By PAAIA Editorial Staff
May 19, 2010, Washington, D.C.– The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) has learned that the American Values Network (AVN) as well as other progressive organizations have rolled out a series of advertisements targeting Iran in order to promote clean energy legislation pending in Congress.
The AVN ads placed on metro buses in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere depict “Iran” as making a “killing” in oil revenue while Congress stalls to pass clean energy and climate change legislation. AVN argues that reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil is not only good for the environment but also our national security. “Our addiction to foreign oil and the consequences of climate change pose one of the greatest threats facing our military and national security in the coming decades,” says AVN in a statement on their website.
While PAAIA appreciates AVN’s work in promoting clean energy and protecting the environment, we are concerned that the ads could be misinterpreted by some that Iranians as a whole have anti-American sentiments. At a time when civil liberties organizations are reporting an increase in discrimination against Americans of Middle Eastern descent, AVN’s ads have the potential to encourage xenophobia and hatred towards Americans of Iranian descent. Such unintended consequences are not only damaging to the image of Iranian Americans but also insulting to those living in Iran who welcome democratic reform.
In a letter to the president of AVN, PAAIA has conveyed the community’s concerns pertaining to their climate change advertisement campaign. To avoid such misunderstandings, PAAIA has requested that AVN retract the ads and find another creative way of conveying their otherwise worthy message to the general public.
PAAIA is monitoring this issue and will keep our readers and members informed on developments.