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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


December 2, 1999

Iranians in the U.S.: political power

The election of President Khatami in Iran back in 1997 brought Iranians a promising and very heated atmosphere of democratic trial and bravery resulting in new social and political openings. On the other hand, and thanks mainly to the convenience and magic of the Internet, all this activity and controversy is shared and monitored by a large group of Iranian expatriates mainly in Western Europe, Canada and the USA.

Those of us who live in the United States have many opportunities, through local publications, radio, television and the Internet, to stay tuned in and contribute to the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran. Simply promoting the right news and information and combating misinformation in the US media about Iran and its current events can do this.

However, as Iranian-Americans - according to US government there are more than a million of us - we have to begin concentrating on our identity and status here, in our new home! On the eve of the 2000 US presidential elections and the upcoming Census 2000, we have to make a concerted and aggressive effort to declare our significant existence to the political establishment.

We must begin developing our political power base in whatever party we happen to lean towards. We should also prepare for Census 2000 and plan to provide the type of racial information that will put Iranians on the map as a legitimate and significant minority. This census will be our best chance for being counted (for more information search for Census 2000 on the Web)

I would argue that in order to be helpful to our beloved Iran, Iranian-Americans must solidify and strengthen a social and political stance in their new home. Such an effort will be the best course of action for the future of our Iranian-American children as well as the prospects of a healthy and mutually respectful relationship between Iran and the United States.

Ben Bagheri

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