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  • 24 July 2008
  • Posted By Arash Hadjialiloo
  • Diplomacy, Legislative Agenda

Apparently it’s only a negotiation if you plan to listen when they talk

The recent news that the United States would be sending their number three official in the State Department, Undersecretary of State William J. Burns to take part in talks with Iran is a significant departure from previous policies. Last Saturday’s conference in Geneva with European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili was considered a golden opportunity for the two nations to directly discuss Iran’s nuclear program. The move, which has been applauded by many experts in the field (and attacked just as harshly by the likes of John Bolton) has also been described in the Washington Times as the “most significant American diplomatic contact with Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.”

  • 5 May 2008
  • Posted By Arash Hadjialiloo
  • Diplomacy, Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections, US-Iran War

Rhetoric Continues to Reign Supreme

It appears that rhetoric is the most resilient weed in the US-Iran diplomacy garden. Despite several rounds of both Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama attacking President Bush’s “saber rattling,” Clinton has not been able to avoid falling back on the tough talk when in a pinch.

In her appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America on April 22, Senator Clinton said that she would respond in kind to an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel and that the United States could “totally obliterate” Iran in the process. She defended this statement yesterday in an appearance on ABC’s This Week.

  • 17 April 2008
  • Posted By Arash Hadjialiloo
  • Events in DC, Iranian American activism, Panel Discussion

Internal rivalries undo Iranian-American potential

When one talks about a large ethnic group, it is not unusual to hear about conflict and rival organizations vying for influence and support. The Iranian-American community is a very diverse group in the United States, with huge populations on both coasts, as well as dense clusters in the middle of the country. With an estimated population of nearly one million Iranian Americans in the US, the sheer size and quality of the community (Iranian Americans are among the most educated and wealthiest ethnic groups in the US) means that the biggest obstacle to Iranian Americans reaching their full potential is, unfortunately, Iranian Americans.

  • 6 March 2008
  • Posted By Arash Hadjialiloo
  • Diplomacy, Human Rights in Iran

Arresting the airwaves

The 13th revolutionary court of Iran has sentenced Parnaz Azima, an Iranian-American Radio Farda journalist based in Prague, Czech Republic to one year in prison for “spreading anti-state propaganda.” She was also charged with acting against Iran’s national interests, earning illegitimate income and owning a satellite receiver, charges that have since been dropped.

Two Coasts One Voice

Over the last few weeks, I have been tasked with looking into ways to spread the word about NIAC’s electoral education outreach in the Persian-language media. During this experience, I was both astounded and impressed by the sheer volume of Iranian media outlets (both print and broadcast) based in the United States. It was very unexpected and reassuring to see the lengths of our community’s efforts at creating a media landscape beyond the standard American media outlets. Although the clear lack of professionalism in some of the outlets was discouraging, the vast majority of them were a very pleasant surprise.

Election 2008: The Importance of Involvement

Over the past few weeks I have been working feverishly gathering information and resources concerning the upcoming elections (both Presidential and Congressional). I remain amazed at the wealth of electoral knowledge and information that is easily available to everyone. No doubt many of the people who are reading this blog have already received NIAC reminders concerning the elections (as the notices are time sensitive those who have later primaries or caucuses will not receive theirs until later) and have seen how much information is really at your fingertips when it comes to voting and participating. It is our position at NIAC that every Iranian American can help initiate change and progress and to do so requires diligence and effort.

  • 10 January 2008
  • Posted By Arash Hadjialiloo
  • Events in DC, Panel Discussion

The Youth Boom in Iran

In the world of demography, the term “demographic gift” refers to a situation where fertility and mortality rates fall and the resulting shift in population creates an influx of working age young people in a nation. This “boom” can help turn an entire nation around as a flood of young citizens can rejuvenate a lagging economy or bolster a weakened government. While a large workforce can be a powerful asset for a country, it will be difficult for Iran to develop opportunities for its youth without radical policy changes.

In order to address these issues, the Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings institute, partnered with the Dubai School of Government hosted a panel discussion concerning the evolving demographic changes and the political economy of specific Middle Eastern countries. Titled “From Oil Boom to Youth Boom: Tapping the Middle East Demographic Gift,” the forum included an analysis from Virginia Tech Professor of Economics and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute, Djavad Salehi Isfahani.

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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