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Let’s Talk Iran

Iranican Promotes Unity through Dialogue and Tolerance

We had the wonderful opportunity to interview the hosts behind Iranican, a non-profit, volunteer-based organization based in the Silicon Valley whose mission is to explore issues affecting “Generation Iranian-American”. This is done via radio and video interviews and shows as well as via an online blog. The Iranican team uses entertainment in order to educate and discuss communal issues.

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  • 6 September 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Israel, Let's Talk Iran, US-Iran War

Ronny & the “Israel Loves Iran” Campaign

Ronny Edry - Let's Talk Iran PodcastIn this episode, we chat with Ronny Edry, an Israeli graphic designer, teacher, father, husband, and, most recently, known world-wide as the founder of the “Israel Loves Iran” campaign which later grew to become the “We Love You” community. The “We Love You” movement began on March 14 of this year when Ronny uploaded a poster of him and his daughter holding an Israeli flag. The poster said: “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.” Attached to the poster was also a letter that Ronny penned to the people of Iran. In it, he expressed his desire to prevent war and better understand his Iranian counterparts. Within hours, the poster and letter became viral and return messages started pouring in from Iran. The “We Love You” movement now has a loyal following all over 63 countries and its presence on the web and on Facebook is growing daily, with millions having viewed its videos and heard its message.

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  • 22 August 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Let's Talk Iran, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Congressman Kucinich Urges Obama to Suspend Sanctions

Last week, NIAC worked closely with Congressman Dennis Kucinich and 13 of his colleagues to advance a letter urging President Obama to suspend sanctions that prevent aid organizations from working in Iran and prevent Americans from sending charitable donations to earthquake victims — a step that was taken in 2003 when an earthquake struck the Iranian city Bam.

Yesterday, we had the extraordinary opportunity to talk with Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) after the Obama Administration announced a general license effectively suspending sanctions to allow humanitarian relief for 45 days.

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  • 9 August 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • Culture, Diplomacy, Let's Talk Iran, Uncategorized

Justine Shapiro & “Our Summer in Tehran”

In this episode, we speak with Jewish-American filmmaker Justine Shapiro. Justine is the former host of the travel series GlobeTrekker and was nominated for an Oscar for her documentary called “Promises,” which gave us a look into the lives of Palestinian and Israeli children in and around Jerusalem. Justine’s newest documentary, “Our Summer in Tehran” shows us the seldom seen realm of middle class family life in Iran. In the film, Justine and her 6-year-old son Mateo go to Tehran to spend the summer with 3 families: a religious family with ties to the government; a cosmopolitan, secular family; and a single mom who is an actress.

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  • 26 July 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 1 Comments
  • Iranian American activism, Israel, Let's Talk Iran, Uncategorized

Lessons from the Jewish-American Community

The AIPAC membership is only a fraction the size of the membership for the other top two lobbying organizations in the U.S., those being the AARP and NRA. How has AIPAC has been able to reach such a level of influence? How do Jewish-American organizations interact and balance cooperation and competition? How does the community handle internal disputes? Find out the answers to these questions and more from former executive director of American Israeli Public Affairs Commitee (AIPAC), Tom Dine.  Currently, Tom serves as the Senior Policy Advisor for the Israel Policy Forum and will be participating as a panelist in NIAC’s 2012 Leadership Conference this fall.

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  • 12 July 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • Let's Talk Iran

Sahar Fathi: Candidate for Washington’s 36th District

In this episode, we had the pleasure of talking with Sahar Fathi, candidate for State Representative in Washington’s 36th district. Sahar spent time working internationally for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and currently sits on the board of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and ACLU-Washington. When she was 26, Sahar started the Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington, the first legal clinic primarily for people of Middle Eastern descent in the country. For the past three years, Sahar has worked as a legislative aide to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien where she is lead policy staff on homelessness, immigrant and refugee issues, public safety, civil rights, energy and green jobs, and the city budget. If elected, Sahar would be the first Iranian-American or Middle Eastern-American woman to serve in any state legislature across the country. To learn more about Sahar, visit www.electsahar.com.

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  • 27 June 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 2 Comments
  • discrimination, Iranian American activism, Let's Talk Iran

The Root Cause of Apple’s Discrimination

In this episode, you will hear from Sahar Sabet, a young Iranian-American woman who was recently denied the ability to purchase Apple products from an Apple store in Alpharetta, Georgia. This incident has garnered international media coverage and left the Iranian-American community in outrage. NIAC’s Policy Director, Jamal Abdi tells us how sanctions are at the root of racial profiling/discrimination faced by Sahar and many other Iranian Americans across the nation.

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  • 15 June 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran, Legislative Agenda, Let's Talk Iran

CA State Senate Stands Up for Iranian Human Rights

Recently, the California State Senate passed SR 29, a Senate Resolution authored by State Senator Sam Blakeslee which recognizes the contributions of the Iranian-American community and calls upon the Iranian government to provide basic human rights and political freedoms to its citizens. The Senator partnered with several Iranian-American organizations, including NIAC and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in order to take the Resolution from concept to reality. Tune in as we discuss this latest achievement with Senator Blakeslee.

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  • 31 May 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • Israel, Let's Talk Iran, Nuclear file, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Part 2: Assessing the Baghdad Nuclear Talks

Last week, the P5+1 met with Iranian officials in Baghdad to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. While many questions were left unanswered, the one known fact is that there will be another round of negotiations on June 18th and 19th in Moscow.  Listen to a NIAC policy panel hosted last week in DC on the nuclear talks in Baghdad. The panel features top experts and former U.S officials including PJ Crowley (Former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs), Bijan Khajehpour (Iranian Political and Economic Analyst and Chairman of Atieh International), Aaron David Miller (Distinguished Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars), George Perkovich (Director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and moderated by NIAC’s very own, Trita Parsi.

Listen to Part 2 of NIAC’s panel discussion on the Baghdad nuclear talks.

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Part 1: Assessing the Baghdad Nuclear Talks

Last week, the P5+1 met with Iranian officials in Baghdad to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. While many questions were left unanswered, the one known fact is that there will be another round of negotiations on June 18th and 19th in Moscow.  Listen to a NIAC policy panel hosted last week in DC on the nuclear talks in Baghdad. The panel features top experts and former U.S officials including PJ Crowley (Former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs), Bijan Khajehpour (Iranian Political and Economic Analyst and Chairman of Atieh International), Aaron David Miller (Distinguished Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars), George Perkovich (Director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and moderated by NIAC’s very own, Trita Parsi.

Listen to Part 1 of NIAC’s panel discussion on the Baghdad nuclear talks.

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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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