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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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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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  • 3 May 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • 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.

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  • 7 March 2012
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • 0 Comments
  • Uncategorized

Daily Show on the Iran war bluster

Obama wasn’t the only one to take on the Iran war saber rattling yesterday.  The Daily Show was also on fire last night…

  • 7 March 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • 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.

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  • 25 January 2012
  • Posted By Sheyda Monshizadeh-Azar
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up, Uncategorized

Iran News Roundup 01/25

Will Israel Attack Iran?

New York Times magazine will run a cover story on whether an Israeli strike on Iran is imminent. According to the author, Ronen Bergman, “After speaking with many senior Israeli leaders and chiefs of the military and the intelligence, I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012” (New York Times Magazine 01/25).

Bergman is “one of a small circle of heavyweights in the Israeli media who spend a significant amount of time with the politicians, spies and generals who are going to make the ultimate decision” says Julian Borger in the Guardian.  But, he notes, Jeffrey Goldberg–who wrote an Atlantic cover story predicting Israel would strike Iran in 2011–thinks that Bergman’s assessment may be premature and that many of the officials quoted in Bergman’s piece are the same ones who convinced Goldberg that 2011 would be the year Israel would strike Iran.  Borger says, “Clearly, Israeli has a motive in conveying the impression that an attack might be imminent, to stir up urgency in the West to confront Iran. (The Guardian 01/25)

Iran to debate bill that would see an immediate halt to all European oil exports 

Iran may preempt a EU ban on Iranian oil, which will not go into effect for six months to avoid a cut off during peak winter months and to allow European states to find new suppliers. But Iran may decide to stop its European exports immediately.  “Many Iranian lawmakers and officials have called for an immediate ban on oil exports to the European bloc before its ban fully goes into effect in July, arguing that the 27 EU nations account for only about 18 percent of Iran’s overall oil sales and would be hurt more by the decision than Iran.” (Washington Post 01/25)

  • 13 January 2012
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • 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.

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  • 5 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • Uncategorized

Iran News Roundup 01/05

Sanctions watch

Turkish energy ministry official said that Turkey would seek a waiver from the U.S. in order to exempt its biggest refiner Tupras from new U.S. sanctions. Turkey gets about 30 percent of its oil from Iran (Reuters 01/04).

Meanwhile, A senior Iranian oil official has said that Iran has alternatives to keep oil exports up if the European Union decides to prohibit imports of Iranian crude oil (Reuters 01/04).

A State department spokesperson welcomed the European Union’s statement that it agrees in principle to an oil embargo on Iranian oil imports (Guardian 01/04). Meanwhile,

China analysts say that, in the event of a European embargo, China crude purchases will remain motivated by commercial, not political, interests and so it is unlikely to make up for lost Iranian exports. (Christian Science Monitor 01/05). China will reduce crude oil imports from Iran for a second straight month as China presses for better payment terms (Reuters 01/05).

Iran’s fuel rod

Former IAEA deputy director general Olli Heinonen assesses that Iran’s production of its first nuclear fuel rod, which he says would be used at the planed Arak heavy water reactor–not the Tehran Research Reactor, may indeed present diplomatic opportunities for the P5+1 to pursue with Iran.

Iran News Roundup 01/04

Daylight between Romney and Santorum on war with Iran?

GOP candidate Mitt Romney, responding to Rick Santorum’s rhetoric regarding strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, said that he does not want to threaten any “specific action right now,” in regards to Iran, but endorses military options (Think Progress 01/03).

Santorum has said he would order airstrikes on Iran if the country was going to acquire nuclear weapons, but reasoned to Glen Beck that this was an effort to prevent war (Think Progress 01/04).

Meanwhile, IPS reports that President Obama believes the U.S. could distance itself from Israeli strikes on Iran (IPS 01/03).

And White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the latest threats made by Iran concerning naval operations in the Persian Gulf indicates that “Tehran is under increasing pressure for its continued failure to live up to its international obligations,” and “is isolated and seeking to divert attention from its domestic problems” (The Hill 01/03).

Nuclear rod will not bring Iran closer to nuclear capability

Experts say that Iran’s recent claim that it has developed and tested it’s first nuclear rod will not bring Iran any closer to having atomic bombs (Reuters 01/04).

Meanwhile, a Russian defense official, responding to a series of tests conducted by Ira near the Strait of Hormuz, said that Iran has no long-range missiles (AFP 01/03).

Iranian political activist’s message leaked

A well-known Iranian political activist, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, has recorded a video from inside Iran’s infamous Rajayishahr prison dismissing Iran’s repressive measures aimed at silencing dissent and predicts they will ultimately fail (Rferl 01/03).

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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