• 13 June 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Iran Election 2009, Uncategorized

Election Liveblogging – Saturday

For day two coverage of the unrest in Iran, click here.

6:14 update: Through Facebook we have received news that Mir Hossein
Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Gholamhossein Karbaschi are under house arrest.

5:43 update: Things are slowing down, for now at least.  We will continue to monitor developments as they come in, and will continue to inform you along the way.

For more information, and more liveblogging, check out Andrew Sullivan, HuffingtonPost, and the NYTimes, all of which have had amazing coverage throughout the day.

5:26 update: Khatami’s brother arrested.

More from http://twitter.com/iranbaan:

“Seyed Mohamad Khatami has not been arrested, but his brother Mohammad Reza Khatami and (his wife) Zahra Esraghi have been”

“[Tehran Univ. political scientist] Ahmad Ziadabadi and [prominent political blogger] Saeed Shariati have been arrested”

“There has been no news published about the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi”

4:36 update: From http://twitter.com/iranbaan:

It is said that Larijani has gone to Qom to meet with authorities.

In Eram Steet, Shiraz University, students have clashed with the police and the police has used tear gas.

Slogans “God is great” and “death to dictator” is echoing in Tehran.  People are demonstrating on the rooftops.

The office of the participation front was attacked.  They have closed the office.  On the door, they wrote this office is closed until further notice.

4:27 update: According to Juan Cole:

Top Pieces of Evidence that the Iranian Presidential Election Was Stolen

1. It is claimed that Ahmadinejad won the city of Tabriz with 57%. His main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is an Azeri from Azerbaijan province, of which Tabriz is the capital. Mousavi, according to such polls as exist in Iran and widespread anecdotal evidence, did better in cities and is popular in Azerbaijan. Certainly, his rallies there were very well attended. So for an Azeri urban center to go so heavily for Ahmadinejad just makes no sense. In past elections, Azeris voted disproportionately for even minor presidential candidates who hailed from that province.

2. Ahmadinejad is claimed to have taken Tehran by over 50%. Again, he is not popular in the cities, even, as he claims, in the poor neighborhoods, in part because his policies have produced high inflation and high unemployment. That he should have won Tehran is so unlikely as to raise real questions about these numbers.

3. It is claimed that cleric Mehdi Karoubi, the other reformist candidate, received 320,000 votes, and that he did poorly in Iran’s western provinces, even losing in Luristan. He is a Lur and is popular in the west, including in Kurdistan. Karoubi received 17 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections in 2005. While it is possible that his support has substantially declined since then, it is hard to believe that he would get less than one percent of the vote. Moreover, he should have at least done well in the west, which he did not.

4. Mohsen Rezaie, who polled very badly and seems not to have been at all popular, is alleged to have received 670,000 votes, twice as much as Karoubi.

5. Ahmadinejad’s numbers were fairly standard across Iran’s provinces. In past elections there have been substantial ethnic and provincial variations.

6. The Electoral Commission is supposed to wait three days before certifying the results of the election, at which point they are to inform Khamenei of the results, and he signs off on the process. The three-day delay is intended to allow charges of irregularities to be adjudicated. In this case, Khamenei immediately approved the alleged results.

3:49 update: Stratfor is reporting that Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Council, has resigned.

Though unconfirmed, the report is saying that Rafsanjani is resigning from his position as head of the Expediencey Council, NOT his position as the leader of the Assembly of Experts, which has oversight responsibility over the office of the Supreme Leader and would be responsible for naming Ayatollah Khamenei’s successor.

3:40 update: Trita, on CNN:

“[The election aftermath] is creating significant obstacles [to U.S. diplomacy] in my view. There will be an Ahmadinejad that will have very little legitimacy internationally, mindful of how this is being played out. Or if it is not Ahmadinejad, it probably will be a prolonged internal battle in Iran in which there will be no clarity at all who will hold office of the presidency. That’s very negative for the president [who] already has somewhat limited time to be able to pursue diplomacy. He cannot really afford to have more of the time being lost because of political paralysis inside of Iran.

