American Iranian Friendship Council

Thursday, March 08, 2007


The Portland City Council will consider a resolution in support of friendship between Iran and the United States and in opposition of an escalation of the Iraq war into Iran on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 10:15 AM.

Persian New Year or NowRuz takes place at the exact moment of spring equinox, which this year will be at 4.07 PM on March 20. Persians, Afghans, Kurds, Tajiks, Belouchis, Parsis and Azeris alike celebrate this pre-Islamic tradition, and there will be many NowRuz events in the Portland metropolitan area.

Unfortunately the date also marks the fourth anniversary of the war on Iraq and an increasing likelihood of military intervention in Iran. The City Council of Portland has recognized the high costs of a futile war by passing a resolution calling for gradual troop withdrawal from Iraq.

On Wednesday, March 21 at 10.15 AM, the Portland City Council will hear a resolution asking to support friendship between the people of the United States and Iran and opposing an escalation of war into Iran. The resolution will be introduced by Commissioner Erik Sten and is co-sponsored by Commissioner Randy Leonard.

There is a history of positive and fruitful relations between people of Iran and Portland, Oregon, which is home to many Iranians. This friendship is reflected in the works of Portland’s deceased historian and story teller Terrance O’Donnell. Many others have served in Iran as volunteers or participated in recent citizen to citizen delegations. Some of these friends of Iran and local Iranian immigrants have founded the American Iranian Friendship Council (AIFC). The Council has worked in collaboration with the city on the proposed resolution.

In addition to encouraging human to human relations between Iran and the US “to foster better understanding between the two nations and to embrace a spirit of diplomacy”, the proposed resolution states “that the City Council of Portland challenges the possibility of a new war in Iran, and urges the Congress of the United States to maintain pressure on the administration against both an escalation of troops within Iraq and a geographic expansion into Iran while continuing to call for a complete and immediate end to the war in the region;” and further indicates “that the City Council of Portland urges support for the Iran Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 2007 (H. R. 770), prohibiting the use of funds for “any covert action for the purpose of causing regime change in Iran or to carry out any military action against Iran in the absence of an imminent threat, in accordance with international law;” “

Although there have been proclamations for Iranian New Years issued by mayors in the past, for the first time in Portland history NowRuz will be acknowledged by Mayor Potter in a city hall ceremony at noon, after the council hearing.

The NowRuz ceremony will include presentations by local Iranian musicians, Persian pastries and the traditional Iranian New Year’s display Haft Sin: a symbolic assembly of seven items starting with the Persian letter ‘s.’

We welcome the public to express our mutual desire for peace and to celebrate NowRuz with us.