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Posts Tagged ‘ Norooz ’

  • 21 March 2012
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • Sanctions

Obama Norooz promise a good step, more needed to ensure U.S. not part of “Electronic Curtain”

Yesterday, President Obama released his Norooz message, which has now become an annual White House tradition marking the Iranian New Year.  Thankfully, these messages have actually come with some real substance.  In his  2010 message, Obama promised to increase opportunities for young Iranians to study at American universities, and he followed through by implementing a new multiple entry visa for Iranian students.  This year, he used the opportunity to announce much needed reforms to existing U.S. sanctions that have inadvertently contributed to Internet censorship in Iran.

NIAC praised the move–we have supported legislation in the past to do away with the entire process of licensing for Internet communication tools and services, which errs on the side of restricting and undermining the open exchange of information in Iran.  We’ve argued that opening the floodgates for Iranians to access outside technology is the best way to help Iranians overwhelm and counter government censorship–an open source solution to the problem.

Another important reason to allow applications like Java to be available to Iranians is that, without access to security patches and updated versions of the software, Iranian Internet users are far more susceptible to trojan horses and worms–which the so-called Iranian Cyber Army is well aware of and reportedly exploits.

So, while yesterday’s move was definitely a positive one, we also noted that more needs to be done to ensure U.S. sanctions don’t continue to help disconnect Iranians from the Internet, and to ensure access to satellite Internet and other services, software, and hardware are not blocked by sanctions for ordinary Iranians.  We also point out that the onus is also now on companies (such as GoDaddy, Google, DropBox, Skype, and Oracle) to make their services and software available in Iran.

  • 22 March 2010
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • Culture

Open Letter to Congressmen Miller and Posey on their refusal to wish the Iranian people a Happy Norooz

Cross posted from the Huffington Post

Last week, Congress took the unprecedented step to recognize the Iranian New Year, Norooz. The House passed resolution H.Res.267, sponsored by Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) and wished the Iranian-American community, as well as the Iranian people, a happy New Year. The resolution was as uncontroversial as could be – just a sign of America’s humanity. Oddly enough though, two lawmakers from Florida, Congressmen Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Bill Posey (R-FL), chose to vote against it, effectively stating that they don’t wish 300 million Norooz celebrators worldwide a happy new year.

At the National Iranian American Council, we were very dismayed by this decision and decided to reach out to the Florida lawmakers in the hopes that they wouldn’t punish the Iranian people for the errors of the Iranian government. The text of the letter is below.

  • 20 March 2010
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Diplomacy, Human Rights in Iran

President Obama’s Norooz Message

Today, I want to extend my best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz in the United States and around the world. On this New Year’s celebration, friends and family have a unique opportunity to reflect on the year gone by; to celebrate their time together; and to share in their hopes for the future.

One year ago, I chose this occasion to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to offer a new chapter of engagement on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect. I did so with no illusions. For three decades, the United States and Iran have been alienated from one another. Iran’s leaders have sought their own legitimacy through hostility to America. And we continue to have serious differences on many issues.

Continue Reading Below the Fold – Click here for the Persian version (pdf)

  • 18 March 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Congress, Culture

Updated: Senate to Introduce Norooz Resolution Today

4/19/10 2pm Update:

The Norooz Resolution was introduced this morning. With your help, we have garnered the support of Senators Boxer (D-CA), Webb (D-VA), McCain (R-AZ), Kaufman (D-DE), Merkley (D-OR), Burris (D-IL), Lieberman (I-CT), Levin (D-MI), Brown (D-OH), Byrd (D-WV), Klobuchar (D-MN), Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Hatch (R-UT).

You can read the Senate Resolution here.

Let’s get this passed! Write your Senators to ask them to support the Norooz Resolution or to thank them for their support!


Tell Your Senators to Become a Cosponsor Today!

Fresh off the heels of the House of Representatives’ historic vote to pass the Norooz Resolution, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are planning to introduce a Norooz Resolution in the Senate today! The resolution would confer U.S. Senate recognition upon Norooz for the first time in history!

To build off our recent success in the House, NIAC has been working with Senators Menendez and Cornyn to ensure the Norooz Resolution has broad, bipartisan support to move through the Senate.

Similar to the House resolution, the Senate Norooz Resolution commemorates the Iranian New Year, celebrates Iran’s rich cultural traditions, expresses appreciation to Iranian Americans for their contributions to society, and wishes Iranian Americans and the Iranian people a prosperous new year.

With a Senate Norooz Resolution, both bodies of Congress are poised to recognize the Iran New Year. Congress honoring one of our most cherished traditions is a true testament to the growing strength of Iranian-American voices in the American political system.

But we must act soon to encourage our Senators to support this measure. Send a letter today to your Senator wishing them a happy Norooz and urging them to sign on as a cospsonsor of the Senate Norooz Resolution!

  • 15 March 2010
  • Posted By NIAC
  • Culture, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Yeah, not so much…. Nice try though.

The Supreme Leader on Sunday called for Iranians to shun Chaharshanbeh Souri, deeming it “void of religious roots and cause of great harm and corruption.” Chaharshanbeh Souri takes place on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year (tomorrow night), preceding Norooz and Saleh Tahveel (the Spring Equinox marking the New Year). More from Radio Zamaneh via Payvand News:

This fire festival… is an ancient Iranian pagan festival which involves the building of bonfires and symbolic gestures and chants that summon the fire to burn all sickness and lend its energy to a healthy new year.

A number of Shiite clerics have described the event “superstitious” and called for its dismantlement.

Iranian opposition forces have announced that they will take part in the events of the last Wednesday Eve of the year, which falls on March 16, and use it as an opportunity to reaffirm their protests against the current government which they claim has come to power through election fraud last June.

And from AFP via Yahoo! News:

Iranians celebrate the fire festival by lighting bonfires in public places on the night before the last Wednesday and leaping over the flames shouting “Sorkhiye to az man, Zardiye man az to (Give me your redness and I will give you my paleness).”

Some clerics see the ritual as heretical fire worshipping, although it has been marked in Iran for centuries and, like the Persian New Year itself and some other ancient rituals, has survived the advent of Islam.

For thousands of years Iranians have celebrated these holidays through thick and thin. No matter what culture or religion was thrust upon them by foreign invaders, they maintained their New Year festivals. Even those in the Diaspora have continued the celebrations abroad.

They’re not going to stop now.

  • 13 March 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Culture

Stephen Colbert decries the commercialization of Norooz!

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2211114&w=425&h=350&fv=autoPlay%3Dfalse]

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.



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