3:18 update: The President of the Committee of Election Monitoring: The Election is Invalid

Hojjat-ol-Eslam Yali Akbar MohteshamiPour officially requested that the Guardian Council to cancel this election and schedule a new election balanced and moderated democratically with the widespread and national presence of the people.

The Iranian Electoral Commission (Sianat az ara) was approved by all
candidates to monitor the election results

Conflicting reports, now, about Mousavi’s supposed arrest.

3:05 update: According to Mousavi’s website, a group of employees in the Ministry of the Interior in an open letter warned that the votes have been changed and manipulated in the state election commission.  In this letter, which was addressed to the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, the President, the of Majlis of Iran, the heads of the legislative and judicial branch and several other government agencies, a group of employees stated that “as dedicated employees of the Interior Ministry, with experience in management and supervision of several elections such as the elections of Khamenei, Rafsanjani and Khatami, we announce that we fear the 10th presidential elections were not healthy.”

Full letter is available here in Farsi: http://mowj.ir/ShowNews.php?7217

2:35 update: Readers’ comments from Mousavi’s website, http://mowj.ir/ShowNews.php?7210:

Saeed: We will never forget this tragedy.  Shame on you Ahmadinejad…Shame.

Aref: This is not over yet.  Tell people who voted for Mousavi to come to the streets on Saturday so we can show how many votes Mousavi has.  If Mousavi and Karoubi keep their word, they should participate in the protests as well.

Amin: This is the world’s biggest dictatorship.  I will never vote again.


2:13 update: From the NYTimes “Memo from Tehran”:

Although there were bursts of defiance that were forcibly subdued, there was also a palpable fear; on Saturday, unlike on Friday, few opposition voters would let their names be used.

“By the evening people will pour into the streets,” predicted one young woman, from inside the hood of her black chador. “But Ahmadinejad will become president by force.”

1:55 update: Ali, a university student, went to the take a final exam today but ended up in an alley all beat up and bloody after he decided to attend the protests in the Fatemi Square.  His friends found him in back streets near the Fatemi Square where thousands of people gathered to protest the results of the election.  Ali’s family said, “There is not a spot on his body what was not beat including his head and face.”   Ali’s real name has been changed to protect his identity.

Eyewitness – Mina, a resident of Tehran went to a dentist appointment near the Ministry of Interior where she encountered thousands of protesting young people.  She talked to some girls who were crying.  “They said they worked so hard for two months, they where certain Mousavi was going to be elected.”  Mina saw buses full of soldiers and Special Forces with batons and shields who came to crack down on the protests.  “They were pushing people away from the interior ministry.  People who didn’t listen to them were beat up viciously.” She also said “there was a guy who lost consciousness after the police beat him up in the head with a baton.  They took him away.”

According to phone reports from inside Iran, there are rumors that Mousavi is under house arrest.

Also, Mohsen Mirdamadi, the head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front has reportedly been arrested.

About 200 police forces have surrounded the newspaper offices of Etemademelli and Green Word, holding at least 30 journalist inside.  The fate of the journalists is not known.  According to Mousavi’s website:

On Friday evening Iran time, and in the middle of live internet coverage by Mowj-e Sevom (Third Wave), several officers without uniform and without a warrant attacked the office of Mowj-e Sevom in Gheytariyeh, Tehran and threatened the journalists and others who were there for interviews, beating
them up and using tear gas.

Protests are continuing in Valiasr, Tajrish and Vanak streets.

