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  • 7 February 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 3 Comments
  • MEK, US-Iran War

Palin Parrots Pipes on Iran

Following her keynote address to the national Tea Party Convention yesterday, Sarah Palin added fuel to the the flames of speculation about her possible bid for the presidency in 2012.  During an interview with her now-employer Fox News, Palin was asked her opinion about President Obama’s chances for reelection:

If the election were today, “I do not think Obama would be re-elected,” she said. But he has a chance if he gets “tough” on terrorism, she added. “Say he played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran, or decided to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years.”

Forgetting for a moment that it is the Congress, not the President, that is empowered with the authority to declare war, this is a pretty brash statement, even for Palin.  It is rare that a public figure would call for military action against Iran so explicity — and to call for such drastic action as a purely political ploy breaks an even stronger taboo in Washington circles. 

So it cannot be a coincidence that Palin’s advice to President Obama comes just days after prominent anti-Islam activist Daniel Pipes wrote nearly the identical thing in the National Review.  “How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran” was the title of the article, which my colleague Jamal picked apart well enough that I don’t have to here.  But I thought it interesting that Palin would so casually align herself on foreign policy issues — by all accounts her political Achilles Heel — with such a divisive figure as Pipes. 

  • 13 November 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 8 Comments
  • MEK, Neo-Con Agenda

NIAC Stands by its Record of Pursuing Peace Through Diplomacy

The following statement was issued by NIAC in response to today’s article in the Washington Times:

Washington DC – NIAC is proud of its work to advance US national security through a smarter and more effective policy on Iran. NIAC rejects the insinuations made by Washington Times that its activities are in violation of tax laws, the Foreign Agents Registration Act and lobbying disclosure laws.

NIAC has provided tens of thousands of documents and all its financial records in order to prosecute a defamation case against Hassan Dai. Those documents prove the allegations made against NIAC are completely false. The judge denied Dai’s motion to dismiss the case on 18 out of 19 counts. Realizing this, the defendants have decided to maliciously leak those documents to a reporter at the Washington Times, Eli Lake, in an attempt to litigate the case in the media rather than in a court of law.

NIAC is a 501 (c)3 educational organization representing Americans of Iranian descent. It engages in educational, advocacy and limited lobbying activities in accordance with US laws and regulations. NIAC does not lobby on behalf of the Islamic Republic. NIAC advocates on behalf of the Iranian-American community, who overwhelmingly oppose the policies of the government of Iran.

Mr. Lake’s article does not present any evidence for any of its claims and stops short of making any direct accusations. Instead, it makes insinuations and engages in conspiratorial speculation, presumably with the aim of sowing seeds of doubt in the minds of the public about NIAC and fabricating a controversy around the organization.

This follows by now a familiar pattern in which neo-conservative activists have sought to smear and defame NIAC by making accusations, innuendos and speculation, without providing any evidence to back their claims.

In fact, evidence is to the contrary. Why would Ambassador John Limbert, a former hostage imprisoned for 444 days by the government in Iran, join the advisory board of an organization that supposedly represents the interests of the very same government that imprisoned him? This claim is illogical at best and ludicrous at worst.

Mr. Lake has selectively focused on emails and documents that fit with his pre-determined verdict against NIAC. Though the basis of Lake’s article is misinformation about NIAC provided by Hassan Dai, Lake did not ask a single question about our lawsuit, why it was filed, our understanding of Dai’s political motivations and Dai’s connections to the Iranian terrorist organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq.  NIAC encouraged Lake to investigate the evidence of Dai’s role in the Mujahedin-e Khalq. However, Lake declined to investigate his own sources.

It is clear that some neo-conservative elements wish to divide the Iranian Diaspora at a time when unity is needed more than ever for the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people to be achieved. While some prominent figures in the Iranian Diaspora have misunderstood NIAC’s activities, we are reaching out to them and we refuse to walk into this trap of pitting members of the community against each other.

NIAC has given the Iranian-American community a powerful voice in Washington DC that has effectively pushed for greater focus on human rights in Iran, opposed war between the US and Iran, opposed broad-based sanctions that hurt the Iranian people while strengthening its hard-line government, and supported diplomacy between the two countries to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner.

