• 22 June 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran Updates – June 22

9:34 pm: We received this email from an Iranian now living in the US. She told us she escaped to the US following the 1999 student uprising:

dear sirs/ ba arze salam:

I came across your site recently while following up on the iranian events.

I cannot identify myself other than saying that I was one of those seriously injured previously in a iran protest and reside here now. I have read fairly thoughtfully regarding obama’s response to iran in your site. It is clear that taking the imperialist intervention card from the regime was obama’s intention which was effective. he has been consistent here by refering to the regime as the islamic republic of Iran as he did repeatedly in the norouz message and by speaking about the plight of the Palestinians in cairo. he explicitly has moved away from regime change. however I believe that it would not be taking sides or interfering in iran if ahmadinejad’s government and his envoys to all western countries be held to be without credentials when his term ends. this can be done within the context of respecting the constitution of the islamic republic which is in accordance to the US government’s acceptance of the plebecite in Iran in 1979. This simply raises iran above the level of a third world country that need not explain its legitimacy past its guns. For your information in the last protest and probably this time I witnessed iranians hoping the the americans would step in and got hurt in the process. As Iranians we know that if this protest is crushed it would have been a exercise to the benefit of the regime. the anti government forces would have been brought out imprisoned and hurt. the regime in fact attempts this today by having its agents cry allahuakbar in the streets. leila m.

9:25 pm: From a Tehran resident today:

I cannot sleep and not write this.

Today in Haft-e Tir, there were so many members of basij that they outnumbered the demonstrators 3 or 4 to 1. They were less focused on women. This must be related to the murder of poor Neda. And this was also why whenever they got hold of a man, women would surround them and shout don’t beat him, don’t beat and they would turn and anxiously say we didn’t beat him. It was astonishing. They explained; they talked.

But they didn’t allow us to congregate; they kept telling us to walk and the crowd walked quietly for 2 hours in the circle (meydaan) and spontaneously gathered in whichever area they were not present. About 2000 of us were walking around the circle and only shouting Allah-o Akbar until they were forced to disperse us with tear and pepper gases. I thought people’s patience and persistence was great, although there were also many bad scenes and I cried.

They arrested a whole bus load of people. There were many intelligence folks in the crowd too. They would point to a person and the basijis would arrest that person. There was no one from Sepah and the police was obviously sympathetic to the crowd. I swear some of the Basijis were only 14 or 15, or at least what they looked like to me. On the other hand, women are playing an amazing role in the streets; both in terms of numbers and effectiveness.

4:47 pm: Global solidarity Thursday
Cartoon 2

Mousavi’s facebook page just announced that they want to hold global solidarity demonstrations on Thursday “for the martyrs that have been lost so far in our fight for justice.” In Tehran, the demonstration will be held at Imam Khomeini Shrine, according to the announcement.

4:30 pm: Spotted – Mousavi/Mossadeq photosmousavi460x276

The indispensible Stephen Kinzer–one of the best sources anywhere on Iran–has discovered pictures of Muhammad Mossadeq starting to pop up among the crowds.

Carrying a picture of Mossadeq today means two things: “We want democracy” and “No foreign intervention”. These demands fit together in the minds of most Iranians. Desperate as they are for the political freedom their parents and grandparents enjoyed in the early 1950s, they have no illusion that foreigners can bring it to them. In fact, foreign intervention has brought them nothing but misery.

America’s moral authority in Iran is all but non-existent. To the idea that the US should jump into the Tehran fray and help bring democracy to Iran, many Iranians would roll their eyes and say: “We had a democracy here until you came in and crushed it!”

President Barack Obama seems to grasp this reality.

3:55 pm: Guardian Council Speaker: “Initial investigations shows no violations took place and elections are healthy”

According to Jame Jam Online, [Persian] the speaker of the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaee, rejected any “significant violations” during the Presidential election based on preliminary investigations. In an interview with IRIB, Kadkhodaee said “our initial investigations show that no significant violations took place and it may be better for me to say that no violations took place at all.” When Kadkhodaee was asked about the ballot boxes which contained more votes than the eligible voters, he said “some media published false news; I have contacted some of them and given the necessary explanations.”

