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Let’s Talk Iran

  • 17 May 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Congress, Iran Internet Censorship, Let's Talk Iran, Sanctions

The State of Iran’s Internet Repression

Podcast with Collin AndersonRecently, Collin Anderson, Washington-based Internet researcher  discovered a “Request for Information” or RFI issued by Iran’s Ministry of Information that raised questions about the government’s claims for setting up a “Halal Intranet.” What is the state of Iran’s cyber repression? What is the impact of U.S. sanctions and export controls on Iranian’s access to Internet communication? What can the U.S. government do to counter Iranian government cyber repression? Find out the answers to these questions and more with Collin Anderson.

  • 3 May 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Let's Talk Iran, Uncategorized

Oil Embargo: Third Time’s A Charm?

Sara Vakhshouri - Let's Talk Iran PodcastHow effective is an oil embargo on Iran? Will a third oil embargo bring about change in the Iranian government’s stance on their nuclear program? What are the Iranians doing to prepare in order to prevent their economy from collapsing? What are those countries who used to be consumers of Iranian oil doing to make sure their oil needs are still met? What are the unintended consequences of this embargo? These questions and more are answered by Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, President at SVB Energy and former advisor to the Director of the National Iranian Oil Company International.

  • 19 April 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Iranian American activism, Let's Talk Iran

Cyrus Habib: Candidate for State Representative

In this episode, we had the pleasure of talking with Cyrus Habib, candidate for State Representative in Washington’s 48th district. Cyrus is a technology lawyer and community volunteer who grew up in Bellevue. He’s a former Rhodes Scholar and Yale law graduate who currently serves as a Human Services Commissioner for the city of Bellevue and Trustee of the Bellevue College Foundation. Cyrus’ accomplishments and accolades are numerous, but perhaps what makes his story most compelling is that he achieved all of this despite losing his eye sight at the age of eight and despite being a three time cancer survivor. To learn more about Cyrus, visit

  • 5 April 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Culture, Diplomacy, Israel, Let's Talk Iran, US-Iran War

Building Bridges Between Two Communities

What is often forgotten or ignored in the talks of war with Iran are the two communities who are at the center of many of the debates – the Iranian-American and Jewish-American community. In this episode, we talk with Rabbi Marc Gopin, Director of George Mason University’s Center on Religion, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, on how our two communities can learn from one another and dispel the fears on both sides. Rabbi Gopin focuses on the role of religion and culture in not sparking conflict, but as a critical component to reaching lasting resolutions between peoples and nations.

  • 22 March 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Let's Talk Iran

Do Sanctions Support Democratic Change?

Natasha BahramiSome argue that sanctions will lead to regime change and/or change the course of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Others argue that it does nothing but hurt the Iranian people and weaken the indigenous pro-democracy movement. In the latest episode, we chat with Natasha Bahrami, a foreign policy researcher in D.C., about  the track record of broad economic sanctions and their impact on democratization across the world.  Natasha co-wrote a piece with Trita Parsi in the Boston Review entitled, “Blunt Instrument”, explaining through empirical evidence that sanctions in fact don’t bring about democratization.

  • 7 March 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Culture, Events in Iran, Let's Talk Iran, Uncategorized

Remembering Bam

Jahangir Golestan-ParastIn this episode, we chat with Jahangir Golestan-Parast, producer & director of the documentary film “Bam.6.6”. Nine years after a devastating earthquake struck the ancient city of Bam, this film not only remembers the 40,000 plus victims that were lost but also creates a humanitarian bridge between cultures and breaks down stereotypical images fostered by political agenda.

  • 22 February 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Diplomacy, Let's Talk Iran, US-Iran War

“A Single Roll of the Dice”

In the sixteenth episode of “Let’s Talk Iran”, we sit down with NIAC’s very own Trita Parsi to discuss his latest book, “A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran”.  Trita uncovers the previously unknown story of American and Iranian negotiations during Obama’s early years as president, the calculations behind the two nations’ dealings, and the real reasons for their current stalemate. “A Single Roll of the Dice” is available in hardcover and on Kindle. To learn more about Trita Parsi, visit

  • 9 February 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Culture, Let's Talk Iran

“Bridge to Iran” & Iranian Documentary Film

In this episode, we talk with Parisa Soultani, host of LinkTV’s “Bridge to Iran“, about their Iranian documentary series.

The series fills a knowledge gap by providing Americans with informed, insider’s views on modern Iranian society, through documentaries made by Iranian directors, living both inside Iran and within the Iranian diaspora.

The series kicks off on Tuesday, February 14 with a film by Takmil Homayoun entitled “Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution.”

Visit for more information.

  • 26 January 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Diplomacy, Israel, Let's Talk Iran

Iranian Schindler: Sardari’s Plight to Save Iranian-Jews

We discuss with Fariborz Mohktari, his latest book, “In the Lion’s Shadow”, detailing the work of an Iranian Schindler, Abdol-Hossein Sardari during World War II. Mokhtari tells the story of Sardari and his plight to save Iranian-Jews in France as well as detailing Iran’s international relations during this time. Mokhtari is a Professor of Political Science at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies.

  • 13 January 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Diplomacy, Let's Talk Iran, Uncategorized, US-Iran War

Rising Tensions, Rising Threat?

Presidential GOP candidates calling for war with Iran. Crippling sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank. Assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist. Threats to block the Strait of Hormuz. Sentencing of an American former marine. What does this all mean for U.S.-Iran relations?  We sit down with NIAC’s very own, Reza Marashi (Research Director) to examine the threat of war and potential for diplomacy.

Sign the Petition


7,350 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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