• 31 October 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Neo-Con Agenda

If wishing made it so…

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up his rhetoric since the onset of the current financial crisis, predicting “an end to capitalism” and declaring that “the bullying powers are on the verge of collapse.”

Though Iran is not without its own economic troubles, its financial sector has been largely unaffected by the crisis gripping the West. This fact has led to a greater-than-usual amount of smugness from the Iranian firebrand, who honestly seems to believe the Western economic and political systems are on the verge of destruction.

To me, these outlandish declarations from Tehran are a symptom of a much larger problem, which is not only confined to Iran, but which some in Washington suffer from as well…

Obviously, the chances that the Western capitalist system are crumbling into nothingness are pretty slim.  But the critical thing to note here is that it’s naive–and hugely unproductive–of Ahmadinejad to claim otherwise.  What is there to gain from predicting the destruction of an enemy?  Surely even Ahmadinejad doesn’t believe that he could hasten this “imminent collapse” simply by issuing a Presidential proclamation….right?

And in much the same way Ahmadinejad’s notorious pronouncements about the destruction of the state of Israel have done nothing to weaken the Jewish state, (and have done everything to weaken Iran’s position in the world), the same is true of his attacks against the West.

But Ahmadinejad is not the only one guilty of this error.

All too often in Washington, one hears talk of the Iranian people’s festering resentment against the regime which, given the right assistance, could lead to a full-on revolution and produce regime change in Tehran.  To some, the clerical government seems on the verge of collapse and it is in America’s best interest to help it along a bit.  Forgive me, but–yeah right.

This is the same ignorant short-sightedness that Ahmadinejad proudly puts on display whenever he’s behind a microphone.  In international relations as in our own personal lives, you can’t just wish your problems away.  If the US and Iran each thinks the other will disappear from the global landscape in a matter of days, what incentive is there to compromise? The Iranian people have not so quickly forgotten the murderous chaos, the torture, societal ruin, and disapperances of loved ones that followed the 1979 revolution.  Believe me: they are not anxious to repeat their revolutionary past.

Nor should the US wish for another Iranian revolution.  To do so is to take the easy way out (with no way of accounting for Murphy’s Law).

Both Washington and Tehran should take a step back, breathe deeply, and finally wash their minds of the notion that the other will soon fade into oblivion.

Maybe then they could get down to solving the enormous problems between these two key countries.

Posted By Patrick Disney

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

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.



Share this with your friends: