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July 12, 2010

Steadfast Efforts by Iranian-American Community Lead to Suspension of Insulting Ads

Washington, DC – The Iranian-American community’s call for the suspension of an insulting advertising campaign has succeeded. Following a public campaign by the National Iranian American Council that received national attention and was reported on by CNN and Voice of America, the American Values Network announced that it is suspending a controversial ad campaign that proclaimed, “Iran is making a KILLING.”

NIAC publicly called on AVN to terminate the ad campaign in May, arguing that the ads carelessly fueled national security tensions and were insulting to Iranians and Iranian Americans. NIAC’s Policy Director Jamal Abdi met with AVN to discuss NIAC’s concerns.

In a VOA report featuring Abdi, as well as an official from AVN, it was reported that AVN had “quietly” decided to suspend their controversial advertising campaign.

NIAC welcomed the suspension of the ads and believed that this was an important moment for the Iranian-American community to set a precedent. NIAC had made clear that no action short of replacing the ads would be acceptable, including half-measures or semantic fixes.

“Other communities are not subjected to this type of treatment; the Iranian-American community should be no exception,” said Abdi. “It was important that we remained steadfast on this point and refused to compromise on our call for these ads to be suspended.”

Iranian Americans from all over the country contacted NIAC expressing their anger and deep concern regarding the ads. AVN, however, claimed that they received comments and support from Iranian Americans who did not find the ads to be offensive.

NIAC asserted that the ads were insulting to Iran’s people, culture, and history in equating the entirety of Iran to Ahmadinejad and the words “Iran is making a KILLING”. NIAC stressed that the ads ignored the organic civil rights movement in Iran that has openly disputed Ahmadinejad legitimacy, and that the ads were hurtful to Iranian Americans who proudly call America their home and have contributed greatly to American life.

NIAC also expressed concerns that the ads carelessly fueled political tensions and exploited serious national security tensions, helping support calls for war with Iran in order to promote an environmental agenda.

“We take issue not with your ultimate goal of combating climate change, but rather with the destructive manner in which your message is being delivered and the unintended consequences it may help produce,” NIAC’s open letter to AVN read. “Therefore, we strongly urge you to acknowledge the consequences of your ad campaign and to take immediate action to remove the ads in question.”

While AVN has suspended their “Iran is making a KILLING”, they have refused to acknowledge that their ads were offensive to the Iranian-American community.




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