The Iranian-American community came together to celebrate the coming of Norooz and support NIAC’s continued efforts to protect the Persepolis tablets and support diplomacy, on March 7, 2009 in Mclean VA.
McLean, VA – The Iranian-American community came together to celebrate the coming of Norooz and support NIAC’s continued efforts to protect the Persepolis tablets and support diplomacy, on March 7, 2009 in Mclean VA. The event, which hosted more than 150 members of the Iranian-American community, raised an impressive $50,000. Dr. Paymaun Lotfi and Mrs. Bita Lotfi hosted the event and opened their home in Virginia to the local Iranian-American community.
The event honored Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who has been a leading voice against a US-Iran war on Capitol Hill. Congressman Meeks praised the Iranian-American community and the leadership role NIAC has taken in representing the community on Capitol Hill. “Thank you for being great citizens. Thank you for loving this country, because indeed, your [advocacy] for what our policy should be toward Iran is… what’s best for us in America. That’s why NIAC is so important,” he stated. “So keep it up.”
NIAC also honored Ambassador John Limbert, a former hostage in Iran and a true friend of the Iranian-American community, as well as an expert on Iran. Ambassador Limbert, who gave half of his address in Persian, emphasized the contributions Iranian Americans have made to America. “I’m part of an Iranian-American family,” he said in impeccable Persian, “Whose members are active, productive, and educated doctors, artists, and lawyers. In other words they are assets to American society and I’m very honored to be a part of this family.”
NIAC’s special guest was Professor Matthew Stolper of Chicago University, the caretaker of the prized Persian artifacts in the Persepolis Fortification Archive Project. He spoke extensively on the vast significance of the Persepolis artifacts to ancient Persian history and to the international community.
He expressed great concern for the risk of the artifacts being confiscated and auctioned off, arguing that the window the tablets provide into Iran’s ancient history only exists if all of the tablets are kept. They are like bones in a skeleton – with a single tablet missing, the entire skeleton collapses.
“These artifacts are keys into our past and tools for our future,” declared Professor Stolper. “To deprive the University of these significant pieces is to deprive us of our history.”
NIAC will use the raised funds to continue its efforts to protect our rich heritage and the Persian artifacts and to advance a pro-diplomacy agenda on Capitol Hill.
“Even at financially troublesome times, it is inspiring to witness the dedication and support Iranian Americans show for the causes they hold close to their hearts,” stated Trita Parsi, President of NIAC.
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