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Iran: What Obama Must Do About Iran, Iranian Elections & For the Iranian People

Washington – The National Iranian American Council welcomes President Obama’s condemnation of human rights abuses by the Iranian government and its use of violence against peaceful protesters.

“I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost,” President Barack Obama said today.

According to Trita Parsi, President of NIAC, “condemning violence is different from taking sides in Iran’s election dispute. People in Iran have told NIAC’s Iranian-American membership that they don’t want the US to get itself involved in the conflict, but they do want to see the government’s use of violence condemned.”

Calls by Republican lawmakers to explicitly side with a specific candidate or movement in Iran can be extremely harmful to that candidate or movement. “If our intention is to help, we have to first listen to the people in Iran rather than to pretend to speak for them without ever having had consulted with them,” Parsi added.

Yesterday, Parsi published an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor pointing out that the Obama administration’s new posture towards Iran has enabled internal Iranian dynamics to bring about the current stand-off. “If America’s posture returns to that of the Bush administration, these indigenous forces for change may be quelled by the forces of fear and ultranationalism,” he wrote.

www.PaulFDavis.com – author of United States of Arrogance and worldwide speaker for peace & strategic foreign diplomacy

Paul interviewed Dr. Trita Parsi in Washington DC in January 2008 and was greatly impressed with the intellectual prowess and wisdom of the President of the National Iranian American Council. Parsi is also the author of “Treacherous Alliance” an insightful and powerful read on the relations of Israel, America and Iran. 

The last thing the United States (a nation currently in debt $10 trillion dollars) needs is another war to fight considering it has not done too well in Afghanistan and Iraq. Had the Bush administration wisely gone into Pakistan early on as it should have and not redirected foolishly to Iraq, then U.S. troops might not be overburdened throughout the world …which in turn would cause them to be positioned to go into Iran if necessary. But with the current state of affairs (no thanks to the U.S. State Dept which seems to be a pawn on the chessboard for the CIA) and poor showing in international “theaters of war”, the U.S. military has already bitten off more than it can chew and Iran would be another costly mistake.

www.PaulFDavis.com – worldwide speaker and life-changing author of 18 books

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What Do Google and Saddam Have in Common? What Can Google Learn from National Geographic?

Dr. Trita Parsi (President of National Iranian American Council) and Babak Talebi wrote on article on May 14, 2008 titled What Do Google and Saddam Have in Common? originally published in The Huffington Post worthy of our time and attention.

It seems Google has a funny way of doing business — one that involves muddying politics in the Middle East. In recent months, the organization has taken the unprecedented step to rename internationally recognized bodies of water. Google Earth has begun using the controversial term “Arabian Gulf” to the body of water traditionally and internationally identified as the “Persian Gulf.”

Much is in a name as a name reveals an intended purpose and ideological persuasion.

In the Middle East, nothing is just a name. The Hebrews name their children intentionally using names that carry meaning and invoke their desirable destiny for each child.  With more than 180,000 US troops in this unstable region, being oblivious to the politics of geographical renaming is dangerous.

Historically, the accuracy of the term Persian Gulf is undisputed. Several legal documents from the United Nations as well as the United States Board of Geographic Names confirm the legitimacy of the term, as do millennia of classical history. For example, the ancient Greeks called the Persian Gulf, “Sinus Persicus,” the Romans called it “Mare Persicum,” and the Arabs called it, “Bahr al-Farsia.”

The political campaign to change the name Persian Gulf to the “Arabian Gulf” began approximately 50 years ago, as part of a pan-Arab strategy aimed at diminishing the status of non-Arab influences in the Middle East, including that of Iran and Israel.

It is a term whose very purpose has been to create divisions in an already divided region. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser used it to rally the Arab masses against Israel and Iran. A decade later, Saddam Hussein used it to mobilize the Arabs in the war against Iran. Today, the term is frequently used by radicals and militants in the Middle East — again, with the aim to create divisions and fuel conflict.

Google now has the dubious distinction of joining Nasser and Saddam Hussein in this political campaign.

In February 2008, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) sent a letter to Google’s CEO, Dr. Eric E. Schmidt, to explain the political background of the term and request that Google refrain from entering into the politics of geographical renaming and let the Persian Gulf remain the Persian Gulf.

