• 10 October 2008
  • Posted By Joseph Ward
  • Events in Iran, Legislative Agenda, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf

Reports surfaced this week that the IAEA is investigating a Russian scientist who possibly assisted in complex detonator trials in conjunction with Iran’s alleged secret nuclear weapons program.  These detonators are an integral component to a nuclear weapon as they provide the force that ignites the bomb fuel thus starting the explosive nuclear reaction.

The scientist was named in a new document that was provided by  European and American officials.  It is unknown if this document originated from the stolen Iranian laptop that came into American hands by way of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK).

This is the first time the IAEA has suggested that Iran received help from a foreign weapons scientist in developing nuclear arms.  Russia’s scientists forged ties with Iran through civilian nuclear assistance, though both Russia and Iran maintain that no work on a nuclear weapons program has been done.  Russia says it opposes any effort by Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

The IAEA made it clear that it did not think the scientist was working on behalf of the Russian government, nor was the scientist affiliated with the civilian electric power plant that is being built at the Iranian port of Bushehr.  It is believed that he acted on his own, advising the detonator experiments.

This development underscores the need for robust verification mechanisms for Iran’s nuclear program, to prevent rogue elements like this scientist from pursuing weapons technologies.  A system for comprehensive multilateral inspections and transparent dialogue is crucial at this point in time.

Iran’s efforts to produce enriched uranium and related nuclear activities should be conducted on a multilateral basis, jointly managed and operated on Iranian soil by a consortium including Iran and the international community. Turning Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities into a multinational program will enable the international community to have closer monitoring and inspections as well as joint management and operation of the program. Inspections plus transparency will, in the long run, ease any tensions over possible weapons programs.

These ideas are introduced in the proposal put forth by Thomas Pickering, former Under Secretary of State and U.N. Ambassador, the Pickering plan addresses these ideas.  Under the plan, increased oversight and transparency would ensure that rogue scientists like this Russian engineer would not be able to work on a nuclear weapons program without being detected.

Posted By Joseph Ward

    One Response to “IAEA Alleges Russian Scientist Advised Iranian Weapon Design”

  1. Baha Abhari says:

    There was nobody named in the report, but indication was toward an Ukrainian scientist who had spent time in Iran and had been interviwed 4 times by UN inestigators. He totally denies the charges and stating he is not any neuclear Scientist, but rather his specialy and the research work has been on Diamond explosion in Nano Technology feild and he has been clear in the interview to the investigators and surprised on the conclusions. I saw it all in the informationclearinghouse.net.

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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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