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  • 19 March 2009
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Events in Iran, Iranian American activism, Legislative Agenda

Honda introduces Norooz resolution today

Just a heads up, Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA-15) will be dropping the Norooz Resolution later this afternoon. He and others will be speaking about it on the House floor on Monday morning. (You can tune in LIVE via CSPAN.)

The bill will be introduced with 25 original cosponsors– something that does not happen everyday- especially considering the geographical diversity of the Representatives.

Check out Rep. Honda’s press release thanking NIAC and celebrating the Iranian-American community and the people of Iran.

  • 13 January 2009
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Diplomacy, Legislative Agenda, US-Iran War

US: MEK still a terrorist organization and national security threat

After months if not years of lobbying, protests and public campaigning, the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (commonly referred to as the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, MKO or MEK) failed in its bid to exonerate itself from the US foreign terrorist list. Per federal regulation and US law, the group was entitled to oppose the designation, which was up for regular review by the State Department this year.

  • 23 December 2008
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Human Rights in Iran, Uncategorized

US speaks up on Alaei brothers detention and human rights center closure

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack released this statement today:

“The United States condemns the closing of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights and urges Iranian authorities to allow this and similar civil society organizations to operate free of oppression. On December 21, Iranian authorities closed down the civil society organization of Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi just prior to a ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, authorities briefly detained Ms. Ebadi, a renowned human rights defender and both the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in its 102 year-old history.”

Here’s the dish on the new committee leadership

Trusted sources have confirmed that Senator John Rockefeller will step down from his chairmanship of the Select Intelligence Committee to assume the all powerful post of Commerce Committee chair. The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is the counterpart of Energy and Commerce in the House and deals with issues pertaining to interstate commerce, transportation, science and technology, and consumer products regulation among others.

California Senator Diane Feinstein will take over as chair of Select Intelligence, which is charged with overseeing US intelligence agencies and assuring that they provide the executive and the legislative branch the accurate and timely information it needs to make critical national security decisions. The fifteen member committee receives regular intelligence briefings that other members are not privy to and holds closed hearings on sensitive national security issues.

  • 17 September 2008
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Election 2008, Legislative Agenda, Sanctions, Uncategorized

Sanctions amendment could be folded into defense bill

There is a chance that a comprehensive Iran sanctions package spearheaded by Senator Chris Dodd could be be among the amendments folded into a omnibus “manager’s amendment” to the Defense Authorization this week. A whopping 234 amendments have been filed in total, but it is unlikely many of them will be considered. The question of which of these amendments will be singled out for a vote or included as part of a manager’s amendment is being negotiated behind the scenes as we speak.

  • 5 September 2008
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Diplomacy, Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections, US-Iran War

Dems are from Mars, Republicans are from Venus

Check out the Iran section in the Democratic and Republican party platforms. They couldn’t be more dissimilar, yet so much the same.

Kerry to be the next Biden?

You probably noticed that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry had a pretty public role at the convention. This is not only because he was the democratic presidential nominee last time around, it’s also because he’s positioned to be the dem’s next foreign policy authority in Congress.

  • 28 August 2008
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections

Obama speech not open to everyone

Its a little past noon, and I’m on my way to Invesco Stadium to get in line to see Obama’s speech tonight. Contrary to what the candidate proclaimed during his surprise appearance at the convention on Wednesday, the event is only quasi-open to the public. While 75,000 tickets have been made available, I’ve talked to die hard supporters and volunteers from out of state who have not been able to secure a ticket to get in.

When Obama declared that everyone could come to see him speak, I was sitting with about thirty supporters congregated around the televison at a hotel near the convention center. They all booed and shook their heads. It was the first time, and likely the last, I’ve seen such as response since I’ve been here.

  • 28 August 2008
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Uncategorized

Washington Prism covers NIAC in Denver

Check out the farsi media outlet Washington Prism‘s coverage of NIAC at the Democratic convention!

  • 28 August 2008
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Election 2008

Denver is like DC on steroids

From every one of the city’s natives I’ve talked to, I hear the same thing: “I’ve never seen the streets like this! I cant believe this is Denver!” Someone said it is like the sidewalks have been “Anne-taylorized.”

After little more than three days, I can confidently conclude that the convention is all the politicking, networking, socializing, and drinking that turns the wheels of Washington, but magnified and condensed, and with a couple of celebrities thrown in.

Charlize Therone was here, as was Ben Affleck, and Winonna Rider. Tom Hanks starred in a video montage on the trials of army reserve officers when they return to their regular lives after multiple tours of duty.

And the Republicans are here too. I was talking to a reporter from Politicker who said he saw Mitt Romney at the convention center. When he realized it was the former Massachusetts governor and prospective VP pick standing behind him on the escalator, the reporter promptly began grilling him on why he was there. Romney responded that he was at the Democratic convention just to have a good time!! Word on the street is that the other prospective Republican VP picks are here too.

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.



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