The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private, non-profit organization established in 1995 with grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to promote democracy and internationally-recognized standards of human rights in Iran. The IRS approved the Foundation's application for non-profit status under Section 501(c)(3) in 1996. We invite donors to research FDI's tax status through this official IRS website by selecting "are eligible to receive tax-deductible contribution" then inputing our Employer Identification Number (EIN): 52-1950558.

Biographies of Key FDI Personnel

Governing Board

Nader Afshar (Chairman)

Mr. Afshar is President of Middle East Consulting Associates, and has a Master of Science in development planning from London University, and a Master of Philosophy from the City of London Polytechnic’s School of Business Studies. Mr. Afshar has worked extensively with the United States Information Agency and the Voice of America Farsi Service.

William Nojay (Secretary-Treasurer)
An attorney with Hiscock & Barclay LLP, in Rochester, New York, and previously with Coudert Brothers in Manhattan, Bill Nojay brings legal and compliance expertise to FDI. During a long career of civic activism, Mr. Nojay has served as a volunteer election monitor with the International Republican Institute in Ukraine (2004) and Afghanistan (2005), and has provided pro bono assistance to pro-democracy and freedom movements in Cambodia and elsewhere. He has a JD and a Certificate in International Law from Columbia University Law School and an MBA from Columbia’s Business school. Bill was elected to the New York State Assembly in November 2012 and currently serves as a citizen legislator in addition to his other duties.

Herbert I. London

Dr. London is the President Emiritus of the Hudson Institute, professor emeritus and the former John M. Olin Professor of Humanities at New York University.and dirctor of numerous charities and not-for-profit institutions in New York City and Washington, including the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York City Cultural Affairs Commission, and the International Institute of Strategic Studies. 

Kenneth R. Timmerman (President and CEO)

The Foundation's activities are coordinated by Kenneth R. Timmerman, an investigative reporter and author who came to Washington in 1993 after nearly two decades in Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Timmerman published The Iran Brief, a monthly investigative newsletter on strategy, policy, and trade, from Paris between 1994 and 2000. His ground-breaking book on Iran, Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran, was published by Crown Forum in 2005. In January 2006, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2006 by former Swedish deputy premier, Per Ahlmark. He is also the author of Shadow Warriors: Traitors, Saboteurs and the Party of Surrender, and a novel about Iran, Honor Killing, Ken was the Republican nominee for Congress in Maryland's 8th Congressional District in 2012.

Advisory Board

Menashe Amir
Mr. Amir is a long time Persian language broadcaster on the Israel Radio International, a channel of Kol Yisrael (“Voice of Israel”). He is also a leading Iranian expert in Israel and a chief editor of the Foreign MinistryPersian web-site.  Menashe Amir was born and grew up in Iran, and immigrated to Israel in 1959. He worked as a journalist and a broadcaster for over 50 years, An estimated 5 million iranians listen to his daily radio program in Persian.

Pooya Dayanim

As president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee (IJPAC), Pooya Dayanim has worked publicly and behind the scenes on behalf of jailed and kidnapped Iranian Jews, and to promote the pro-democracy movement in Washington, DC and beyond. He was elected to the Executive Committee of the Iran Referendum Movement at its inception, and also played a key role in the successor movement, Solidarity Iran.  He writes occasionally for National Review on-line, and is regularly quoted in national news stories on Iran.

Iman Foroutan

Dr. Foroutan is chairman and CEO of Virtual NGO, LLC, and holds issued and pending U.S. pattents related to online contest systems. He is the architect of the Virtual NGO software platform that was first introduced in September 2010 as the launching pad of The New Iran, a grass roots organization designed for teh systematic cooperation of the Iranian opposition. Dr. Foroutan has worked for many years  as as an information systems consultant to the U.S. Air Firce, the U.S. Navy, and Northrup Grumman Corporation for the B2 bomber. He is a founding member of Iran of Tomorrow Movement and S.O.S. Iran.

