• 4 March 2008
  • Posted By Babak Talebi
  • About

Official Launch: Welcome to NIACinSight

Fellow NIAC members,


Welcome to NIAC’s official blog!

Over the past year, we have seen tremendous growth here in DC going from 3 full-time employees in January of 2007 to eight currently working out of our offices.  This growth and the extensive support of the community has meant that we have a lot more information we would like to share with you and a need to have more lines of communication to our members.

Through this blog, we will be able to share insights about the “behind-the-scenes” dealings in DC that go beyond the range of topics covered in our newsletter and website. Furthermore, the blog is meant to engage Iranian-Americans, as well as the broader American public, in an ongoing discussion about current issues important to our community.

NIAC’s 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 on a regular basis.

Over the past few months, we have already posted about 20 items on the blog, feel free to go back and look at some of those to get a sense of the direction we hope to take the blog. And remember, the success of this effort depends on your participation.  Please create an account and join us in the comments section.

We all look forward to another banner year here at NIAC, and a huge part of that will be your continued support and feedback. 



Posted By Babak Talebi

    16 Responses to “Official Launch: Welcome to NIACinSight”

  1. Sara says:

    Welcome to our blog!! I look forward to engaging with our membership on a more regular basis. Don’t be shy and say what’s on your mind!

  2. Arash Hadjialiloo says:

    I just want to welcome everyone to our NIAC blog! Please feel free to comment on our posts and begin discussions amongst yourselves.

  3. Shabnam Sahandy says:

    Welcome everyone! I can’t wait to hear from you all in the coming weeks as you explore the NIAC blog.

  4. Mohammad Elahinia says:

    Dear all

    Thank you for pursuing Iranian American interests.

    My suggestion is to dedicate some of your efforts toward easing the conditions for Iranian students. When these students come to the US they are always issued a single entry visa, which makes it almost impossible for them to go back and visit family without risking their education. It is true that they can go back home but in that case they will need to apply for visa again and there are not many students who are willing to go through that lengthy process again.

    Many of these students after graduation will stay in the US and contribute to the economy and to the society. They can be recruited to contribute in any efforts that NIAC would undertake.

    Thank you,
    Mohammad Elahinia

  5. Babak Talebi says:

    Mohammad jan,

    That is a great idea indeed and based on my own experience with Iranians students coming from Iran, they truly are phenomenal individuals by and large.

    The issue of re-entry visas is one that we have raised repeatedly with the State Department among other visa related issues, the problem has been that since 9/11, this administration has taken the most hard-line stances it could on these types of issues.

    To be honest, the most effective way to bring this issue to the attention of State Department bureaucrats is for NIAC members and other Iranian Americans to meet with their elected Senators and Representatives and ask them to write letters on behalf of their constituents…

    We will continue to take this issue seriously and maybe at some point drive attention to it in particular.

    Of course, our top priority currently is to bring these two governments to the negotiating table to both avoid war and to bring up issues such as visas in a legitimate manner.

    Thank you for your membership, support, and feedback. And welcome to our blog!

  6. Shideh says:

    I just wanted to thank you for starting this blog and for doing an amazing job in educating Iranian Americans about policies that could affect us and the world at large. Great job and a big “khasteh nabaasheed” to all of you.

  7. rodney says:

    Congratulations for launching a new venue that provides the opportunity to read what others in the community think about current events, and allows for an exchange of insights, views, and opinions.

    Although i am Irish by heritage, i am sympathetic to the challenges facing the Iranian community, and enthusiastically support the mission of the NIAC.

    in peace,


  8. Michael Mahyar Hojjatie says:

    Mobarak bashid, this will definitely help us communicate with one another and keep us abreast about the challenges within, without, and all-encompassing our fantastic culture.

    Beh Salomati,


  9. Emily Blout says:

    Welcome! I’m so glad to have this opportunity to interact with the community and share my insight on Capitol Hill. Talk to you soon.

  10. danrobinsonniac says:

    Welcome everyone to our blog! I can’t wait to communicate with you all in the coming weeks as you explore our new blog. Feel free to leave comments, give opinion and start discussions amongst yourselves.

  11. Hi everybody! This blog has been in the making for quite a while. I’m looking forward to using it as a platform for furthering dialogue on Iran related topics. Have fun!

  12. smalaklou says:

    Welcome to our blog! As NIAC’s new Communications Associate, I am very proud to be a part of this team. The blog will provide a venue for NIAC staff, members, affiliates and supporters to voice their concerns and ideas. I welcome any and all feedback.

  13. Amir says:

    How many people will take off from work for No Ruz next week?

  14. Alex Patico says:

    Many thanks to all those who worked on getting this off the ground, starting with the “godfather” of NIAC information technology, Sean Murphy!

    I hope that in the future, niacINsight might be a place where postings from the best of the blogs in Iran might find a showcase. Since there are now estimated to be as many as 400,000 blogs in Persian (citing a report by E’temad-e Melli, “Iran press activists oppose regulation of websites, weblogs,” January 2, 2007, referenced in BBC Monitoring International Reports), there ought to be plenty that is worth translating into English for an American audience.

  15. Farzan says:

    Speaking as an Iranian/American, I believe all of us Americans have a collective obligation, but specially so as Iranian/Americans as this is our country by CHOICE not merely birth, to further the following cause:

    We must unite against the evil that Bush/Chaney administration has committed against us, and our brethren around the world, IN OUR NAME. Working towards impeachment, and criminal prosecution of these individuals once they leave office is paramount in order to ensure that future leaders of OUR country will not even entertain such flawed and immoral policies as invasion of countries and slaughter of innocent and defenseless peoples.

    In my opinion, NIAC needs to become actively engaged in the effort to bring this administration to justice.

  16. Babak Talebi says:

    Amir – Though we will be off here at NIAC – I have a feeling our office will not be empty 😉 I’m sure in the next few years, as our community grows more politically capable – we can push for national recognition of Norouz/Nowruz/Norooz (if we can agree on the spelling – lol)

    Alex – that is a great idea – we can certainly start by linking to other sites talking about Iran issues in English (or Farsi). Everyone should feel free to link to other articles they find right here in the comments.

    Farzan – Though I’m sure some IAs will agree with you (and others will disagree), NIAC can not legally take such action. Because we are a 501c3 organization, the IRS code and federal law prohibit us from taking partisan action… but as individuals – well… I should leave that up to the individual ;-P

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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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