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Senate 2008 Elections

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

The Iranian American vote

I have often been asked, “There are so many Iranian Americans in California, how come the Presidential candidates are not asking for our votes?”

This is a good place to start our discussions about the Iranian-American voter and our potential impact on electoral politics. There are so many factors that help determine the relative impact of any community on the political process, and certainly the number of potential voters is one important variable.

(Below the fold I’m going to start our discussion about the potential impact of our community on the political debate, and begin a series on the 2008 election cycle…)

Sign the Petition

 

7,348 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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