1:20 update: From http://twitter.com/iranbaan

“Association of Combatant Clerics has announced we must cancel this election’s results and hold a new election”

This is the main party that backed Khatami in 1997

1:07 update: From Facebook:


One word of caution: though the disturbing images coming from Iran have shocked us all, we are getting reports that the unrest is largely concentrated in certain areas around the Ministry of the Interior in Tehran.  The majority of the supporters of the opposition candidates are channeling their disappointment through non-violent means; Mousavi himself has put out a statement calling for calm and restraint, although he is also acknowledging that his supporters are being attacked.  He is urging clerical leaders in Qom to speak out to those in power in favor of fairness and justice.

12:30pm update: From twitter (translated from Farsi):


“I’m on the top floor of a building in the Fatemi Square and can see they are beating people up with metal and electric batons and you can even hear sound of gunshots.”

“Facebook has been filtered in Iran.”

“People in Tabriz clashed with the Special Forces.”

https://twitter.com/gkarbaschi (Karroubi’s campaign manager)

“Karoubi’s camp believes that if there is no resistance this time, people’s help can never be expected again.”

“Making any decision is very difficult and we are in a very difficult situation, any protest must very carefully calculated.”

“Karbaschi asks people to follow the news through satellite, facebook and internet and ignore rumors.”

“Karoubi will never be silent.  He is present in the scene and never left it.  Solutions are being considered.”

12:10pm update: From a Western analyst who broadcasts a weekly television show into Iran on state-run media:

The election is a huge disappointment. There is likely to be continued protest in Tehran and other cities tomorrow and then I would expect things to die down. However, the opposition within Iran is likely to be strengthened by the events of the last two weeks, and I suspect a large proportion of Iranians will see this election as illegitimate, whatever the truth behind these results. This could well encourage the regime to attempt some sort of reconciliation, domestically (but less likely internationally), or an attempt to beat such skepticism out of the public in one way or another.

Whilst the result of this election would not have had a major impact on the control over the issues in this dispute one way or another directly, the forces of political and cultural change in Iran continue, and the events of the last two weeks are testament to that. Mousavi himself was not a radical candidate (and hardly a strong reformist one), but his numerous supporters appear to have been, and to have been sufficiently fired up by the promise of change. They will not disappear in a puff of smoke, and they will have learned more than the government from the last couple of weeks.

Longer term Iranian politics is fascinating. Trouble is, will Obama be able to hold off the hawks long enough to see any fruition to these dynamics?

And more videos are coming in, this one from BBC, showing the growing unrest in the streets.  (Warning, this video shows some disturbing images).

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2724584&w=425&h=350&fv=config_settings_language%3Ddefault%26config%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbc.co.uk%2Fplayer%2Femp%2Fconfig%2Fdefault.xml%3F1.3.114_2.11.7978_8433_20090514110202%26playlist%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fnews.bbc.co.uk%252Fmedia%252Femp%252F8090000%252F8098800%252F8098834.xml%26embedReferer%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2F%26embedPageUrl%3D%2F2%2Fhi%2Fmiddle_east%2F8098896.stm%26config_settings_autoPlay%3Dfalse%26config_settings_showPopoutButton%3Dfalse%26config_settings_showUpdatedInFooter%3Dtrue%26config_plugin_fmtjLiveStats_pageType%3Deav2%26config_plugin_fmtjLiveStats_edition%3DInternational%26preroll%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fpfadx%2Fbbccom.live.site.news%2Fnews_middleeast_content%3Bsectn%3Dnews%3Bctype%3Dcontent%3Bnews%3Dmiddleeast%3Badsense_middle%3Dadsense_middle%3Badsense_mpu%3Dadsense_mpu%3Brsi%3D%3Bslot%3Dcompanion%3Bsz%3D512x288%3Btile%3D6%26companionSize%3D300x60%26companionType%3Dadi%26companionId%3Dbbccom_companion_8098834]


Lots of information streaming in every minute today–it looks as if the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not go unchallenged, but the big question on everyone’s mind is what will Mir Hossein Moussavi do?

Will he urge his supporters to take to the streets in protest?  If so, can a challenge be made to the election results without also calling into question the entire system of the Islamic Republic and velayat-e faqih?