  • 30 July 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 8 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009, MEK, UN, US-Iran War

John Bolton *still wants to bomb Iran

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The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night featured former Bush Administration UN Ambassador John Bolton, who is now a senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC.  Bolton has been busy lately, penning op-eds on the need for harsh action against Iran, lest Tehran obtain a nuclear weapon and destroy Israel and the United States.

Aside from his bizarrely enthusiastic support for what he calls “Iranian dissidents” (based on his description, it’s clear he means the MEK), Bolton laments the fact that to this day neither Israel nor the United States has “stepped up” to attack Iran militarily.  He tries to depict his recommendation as the product of a rational calculation, and even goes so far as to call his conclusion regrettable; but his eagerness to attack Iran comes across on television as bloodlust, plain and simple.

And as if that weren’t brazen enough (though it did remind us all why we’re not exactly nostalgic for his term at the United Nations), he finished the segment with a flippant comment about how he wishes the United States were the only nuclear-armed country in the world.  Our friend Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund took that one on over at the HuffingtonPost, articulating how Bolton’s joke was as unwise as it was unfunny.

With all the unrest in Iran over the last few weeks, and the disturbing images that have been coming out of the country, at least we can find some comfort in the fact that no one but the most fringe elements in the neoconservative camp take any of these arguments seriously.  Small comfort.

  • 28 July 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, MEK

Breaking: Iraqi military storms MEK camp

From AFP:

Iraqi army storms Iran opposition camp, scores wounded

By Ali Al-Tuwaijri (AFP) – 2 hours ago

BAQUBA, Iraq — At least 150 people were wounded in clashes on Tuesday when the Iraqi army stormed the base for Iran’s main armed opposition in exile, security officials and a camp resident said.

The seizure of Camp Ashraf, which was disarmed by the United States in 2003 and surrounded by American forces until recently, comes after months of a tense stand-off at the base north of Baghdad.

The offensive followed a statement by the People’s Mujahedeen that it was ready to return to Iran if the authorities there would guarantee its members would not be abused.

  • 21 June 2009
  • Posted By Michelle Moghtader
  • 13 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009, MEK

The Danger of Hijacked Rallies

State-run TV in Iran is showing demonstrations in other countries such as the US, however with some serious editing. They are not broadcasting the majority of people standing and shouting in solidarity with people in Iran. Rather, they show images of demonstrators who shout, “Death to the Islamic Republic,” while they hold pre-1979 flags of Iran which have come to symbolize the monarchy. Even worse, they show rallies organized by the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran now known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI,MKO, MEK, or PMOI), who are on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations as they have killed Americans and Iranians alike.

State run TV goes on to make statements along the lines of, “These are the organizations which are supporting the ‘rioters’ and ‘terrorists’ that fill the streets of Tehran.” As a contact in Iran said,

The only concern that we have now is the bloody Rajavis (MEK), who now want to benefit from the situation. They are definitely helping the dictators. They are only giving more reasons for cracking down the people. May God protect us all.

  • 29 May 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • MEK

Newsweek: Isfahan Diary–the terrorist victim

If you haven’t seen it yet, the current edition of Newsweek is full of great material on Iran, including Fareed Zakaria’s piece: “What You Know About Iran is Wrong,” which you should go read right now.

Also, ther website has a couple of very powerful videos on Iran, including this one about Zeinolabedin Hassanzadeh, an innocent victim of the MEK’s terrorist attacks in the early 80’s who now sees a double standard in how the West deals with terrorist groups.

click on the video to begin:

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  • 23 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, MEK

Hillary Mann Leverett on Iran’s offer: bin Ladin son for MEK

Check out Hillary Mann Leverett’s extremely inciteful post over at the Washington Note about the Iran-Saad bin Ladin connection.

On Saturday, the New York Times and other media outlets reported on a statement from Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell that Saad bin Ladin, one of Osama bin Laden’s sons, had left “house arrest” in Iran and is now in Pakistan.

McConnell’s statement underscores the message of my last post — that there have been real strategic costs imposed on U.S. interests by the Bush Administration’s brain dead approach to dealing with Iran. Moreover, the poor quality of the mainstream media’s reporting on McConnell’s statement reflects a distorted and by-now deeply ingrained view of what happened in our interactions with Iran about Al Qaida. If incoming President Obama and his administration are really serious about putting U.S.-Iranian relations on a more positive trajectory, they must be prepared to challenge the misleading assumptions and assertions that warp public discussion of our Iran policy.

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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