Wexler takes a stand: Iran Resolution Must Change!

Amid the swirling controversy over H.Con.Res. 362, Representative Robert Wexler (D-FL) argued on Wednesday that the “Iran Resolution Must Change.” We here at NIAC completely agree. In an article published in the Huffington Post the Congressman argued that H.Con.Res.362 must not be passed as it currently stands. Instead, he says America must engage in diplomacy with Iran and not use military force.

H.Con.Res.362 has been particularly controversial because it contains language that can be interpreted to recommend imposing a naval blockade on Iran. A blockade is an act of war and Wexler writes that many people “express real concerns that sections of this resolution will be interpreted by President Bush as “a green light” to use force against Iran.” Prominent figures and academics have argued along the same lines, as was seen by the op-eds written by Trita Parsi and Shlomo Ben-Ami and Cyrus Bina and Sam Gardiner.

In addition, Congressman Lacy Clay of Missouri officially withdrew his cosponsorship of H.Con.Res. 362 this week, echoing the criticisms of a number of Representatives on this bill.

Wexler’s main contentions with the blockade resolution are “its failure to advocate for direct American engagement with Tehran and open language that could lead to a US blockade of Iran.” Consequently he promised to “lead an effort to make changes to this resolution before it comes to the Foreign Affairs committee for a vote.” He said that it is his goal to add language “highlighting a more effective American strategy that calls for direct engagement with Tehran.” This is positive news and we hope that Rep. Wexler will succeed in making such amendments.

However, time is not on our side and the resolution already has 238 cosponsors. Nevertheless, Wexler himself is a co-sponsor but has said that the ability to make alterations “will ultimately determine whether or not I will continue to support H. Con. Res. 362.” Therefore one hopes that he will be able to gain support from those who have already signed onto the legislation, as well as from those who oppose it.

The fact that it is Wexler raising these objections is significant. This is because he is a key supporter of the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama. Though his statement was not intended to represent the Obama campaign, his position as a central campaign surrogate suggests that Obama’s position can’t be far off. This is important from our community’s viewpoint, especially given Obama’s clear foreign policy intention of placing a strong emphasis on diplomacy with Iran.

What is also notable is that Wexler is viewed as a strong potential candidate for Florida’s Senate race in the 2010. Florida has the sixth largest Iranian-American population in the country. Consequently, from the stance he has taken on H.Con.Res. 362, voters in Florida can get some idea of how he might act if he were to be elected Senator. Watch this space for more developments!

Posted By Julia Murray

    4 Responses to “Wexler takes a stand: Iran Resolution Must Change!”

  1. John Maszka says:

    Unfortunately, the Bush administration cannot be trusted to do what it says. Iraq taught us that lesson.

    “On ne donne rien si liberalement que ses conseils.”

    But it is the man who follows his own counsil, he’s the one that should lead.

  2. What does Iran want?

    I think more than anything to be able to defend their country. Iran wants the same things as Israel, security. Who can they trust?

    They remember 1979; Arabic nations who supported Iraq against Iran. The integrated financial, technical, and armaments that were provided by many Arab countries to support Arabic Iraq against non-Arab Iranians was responsible for death of about 500,000 Iranians and injury of several millions.

    They remember our financial and technical support of Sadam Hossein to use chemical bombs against Iranians.

    Iranians remember summer of 1953.

    President George Bush often states that Iran is threatening the interests of the Unites States in Persian Gulf! What are the interests of England and the United States in Persian Gulf, the Persian front door to Iran?
    A primer for discussion of these issues must start with review of British and the United States policies relative to the Persian Gulf region. Stephen Kinzer, a veteran New York Times correspondent, in his book “All the Shah’s Men, an American coup and the roots of Middle East Terror”, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003, brilliantly reconstructs the events leading to the present dilemma of the United States in the Middle East. The events described in this marvelous book are not fiction; the events actually happened during the summer of 1953 in Tehran, Iran.

    The United States Central Intelligence Agency operation Ajax staged coup d’état in 1953 against democratically elected Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. Democracy was substituted with the despotic regime of Mohammad Reza Shah. The dawn of democracy in Iran, started in late 1880, flickered by democratically elected Mossadegh, was extinguished. This was the beginning of Iranian servitude once more to the interests of England and the United States. During his last years, Shah did not trust Iranian people; his inner palace was guarded by Israel commandos. Since 1979, the United States has been punishing Iranian people for ousting the immature, weak, despotic Mohammad Reza Shah. This punishment, Iranian assert, included Iraq invasion of Iran instigated by President Regan. During this war, the United States and her satellite nations helped materially and logistically Iraqi military forces to invade Iran and use chemical and biological weapons on Iranian population.

    In the preface of his book, Kinzer recalls his conversation with an Iranian lady about Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. He asked her: “What do you remember…about the coup against him?” She responded:

    “Why did you Americans do that terrible thing? We always loved America. To us, America was the great country, the perfect country, the country that helped us while other countries were exploiting us. But after that moment, no one in Iran ever trusted the United States again…”

    This un-American act was instigated by Winston Churchill-Anthony Eden of England and two American brothers John Foster Dulles (US Secretary of State) and Allen Dulles (Director of Central Intelligence Agency). The primary reason for this regime change was to subordinate Iranian people and exploit the Iranian natural resources.

    Harry Truman once said: “There is nothing new in the world except the histories you don not know.” Have we learned from our past mistakes committed during 1953 not to repeat it once more? This time the price would be much larger for both the Iranian and our American societies! We must stop George Bush with his neocolonialism.

    If you were the President of Iran, what would you do for your country?

    Please read Persian Paradox [http://www.geocities.com/stmtraveler/PersianPardox.htm].

  3. John Maszka says:

    While many among the EU argue that increased engagement with Iran could only direct Iran down the path of further reform, particularly on issues such as the Israel/Palestinian conflict, WMD and support of terrorists; this thriving reform could well be in great danger given the Bush administration’s passion for regime change and its clear targeting of Iran as a rogue state.

    It is my sincere hope that the Bush administration will not authorize an attack against Iran before it leaves office. If this happens it will not matter whether Wexler sponsors H.Con.Res. 362, or who gets into office next year.

    What Iran needs more than anything right now is something to lose. We’ve backed it into a corner and given it few options. We should leave Iran an honorable path of retreat. Engaging Iran in the global economy is the only approach that has merit.

  4. Skinny Ties says:

    The points above are all very insightful, thanks very much.

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Sign the Petition


7,350 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.



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