3:34 pm:Website dedicated to Neda, created in Iran: http://weareallneda.com/

3:32 pm: Our own Trita Parsi evaluates President Obama’s performance in dealing with Iran on the Christian Science Monitor:

The Iranians want to make sure that the world knows and sees what is happening on the streets of Tehran and other cities. And they want the US to stay out of the fight – at least for now.

But here is one legitimate criticism , the Iranians are missing two words from Obama: “I condemn.” Protesters and political leaders I’ve spoken to in Iran want the US to speak out forcefully against the government’s human rights abuses and condemn the violence. Philosophical formulations about respecting the wishes of the Iranian people aren’t enough: The president should clearly condemn the Iranian government’s violations and use of brutal force against its own people.

After all, condemning violence is different from taking sides in Iran’s election dispute. Not only would it be compatible with American values, it would also reduce pressure on the president to entangle the US in Iranian politics. Clarity on the human rights front strengthens the president’s ability to avoid siding with any political faction in Iran.

Second, few in the US debate have taken note that Obama’s pro-engagement, anti-confrontation approach may have directly contributed to the developments in Iran. President George W. Bush sought to destabilize and bring about regime change in Iran for eight years through isolation, threats, and financial support for anti-Tehran groups. For all its labors, the Bush administration failed. The Iranian elite closed ranks, and hard-liners used the perceived threat from the US to clamp down on human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists.

Obama’s diplomatic outreach and removal of this threat perception has not necessarily created fissures among the Iranian elite in and of itself, but it has weakened the glue that created unity among Iran’s many political factions.

3:15 pm: Message from an ordinary Tehrani – This message was forwarded to an Iran-focused listserv in the hopes that it would find its way to officials in the American government.

Dear friend, if you have any contacts within the American Administration, please send them this message on behalf of us, ordinary Iranians in Iran (whose interests and concerns are very different from those of the exiled Iranians in the United States and in Europe who do not yet understand the mentality here and who have been cut off from the Iranian society for too long). Tell your contacts in the Administration that their point of view regarding Iran is by far the best position that an American Government has ever taken. We appreciate this and thank the President.

During the last two or three decades not one American president had “understood” Iran. All of them got caught in the traps of the mollahs, despite themselves having to play the bad cop .. but this time the intelligent president has decided not to join in their game, bravo.

It is normal that he is criticized vividly by most of the Los Angeles Iranians (and by most Republicans): since a long time they have been asking for just one thing : that America attack Iran and change the regime so that they get their possessions and their former jobs and privileges back, without wanting to know what today’s young Iranian wants here and now. It makes me think of the Cubans in Florida … they don’t consider the interests of their country but only what is due to them.

2:57 pm: Hamshahri is reporting that the regular Iranian Army and Air Force (as opposed to the IRGC forces) are carrying out large training exercises, with the Army’s maneuvering in the south of Iran and the Air Force operating in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

2:35 pm: Another statement [Persian] by Karroubi:

In another statement issued today, Karroubi expressed his sympathy with the families of the martyrs and wounded and invited the people to participate in a ceremony to honor them. Karroubi said that he has not yet been able to find a location but will continue the efforts to secure a venue and will let the people know as soon as the time and location are set.

Karroubi also asked the authorities to:

1. Immediately release all the arrested individuals and political activists

2. Provide the resources for treatment of recent casualties

3. Return the bodies of the martyrs and allow their families to hold ceremonies

4. Stop censoring and restricting the newspapers and other media

2:20 pm: Roger Cohen at NYT pens another excellent op-ed from Tehran:

The third question — the strategic goal of the uprising — is increasingly fraught. Khamenei said, “The dispute is not between the revolution and the counterrevolution,” and that all four electoral candidates “belong to the system.” He was right, if his words had been spoken the day after the vote.

