- The right wing establishment starts attacking your orgs in public
- You get recognized by the NBA
Yep, that's right, this week's Lynks all focus on Iranian Americans, who have dominated the news this week, and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future, for obvious reasons.
- The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) has released the results of its 2009 survey of Iranian Americans. Among the results:
87% of respondents do not believe the Iranian presidential elections were free and fair, with 50% supporting the Obama administration's decision not to interfere in the election or with the election protestors. Further, 50% support diplomatic negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. 35% suggested the Obama administration should have been more actively engaged and provided stronger support to the election protestors.
NIAC issued the press release quoted above, underscoring Iranian Americans' emphasis on human rights in Iran.
- So if that's the case, what the heck IS going on with The National Iranian American Council (NIAC)? Reverend Moon's conservative Washington Times has reported accusations that NIAC head Trita Parsi has been acting as a lobbyist. That is, he's allegedly been lobbying against the US policy of economic sanctions against Iran. The official problem isn't that NIAC is against sanctions against Tehran: that's a position that NIAC openly espouses. The official problem is that NIAC is not allowed to lobby for anything as long as it is a nonprofit under the tax code. The point of these accusations appears to be slinging mud at NIAC, to make the org appear pro-Ahmedinejad. In fact, NIAC's position on sanctions has long been clear: sanctions don't work, and impact the ordinary people more than the government. Here's NIAC's response, which makes the counter-claim that these allegations have been leaked following a defamation suit NIAC is likely to win.
- Also this week, NIAC applauded the Senate's resolution about Iran's human rights abuses, which is right in line with NIAC's stance against sanctions and in favor of diplomatic relations designed to improve human rights in Iran. NIAC's position is more important now than ever, since Obama appears to be moving away from talks and towards sanctions, albeit less harsh sanctions than more hawkish sectors of the government would like to see.
- Willliam O. Beeman at New American Media ties in the attacks on NIAC to an overall attack on Iran, which is actually an attempt to discredit Obama's administration by making his diplomatic progress with Iran look wrong-headed and weak. (Juan Cole has a similar argument on his blog.)
- Now why is all of the above so ironic? Well, because the CIA is advertising to recruit Arabic-speaking Arab Americans and Farsi-speaking Iranian Americans of first and second generations, who still have a clue about their families' home cultures. (They're especially looking in Dearborn, MI.) Apparently, only a third of their analysts and 40 percent of overseas operatives (!!!) speak a foreign language. (So there you go, 9/11 conspiracists: it WAS an inside job. Inside incompetence, that is.) It's ironic because it seems the Bush years purged domestic and foreign service of advisors who actually know what they're talking about, necessitating this new CIA recruiting push. But the hottest hotbed of Iran-aware Iranian Americans -- who's that? Oh yeah, NIAC -- is currently thoroughly under attack. How's the freakin' CIA supposed to recruit Iranian American analysts at a time when right-wing extremists are making sure that they're not being heard?
- The New York Times briefly recounts the story of Iranian American Haleh Esfandiari (director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Middle East Program) who was interrogated for months in Iran in 2007 on suspicion of conspiracy. Her book about her ordeal was just released.
- Yes, as hinted above, the NBA celebrated its first Iranian Heritage Night last week in Oakland, CA. It "was put together for Hamed Haddadi, the first Iranian-American basketball player in the NBA, playing against the Warriors at Oracle Arena." The vid above has the whole story.
- And no sooner was it done, than Fox Sports had to suspend two sportscasters (for one night) for an obnoxious exchange about Haddadi at a Memphis game. You can read the exchange here. NIAC (who else?) is demanding more: an apology.