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Posts Tagged ‘ NIAC at the conventions ’

  • 4 September 2008
  • Posted By Babak Talebi
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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!

  • 1 September 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections

NIAC at the Conventions Continued: The RNC

The DNC has come to a close. John McCain has chosen Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential nominee. Half of Washington has just returned from Denver, while the other half is gathered in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. And with that, the RNC is just beginning.

NIAC’s Assistant Legislative Director Patrick Disney and Director of Community Relations Babak Talebi have arrived here in the St. Paul for the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Look for daily updates from the RNC here at niacINsight as the week’s events unfold. From panel discussions on foreign policy, to intimate conversations with policynakers themselves, we’ll have it all for you here.

Kerry to be the next Biden?

You probably noticed that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry had a pretty public role at the convention. This is not only because he was the democratic presidential nominee last time around, it’s also because he’s positioned to be the dem’s next foreign policy authority in Congress.

  • 28 August 2008
  • Posted By Sara Shokravi
  • Presidential 2008 Elections, Uncategorized

The Most Popular Kid…or a Has Been?

The United States is in horrible shape and is in dire need of some serious leadership.  Whoever the next president is, they would have to crawl out of a hole to ground level before reaching the sky.  At least that was the message to the 500 diplomats from 100 countries and 760 students from 12 high schools from around Colorado, which surrounded me.  We were gathered to hear Madeleine Albright and other prominent individuals speak on Enhancing America’s Reputation in the World.

The Rocky Mountain Roundtable was moderated by Tom Brokaw where the panelist painted a desperate picture of America’s foreign policy practices and its current state in the international forum.  According to pollster Geoff Garin even American’s have lost faith in US foreign policy and no longer agree that terrorism and war should be at the top of the agenda.  Instead they believe that the next president needs to focus on the economy and jobs.

  • 28 August 2008
  • Posted By Emily Blout
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections

Obama speech not open to everyone

Its a little past noon, and I’m on my way to Invesco Stadium to get in line to see Obama’s speech tonight. Contrary to what the candidate proclaimed during his surprise appearance at the convention on Wednesday, the event is only quasi-open to the public. While 75,000 tickets have been made available, I’ve talked to die hard supporters and volunteers from out of state who have not been able to secure a ticket to get in.

When Obama declared that everyone could come to see him speak, I was sitting with about thirty supporters congregated around the televison at a hotel near the convention center. They all booed and shook their heads. It was the first time, and likely the last, I’ve seen such as response since I’ve been here.

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.

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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