Frank Gaffney

Mr. Gaffney is the Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy, based in Washington, DC.  He is also a frequent newspaper columnist and news website contributor.   In April 1987, Mr. Gaffney was nominated by President Reagan to become the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, during which time he was the Chairman of the High Level Group, NATO’s senior politico-military committee.

Amil Imani

An Iranian-American writer and pro-democracy activist, Amil Imani has been warning of the dangers of radical Islam in America and internationally. Born in Tehran, Imani moved to the United States during the radical Islamic Revolution of 1978/79. Amil’s writings can be found on his website. He is also director and co-founder of Former Muslims United, and the 2010 recipient of the prestigious “Speaker of the Truth Award” from the Endowment for Middle East Truth.  His latest book, Obama Meets Ahmadinejad, is available from

Dr. Arash Irandoost

Dr. Irandoost is the founder of the Pro-Democracy Movement of Iran (PDMI). A tireless activist on behalf of Iranian refugees and the pro-freedom movement, he has been in the forefront of exposing the pro-Tehran lobby in the United States. A former university professor, Dr. Irandoost writes frequently about the dangers posed by the Islamic Republic and radical Islam.

Reza Kahlili

Writing under a pseudonym to protect his family inside Iran, Reza Kahlili is the author of A Time to Betray, his memoir of working inside the IRGC for more than a decade as the CIA's "eyes and ears" inside the Iranian regime.

Robert R. Reilly
Former Voice of America Director Robert R. Reilly has spent much of his career in public diplomacy. Before retiring from government in 2006, he was senior advisory to the Iraqi Ministry of Information during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and senior advisor for information strategy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. His latest book, The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis, was published in May 2010.
R. James Woolsey

Mr. Woolsey served  as the U.S. Director of Central Intelligence from 1993–1995.  He also served as Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, Vienna, 1989–1991; Under Secretary of the Navy, 1977–1979; General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, 1970–1973; Delegate at Large to the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START); and Delegate aLarge to the Nuclear and Space Arms Talks.  In 2008 he joined VantagePoint Venture Partners as a venture partner.  Jim received his BA from Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa), and his MA from Oxford University — where he was a Rhodes Scholar — and an LLB from Yale Law School.

Former Board members:

Hon. David M. Beasley

Gov. Beasley first ran for political office as a 21-year old student at Clemson University and became the youngest member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. He rose to become House Majority Leader and Speaker Pro Tempore, before mounting a successful campaign for governor in 1994. As Governor of South Carolina, David Beasley was best known for combining Christian ethics with conservative economics. Since leaving office, Gov. Beasley has been a senior advisor to Merrill Lynch, managed a family-owned bank, and incorporated the Center for Global Strategies, Ltd., an investment group that promotes ethnical development in the Third World. In 2003, he received the prestigious Profile in Courage award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

Joshua Muravchik (founding member)

Dr. Muravchik has been a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute since 1987. Prior to that, he was a Fellow in Residence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Executive Director of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority. AEI Press published his 1991 study, Exporting Democracy, and The Imperative of American Leadership, in April 1996. His latest work, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, was published by Encounter Books in 2002.

Peter W. Rodman (founding member)

Mr. Rodman was director of National Security Programs at the Nixon Center for Peace & Freedom until July 2001. His most recent book, America Adrift: A Strategic Assessment, was published by the Nixon Center with a forward by Henry Kissinger. From 1984-1986, Mr. Rodman served as Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, and was Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from 1986-1990 under Presidents Reagan and Bush. Mr. Rodman also served at the NSC during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Since July 2001, he has been serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

Dr. Mehdi Rouhani (founding member)

As the spiritual leader of the Shiite community in Europe, Dr. Rouhani worked for many years to promote understanding among the world’s great religion. The brother of Grand Ayatollah Sadegh Rouhani, who has been under house arrest in Qom since 1985, Dr. Rouhani became a tireless advocate for ending absolute clerical rule until his death in Paris in January 2000. Dr. Rouhani studied in Qom and Nadjaf (Iraq), and was awarded the title of Mujtahed, one of the highest achievements of Islamic scholars, at the age of 28 in 1958.