AIC condemns Sen. Lindsay Graham's comments about Iranians

AIC condemns Sen. Lindsay Graham's comments about Iranians

The American Iranian Council condemns Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) disparaging and stereotyping remark against Iranians. In the last 25 years that the AIC has been in existence, we have heard a few American policy makers make anti-Iran remarks, but the statement by Senator Graham is truly misinformed and insulting.

As a Senator of a great nation, Mr. Graham should at least know that Iranian-Americans, many in his state, are among the most successful ethnic groups in the United States, contributing greatly to the economy, medicine, academia, law, engineering, arts, technology, and other scientific and professional fields

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Was the US-GCC Summit Worth it?

Was the US-GCC Summit Worth it?

Originally published in Lobelog

By Robert E. Hunter
AIC Board Member
Former US Ambassador to NATO

It is too early to judge whether the results of last week’s summit between President Barack Obama and leaders of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will become “footprints on the sands of time.” The summit did achieve what Obama most needed—the Arabs’ formal endorsement of the P5+1 talks with Iran on the latter’s nuclear program. It also reaffirmed a key goal of the GCC states: US commitment to continue taking seriously their security concerns, focusing on Iran. This included President Obama’s reaffirming America’s “ironclad commitment to the security of our Gulf partners.”

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2004 Interview with Ambassador Javad Zarif

2004 Interview with Ambassador Javad Zarif

As part of our AIC Through the Ages campaign, the American Iranian Council is reproducing an interview conducted with then-Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Javad Zarif. Dr. Zarif now serves as Iran's Foreign Minister and is a key figure in the nuclear negotiations taking place in Switzerland.

In order to understand what Dr. Zarif thoughts were over a decade ago on issues such as the nuclear issue, terrorism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Iraq War, please read the full interview.

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AIC Hon. Board Member Amb. Tom Pickering addresses need for public service at Brandeis University

AIC Hon. Board Member Amb. Tom Pickering addresses need for public service at Brandeis University

Originally Published in the Justice

By Mihir Khanna

AIC Honorary Board Member Ambassador Thomas Pickering spoke at Brandeis University about the importance of public service to the communities and the world, whether through government, a nongovernmental organization, a religious community or some other format. “I believe that the opportunity for such service is something that all college graduates—all university graduates—should consider and adopt at some time in their lives,” Pickering said.

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Emad Kiyaei quoted in US News & World Report

Emad Kiyaei quoted in US News & World Report

Originally Published on U.S. News & World Report

By Teresa Welsh

Emad Kiyaei, executive director of the nonprofit American Iranian Council, a think tank promoting mutual understanding between the countries, says it’s remarkable that the U.S. and Iran are even engaging on the level they are for the negotiations. He says the diplomacy marks a “historic period.”

“This could be a major removal of a bottleneck that has caused a great deal of distraction from much more pressing issues that are happening in the region, where Iran and the U.S. and the regional countries can really come together for more constructive dialogue rather than pitting themselves against each other in these different military theaters,” he says.

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It’s Not Diplomacy, It’s an Arms Fair

It’s Not Diplomacy, It’s an Arms Fair

Originally Published in Foreign Policy

By William D. Hartung

The summit between President Barack Obama and representatives from the Persian Gulf countries that kicked off today at Camp David is meant to reassure Washington’s Arab allies. “Don’t worry about the nuclear deal with Iran,” Obama will say. “We’ve got your back.”

And what’s the best way to show your friends that you’ve got their back? Sell them billions of dollars worth of advanced weapons. In fact, it seems like arms sales are the Obama administration’s tool of choice these days for dealing with everything from counterterrorism to a lagging economy. And the consequences, unsurprisingly, are bloody.

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AIC Policy Advisor Alidad Mafinezam Address on Capitol Hill

AIC Policy Advisor Alidad Mafinezam Address on Capitol Hill

AIC Policy Advisor Dr. Alidad Mafinezam gave an address on Capitol Hill at an event hosted by the National Council on US-Arab Relations on the Iranian nuclear deal. Dr. Mafinezam argued that the Gulf states should welcome an Iranian nuclear deal because it will reduce Iran’s threat perception that revolves around the United States.

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Exclusive Interview with AIC Board Member Amb. Robert Hunter

Exclusive Interview with AIC Board Member Amb. Robert Hunter

Orginally Published on Iran Review

Interview with AIC Board Member Ambassador Robert Hunter

By Kourosh Ziabari

Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and AIC Board Member Robert Hunter believes that until everything is agreed, it cannot be said whether there would be a deal; however, he says he is optimistic that the talks will move in such a direction that can end in an understanding. Hunter, however, says that there are some parties in the Middle East who disfavor such a deal between Iran and the West, because it would lead to Iran’s economic and political reemergence as a regional power and an Iran-U.S. rapprochement, which is not pleasant to everybody.

“I think it is obvious that there are some parties in the region who would prefer not to have an agreement between Iran and the P5+1, because they would prefer to see the confrontation with Iran continue. That does not happen to be the policy of the United States or the other members of the P5+1,” Hunter said in an exclusive interview with Iran Review.

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Nima Shirazi sets the record straight on Iraq's inspections regime.

Nima Shirazi sets the record straight on Iraq's inspections regime.