More than three months later, Google has yet to formally respond to NIAC’s letter. In fact, the closest response NIAC has received is an ambiguous April 8 blog post on Google’s Public Policy Blog: “As the publishers of a geographic reference tool, we believe that Google should not choose sides in international geopolitical disputes. For this reason, we’ve chosen to implement a uniform policy of “Primary Local Usage.”
But what exactly is “Primary Local Usage”? And what is Google’ threshold of measurement?

Google defines its current policy of primary local usage as a combination of three separate markers (primacy, commonality, and locality) that they believe help Google avoid choosing “sides in international geopolitical disputes.”

According to a post on their public policy blog, the primacy marker means that out of each possible name only the most common name(s) for each body of water will be used. As for the commonality or the frequency of its use, a name must be widespread and not subject to arbitrary government renaming. Their final qualifier is the input of the neighboring nations that have a “stake” in the body of water; meaning that the deciding factor will be that neighboring nations all have input in potential names.

Although Google claims that this method allows for an “optimal combination of neutrality, objectivity, and legitimacy,” this unusual and uncharacteristically amorphous standard counteracts any “sensitivity” Google had hoped to convey.

In fact, it makes Google the very political tool it claims it seeks to avoid becoming.

In defense of its methods, Google has said that its safeguards will prevent a ruler from naming “the Pacific Ocean after her mother,” by requiring any potential name be commonly accepted by the general populace. Contrary to Google’s purported intentions, however, this policy actually opens the door for politically motivated geographical renaming.

By bypassing traditional academic sources, Google has turned itself into an enabler of those who would use name disputes to fuel conflict.

Had Google Earth existed in 1980 when Saddam Hussein first attempted to use the label “Arabian Gulf” as a way to rally support for invading Iran, it would have embraced the Iraqi dictator’s policy. By Google’s standards, Hussein’s arbitrary renaming would be (and is) a justifiable manipulation of geographical naming for political and divisive goals.

In fall 2004, the National Geographic Society (NGS) made a similar misstep by using the term Arabian Gulf for the Persian Gulf; but after a campaign led by the National Iranian American Council, the NGS recognized the folly of getting involved in the politics of geographical renaming and corrected their mistake in their 8th Edition maps.

Google could learn a thing or two from the NGS’s sensibility.

http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1116&Itemid=2

International speaker and author of United States of Arrogance Paul F Davis interviewed Dr. Trita Parsi at the National Iranian American Council headquarters in 2008 discussing for an-hour-and-a-half foreign policy in the Middle East and most importantly between the U.S. and Iran. That video can be obtained by writing RevivingNations@yahoo.com (or) gmail.com

http://www.PaulFDavis.com

Paul F. Davis is a world-changing leadership & diversity speaker who has touched over 50 countries & 6 continents building bridges cross-culturally and empowering people throughout the earth to live their dreams!

Paul is the author of 14 books. Paul has appeared on numerous internationally broadcast radio shows from Oprah & Friends to Fox News Radio to talk about conflict resolution, peacemaking, foreign policy, and diplomacy. Playboy Radio host Tiffany Granath calls Paul an “awesome” relational coach and recommends his books on love, dating, and sexuality.

Academically outstanding Davis was trained in transformative mediation & conflict resolution (Hofstra Law School); strategic negotiations (Harvard Business School & U. of Washington); advanced interrogation (Reid & Associates founders of the polygraph); and NLP & Life Coaching (NLP & Coaching Institute of California).

Paul humorously and elegantly transforms individuals and organizations.

Paul’s organization Dream-Maker Inc. builds dreams, transcends limitations, & reconciles nations.

Paul worked at Ground Zero in NYC during 9/11; helped rebuild a home at the tsunami epicenter; comforted victims of genocide in Rwanda; spoke to leaders in East Timor during the war; inspired students & monks in Myanmar; promoted peace & reconciliation in Pakistan; and has been so deep into the bush of rural Africa where villagers had never before seen a white man.

Paul empowers people to love passionately and live fearlessly.

http://www.PaulFDavis.com

RevivingNations@yahoo.com


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