Ten days on, however, the brutal use of force and his own polarizing speech have drawn many more Iranians toward an absolutist stance. Having wanted their votes counted, they now want wholesale change. If Moussavi wants to prevail, he must keep his followers tactically focused on securing a new election. That’s essential because it’s the one position the opposition within the clerical establishment will go along with.

By the way, many of our regular readers will find the dramatic story at the end of his op-ed familiar. That is because it is a story one of our four incredible interns, Sanaz, translated Friday!

1:53 pm: New statement from Karroubi (Persian):

In an open letter, Karroubi complained to the speaker of the Guardian Council about the provinces where the number of votes exceeded the number of eligible voters. According to Karroubi, there are more than 200 such regions. “But the problems are not limited to these regions… the interesting thing is why the Guardian Council, which oversaw the qualification of the administrators, did not report such widespread fraud on the day of the election?” Karroubi said. Therefore, he asked the Guardian Council to save the country from great danger by canceling the elections instead of “wasting time” by recounting the votes.

1:05 pm: A Poem for Neda (translated from meydaan):

A Poem for Neda Agha Soltan (1982-2009)
Written by Mandana

Stay, Neda—
The twittering birds,
Green-garbed forests,
Scented blossoms… all sing
of spring’s arrival
Don’t go, Neda…

Stay, Neda—
Sing with your people in the streets
Say, Long live life!
Down with death!
Tell the sun to shine,
the cold to depart
Don’t go, Neda…

Stay, Neda—
Look at this city
At the shaken foundations of palaces,
The height of Tehran’s maple trees,
They call us “dust,” and if so
Let us sully the air for the oppressor
Don’t go, Neda

Don’t be afraid
It is the sound of fireworks, not bullets The offspring-sparks of a great flame We are aflame, Fueled by baton-cracks and gunshots We are ablaze Don’t go Neda…

Oh Neda, Neda!
Shatter the cage
Break through the bars
Don’t go, Neda

Don’t go, Neda—
Look beyond the clouds
Lady sun is breaking through
She is just like you
Don’t go Neda
Oh God, don’t go…

12:55 pm: Could Rezai split the IRGC? From a well-regarded Iran expert and former professor of mine:

I would like to raise the factor of Mohsen Rezai. Even though he did not have a real chance as a presidential candidate but I think he has been ignored too easily by most analysts during the post-election events. As we know he was for a long period of time (if I am not mistaken from 1981 to 1997) the head of IRGC. As such he must still have some ties with many of the older members, including the elite members, of this force. If he remains true to his objection to the result of the elections, then the question is could he play a role in how the IRGC might behave if the order for a crackdown will be given to it? Could his ties to IRGC lead to a defection of some of its members to the side of the opposition?

12:42 pm: A possible split in the IRGC?

According to unconfirmed reports in Balatarin [Farsi] , Gen. Ali Fazli, the head of revolutionary guards in Tehran, has been arrested after refusing to execute Khamenei’s order of using force against demonstrators in Tehran. He is a war veteran who lost an eye during the Iran-Iraq war. (h/t Boushveg)

12:32 pm: BBC Persia reports that there are 300-400 armed forces personnel in the Tir Sq. right now, alongside about 1,000 demonstrators. Witnesses have reported use of batons and tear gas by the armed forces.

Also, BBC Persia just reported that Karoubi is organizing a rally on Thursday, in commemoration of those that passed away on Saturday. BBC has reported 10 deaths and 457 arrested so far.

12:28 pm: From Mousavi’s facebook page:

“Turning on the carlights: New method of showing protest”

Also: “thanks for the international support, specifically to VPN who have provided free accounts of filter breakers for Iranians to use”

“There are about 1000 demonstrators in “Tir Sq.”

12:02 pm: WSJ examines Iran’s efforts to censor and control the internet –

The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world’s most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale.

Interviews with technology experts in Iran and outside the country say Iranian efforts at monitoring Internet information go well beyond blocking access to Web sites or severing Internet connections.

Instead, in confronting the political turmoil that has consumed the country this past week, the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to these experts.

