• 5 December 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Persian Gulf

Public Diplomacy 2.0

(h/t memri)

U.S. State Department Team Will Explain U.S. Positions To Online Iranians

The U.S. State Department has established a special team of Farsi speakers to monitor websites and blogs in Iran, and to respond and to explain the U.S. position, particularly on the Iranian nuclear issue, on chat rooms and online forums.

Sources: Jomhouri-e Eslami, Iran, December 4, 2008; Fars, Parsine, Iran, December 3, 2008

For more info, click here.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    One Response to “Public Diplomacy 2.0”

  1. AnIranianinMontreal says:

    “In the war of ideas our core task in 2008 is to create an environment hostile to violent extremism,” said James Glassman

    It seems, Mr.Glassman didn’t notice the contradiction embedded in his comment! anyway, it’s Iran that needs to explain her view on nuclear issue not the U.S. I am wondering what the U.S is going to say which would be new to the Iranian people. The U.S even denied Iran’s access to nuclear fuel up until last year at around this time. and just when it was forced to agree with the facts in the ground, it admitted, after Russian fuel delivery, that Iran is entitled to have nuclear fuel. It seems, Mr.Glassman doesn’t (want to) understand, that the U.S has been so hostile to Iran, and its people, in the past 3 decades already. Does it mean that he thinks we, the Iranian youth, are really foolish unable to get it?!

    and as the U.S president finally admitted in his recent speech in the Saban center, Iran is not willing to go for a naked nuclear option as a result of Iraq’s war. Actually Iraq’s war changed Iran’s calculation remarkably, not to go for a nuclear test. There is no realistic reason for Iran to do so at this juncture given that its proximate foes are gone now. This is the actual nightmare of Iraq’s war failure that has substantially changed the geopolitics of the region for the years to come. The U.S was trying hard in the past 5 years not to mention this obvious fact. And it admitted the point just at the end of its current hostile government. It’s time for the U.S, Mr.Glassman particularly, to come to the term of a peaceful nuclear Iran. An Iran that doesn’t necessarily want to intimate its immediate neighbors. I understand that it’s going be a bit difficult to reconfigure the great Middle East’s security structure with the new realities. However, the U.S politicians are clever enough to change to course, as they did in the case of Vietnam war, before it’s too late. We think, it’s easier to work with the U.S than the others anyhow! Americans are weak in history generally, but this sort of recent history that it’s involved generation is still active politically. The U.S has the means, by its huge propaganda machine, to change the hostile environment, created by itself of course, in the short period of time. We, the Iranians youth, are just hopeful of that. There is no other alternative as recognizing and engaging a peaceful nuclear Iran is the matter of NECESSITY not choice anymore.

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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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