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House 2008 Elections

Iranian Americans play active role in 2008 election

America.gov, a US State Department publication for international audiences, published this report on the unprecedented level of Iranian-American involvement in the current election, including interviews with NIAC, PAAIA, IABA, and others. 

From America.gov’s Beverly O’Neal:

Los Angeles — Iranian Americans are well-integrated into their communities and are eager to have their voices heard in the 2008 presidential election, according to several Iranian-American organizations.

“Whether it’s volunteering for a campaign, leading fundraising efforts, organizing voter registration drives or get-out-the-vote efforts, Iranian Americans are in the thick of things in this election like never before,” Patrick Disney, assistant legislative director of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council (NIAC), told America.gov.

Full article below the fold…

Iranian-American Artists Urge You to Vote November 4!

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Remember: Election Day is November 4!

Click here to find your polling location.

After Postponing Announcement, Bush to Open Interests Section After Election

According to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, the Bush administration is planning to announce the opening of a US diplomatic interests section in Iran following the November 4 election.

Plans for the announcement had been postponed in August out of fears that it would unduly influence the Presidential election. The issue of foreign policy on Iran has proven to be one of the most divisive of the entire election; Senator McCain and Obama disagree strongly on whether to engage in direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.

An interests section in Iran would house the first American diplomats since the hostage crisis in 1980, and would greatly facilitate Iranians’ requests for visas to the U.S.

  • 30 September 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, House 2008 Elections, Legislative Agenda, Sanctions

Last-Minute Iran Sanctions Pass House

In a last-minute legislative maneuver, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced HR7112, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2008 on Thursday and ushered its passage through the House late Friday evening.

Darius Shahinfar Loses Race to Represent NY-21 in Congress

Darius Shahinfar lost his bid for the Democratic nomination to represent NY-21 in Congress

Darius Shahinfar lost his bid for the Democratic nomination to represent NY-21 in Congress

Darius Shahinfar, the first generation American of Iranian descent who ran in the Democratic primary in the NY-21 Congressional race, lost last night.  New York voters in the district, which includes parts of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Johnstown, voted for Paul Tonko with 39% of the vote.  The low turnout election brought out over 38,000 voters.  Mr. Shahinfar, who was not considered a favorite recieved 3,879 votes.

Shahinfar’s canidacy did draw the interest and attention of the Iranian American community that raised over a hundred thousand dollars for his campaign.  During the campaign, he posted a video on his website in which talked about his heritage and what it meant for him personally and politically.

Colin Abele who covered the NY-21 primary election for the popular New York blog The Albany Project said of Shahinfar that “He ran an excellent campaign on true American values.”

Darius follows in the footsteps of other Iranian American candidates such as Goli Ameri, Ross Mir-Karimi, and others who have entered the political arena and embracing their Iranian American identity.

NIAC covers the Democratic and Republican conventions for the Iranian-American community!

NIAC Legislative Director Emily Blout and West Coast Director Sara Shokravi will cover the Democratic National Convention in Denver for the Iranian-American community. From Denver, they will report on the week’s events and meet with NIAC members, local and national organizations and elected officials.

Throughout the proceedings, NIAC will present an Iranian-American perspective through daily reporting, right here on NIAC’s blog, NIACinSight.

Sara and Emily will also host an informal get-together for local members and the general public in Denver on Tuesday, August 26.  Come say hello to NIAC staff and learn more about the organization at  Café Europa at 76 S. Pennsylvania Street between 7 and 9pm.

Director of Community Relations Babak Talebi and Assistant Legislative Director Patrick Disney will attend the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota from September 1 through September 4.

If you are attending either convention and are interested in meeting with NIAC staff or contributing by writing on our blog, please contact Hormoz Rashidi at hrashidi@niacouncil.org.

For all the cynics, contacting your representative WORKS!

In an interview published last Monday, US Congressman Henry A. Waxman (D-CA30), whose district boasts a very large number of Iranian Americans, stated that he’s getting “mixed messages” from our community on how to deal with the Iran situation, but recent polling has shown that on the whole there is very minimal support for military action in the Iranian American community.

It is important for our community to recognize the power it does have in changing and influencing the opinions of their members of Congress. This interview is just the latest clear example that they are listening to us and making judgements, in part, based on our opinions.

Identity Politics and electing Iranian Americans

Last week, NIAC sent out a report on its mailing list about an Iranian-American candidate for US Congress. Darius Shahinfar declared his candidacy from New York’s 21st district and faces a competitive primary to be the Democratic nominee in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. In response to the article, I received several emails from our members and other Iranian Americans asking some very legitimate questions –

Should our community automatically support an Iranian American candidate? Does he even have a chance with four primary opponents? Can Iranian Americans impact this race in upstate New York?

I want to spark a conversation on these topics and tackle them one by one. First, follow me behind the link to talk about identity politics…

Voting in Special Elections

April 8th marks a phenomenal opportunity for Iranian Americans to affect policy through the ballot-box. In light of the recent passing of Tom Lantos (D-CA), the 12th Congressional District in Northern California will hold a special election to determine his replacement. Special elections are held when a Congressional seat is vacated in the middle of a term.  A few recent examples indicate that Iranian Americans can heavily influence the outcome of the CA-12 Special election.

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.

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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