We’ll be constantly updating as news comes in today, particularly watching Iranian twitter feeds and translating them for you here at niacINsight.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.837809&w=425&h=350&fv=width%3D360%26height%3D270%26file%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.newzmakerz.com%2Fflvideo%2F327.flv%26image%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.newzmakerz.com%2Fthumb%2F3_327.jpg%26displayheight%3D270%26link%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.newzmakerz.com%2Fvideo%2F327%2Fthe-iranian-election-2009-from-dubai%26searchbar%3Dfalse%26linkfromdisplay%3Dtrue%26recommendations%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.newzmakerz.com%2Ffeed_embed.php%3Fv%3D28732c23cc7352950e88]



Posted By Patrick Disney

    29 Responses to “Election Liveblogging – Saturday”

  1. a reader says:

    I don’t really understand what are the meaning of these posts!! you guys are an idiot! in the rural areas, Ahmadinejad received up to 80%, even somewhere 85-90%, of the votes. Now,with what I see here in this blog,I can understand how rightly, in past, Iran’s government, which is the representative of the majority of Iranians, didn’t take into consideration the interests few groups and people like you!

  2. Steve says:

    I am worried about the students.

  3. a reader says:

    “Trita Parsi on CNN: It just doesn’t make sense. It really doesn’t.” oh yeah?!!

    No sir. If you are unable to understand it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense. It’s too soon for you to understand Iran, and the people of Iran, fully. Trita Parsi: an originally Iranian guy who growth up in the west, never have lived in Iran extensively, just see Iran through the prism of those elite Iranian friends, or newspapers; claims that as he knows Iran and its people very well ,whatever he predicts should make sense unless otherwise. and yet these id**** are called Iran expert in Washington. what a bu**s***….

  4. ebrahimebram says:

    if ahmadinejad got the majority of the vote the police wouldnt have to cut all communications, and prepare for such riots from weeks before, how can people vote for ahmadinejad when housing prices have increased by 220 percent, and he ruled the country with 150 dollars a barrel , while khatami did with 20 dollors, and ahmadi destroyed the country.

  5. sirous says:

    man dar tehron hastam. allan saat 3.40 sobh hast. az tareegh filte shekan vasl shodam be shoma. kheylee vaaz sholoogh hast. mardom hame daran az khonehashoon shoar meedan – marg bar dictator. dolat hokomat nezami dare ejra meekone. kassi jorat beyroon raftan nadaraeh. hechkas moosavi ra emroz nadeedeh. shaye hast ke gereftanesh

    man email nadaram valli doibare be shome emil meezanam

    komak koneed

  6. anonymous says:

    As a concerned US citizen, what can I do to show support for these protesters in Iran?

  7. bill Kale says:

    Great blog. Keep up the good work, it is really needed.

    Funny to see all the Ahmadinejad apologists popping up everywhere. Looks like a preplanned op. Fuuny that the only things these thugs seem to be able to run (so far at least) is a stolen election. They can’t run a country or an economy worth %^&*. Here’s hoping that they will screw up the election theft too.

  8. The Jesuit says:

    I’m really hoping the brave students collapse the entire putrid Islamic Republic but my fear is that these students are agitating in favor of a man Mousavi, who has blood on his hands too. Are they being used to bring about a government that will be just as blood thirsty as the one in power now? And what are the chances the Basij militias and the Revolutionary Guard will just lay down? The students need to be careful they are not being goaded into violence on purpose so that the government crushes them.

  9. Kurokojikin says:

    “85-90% of the votes” in some rural districts. Where have I heard that before. Ah, yes, in every stolen election there has ever been.

  10. lee100 says:

    For those of us who don’t understand Iranian politics that well, explain something…
    If the election is truly rigged, would any fixing require the consent of Ayatollah Khamenei and the Guardian Council?