11:54 am: More updates from Iranbaan [mostly Persian]:

  • Karroubi will release a new statement soon
  • “Frightening reports coming from Tabriz (Mousavi’s hometown)”

10:42 am: Lara Setrakian of ABC news sends an update on the demonstration we mentioned below via twitter: “People are trying to gather in 7 Tir square, but being dispersed before they can gather momentum. Many many Basijis. People btwn 1000-2000. they’re preventing others from joining. As soon as they gather somewhere they attack, so they run away & regroup” (h/t the indefatigable Nico)

10:38 am: BBC Persian is reporting [Farsi] that Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considering the expulsion of some European ambassadors in response to their positions on recent events. Hasan Ghashghavi, the speaker of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that the behavior and statements by these countries and appropriate actions are being examined and evaluated.

Ghashghavi has accused the European countries and the United States of supporting the “agitators” instead of inviting the people of Iran to participate in democratic processes and emphasizing the rule of law.

10:10 am: Updates from the reliable twitter source, Iranbaan [mostly Persian]:

“Head of parliament’s judiciary committee: Mousavi accountable for illegal protests, can be pursued legally.”

“Iran MP: Ground ready to legally pursue Mousavi for ‘acting against national security.”

“Head of the Judicial Commission of Majlis has requested the judicial pursuit of Mir Hussein Mousavi.”

“Ali Larijani, Hashemi Shahroudi, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei about elections and recent events.”

“People have clashed with plain-clothed individuals and special forces in 7 Tir. These clashes are continuing.”

“Laleh Park and Shiroudi Stadium have become the command center to organize anti-riot police and plain clothes.”

“A group of people holding candles have sat down silently on the ground in 7 Tir Sq. but the special forces are planning to disperse them by attacking them.”

“Laleh Park and Shiroudi gym have become the centers for organizing anti-riot and the plain-clothes forces.”

“Laleh Park is taken over by the anti-riot guards; where they have set up tents and have brought more than 2000 forces.”

“People will demonstrate after 5pm everyday from Enghelab to Azadi to protest the repression and killings.”

10:04 am: This excerpt from a Swedish documentary discusses how Khamenei became supreme leader (h/t Nico):


9:44 am: Chattam House analyzes the legitimacy of the Iranian election results:

Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005 results, released by the Iranian Ministry of Interior, and from the 2006 census as published by the official Statistical Centre of Iran, the following observations about the official data and the debates surrounding it can be made.

  • In two conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of more than 100% was recorded.
  • At a provincial level, there is no correlation between the increased turnout and the swing to Ahmadinejad. This challenges the notion that Ahmadinejad’s victory was due to the massive participation of a previously silent conservative majority.
  • In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all former centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former Reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two groups.
  • In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas. That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces flies in the face of these trends.

9:38 am: Rafsanjani ally calls for formation of a “political bloc” to undermine the “illegitimate” government –

A political party affiliated with Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the former president and key member of the Iranian regime, on Sunday called on Mir-Hossein Moussavi, the opposition leader, to form a “political bloc” that would pursue a long-term campaign to undermine the “illegitimate” government.

Hossein Marashi, spokesman for the Kargozaran, stayed clear of directly challenging the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but told the Financial Times in a telephone interview that Mr Moussavi was now the leader of an opposition that was not without options.

Three of the relatives were released but Mr Rafsanjani’s most outspoken daughter, Faezeh, was still being interrogated on Sunday. Fars news agency insisted the detentions had been made to safeguard the women’s safety.

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News-clips on Iran– June 22, 2009

Posted By NIAC

    22 Responses to “Iran Updates – June 22”

  1. Solomon2 says:

    If demonstrations aren’t practical, then I suppose the next thing to try is a general strike.

  2. Billy Glad says:

    I’ve been puzzled about why Mr. Mousavi, who claims to have adopted a Ghandian philosophy of civil disobedience, is not leading the Tehran marches personally. He appears to be conflicted, torn between using civil disobedience to overturn the election and protecting his life and the lives of his followers.

