NIAC Conference: Breaking the US-Iran Stalemate

When it comes to Iran, President Bush has all but banged the drums of war. In fact, when faced with the question of Iran’s nuclear file, it’s been talk of sanctions or war, but nothing else – even though sanctions have gotten us nowhere.

On April 8, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) will host foreign policy A-listers, Congressional members and staff, key academics and accredited media to discuss another option on Capitol Hill: a multinational enrichment facility inside Iran, coupled with direct and comprehensive talks with Tehran.

Most analysts agree: Iran’s nuclear program is progressing faster than the West can muster pressure on Tehran. NIAC’s conference will address the central question:

How can the US prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, even if Tehran continues to enrich uranium?


In addition, speakers – who will include former Under-Secretary of State Thomas Pickering, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hans Blix, and reporters Barbara Slavin (USA Today) and Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) – will explore how the new Majles, now overrun with conservatives, will affect the direction of Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear goals.

Slavin and Peterson recently returned from Iran, where they covered Iran’s March 14 parliamentary elections.

Other speakers include Ahmad Sadri, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Lake Forest College, and David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has been vocal about the need for a new US foreign policy with Iran, will deliver the keynote address.

On February 6, Senator Feinstein wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that “The Bush administration should get serious and launch a major diplomatic effort with Iran. The stakes are simply too high.”

The California Senator has also endorsed the idea of a multinational enrichment facility in Iran. Such a solution would enable the international community to prevent Iran from diverting its nuclear program towards a weapons option. Though not an entirely new idea, the proposal has recently gained momentum because of a March 20 article in The New York Review of Books, co-authored by William Luers, Jim Walsh and Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who will speak at NIAC’s April 8 conference.

Luers, Walsh and Ambassador Pickering argue that, “Turning Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities into a multinational program will reduce the risk of proliferation and create the basis for a broader discussion not only of our disagreements but of our common interests as well.”

On April 8, Pickering will go into greater detail on how this proposal just might break the US-Iranian stalemate.

Dr. Trita Parsi is the President of the National Iranian American Council and author of “Treacherous Alliance – The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US” (Yale University Press, 2007).

Posted By Trita Parsi

    8 Responses to “NIAC Conference: Breaking the US-Iran Stalemate”

  1. tparsi says:

    If you are in the DC area, make sure you RSVP for the event at Hope to see you there! /Trita

  2. […] tparsi wrote an interesting post today on NIAC Conference: Breaking the US-Iran StalemateHere’s a quick excerptWhen it comes to Iran, President Bush has all but banged the drums of war. In fact, when faced with the question of Iran’s nuclear file, it’s been talk of sanctions or war, but nothing else – even though sanctions have gotten us nowhere … […]

  3. Babak Talebi says:

    Just to let you all know – the event is almost booked up and the reservation deadline is TODAY (Monday April 7th) by Close of Business.

  4. Mehdi says:

    I wish I could be there! Exciting!

  5. Mehdi says:

    According to this guy, the MEK and MEHR are planning to disrupt the meeting:

    I hope we have solid plans to not allow that to happen.

  6. Mehdi and friends,

    Yesterday’s conference went very well, with no disruptions! We were adequately prepared to handle MEK and MEHR members causing a ruckus at our event, but fortunately, that did not happen. Approximately 200 members of the academic, media, and Congressional community attended the event. The NIAC office is especially thankful to conference organizer, our Director of Programming, Sara Shokravi, for her relentless hard work organizing and preparing for the event. We look forward to many more in the future!


  7. Mehdi says:

    Awesome! I wish I could be there. maybe next time.

    Congratulations to all for organizing and managing this important event.

    Your alertness and preparedness paid off! That’s the price to pay for freedom.


  8. Michael Mahyar Hojjatie says:


    Good to hear! I am excited to hear the details of the event when they are shared with the public. Hats off to everybody who coordinated and participated!


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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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