• 13 November 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Persian Gulf, US-Iran War

Iran tests long range missile, US condemns

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Color%3D454444%26amp%3BvolumeSliderOffColor%3Dcccccc%26amp%3BvolumeSliderOverColor%3D828282%26amp%3B]From the Los Angeles Times

U.S. denounces Iran over long-range missile testOfficials say the rocket test violates U.N. resolutions and is evidence of Iran’s growing nuclear threat.

By Borzou Daragahi
November 13, 2008

Reporting from Beirut – U.S. officials Wednesday condemned Iran for test-firing a long-range surface-to-surface missile, which they called a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and a threat to other countries.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar earlier in the day announced the successful launch of a new class of two-stage, solid-fuel rocket called the Sejil.

Iranians say the domestically manufactured weapon is more accurate than its liquid-fueled predecessors and has a range of 1,200 miles, which puts Israel and parts of Europe within striking distance.

The U.S. and some of its allies suspect that Iran is expanding a civilian atomic energy program and improving its missiles to obtain the capacity to make nuclear weapons.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the test-firing reinforced the U.S. argument that Iran could not be trusted to continue enriching uranium, a precursor to developing nuclear weaponry as well as generating civilian electricity.

“Iran should . . . refrain from further missile tests if they truly seek to gain the trust of the world,” he said in a statement. “The Iranian regime should stop the development of ballistic missiles, which could be used as a delivery vehicle for a potential nuclear weapon, immediately.”

The Security Council has called on Iran to “constrain” its “development of sensitive technologies in support of its nuclear and missile programs” until questions about the Iranian nuclear program have been resolved.

Washington also points to Iran’s growing military and technological prowess as an argument for building a controversial missile defense shield in Central Europe. The Bush administration has argued that such a system could shoot down missiles fired from the Middle East, but Russia views it as an attempt to undercut its nuclear deterrent.

“This testing is another reminder of the importance of establishing a missile defense site in Poland and in the Czech Republic to defend the U.S. and Europe against a threat that is developing in Iran,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Agence France-Presse.

Iran says the buildup of its missile arsenal is meant to prevent attacks by the U.S. or Israel on its nuclear installations.

“This missile test was conducted within the framework of a defensive, deterrent strategy,” Najjar told reporters, according to the semiofficial Fars News Agency.

Posted By Patrick Disney

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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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