Independent analyst Nima Shirazi recently published an analysis of AIC Communications Director Kayvon Afshari's recent interview with veteran broadcaster Larry Mendte on the nuclear deal. In the interview, broadcaster Larry Mendte makes the claim that one of the reasons the Iraq War started was because Saddam Hussein kicked out weapons inspectors, a claim that Shirazi rejects in a well-documented piece outlining why that is a false narrative

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AIC Advisory Council member’s paintings displayed on Tehran’s billboards

AIC Advisory Council member’s paintings displayed on Tehran’s billboards

Originally published in GOOD Magazine

by Tasbeeh Herwees

In an effort to promote the city’s museums and cultural institutions, the mayor of Tehran exchanged 1,500 of the city’s billboard ads with works of art by local and international artists. The billboards, which line many of Tehran’s busy streets and highways, now feature images of paintings by the likes of 20th century Iranian artists Sohrab Sepehri and [AIC Advisory Council member] Mahmoud Farshchian, as well as pieces by Spanish painters Pablo Picasso and the French artist Henri Matisse.

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AIC Honorary Board Member Donna Shalala Named Head of Clinton Foundation

AIC Honorary Board Member Donna Shalala Named Head of Clinton Foundation

The American Iranian Council is pleased and honored to announce that the Honorable Donna Shalala, an honorary AIC Board Member, will begin serving as the head of the Clinton Foundation next month.

The Honorable Donna E. Shalala has served as president of the University of Miami since 2001. She was the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services during both terms of President Clinton, and was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2008.

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The Congress just undertook two significant actions on the nuclear issue

The Congress just undertook two significant actions on the nuclear issue

Two actions were undertaken on Thursday May 7 in the US Senate and House of Representatives which will have an impact on the multilateral nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world powers. By a vote of 98 to 1 (with 1 abstention), the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that gives the Congress oversight on any comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. Meanwhile, 150 House Democrats (145 voting members and 5 non-voting members), signed a letter of support for the President’s diplomatic effort to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.
Given the level of mistrust between the US and Iran, the Senate’s games are ultimately harmful to an amicable resolution to the nuclear dispute.

 

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Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Daily Show

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Daily Show

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, talks to The Daily Show's Jon Stewart about his involvement with the Iran nuclear negotiations.

When asked if he is satisfied with the parameters of the proposed deal, Moniz said, "Yes I am. There is no plutonium or uranium enrichment and to our knowledge no indication of future covert activities." He went on to say that the most important part of the deal is the ability to verify the terms.

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Obama to the GCC: Getting the Message Right

Obama to the GCC: Getting the Message Right

Originally Published on LobeLog

By Robert E. Hunter
AIC Board Member
Former US ambassador to NATO

On May 13-14, President Barack Obama will host leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at the White House and Camp David. Ostensibly, the meeting is to try convincing these intense skeptics of nuclear negotiations with Iran that the US will not be a patsy for an Iran freed from economic sanctions following a deal.

But before he convenes this meeting “at the mountaintop,” Obama first and finally needs to decide on a long-term game plan, a strategy, for the Middle East. He has put off this moment for far too long. It must now all come together.

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Zarif speaks at New York University

Zarif speaks at New York University

A Conversation With H.E. Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran : In partnership with the NYU Center on International Cooperation

Dr. Zarif's remarks will focus on the current state of play in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 and the prospects of reaching a comprehensive accord by June 30, as well as a range of pressing issues in the region and the implications for Iran's relations with the United States. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius will moderate the discussion.

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Obama’s Strategy to Win Senate support for an Iran Nuclear Deal

Obama’s Strategy to Win Senate support for an Iran Nuclear Deal

By Kayvon Afshari and Michael Brooks

Now that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a bill to give Congress oversight over a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration would be wise to devise a strategy to turn Congressional review to its political advantage. Despite the ‘anti-Iran-deal’ money generously provided by big name donors, there are key vulnerabilities that the administration can exploit to put the pressure on both Democratic and Republican Senators who will be struggling to decide whether to vote up or down on a deal.

Given that the Republicans control 54 out of 100 seats in the Senate, the White House needs a strategy for picking off key Republicans to support a hypothetical comprehensive nuclear deal. While most Republicans are staunchly opposed to the deal that is being carved out, key Senators such as Bob Corker (R-TN), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeffrey Flake (R-AZ), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Susan Collins (R-ME) may be at play.

To coax the remaining key Republican Senators, the administration needs to relentless argue that this deal is the path to regional and national security, whereas those who reject the deal only offer irresponsibility and more instability. This message can speak to Republicans who are receptive to a realist foreign policy. Essentially, to put pressure on them, the administration needs to articulate the message that: “I’m tough on Iran; your colleagues delusional on Iran.”

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Zarif Op-Ed in The New York Times

Zarif Op-Ed in The New York Times

Originally published in The New York Times

By Mohammad Javad Zarif 

We made important progress in Switzerland earlier this month. With the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, we agreed on parameters to remove any doubt about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and to lift international sanctions against Iran.

But to seal the anticipated nuclear deal, more political will is required. The Iranian people have shown their resolve by choosing to engage with dignity. It is time for the United States and its Western allies to make the choice between cooperation and confrontation, between negotiations and grandstanding, and between agreement and coercion.

With courageous leadership and the audacity to make the right decisions, we can and should put this manufactured crisis to rest and move on to much more important work. The wider Persian Gulf region is in turmoil. It is not a question of governments rising and falling: the social, cultural and religious fabrics of entire countries are being torn to shreds.

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Emad Kiyaei Interviewed by Spanish Media

Emad Kiyaei Interviewed by Spanish Media

Originally Published in El Punt Avui

In an interview with El Punt Avui, AIC Executive Director Emad Kiyaei expresses his confidence that the recent "historic" framework agreement reached in Switzerland will be finalized in late June in a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, which in turn will extend cooperation between Iranian American and other sensitive issues such as Iraq, Syria and the fight against Islamic State.

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