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Panel Discussion

  • 30 April 2008
  • Posted By Shadee Malaklou
  • Events in DC, Panel Discussion

Carnegie’s “Junior Fellows” conference looks at new models of government

“[Liberal Democracy] is where the world was, not where it is going.” –Daniel Patrick Moynihan

At yesterday’s Junior Fellows Conference at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, one thing was clear: The moment for democracy has passed.

Democracy, as a Western, American export has long died in its appeal. According to panelists with expertise from all over the world, including China, Russia, and Bangladesh, the world is currently in a “reverse” democratic wave, where other government models, like semi-authoritarian ones, are gaining support.

The keynote address was delivered by National Endowment for Democracy President, Carl Gershman. He, along with panelist Marina Ottaway, Director of Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Program, both made points about Iran.

  • 23 April 2008
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Diplomacy, Events in DC, Panel Discussion

Hearing to feature alternative strategy on Iranian nukes

There will be a hearing in the Homeland Security Committee tomorrow on Iran’s nuclear program. Among the expert witnesses will be Dr. Jim Walsh of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of the Luers/Pickering/Walsh proposal for a joint international nuclear fuel bank on Iranian soil. This proposal, which enjoys the backing of an increasing number of policy makers, was first presented to Congress at NIAC’s conference on April 8.

We also expect Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Arlen Specter to make a guest appearance at the hearing. The California Democrat and the Pennsylvania Republican will likely use the forum to articulate the need for negotiations with Iran without preconditions.

  • 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.

NIAC Conference: Breaking the US-Iran Stalemate

When it comes to Iran, President Bush has all but banged the drums of war. In fact, when faced with the question of Iran’s nuclear file, it’s been talk of sanctions or war, but nothing else – even though sanctions have gotten us nowhere.

On April 8, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) will host foreign policy A-listers, Congressional members and staff, key academics and accredited media to discuss another option on Capitol Hill: a multinational enrichment facility inside Iran, coupled with direct and comprehensive talks with Tehran.

Most analysts agree: Iran’s nuclear program is progressing faster than the West can muster pressure on Tehran. NIAC’s conference will address the central question:

How can the US prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, even if Tehran continues to enrich uranium?


In addition, speakers – who will include former Under-Secretary of State Thomas Pickering, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hans Blix, and reporters Barbara Slavin (USA Today) and Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) – will explore how the new Majles, now overrun with conservatives, will affect the direction of Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear goals.

  • 14 January 2008
  • Posted By Ali Scotten
  • Diplomacy, Events in DC, Panel Discussion

Samore Wants to Talk to Iran…But Just Not Yet

Gary Samore doesn’t believe that negotiations with Iran should be pursued under the current administration. Instead, he thinks Bush should work towards another round of UN sanctions and leave the dialogue up to the next administration.

In his presentation at the Woodrow Wilson Center entitled “Prospects for an Iranian Nuclear Deal”, Samore argued that Bush should just ride out his current approach for the rest of his ‘lame duck’ term.

  • 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


7,349 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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