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Iranian Americans play active role in 2008 election

America.gov, a US State Department publication for international audiences, published this report on the unprecedented level of Iranian-American involvement in the current election, including interviews with NIAC, PAAIA, IABA, and others. 

From America.gov’s Beverly O’Neal:

Los Angeles — Iranian Americans are well-integrated into their communities and are eager to have their voices heard in the 2008 presidential election, according to several Iranian-American organizations.

“Whether it’s volunteering for a campaign, leading fundraising efforts, organizing voter registration drives or get-out-the-vote efforts, Iranian Americans are in the thick of things in this election like never before,” Patrick Disney, assistant legislative director of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council (NIAC), told America.gov.

Full article below the fold…

  • 5 September 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections

A Day in the Life…

Now that the convention proceedings are finished, things are markedly slowed down for everyone here in Minnesota, and we have time to go into some details we may have missed in earlier posts.  If you’ve never attended a major party’s convention, let me give you an idea of what’s involved for the most dedicated participants:

  • 4 September 2008
  • Posted By Babak Talebi
  • 0 Comments
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections

In the Convention Hall During McCain’s Speech

We are sitting in the convention hall and so far 3 different protesters have unfurled signs and yelled at Sen. McCain, only to be drowned out by chants of “USA!”

Honestly though, the audience seems very listless with only about 1/3rd standing during most applause lines. The loudest applause came when McCain said the words ‘Palin’, ‘Bush’, or ‘Petreaus’.

Oh, by the way. I’m sitting next to Paul Reickhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Update: “Drill, baby drill!!” Loudest chant so far

  • 4 September 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Presidential 2008 Elections

Republicans Stepping Up and Falling in Line Behind Strong Ticket

After last night’s fireworks from the ad-libbing Rudy Giuliani and everyone’s new favorite star Sarah Palin, the Republicans in the Twin Cities are flying high. Paying no attention to the protestors amassing outside the police barricades, party loyalists are working themselves up to a fevered pitch in support of their candidate.

The energy and excitement has really picked up since Gov. Palin’s speech last night. Those who once questioned the choice of the relatively unknown governor from Alaska are now enthusiastically falling in line. And the combination of her reputation for reform plus McCain’s image as a maverick is shaping up to be a formidable challenge in what many thought would be the Democrats’ year.

There are about 60 days left before the election, and regardless of what the polls say, I expect this election to be one to remember.

  • 3 September 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 2 Comments
  • Presidential 2008 Elections

A Few Thoughts from the Convention Floor

We’re here inside the XCel Center listening to the packed lineup of speakers at the RNC, and boy is it a night full of fireworks. One after another, Republican heavyweights are stepping up and knocking one-liners out of the park.

Tonight is shaping up to be about conservatism, hard-hitting politics, and big-time campaigning for the McCain-Palin ticket.

Former Governors Romney and Huckabee backed up their conservative street cred with their speeches, possibly alluding to another presidential run for them both in 2012. Later comes Keynote Speaker Rudy Giuliani and VP nominee Sarah Palin.

But expect most or all of them to hit Sen. Obama hard on his foreign policy inexperience, his recent attacks on Sarah Palin, and his liberalism on important Republican issues like terrorism, energy, and taxes.

The entire convention is waiting to see what the newly-crowned Princess of the Republican Party will bring to the floor. Watching her opening acts, she has a tough act to follow. But the rumor going around from the advanced text of her remarks, she may just be up for the task!

  • 3 September 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Presidential 2008 Elections

NIAC at the RNC: Day Two Begins!

Today’s events for us here in Minneapolis started with a presentation by The Israel Project on a new, but clearly flawed poll on Americans’ views of attacking Iran. For info about the poll, see our article here.

Straight from there, we went to a reception put on by Human Rights First in which former National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke about the need for humane treatment of prisoners. According to them and a handful of other prominent retired generals who spoke very eloquently about the subject: torture is ineffective, unreasonable to ask of our young men and women, and unworthy of America.

I think it is safe to say that it is because of Sen. John McCain’s being the Republican nominee and his harrowing story as a POW in Vietnam that make such an event as this possible here at the RNC.

From here, we’ll head to a few more receptions and later the convention center to see tonight’s proceedings. Stay tuned for more from the Twin Cities!

Do you know your neighbor?

Last night, NIAC held an informal meet and greet where members of the community were welcomed to come by to meet NIAC staff and ask questions and discuss any issues on their mind.  Between the hours of 7-9 pm, Iranian-American Denver residents dropped in at their own convenience to say hello and talk politics.

During the meeting I was amazed to find out that there are approximately 4,000 to 10,000 Iranians in Colorado!  The large difference in the numbers is mainly due to a lack of accurate data since the last census was taken.  The 2000 U.S. Census places the overall Iranian number far lower than what is commonly predicted and Iranians are constantly growing in numbers. Hence, speculation often tends to range from the very low to the very high.

My amazement at the discovery of the numbers in Colorado came at the fact that we don’t know we exist!  We all know about Tehrangeles and New York and some other key locations Iranian Americans have chosen to migrate to, but we’re not too sure about our own neighbors.

Regardless, I am impressed by the large numbers and the apparent vibrant community here.  The individuals that we had an opportunity to meet with are well informed and very much aware of the political environment.  All in all, our informal event was well received and well attended.  Thanks to all of those who chose to take an hour or two of their evening to join us for an informal chit chat session!

To be or not to be: what is your identity?

Soldiers crowding the streets, strapped with imaginary guns, make their way through the city as they reenact combat as if they are on the streets of Baghdad.  Military veterans from Iraq are only few of the many groups in Denver, here to make a statement.  Everybody here has a message, whether in suits and in formal panels, or in dreadlocks and on the streets.  But it is obvious what the big issues are: everything!  Oil dependency, the economy, poverty, environment, race/gender/ethnicity/religious issues, women’s issues, healthcare, foreign policy, to name a few and all of them with their own long list of subcategories.

  • 27 August 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 12 Comments
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections, US-Iran War

McCain ad hits Obama on Iran

In the most focused ad of the 2008 Presidential election dealing with Iran, Sen. McCain comes out swinging at Sen. Obama’s approach to Iran. The McCain campaign has said it will run the ad in key states in the coming weeks.

Though NIAC does not endorse or oppose candidates, we feel it is important to show what the candidates are saying about Iran. We would like to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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more about “McCain ad hits Obama on Iran“, posted with vodpod
  • 21 August 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections, US-Iran War

If only that text message comes soon…

Guest post by Goudarz Eghtedari, Ph.D.

NIAC is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 c(3), and therefore does not endorse candidates for political office.  The following article should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any candidate for any office, and reflects solely the personal opinion of the author.

By the time you read this, you might have already heard who the actual VP is on Senator Obama’s ticket.  And I’ll bet a dollar to a doughnut that there is a good chance that my phone will ring early morning, like two million other phones to say that Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee for the Vice Presidency of the United States of America.

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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