on the Occasion of the New Year
To view this message in video, click HERE.
I am Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi, a professor at Rutgers University, and Founder and President of the American Iranian Council.
Let me begin by sending my personal and the American Iranian Council's warmest New Year's Greetings to all of you. We wish you a New Year filled with peace, joy and prosperity. We also hope that in the New Year, the United States and Iran will begin a serious engagement toward better relations.
The American Iranian Council is a non-profit, non-partisan, and educational organization that serves as a platform and catalyst for constructive dialogue and better understanding among the United States, Iran, and key stakeholders in US-Iran relations.
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, AIC is financed entirely by foundations, corporations, and individuals, and it takes no money from governments.
AIC's mission has become the work of my life, and I want to assure you that our noble cause of bringing Americans and Iranians together again in friendship and cooperation deserves your unconditional support.
Each month, our website receives over 200,000 hits from all over the world and thousands more read our publications including 16 books and the bi-weekly AIC Update.
We need your support to continue these great efforts!
The American Iranian Council is a unique organization:
The American Iranian Council has an unparalleled track record of success:
AIC is not just an organization of Iranian-American, but an organization of all Americans and Iranians regardless of their national origins.
The Council's Founding Chairman was the late Cyrus Vance, the US Secretary of State in the Carter Administration. AIC's Board of Directors has included individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives from the rank of former statesmen, ambassadors, business executives, distinguished academics, media personalities, and community leaders.
We pioneered the marketplace of ideas on US-Iran relations long before it became fashionable. In addition, AIC was the first organization to introduce the Iranian-American community to US politics.
Our balanced position on US-Iran relations is a product of our belief in the mutually of interests between the two countries and our objective analysis of issues standing between them, as well as our long history of interactions with both governments.
The Council is the only organization of its type that has remained true to its cause: never supported sanctions of any type, never opposed negotiation between Iran and the US, and never tried to condition US-Iran dialogue on any matters peripheral to the core problems of the relations. We are also the only organization solely devoted to US-Iran relations.
The Council's Board of Directors, including myself, serves entirely on a volunteer basis, and our funds are substantially spent on projects rather than salaries and administration as is the case with most comparable organizations!
The American Iranian Council continues to be a relevant and effective force in US-Iran relations:
When Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration, decided to deliver her historic speech on Iran, she chose to do so at an AIC conference. She expressed regret about past US policy mistakes, lifted sanctions on carpets and food items, and offered Iran a global settlement. Years later, Iran's President Mohammad Khatami would characterize this event as a "missed opportunity."
When Vice President Joe Biden, then Chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, wished to propose a dialogue between the US Congress and the Iranian Parliament, he chose to do so at an AIC conference.
When Speaker Mehdi Karubi, later a candidate in the 2009 disputed presidential elections, wanted to engage his American Congressional counterparts, he chose an AIC event in Manhattan.
When Iran decided to offer America a helping hand in the fight against Saddam Hussein, it engaged AIC to architect a plan; The plan for this cooperation then developed into the so-called Grand Bargain proposal from Iran, And,
When we proposed to extend the Council's activities to Iran, the US government granted AIC a rare license through its Office of Foreign Assets Control.
It has been AIC's philosophy that the best road to a democratically developed Iran is through the normalization of relations and cooperation with the United States. Such an Iran will also best serve American interests and those of its allies, including Israel. No country has ever become democratic in the absence of diplomatic ties to the United States. And,
During the last three years, I have been involved in a Track II shuttle diplomacy between Washington, Tehran, and beyond.
A major outcome of this project was the Council's Whitepaper that was issued in 2009 and circulated to both governments and the general public. We beehive the AIC Whitepaper is the most realistic policy document ever issued on US-Iran dispute.
The spirit of this paper was reflected in the US-Iran interactions that followed, including letter exchanges between the US President and Iran's Supreme Leader, as well as President Obama's Iranian New Year Greetings. You can download this whitepaper from AIC's website at www.american-iranian.org. And,
When AIC brought the civilian airline tragedies in Iran to the attention of President Obama, the US government responded positively, agreeing to entertain a proposal from Iran to purchase spare parts from the United States. AND
Most recently, we helped in the release of Sarah Shourd, the American hiker arrested in Iran. We are hoping that her colleagues, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal will also be soon released. We urge the Iranian Government to make another humanitarian gesture to the families during this season of change and hope.
