• 15 July 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy

Updated: US Diplomat to Meet with Iran

For the first time since the hostage crisis in 1979, a high-ranking US diplomat will meet in person with Iranian officials to discuss broad areas of US concern.  Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, the number three official within the US State Department, will join representatives from the other P5+1 countries for a meeting this Saturday in Geneva with Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili.  The topic of the discussions will be Iran’s latest response to the package of incentives the international community has offered to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.  This marks the first time the United States has engaged with an Iranian diplomat over a range of issues, and marks a nearly complete turnaround for US policy which, until today has required Iran to suspend uranium enrichment as a precondition for US participation in talks.

For breaking coverage of this story, see these stories from the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, the Washington Times, and ReutersUPDATE: NIAC welcomes US participation in Iran nuclear talks

Posted By Patrick Disney

    10 Responses to “Updated: US Diplomat to Meet with Iran”

  1. Conspirama says:

    Breaking News: US Diplomat to Meet with Iran…

    … until today has required Iran to suspend uranium enrichment as a precondition for US participation in talks. For breaking coverage of this story, see these stories from the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, and Reuters….

  2. anonymousejoon says:

    Sounds encouraging. It is possible that despite all the misgivings and misinformation given about Iran by the Pentagon and VP’s office during Bush’s both terms, something can be salvaged at the end. If this Administration can finally see through the rhetoric and struck an accord, then the credit should be given to them.

  3. Mehdi says:

    Congratulations to NIAC! Your hard work is paying off. Great work!

  4. Michael Mahyar Hojjatie says:

    Wow, I seriously have been waiting my whole life for this little sliver of progress! Thank goodness!

  5. […] sent by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) to President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regarding the recent decision to send a US envoy to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear […]

  6. Babak Talebi says:

    Anonymous – it does seem somewhat anticlimactic after all those years of sabre-rattling rhetoric no?? but this is one occasion where I would never want to see ‘climactic’.

    Mehdi – There is no doubt in my mind that the voice of Iranian Americans, NIAC members in particular, during the past 2.5 years in this discussion has had an enormous impact on the debate. dont take my word for it – go read Waxman’s own words a few posts down – or Wexler (FL) or Frank (MA) or Wu from our conf. (Wu) who have all clearly stated that hearing their constituents is what really made them re-think their positions and move in different directions.

    but before I get too far ahead of myself and celebrate prematurely – I’m back to work to do a workshop in NJ to get IA’s in NJ involved.

  7. anonymousejoon says:

    Babak I think it is the gasoline prices! They have no other choice. To me if it was up to Bush-Cheney they would not have done anything, like they did in Katrina. The whole world, especially Europe is suffering from high gasoline prices, up to $12/gal I hear over there.

    So it is natural to ask the Bush administration to do something! Climactic or anticlimactic. Had US not gone into Iraq, things may have been different. But they have screwed up so bad on all fronts that they must do something now.

  8. Babak Talebi says:

    Well you are right certainly on may of those points… whatever their reasons this certainly has the potential to be good news.

    On the other hand – I a bit worried about this 2-week deadline as another attempt to create a case of ‘we tried diplomacy even and it didn’t work”…

    did you all see Michael Rubin’s Op-Ed in the NY Times?

  9. anonymousejoon says:

    Do you have a link to the NY Times article? It is disappointing to see the 2 weeks deadline. Although that has been US’s position all along, to hurry up.

    In fact it is funny that US and Iran are like a married couple fighting each other all the time coming from 2 very different backgrounds. US is always hurry up, life in the fast lane, Iran is okay slowly let me go on manbar (preach) first, give you some gift baskets second and then after an afternoon siesta, we may give you a response if you are patient and polite!

    Iran’s going on manbar is not helping. It shouldn’t be this difficult. I hope if Obama is elected he won’t meet with Ahmadinejad since he is not the Commander in Chief in Iran. He has said he’d meet with the appropriate people and in his case his counterpart would be Khamenei.

  10. […] is a virtue This past Saturday, Ambassador William Burns traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to meet with one of Ira…. This meeting was the first since 1979 between a top US diplomat and an Iranian representative. So […]

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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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