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Posts Tagged ‘ Democracy ’

  • 1 September 2011
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Culture, Human Rights in Iran, Let's Talk Iran

Promoting Global Solidarity & Peace through Art

Iara Lee is filmmaker, activist, and Director of In 2008, Iara lived in Iran and supported a number of cultural exchange projects between Iran and the West with the goal of using arts & culture for peaceful democratic change within Iran.

Iara was spoke with us about her time in Iran and her insight on how creative art is being used as an initiative for change within Iran.

  • 5 November 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Congress, Human Rights in Iran, Iranian American activism

Texas Rep. Introduces Resolution Supporting Iranian People’s Struggle for Rights

Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) has introduced a resolution expressing continued support for the Iranian people as they stand up for freedom, human rights, and fundamental elements of democracy.  The legislation, H.Res. 888, “condemns the brutal suppression of the Iranian people through censorship, imprisonment, and continued acts of violence” and calls on the international community to maintain robust communication with the Iranian people via the media, the Internet, and telecommunications.

Rep. Granger, as a founding member of the Trans-Atlantic Parliamentary Group, is also coordinating with members of the European Union Parliament and the Canadian Parliament to introduce similar resolutions in their respective bodies.  Thus, the initiative transcends any one country or government, uniting an coalition of nations in support of the principles Iranians are standing up to defend: those of freedom, human rights, and fundamental elements of democracy.

If these are principles that you support as well, ask your member of Congress to support H.Res. 888.

  • 7 October 2009
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • Culture, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Ebadi: ‘Iran’s women are not afraid’

In a column published in the UK’s Guardian, human rights attorney and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi declares unequivocally that Iran’s women are strong in their convictions and unafraid of facing an oppressive government. Excerpts are below but the full column can be read here.

Iran today is a country where women are more educated than their male compatriots; more than 60% of university students are female, as are many university professors.

In governments, women have often held senior positions. Even the health minister in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet is a woman. All this is proof that women have managed to rise within the ranks of the fundamentalists.

And yet despite the cultural, social and historical heritage of Iranian women, the Islamic Republic has imposed discriminatory regulations against them.

She then proceeds to outline how the cards are stacked against women but states:

The laws imposed on Iranian women are incompatible with their status and, consequently, the equality movement is very strong. Although lacking a leader, headquarters, or branches, the movement is located in the home of any Iranian who believes in equal rights for men and women.

Ebadi also discusses the One Million Signatures Campaign for gender equality, a peaceful form of protest that the Iranian government has “refused to tolerate.” Many of the campaigners have been prosecuted and “deprived of basic social rights,” including being restricted from traveling freely and emigrating from the country. She concludes by stating equality will prevail only in a truly democratic system of government:

These convictions, however, have not dampened the women’s determination in their struggle for equality. Following the June presidential elections, women of all ages took part in demonstrations against the official results.

Women are at the forefront of this struggle, well aware that they will obtain equality only within a truly democratic political order.

  • 30 June 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iranians have to find their own course

Cross Posted from the Cincinnati Enquirer
By R.K. Ramazani, Member of NIAC’s Board of Advisors

President Obama should not take sides in the political crisis in Iran. His critics are wrong in faulting him for not siding with the demonstrators and for not standing for the American value of freedom.

Freedom, after all, is not the only core value of the American Republic. Along with liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the American Declaration of Independence also embodies the value of life.

With more than a dozen Iranian protesters already dead, Obama is trying both to protect innocent lives and advance political freedom for Iranians. He realizes that siding with the demonstrators likely would provoke even greater bloodshed.

The tension between internal freedom and external independence in Iran’s history has persisted because no balance between the two has yet been struck. The current movement protesting the results of the recent presidential election tries to resolve it.

Aspirations for freedom have ebbed and flowed in Iran’s modern history four times:

  • 30 April 2008
  • Posted By Shadee Malaklou
  • Events in DC, Panel Discussion

Carnegie’s “Junior Fellows” conference looks at new models of government

“[Liberal Democracy] is where the world was, not where it is going.” –Daniel Patrick Moynihan

At yesterday’s Junior Fellows Conference at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, one thing was clear: The moment for democracy has passed.

Democracy, as a Western, American export has long died in its appeal. According to panelists with expertise from all over the world, including China, Russia, and Bangladesh, the world is currently in a “reverse” democratic wave, where other government models, like semi-authoritarian ones, are gaining support.

The keynote address was delivered by National Endowment for Democracy President, Carl Gershman. He, along with panelist Marina Ottaway, Director of Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Program, both made points about Iran.

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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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