Speak Out and Make a Difference

This week, as part of the Campaign for New American Policy on Iran’sNational Call-In Day,” over 6,000 calls came in from all over the country to members of Congress to advocate direct diplomacy with Iran.  As feedback comes in from NIAC members and Iranian Americans throughout the country, it is clear our Congressional representatives are listening to the voice of Iranian Americans calling for diplomacy with Iran.

With the constant drumbeat for war, this is as it should be.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 59% of Americans believe the President should meet directly with Iran.   This backs up January’s Berkeley poll showing two thirds of Iranian Americans favor US engagement and direct diplomacy with Iran.

Our leaders in Washington need to be reminded of the overwhelming majority of people–Iranian Americans and others–who strongly oppose war.  The only way to do this is to be constantly engaged in civic participation efforts.

You don’t need to be a full-time activist to make a difference.  Find ten minutes to write a letter to your Congressman or Senator.  Place a phone call before an important vote in the House of Representatives.  Volunteer for a campaign and show your support for a candidate who shares your views on Iran.  Past failings in the pursuit of progress between the United States and Iran should never weaken our resolve to overcome future challenges.

NIAC was originally formed to strengthen civic engagement among the Iranian-American community, and we stand by that mission.  Progress can only come about when people get involved.  We encourage you to get to know your representatives.  And more importantly, make sure your representatives get to know you.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    3 Responses to “Speak Out and Make a Difference”

  1. Julia Murray says:

    All this shows that many of us are concerned about the potential threat of US military action towards Iran. We have to keep letting the government know how we feel and call-in days are perfect opportunities to do so. However, the effort can’t stop there. We must continue to make sure our members of Congress hear us and we should not give up until they act upon what we are saying.

  2. Jamchid Tavangar says:

    I just want to thank NIAC staff and Dr. Parsi for their tireless constructive efforts to represent the views of moderate Iranian Americans in Washington political circles, and hopefully to be able to avert a disastorous war with Iran.

  3. abritishman says:

    This President’s intransigence and complete lack of understanding of the underlying diplomatic issues. Shows us exactly why the country has become somewhat of a laughing stock around the world.

    The so called experts within the State Dept are about as knowledgeable as a gnat . And therein lies one of the real problem that this country faces.

    abritishman ………..

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Sign the Petition

 

7,349 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.

Sincerely,

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