  11. A Lecturer in Political History says:

    Who’s the silly tool insisting that I’m a Dinner Jacket got the majority of the votes? The guy is thick as a brick–he can’t even CHEAT properly. You don’t try to claim that you got the most votes in your opponent’s home town–that’s just stupidity.

    Mir needs to be installed in his rightful place, and Mahmoud needs to go home and stop showing his ugly, bigoted face on our televisions. Time for a new day for Iran.

  12. […] Pitney for Huffington Post | Andrew Sullivan | National Iranian American Council | The Lede Blog at New York […]

  13. chuck63 says:

    The mullahs rule Iran and will choose whomever they want to be in power. The elections are a big joke and only held to pacify the citizens of Iran and make them feel as though they have some power. Things will change only when the people realize this to be true and decide to really make the changes. I hope that someday they do exactly that, but I worry about them because it will cost much to earn true freedom. I’m afraid many will have to pay the ultimate sacrifice in order to earn the rights of the others, just as has happened in America in centuries past. God be with the good people of Iran and bless them with courage and strength.

  14. a reader says:

    here is the results for Canada : 3046 vote 1- Mousavi 85% 2- Karoubi 6.59% 3- Ahmadinejad 6.53% 4-Rezaiee 1.34%.

    Mousavi got almost the same votes as what Ahmadinejad got in my small village back in Iran. Yet these people in Canada are making extraordinary noise as “where is my vote”. Sir, your vote is there, but you are not the majority. this is called democracy.

  15. ShaJ says:

    The American CIA is behind the protests. Salaam, Ahmadinajad is way better then the Shah, his Savak or his Ahole Son. Ahmadinajad must share power with Khamenei anyway, so what difference does it make? Iran should be able to defend itself with nukes, after what America did to innocent (No WMDs) Iraq, every country in the world should be able to. One thing is cool all Iranian cellphones were shut down I wonder how they did it? katrina did it here.

  16. m4k2004 says:

    I think someone said it bests when they said that if Ahmadinejad had won fair and square, there would be no need to cut communication. Ahmadinejad is a dictator and those that actually did vote for him have no sense of what human rights are. I guess Im just glad I have the right to say that because I am an American, but can’t help but to care about the state of the world, even in Iran where either the voters don’t care about themselves or (most likely) Ahmadinejad has illegally tampered with the ballots. It is not possible to count all of those ballots by hand in that amount of time. It’s absurd to even think so.
    As far as the American CIA being behind the protests, that is absurd. Americans do not condone violence, although we do accept and even appreciate peaceful protesting. The people are the ones that protested….they protested because they were cheated. They were cheated out of their right to vote. Many that had not voted in 30 years have come out and said they will not be voting again.
    My heart goes out to those Iranians that dared to hope for a better tommorow only to be shot down by a dictator that doesn’t listen to reason.

  17. a reader says:


    as it can be seen, Mousavi got almost double than Ahmadinejad in Shemiranat region in Tehran; but it doesn’t mean that Mousavi won the election. we are talking about the whole country, not few places and regions.(Tehran (central tehran): Ahmadinejad: 1809855 and Mousavi: 2166245)

    to believe these numbers are carefully orchestrated is to believe in an “impossible”. It’s better for many of are so called high educated (and very informed Iran experts!! hahaha) not to ridicule themself more than this by insisting on baseless claims.

    more details are available. vote to vote, and also with “code melli”(national code and number).

  18. Simon Levin says:

    100% convinced that Calvin Klein’s marketing department is going to take full advantage of this picture (http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/144/iranianprotestelectionr.jpg). Don’t be surprise to see posters of this guy in the main subways and bus stops of America and Western Europe; furthermore, this picture reflects the typical reformist: young, suburban, middle or upper class (and they DO NOT represent the entire Iranian society). Poster’s title: Calvin Klein’s Green Revolution.

  19. despabilar says:

    Dear Brothers

    Nobody believes you know.

