Not funny

McCain’s insensitive Iran remark


Not funny
by Babak Talebi

Washington, DC (NIAC) - Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, in response to a question about a survey showing increased U.S. exports to Iran -- mostly of cigarettes -- replied by saying, "Maybe that's a way of killing them." Despite his initial backpedaling by saying "I meant that as a joke," Senator McCain's comment is unacceptable and very troubling for the Iranian-American community.

As one of the most well-educated and affluent immigrant populations in the United States, the Iranian-American community is proud of its contributions to American culture. Unfortunately, Senator McCain overlooked this attribute when he made this statement, and NIAC has expressed its concerns through a letter sent to the McCain campaign Wednesday.

This is Senator McCain's second inflammatory and insensitive comment about Iran during the campaign (his last comment used the theme of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" to sing "Bomb, Bomb Iran"). Many people feel his comments undermine the need for fresh thinking to resolve the current conflict with Iran, and risk alienating his Iranian-American supporters within the Republican Party.

"With rising tensions and talk of war between the U.S. and Iran, what we need is constructive, not destructive, dialogue from the candidates -- dialogue that differentiates between the people and the policies of the Iranian government," said Reza Firouzbakht, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Iranian American Council.

Despite Senator McCain's long and distinguished career in public service and the support he currently has within our community, his comment yesterday is being viewed as careless and insensitive, with the potential to strongly jeopardize the support from those who wish to vote for him in November.

"We hope, through an apology for these unfortunate remarks, the Senator can clearly demonstrate his respect for Americans of Iranian descent and repair the damage done in the eyes of our community," said Trita Parsi, NIAC President.

Below is a copy of a letter NIAC sent to Senator McCain's campaign headquarters expressing concerns about his comment and requesting an apology on behalf of all Iranian Americans.


Dear Senator McCain,

The Iranian-American community is disappointed and disturbed by your comment yesterday about US exports of cigarettes to Iran as "a way of killing" Iranians.

This statement was insensitive, callous, and counterproductive. We are proud Americans, and grateful for the blessings of liberty and democracy not available in our country of origin. Our community is also proud of its Iranian heritage, and deeply protective of our family, culture, and traditions; we hope that you hold us in higher regard than your comments seem to indicate.

Your remark yesterday recalls a previous campaign event in 2007 in which you sang "Bomb, Bomb Iran." For the second time during this Presidential election, you made the unfortunate choice to disparage people of Iranian descent, which is a fact that one million Iranian Americans find unacceptable.

Members of our community have historically been strong supporters of the Republican Party. Your statements have had the unintended effect of alienating the Iranian-American community from your party and putting in jeopardy Iranian-American support for your campaign.

While our community overwhelmingly opposes the government in Iran, we strongly oppose a military confrontation between the two countries and believe the current state of US-Iran relations requires an intelligent and constructive dialogue, which your comment directly undermined.

We know that as a decorated military hero, you would not unnecessarily bring our service men and women in harm's way. We hope you will reconsider making light of the current tensions with Iran and instead take the lead to secure a peaceful resolution to the US-Iran standoff.

Finally, we ask you to apologize for your unfortunate remarks, and to acknowledge the valuable contribution the Iranian-American community makes to American society. As you know, Iranians tend to be the most pro-American population in the Middle East. Our policy cannot be to alienate the people of Iran, with whom America has no and should have no enmity.

We hope, through this gesture, you can clearly demonstrate your respect for Americans of Iranian descent and repair the damage done in the eyes of Iranian Americans by your recent comment.

Thank you.


Dr. Trita Parsi, President

National Iranian American Council


Babak Talebi is Director of Community Relations at NIAC.


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Add insult to injury

by Abarmard on

He has continued with:

a smiling Sen. McCain says, "My
friends, in these trying times in which we live, there's one thing all
Americans can agree on: killing Iranians is hilarious."


Where are the Zionists and Neocon Iranians who wanted to vote for him. They have a responcibility to explain McCain. I only accept this to be a joke if he can say the same thing about any other country.

Also, to get him Iranian Jews must write him and call him anti semite for wanting to kill the Jews in Iran, that should get his attention...unfortunately (Seems the only way to get anyone attention these days)! 



by Daryush on

Make 7Up yours. It's tasty


So what?

by Daryush on

He grew up with a family that probably in the dinner table they joked about lynching the N (color) people and they would laugh and eat happily.

