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Presidential 2008 Elections

Something wicked this way comes…

Last week the Washington Post ran an OpEd by two former Senators, Chuck Robb (D-VA) and Dan Coats (R-ID).  In it, they endorsed sustained aggressive action in future U.S. dealings with Iran, saying that Iran must be prevented, using any means necessary, from not only obtaining nuclear weapons, but even “the ability to quickly assemble a nuclear weapon.”

They were part of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s national security task force on Iran which also includes current Obama advisor to Middle Eastern Affairs, Dennis Ross.  It’s well known that Ross is positioning himself for a seat in an eventual Obama administration–possibly special envoy to Iran.  So then why is he stating in an Israeli newspaper that “Today Iran is a nuclear power – it doesn’t have nuclear weapons yet, but in 2001 it was not yet able to convert uranium or uranium gas, it didn’t have a single centrifuge. Now it’s stockpiling highly enriched uranium.”?

Alleging that Iran is producing highly enriched uranium (HEU) is a pretty big deal.  Mohammed Elbaradai, and the IAEA have both declared that no HEU exists in Iran or within it’s nuclear program.  In the world of nuclear inspections, there are few greater certainties than this.  For me, this raises some questions about Ross’ qualifications for a high-level position regarding Iran.  Does he really believe he knows more about the existence of uranium in Iran than the IAEA inspectors? What is the drive behind making such a claim? One has to wonder what Senator Obama thinks of all this…

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.

  • 15 October 2008
  • Posted By Rebecca Schiel
  • Diplomacy, Presidential 2008 Elections

Senator Lugar Breaks with McCain, Urges Diplomacy with Iran

“In some cases, even refusing to talk can be dangerous.” Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) said this today in a speech before the National Defense University in Indiana.

The call by Senator Lugar for more robust diplomatic overtures to Iran came after he joined with Senator Obama in opposing the conventional wisdom in Washington that “hostile nations must be dealt with almost exclusively through isolation or military force.”

Senator Lugar, the ranking Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee seems to be creating a rift within his own party over Iran policy–one of the most divisive issues of the election. The senator has been described as a good friend of Senator McCain and one must wonder: are all the Republicans jumping on the maverick bandwagon?

Updated: Full Text available here.

NYT Interview with Ahmadinejad in New York

Let no one say that Ahmadinejad is a stupid man.  His public persona is so fiery and controversial, yet in private he is reserved, calm, and accessable.  Seeing him in this setting, it would be easy for one to forget the vicious vitriol that he flung just moments before from the podium in front of the UN General Assembly.  (or possibly his uniquely hostile rhetoric toward Israel and the United States…or his government’s abysmal human rights record…or his bizarre and ridiculous statement about there being no gays in Iran…etc).

What strikes me about all this is that his hostility toward Israel and the US is not visceral; it’s rational, thought out, and developed policy.  If he can hold onto these radical ideas in such a calm and polite discussion, then it must–at least in his own mind–make sense.

  • 22 September 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections, US-Iran War

Obama and McCain on Iran: 60 Minutes


“We have not applied the kind of tough diplomacy over the last eight years that I think could have made a difference.”

“I don’t think it’s acceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.  And I haven’t taken any options, including military, off the table.”


“Suppose that the Iranians had nuclear weapons, and you had a whole lot of other information about Iranian intentions, and you could make the case to the American people and to the world, I think it’s obvious that we would have to prevent what we are absolutely certain is a direct threat to the lives of the American people.”

  • 16 September 2008
  • Posted By Rebecca Schiel
  • Presidential 2008 Elections

What Do We Have to Look Forward to?

With the presidential election only 7 weeks away it appears to be a good time to ask: What changes on Iran policy do we have to look forward to respectively with each of the candidates and their running mates?

Sarah Palin on attacking Iran: “We can’t second guess Israel”

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In her much-publicized interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin was asked: “What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?”  Her answer:

PALIN: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don’t think that we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.

GIBSON: So if we wouldn’t second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that.

PALIN: I don’t think we can second guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.

GIBSON: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right.

PALIN: We cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.

Forgive me, but is it wise to have this type of blind faith in any country’s decision to attack another country’s nuclear program?  When you’re talking about a full-scale military attack taking place in the world’s most volatile region, with over 200,000 American troops stationed in two neighboring countries, and with as much uncertainty as there is about how close, if at all, Iran is to obtaining nuclear weapons…isn’t it okay to think about it a second time?  Or maybe even a third, just to be on the safe side?

Meet one of the Iranian American Delegates at the Democratic National Convention

Iranian American Delegates at the Democratic Convention

Iranian American Delegates at the Democratic Convention

Emily Blout and Sara Shokravi covered the DNC for NIAC all week from Denver, but it was Sima Sarrafan who represented the Iranian American community on the floor of the convention as a DNC delegate from Washington State.  Ms. Sarrafan represents the newly invigorated interest in political participation here the United States as a new generation of Iranian Americans lose the anachrostic fears of ‘politics’ that has long defined our community.

Sima was also interviewed on Charlie Rose’s show on August 28th.  Go to minute 23:00 to listen to her interview about her experience as Obama’s classmate at Harvard Law School.   Our community should commend this type of political involvement irrelevant of the political party.

  • 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.

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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