    The world has awaked and we know your FALSEMEDIA are only spreading lies!

    The same thing was done in Nicaragua, Palestina, etc. Were your rigth wings parties dont win the eleection you say: “it is FRAUD”! Please, do you still belive people are follow your consfusions news?

    Please make PEACE and not WAR!


    • David Elliott says:

      NIAC has a strong mandate from its members to promote diplomacy. We work to prevent war every day.

  20. fche626 says:

    It’s too bad what’s going on in Iran. The Iranian people deserve a better democracy.

  21. ShaJ says:

    The Great Uncle Joe Stalin said that “It is not important who votes but who counts the votes.” What did you people expect, that the Imans and Ahmad would lay down and roll over? The Shah was a Ahole to let the old Ayatollah live in freedom in France. But that’s the old Shah and His dysfunctional stupid family and their great Savak. Stupid is a stupid does. And the Shah did fail Persia and was stupid. Salaam. Persia forever.

  22. Reza says:

    Please help Iranians. The Iranian government has blocked almost all of our communication tools. Cell phones are out of operation. voice and text communication through cell phones is not possible anymore. CNN, BBC, VOA websites are blocked. CNN, France24, BBC Persian, VOA Persian no longer can be seen on satellite. Twitter and Facebook are blocked. Yahoo Messenger is blocked. Gmail is blocked. Google Reader is blocked. In these circumstances, RSS was very helpful; it can not be used anymore. Persian News websites are blocked. Even Andrew Sullivan’s blog is blocked. Please spread the word, and help us. They want to impose us a fascist regime.
    Ask google to find a solution for Iranians to access their gmail and RSS reader.
    Ask Carter Center to evaluate the validity of official statistics. It may be possible to detect statistical fraud in invented figures, through statistical tests. Check this
    This article says that with 99.9% probability the figures are invented.

  23. a reader says:

    Trita Parsi; this article is for you to read carefully:


    particularly this sentence is absolutely right about the great “Iran expert”! =)) (hahahaha, I can’t stop laughing!), Dr.Trita Parsi:

    “In the wake of Friday’s election, some “Iran experts” — perhaps feeling burned by their misreading of contemporary political dynamics in the Islamic Republic — argue that we are witnessing a “conservative coup d’état,” aimed at a complete takeover of the Iranian state.”

  24. I follow your blog for a long time and must tell that your posts always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.

  25. TheTruth says:

    The election results are available for all to see. In fact, pollsters before the results from America have the poll results. Check out the facts:


  26. Jeffrey Sneller says:

    The only way to bring about change in Iran is through work stoppages and strikes. It will be painful, as it was in Poland, but the only way without violence.

  27. behzad says:

    i feel sorry for my people(I am Iranian) they are like a drowning person who will grab any hand to save them selves, this uprising was not because of mr mosavi, it was a time bomb waiting to go off, People had enough of this stupid fucking way of Islamic life, people had enough of teror, crullity, shit life, and hope came in the form of mr mosavi, ms despred people answered his call and put their lives on line for the hope of little normality for a conditional and controled freedom promised by mr mosavi, poor people forgot he is one of the creators of this hell this fucking …Islamic republic of pimps, basterds, murderers and trators, where was he when neda and other hiros of Persia guned down by this evil little fucking trators in streets of Tehran, stay strong friends. and this is a my personal message for ayatollah shit brain khameneyi, freek migit Ahmadinejad and holl gang of Islamic republic of shit; you Arab loving fucking murderers have shed the innocent blood of irans childeren in the name of god and Islam ; for that reason fuck you, your god, your Islam , your fucking existence , soon it will be your filthy bloods and all those other scums raning in the streets of Iran , your end is here, and one day soon Iranian people will use khomeinis grave and yours as a public toilet , you will be crashed by the will of sons and douthers of Persia.

  28. snoti says:

    روش مقابله با پارازیت ماهوارهای چیست؟

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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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