    I don’t pretend to understand the Shiite religion, but, if Mr. Mousavi has the support of at least some Iranian clerics, wouldn’t a fatwa from one of them, proclaiming that death in civil disobedience is the equivalent of death in battle, give him the moral authority to lead his martyrs into the clubs of the Revolutionary Guard and the Basiji?

    In the final analysis, it was the moral authority of Indian independence and American Civil Rights that made it possible for Ghandi and King to face down British clubs and Southern police dogs, and to expose unarmed and unresisting demonstrators, even children, to violence and death.

    If he can’t get a fatwa, maybe Mr. Mousavi should not ask his young followers to risk their lives for his political future.

  3. Jim Edmonds says:

    This website provides some useful information, but at times it sounds as if it is being run by the “Obama for President” campaign. How about a little balance? Here is another point of view from another “ordinary” Iranian:

    This is an excerpt from a CNN interview with a demonstrator this morning:

    Mohammad: Excuse me, sir. I have a message for the international community. Would you please let me tell it?

    Roberts: Yes, go ahead.

    Mohammad: Americans, European Union, international community, this government is not definitely — is definitely not elected by the majority of Iranians. So it’s illegal. Do not recognize it. Stop trading with them. Impose much more sanctions against them. My message…to the international community, especially I’m addressing President Obama directly – how can a government that doesn’t recognize its people’s rights and represses them brutally and mercilessly have nuclear activities? This government is a huge threat to global peace. Will a wise man give a sharp dagger to an insane person? We need your help international community. Don’t leave us alone.

    Chetry: Mohammad, what do you think the international community should do besides sanctions?

    Mohammad: Actually, this regime is really dependent on importing gasoline. More than 85% of Iran’s gasoline is imported from foreign countries. I think international communities must sanction exporting gasoline to Iran and that might shut down the government.

  4. Eloxi says:

    Here’re the pictures of the protest which was held in Atlanta, GA in front of the CNN Center on Saturday June 20, 2009: http://bit.ly/hCJuF

  5. Megan says:

    Please forgive me for a typing error. I meant to say appalled and not applaud in the paragraph befor last.

    Here is my corrected post:

    I hope Iranian people who currently live in Iran and read this blog are smart enough to realize that comments posted at 3:15 PM and titled “Message from an ordinary Tehrani” are not the words and the writing of an Irani or a Tehrani. They are the words of an Obama supporter and a despicable liberal activist in the U.S or a supporter of current Iranian fascist government who lives in the U.S. A Tehrani, even a very smart and up to date with political environment in the U.S. will not know the feeling and the plight of exiled Cuban living in Florida. How could you possibly know one’s feeling or intent unless you live and work with them? The author of the comments posted at 3:15 PM who calls himself or herself a Tehrani by definition lives in Tehran and not in Florida and therefore cannot possibly know how exiled Cuban feel or want.
    I hope for the sake of decencies people who are posting on these blog sites respect the struggle of Freedom Fighters in streets of Iran, respect the blood of slain Iranian that is covering streets and sidewalks of Iran, respect the pain of those being tortured in prisons as we sit at our homes and blog. Respect the struggle of Iranians by refraining in pushing your political agenda. It is sad and it is despicable.
    I am in the U.S. I am not a Republican or a Democrat. As a human being and as a person living in a country whose mantra is Freedom for all I am appalled by the deafening silence of our current US administration and the world community on human right violations in Iran. I believe once you chose to remain silent when you see evil, you have made a deal with the devil and once you make a deal with the devil you are the devil. Dancing around with words and justifying it does not make you less of an evil.
    I wish I could send helmet and bullet proof vests to every freedom fighter in the streets of Iran. I wish I could give every man and women in Iran a taser gun so they can stun the militias who are beating them viciously or in the dark of the night like thieves invade their homes to break their souls and their resolves. I wish I could help to make their pain go away. I feel helpless that I cannot. I just pray that freedom shine on Iran. May God bless and protect people of Iran.

  6. Candace says:

    Megan at 5:55 – “deafening silence”? Seriously? No one is being silent, Megan, but short of military intervention, what would you have the international community do?

