• 2 July 2008
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • 2 Comments
  • Legislative Agenda, Neo-Con Agenda, US-Iran War

Some Allies Disappoint on H.Con.Res. 362

Yesterday I posted a blog entry praising Rep. Waxman’s (D-CA-30) constituency for making the Congressman aware of their views on the current Iran situation. In an interview, the Congressman seemed to have a good grip on the thoughts of his constituency. His recent actions, however, make me question whether or not the opinions of his Iranian American constituents actually play a role in his cognition.

Rep. Waxman recently became a co-sponsor (one of about 220) of H.Con.Res. 362, made infamous for its ‘demand’ of the President to, in not so many words, create a naval blockade in the Persian Gulf. In a meeting yesterday between NIAC’s Assistant Legislative Director Patrick Disney and Rep. Waxman’s Senior Legislative Associate, it was revealed to us that the Congressman intends to remain a cosponsor of the bill. Apparently, Rep. Waxman and other cosponsors – including Reps. Ackerman and Pence who introduced the bill – don’t see it as an act of war.

Waxman’s LA echoed Ackerman and Pence’s ‘Dear Colleague’ letter, re-affirming their belief that the bill does not call for a blockade of Iran. They point to a caveat in the bill that states ‘Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran.’ It’s likely that the US’s ‘prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products’ would be seen by the Iranians at the very least as an illegal act of aggression, most likely an act of war. This is because enforcing the prohibition of petroleum shipments to Iran would require imposing a naval blockade.

Other troubling elements of the bill include ‘imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran’ (note to the small number of tourists and ex-pats that travel to Iran regularly: this includes you). This plan targets ordinary Iranian people more than the Iranian government, and will empower the hardline elements of the regime. The US would lose the hearts and minds of the Iranian people, one of our greatest strategic assets and a bulwark against anti-Americanism in the region.

Furthermore, ‘prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program’ is completely illegal, as the bill provides for no exceptions, including diplomats not on the nuclear negotiating team.

This is quite disappointing, to say the least. Rep. Waxman is an ally of the Iranian American community, but it seems like – certainly on this one – he has fallen prey to the influence of the war-hawks.

The Congressman’s staffer hinted that Rep. Waxman might be making a floor speech clarifying his beliefs about the bill in the near future.

The mark-up session for the bill is scheduled for next week. Changes to the language and/or content are possible either before or during the mark-up.  Time will tell the outcome. What is certain is that the story of H.Con.Res. 362 is not over yet.

Posted By Darioush Azizi

    2 Responses to “Some Allies Disappoint on H.Con.Res. 362”

  1. Chris Dornan says:

    Enforcing those provisions of 362 would be an act of war. One would have expected a half baked vegetable would be capable of grasping something so obvious but we seem to be in the same place as we were in 2002/3: a massive delusional holiday from evidence and logic.

  2. Christopher says:

    Oil export accounts for nearly 80% of Iran’s total export revenue. In defending Iran’s self interest, the Islamic republic would surely attack if a naval blockade impeded Iran’s main source of revenue. Concerned citizen must do everything possible to prevent Res 362 from passing. Otherwise, a war with Iran will drive pro-American and pro-democratic support behind the highly unpopular regime which will seriously damage Iran’s democratic movement and harm post-war relations with Iranians.

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Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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