Welcome to America.


Wrong tactic, take the gloves off NIAC and lead

by outcast (not verified) on

You cant write a long reasonably letter to people like this and take political advantage of it, you have to use AIPAC, Republican tactics, in the way that you smear him, call him a racist, a fascist, a hitler of the middle east and so on, and put it everywhere and repeat such accusations over and over again until the common man accepts it as truth. Learn from AIPAC, their reasoning and accusations are based on logic that could have been written by 8 year olds, but its simple and the average joe accepts it.


Hopefully I dont live in US

by Troneg on


I don't live in US but I travel there several times a year and I like several aspects of life there but I don't like when they mis use "freedom rights" to be disrespectful or carrying guns.

When France wasn't agree with Irak's invading many people were disrespectuful about all French culture. In France people make a difference between government policy decision and relationship with people and culture.

People were upset with Bush and are with Ahmadi Nejad and not with Iranian nation and every time political men (even Sarkozy) reminde that Iran is a great old nation with a long history.

would you please tell to M. Mc Cain that it is easy to make Jokes with american Gun & Soda Makers who hurt their own people but we hope Americans will survive from them and from him.


I won't be voting

by Kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

Mccain=warmonger who insulted Iranians for the second time.

Obama= He has no idea or experience in foreign policy.


dont worry dude won't live long enough to make it to the white h

by Al Sefati (not verified) on

dude has any sort of cancer that there is he won't last long himself!


Anything to appease Israel.

by Mordechi (not verified) on

Anything to appease Israel. He used to have a picture of himself with a big Israeli flag and a smaller U.S flag in the background. They told him, at least get equal sized flags.

Well at least he knows who is the boss.


No worries, one of our own supports him

by mahmoudg on

One of our own Goli Ameri Yazdi is on his campaign team.  She probably is feeding him this nonsense.  We have to watch who we vote for and support.  I agree Obama looks good


Obama looks good

by Alborzi (not verified) on

Obama has been disapointing lately, his vote on FISA and his Iraq withdrawal is plain disapointing, but compared to McCain he looks good.


Thank you

by Bezzzzz (not verified) on

Thank you for taking the initiative to write this letter. We as Iranians need to stand united. I just made a donation on the NIAC website after reading this letter.
McCain scares me, he is just an imbicile!


His is insane

by shirazie (not verified) on

to him running for president is the comedy career he never had.

He has lost his marbles.. he will insult someone else tomorrow. He is from The REDNECK state of Arizona after all???

By the way- Dr. Trita Parsi , only Beverly hills and an ethnic Iranians were big supporters of the REPULSIVE party.



This is a dangerous war-mongerer

by mirzakhan (not verified) on

Mr.McCain is a dangerous war mongerer. While there is not evidence that Obama is any better, Mr. McCain has already proven himself to be a dangerous individual. It is critical for the Iranian-American community to use their Financial, Social and political resources to prevent this guy from becomming the next presidnet.

We all want the Mullah regime to go. But war is not the answer and will make the regime only stronger.


McLooney Tune

by A B (not verified) on

It doesn't matter what he says. He is one step away from a heart attack.


No-one in the mainstream

by Mehdi216 (not verified) on

No-one in the mainstream media gives a **** about this, if anything similar to this was said about Israel it would have been all over the news. What a bunch of hypocrites. The scary thing is that McCain probably will be the next president. He is the shorter and older version of George W. Bush, god help us all.


Nice going

by Fred on

Very nice and timely letter specially this part: “Finally, we ask you to apologize for your unfortunate remarks, and to acknowledge the valuable contribution the Iranian-American community makes to American society. As you know, Iranians tend to be the most pro-American population in the Middle East. Our policy cannot be to alienate the people of Iran, with whom America has no and should have no enmity.” NIAC should now practice what it preaches and stop alienating people of Iran.  Good faith first step could be for NIAC lobby to stop suing its Iranian critics and then for a change start lobbying for the vital interests of the people of Iran over the ruling Islamist regime's. 


"risk alienating Iranian American Support"?

by Mehran-001 (not verified) on

Are you kidding me. I can't believe a single Iranian would vote for a clown like McCain. He makes George to look like a real statesman.