Although the Council has not traditionally interjected itself in Iranian domestic politics, we nevertheless condemned the acts of violence that followed the disputed Presidential elections, and suggested a coalition government as a potential solution. We of course support the human rights of the Iranian people.
In the coming year, AIC will continue to focus on activities designed to improve understanding and dialogue between the two nations.
To this end, the Council will establish a US-Iran Engagement Forum designed:
In 2011, AIC will also fully restructure itself, expand its constituency, and create of an online community dedicated to US-Iran affairs.
To raise understanding of Iran through substantive studies in selected areas;
To hold a series of roundtables on US-Iran relations; and
To refine and promote AIC’s Whitepaper.
Moving forward, we at AIC believe that the prevailing "neither war nor peace" status quo does not serve American or Iranian interests, and is not sustainable. An escalation of the conflict would cause both sides to lose even more. We believe that the right solution involves a negotiated settlement with courageous compromise.
We support proposals from American lawmakers including Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, to travel to Iran and engage their counterparts in the Iranian parliament. We hope that Iran will welcome such constructive gestures.
We support the continued negotiation between the 5+1 group and Iran in an effort to reach a mutually win-win resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programs.
We believe that future negotiations should be increasingly based on a more comprehensive agenda and that the parties must be prepared for courageous compromises.
We also support the enriched-uranium-swap agreement between Iran, Turkey and Brazil as a step toward such comprehensive negotiations and final settlements of all issues.
So, let me make a personal plea to you: please help us achieve this peaceful outcome by making a tax-deductible contribution to our organization.
Visit AIC's website at www.american-iranian.org, where you will find instructions on how to send a contribution by mail or DONATE online using a major credit card.
We also accept in-kind donations such as negotiable securities, frequent flyer miles, and auctionable arts and crafts to name a few.
All contributions are appreciated, no matter how small. And please remember they are tax-deductible.
In conclusion, let me thank you and say Moteshakeram for your support and kind attention to this message.
Please share this video with your friends and colleagues, and consider getting involved in our noble peace-making cause.
If you have questions about our organization, please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you; Khoda Hafez. Thank you.
The American Iranian Council (AIC) is a nonprofit and nonpartisan tax-exempt [501 (C) 3] educational organization dedicated to improving US-Iran relations through dialogue, better understanding, and constructive engagement. To help AIC achieve its goals please make a tax-deductable DONATION in this season of giving. To learn more about AIC, visit its website.
Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order
Shireen T. Hunter
ACMCU Visiting professor Dr. Shireen Hunter explained that the main thesis of her latest book " Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order" is that Iran's leadership has not adequately realized the dimensions of changes which the collapse of the Soviet Union has caused in the character of the international political system and have thus failed to adjust Iran's foreign policy to the new systemic realities.
She went on to explain how the USSR's collapse has enhanced the position of the West, especially the United States, in the international system, without, however, leading to the emergence of a multipolar system, while also undermining the position of anti-west countries. Iran, which lies in close proximity of the former Soviet Union, has been particularly and adversely affected by these systemic changes.Yet, she pointed out, Iran has pursued a policy of resisting the new system and at times openly challenging it. The best example of this Iranian attitude has been its inability to change its policy toward the United States and Israel. This continued estrangement from the US has enabled Iran's rivals in the region, and even countries such as India and Russia, to use it to advance their own interests, while Iran has been unable to retaliate because of its problems with the US. In fact, despite the conventional wisdom, Hunter pointed out in that in the Middle East, as well as South and Central Asia, Iran has pursued a concessionary policy. Hunter attributed the main reasons for this counterproductive Iranian foreign policy to certain ideological characteristics of the Islamic regime, but even more importantly to intense rivalry among Iran's political leadership.
Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future
Representing the Unpresentable: Historical Images of National Reform from the Qajars to the Islamic Republic of Iran (Gender, Culture and Politics in the Middle East)
Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran