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  • 26 June 2012
  • Posted By NIAC
  • Afghanistan, Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Israel, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Clinton and Baker on Iran, Israeli strikes, and diplomacy

In an interview with Charlie Rose at the State Department  last Wednesday, June 20, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Former Secretary of State James Baker discussed the role of diplomacy in resolving US- Iranian tensions [watch the interview here, read the transcript here].

Baker said the U.S. must pursue all non-military means to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon, but if those efforts fail, the U.S. would have to “take them out.”   Clinton insisted that diplomatic options for dealing with Iran had not yet been exhausted, and warned that a foreign attack could unify and legitimize the regime. She said,  there are some hardliners in Iran who ” are saying the best thing that could happen to us is be attacked by somebody, just bring it on, because that would unify us, it would legitimize the regime.” Instead of giving the hardliners this credibility, Clinton said of the diplomatic process that the US should “take this meeting by meeting and pursue it as hard as we can” in order to find a peaceful agreement.

  • 22 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: June 22, 2012

Clinton: Iranian Hardliners Believe An Attack Would Boost Regime

In an interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that although  hardliners in Iran are split between two schools of thought, there are those who think, “‘The best thing that could happen to us is be attacked by somebody. Just bring it on because that would unify us. It would legitimize the regime’” (ThinkProgress 6/21).

Chinese Imports of Iranian Oil Rebound

New data indicates Chinese imports of Iranian products increased by 39% in May, as compared to the previous month. Crude imports had been down 25% between the beginning of January and the end of May due to a pricing dispute, but have recovered sharply. However, import levels are still 2.3% lower than last year (WSJ 6/21).

Illegal Exportation to Iran Means 92 Months for NYC Resident

Richard Phillips, 54, of New York, was sentenced to 92 months in prison for agreeing to illegally ship a spool of aerospace-grade carbon fiber to Iran without obtaining an export license (Bloomberg 6/21).

Allegations of Planned Cyber Attack on Iranian Nuclear Facilities

Iranian news sources claimed on Thursday to have discovered a planned “massive cyber attack” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi blamed the US, Israel, and Britain for the planned attack (Reuters 6/21).

Notable Insight: “Iran talks – across the table, a wary stalemate”

Justyna Pawlak and William Maclean of Reuters reflect on first-hand impressions of the mood and culture during the P5+1 talks with Iran in Moscow:

At one time the Iran talks were friendlier, says Peter Jenkins, Britain’s representative to the IAEA from 2001-06, now a partner in a negotiation consultancy, ADRg Ambassadors.

“The E3 political directors got to know them as human beings…We ate together on some occasions and mingled during breaks he said, referring to an EU trio of Germany, France and Britain then leading the talks.

He told Reuters the atmosphere in the talks cooled when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. “The chemistry was awful, like dealing with a Soviet official in the worst days of the Cold War, with no give and take,” he said.

These days, the teams eat separately – a reality that produce the occasional attempt at humor.

In Bagdhad, the Iranian side ran out of main course plates during lunch. An Iranian delegate came over to the area where the teams from the six powers were eating to get some of their plates, and was greeted with a quip that ran along the lines of “you can have them, in return for some movement on 20 percent”.

Read the full article at Reuters

  • 10 November 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • Diplomacy, Events in DC

Clinton Appoints NIAC Advisory Board Member to Senior Iran Post

Amb. John Limbert

Amb. John Limbert Speaking at the NIAC Conference

Cross posted from

Washington, D.C. — The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) applauds the appointment of Ambassador John Limbert as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the US Department of State.

Amb. Limbert, who served on NIACs Board of Advisors up until his appointment, is a decorated career US diplomat who has previously held posts in Iraq, Mauritania and Guinea, in addition to holding several senior positions in Washington with the State Department. Amb. Limbert is currently Distinguished Professor of International Affairs at the US Naval Academy.

Amb. Limbert is one country’s foremost experts on Iranian issues. He began his career in the 1960s as a Peace Corps volunteer and an English instructor at Shiraz University. In 1979, Amb. Limbert was held hostage in the American Embassy in Tehran for fourteen months. A fluent Persian speaker, Limbert will be a vital asset to the United States throughout the continuing negotiations and conversations with the Iranian government.

“The Obama administration has declared that they want to find a new future with the people of Iran,” said Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council. “With Limbert in the State Department tasked to complete that vision, history will be completed: A person who stood at the center of US-Iran relations when they broke down 30 years ago, will lead the efforts to restore the broken ties.”

