as the internal economy goes, that he could definitely help out in a significant manner.”
The head of the IAP also pointed to trust in Trump’s judgment, rather than specific policy proposals, as reasons for voting Trump.
“Mr. Trump has been saying he doesn’t like to be predictable when it comes to foreign policy, unlike President Obama. He believes in the element of surprise when he is fighting with his enemies and terrorist groups.”
The IAP isn’t just independently supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy – they have worked directly with the Trump campaign itself. The IAP head was a speaker at a Trump rally in Manassas, Virginia last November, where he endorsed Trump. The IAP founder also implied that he is attempting to forge ties with the Trump camp in a bid to become a President Trump’s adviser regarding foreign policy with Iran.
“I would like to substitute NAIC and other Islamic Republic of Iran lobbyist groups that were advising Obama with foreign policy with our own group, the Iranian American Patriots. I want to bring that real change to Iran and [throw] this occupied Iranian regime out of power,” the founder of IAP stated.
Hamzeprour said he is confident in Trump’s ability to make American great again. He also wants a hand in influencing American policy towards Iran.
Donald Trump is clearly focused on “Making America Great Again.” But the Iranian American Patriots want Trump’s help to make Persia great, whether Mr. Trump knows it or not.