• 3 December 2007
  • Posted By Babak Talebi
  • About

Topics we intend to cover

As our community matures in its collective political awareness, the most important ingredient to becoming effective in impacting the discourse among policy makers is to be well-informed.

At NIAC, we have decided to launch this blog mainly to provide you information and to engage in you in increased activism. I want to introduce the three individuals who will be posting most of the commentary and what they will be highlighting.

Follow me below to meet the editors of NIAC’s blog and to find out what type of stories we plan on sharing with you…



Emily Blout, Legislative Director: Emily currently leads NIAC’s efforts in meeting with members of Congress and discussing issues of importance to our community. She will be sharing her insights and analysis on where legislation stands regarding the potential for a US-Iran military conflict.

Sara Shokravi, Director of Programming: Sara organizes the briefings, conferences, and events that NIAC sponsors as well as coordinating our coverage of events organized by others related to issues of concern to our community. Beyond what appears in the articles we publish on a weekly basis, Sara will share some of her behind-the-scene insights as well as posting the next few weeks schedules.

Babak Talebi, Director of Community Relations: Babak is leading NIAC’s efforts to activate the Iranian American community at the local level. He will be posting regularly on how Iranian Americans can have the most impact on the electoral process and how they can effectively reach out and get the attention of their elected officials.


Please feel free to ask them questions by using the “comments” under each individual post.

Posted By Babak Talebi

    2 Responses to “Topics we intend to cover”

  1. Sara Shokravi says:

    Just wanted to let you all know that we will have other regular contributors on events. At first this will consist of our staff and interns who may report on particular events they attend on our behalf, but we hope to expand the list of contributors to include reports from local coordinators, board members, or former NIAC staff who want to share important insights.

    We look forward to hearing you comments, suggestions, critiques, and questions and engaging in a genuine conversation with our members about your ideas and our work on your behalf. Don’t be shy and share your thoughts!

  2. […] staff and interns in DC will be updating the blog daily to reflect a wide range of topics facing the Iranian American community.  Be sure to bookmark the page and join in the conversation […]

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Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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