The day before getting sworn in, Amb. Limbert spoke at a conference hosted by NIAC on Capitol Hill, along with other senior US diplomats and experts on US-Iran relations. Amb. Limbert stressed the importance of patience and persistence in the ongoing negotiations, and argued that productive discussions on the fate of Iran’s nuclear program could also allow the United States to press Tehran on its human rights record.

“There are few people in the United States that know Iran as well as Amb. Limbert,” Parsi said. “He’s not only expert on Iranian foreign policy, but also on Iranian poetry, which matters a lot. I can’t think of anyone more suitable for this job.”

Amb. Limbert has frequently spoken at NIAC events and fundraisers. NIAC welcomes this appointment and wishes Amb. Limbert the best of luck in tackling the complex issues that lie ahead in finding a better future for the peoples of Iran and the US.

Still waiting…

Despite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks about a turn towards “cooperation” with the West about its nuclear program, Iran seems to have once again managed to stall the process.  Reports have been varied in their interpretation of Iran’s response to the nuclear deal drafted two weeks ago with the IAEA.

The IAEA reported that Iran gave an “initial response.” The New York Times reported Iran refused the deal, “according to diplomats in Europe and American officials briefed on Iran’s response.”

A senior European official characterized the Iranian response as “basically a refusal.” The Iranians, he said, want to keep all of their lightly enriched uranium in the country until receiving fuel bought from the West for the reactor in Tehran.

“The key issue is that Iran does not agree to export its lightly enriched uranium,” the official said. “That’s not a minor detail. That’s the whole point of the deal.”

AFP reported that Iran’s state IRNA news agency said Iran wants more talks on procuring nuclear fuel for its Tehran reactor before it would give a final reply on the nuclear deal at hand.

Regardless, this is the second week after the deal was drafted. One deadline has passed, which we must keep in mind was only a couple of days after the deal was proposed. Today the Iranian government seems to have managed not to ink a deal while keeping talks afloat.  (Literally.  Iran’s response to the IAEA was reportedly not even written down…)  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier that she wants to “let the process play out.”


“We are working to determine exactly what they are willing to do, whether this was an initial response that is an end response or whether it’s the beginning of getting to where we expect them to end up,” Agence France-Presse quoted her as saying.

Analysts and officials did not expect this process of negotiating with Iran to be quick and easy, and so far it has been frustrating. Expectations have fluctuated during these ongoing talks about what sort of progress can/will be made on the nuclear issue.  Iranian officials are going to have to start showing what compromise they are willing to make, not on their rights to a civilian nuclear program, but yes, compromise in the form of security assurances and some form of confidence building. Engaging the international community with this nuclear deal would not diminish Iran’s prestige or its standing in the world; but the Iranian government is certainly under mounting pressure whether it chooses to acknowledge it or not.  Further, both sides cannot endlessly withhold some compromise with the other side in these negotiations because of mistrust.

Again, we must bear in mind these talks only began at the start of October, certainly not enough to call it a day on unprecedented negotiations. NSN sums this up neatly in their piece: “Diplomacy a Process, Not a One-Shot Deal”

Even if this nuclear deal had already been accepted by Iran, that would only be a part of a broader set of arrangements that need to be made in the long term–agreements for robust transparency and monitoring, for one thing–not the end game. The process should not be derailed by the difficulties of achieving progress on this first step of what will be an ongoing, long-term commitment for all parties to the negotiations.

  • 5 May 2008
  • Posted By Arash Hadjialiloo
  • Diplomacy, Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections, US-Iran War

Rhetoric Continues to Reign Supreme

It appears that rhetoric is the most resilient weed in the US-Iran diplomacy garden. Despite several rounds of both Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama attacking President Bush’s “saber rattling,” Clinton has not been able to avoid falling back on the tough talk when in a pinch.

In her appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America on April 22, Senator Clinton said that she would respond in kind to an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel and that the United States could “totally obliterate” Iran in the process. She defended this statement yesterday in an appearance on ABC’s This Week.

  • 21 April 2008
  • Posted By John Einarsen
  • Diplomacy, Presidential 2008 Elections, US-Iran War

Presidential Candidates Express Views on Iran

The Democratic debate on April 16 marked the first time Iran has been discussed in a presidential debate since October of last year. The event demonstrated that US-Iran relations are no longer an issue that can be swept under the rug. The candidates’ commentary shed light on an issue that remains on the backburner despite its increasing importance. When asked about her strategy for security in the Middle East, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) responded, “I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel.”

  • 5 March 2008
  • Posted By Daniel Robinson
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections

Clinton Stages Comeback; McCain Wraps up Nomination

Hillary Clinton staged a surprising comeback in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and John McCain is now the presumptive nominee, having reached the required delegate threshhold.

What does this mean for the race going forward? Follow me below for a quick preview.

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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