    Every democratically elected President or Prime Minister has spoken out against the violence the gov’t of Iran is perpetuating on their citizens. It sounds like a general strike (in Iran) and further sanctions (international) are the next LEGAL steps. In case you’ve forgotten, the US & UK armies were NOT greeted as liberators by the people of Iraq. The Iranian people have NOT asked for international help other than what is currently being done.

    This is between the people of Iran and their government, just as the elections of 2000 and 2004 were between the American people and their government. Would you have welcomed British or Canadian armies in Florida in 2000?

    I thought not.

    I am in Canada, a non-Iranian, and am equally appalled at what I see on my screen. But I know where to look for statements vs. the “silence” you are hearing. Try googling “violence Iran statement” or just “violence iran against” and you will see that the international community is NOT being silent, at all.

  7. anonymous says:

    Get people some swimming goggles to protect against tear gas if there are to be further protests.

  8. anonymous says:

    Sanctioning gasoline import is probably not a great idea since the average Iranian likely needs fuel for their day-to-day life. What they don’t need is their government making money off of the oil they sell, and so efforts should be focused on disrupting the oil supply chain. Beyond that, the strike ought to be thought of more symbolically than as a battle tactic, since the government will gladly watch the population waste away when essential services are stopped. The strategy should be a combination of simultaneously making it harder for the government to crack down on protest and dissent and winning over the hearts and minds of moderates and even some conservative Iranians. It is important that the opposition not alienate the rest of the Iranian public and political sphere while it is battling with the oppressive forces within the government.

  9. Kia Taheri says:

    hmmm… . just thinking.

  10. Wordsmith says:

    Anyone catch Reza Pahlavi yesterday afternoon on CSPAN?

  11. najeeb says:

    Thank you guys for the continuing coverage.

  12. The Reader says:

    Please urge United nation to ask for the release of those folks who are in the dark now.. not just one .. all of them… god forbids if the regime decide to do some thing nutty!!!
    These kids are young and they wanted to be heard!
    Mr. Ban is moving way too slow on this, UN should gather their identity before they disappear.
    In one point, they will be forging their act as anti Islam and god and setup the scene for very heavy punishments.


  13. I have a story.one mother says she’s aware something is very wrong, but she doesn’t want to hear about it because she just wants to “be with her children and see them grow up happy.” I tell her ,“But, if we don’t stop this, your children may not get to grow up at all.” so basically, she’s using her kids as an excuse for her own inability to face reality.

  14. dontknow3 says:

    This story is getting worse we have the video of NEDA and a post also at http://www.dontknow3.com Thanks

  15. poettree says:


    Megan, you might enjoy reading Stephen Kinzer’s post in order to understand why Obama is demonstrating his nuanced understanding. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jun/19/iran-protests-mousavi-mossadeq

    I am an Iranian American who does not pretend to represent Iranians living in Iran. But I know my history of US-Iran relations and President Obama is clearly demonstrating that he understands the complicated political realities, which no US president in my lifetime, Democrat or Republican, has demonstrated. The United States does not have legitimacy in Iran because of its role in overthrowing Iran’s democratic government in 1954. Americans must balance these 2 stances: (1) support democracy and human rights in iran and (2) no foreign intervention.

    Also, you vastly underestimate Iranians when you say they don’t know what is going on in Cuba or with Cuban Americans. I visited my relatives last summer and they know more about international politics and American society that most Americans, especially the youth. I got into a nuanced discussion with my cousins about 20th century American literature, the latest shows on TV, Obama and McCain’s stances on a variety of political issues. All while CNN was playing in the background.

  16. mark schalter says:

    I lived in Iran from July 1978 until January 3rd 1979.
    As a professor, I had no work because the university of Teheran was closed in late September 1978. I lived through the curfews, the tanks in the streets, the bread lines and gasoline lines…all was in turmoil, as Khomeini prepared for his overthrow of the Shah. My wife and I left Teheran in December to await the outcome in Egypt and to see which way the wind blew. It blew badly for the Shah. We returned to Iran on December 31st and, thanks to a wealthy man with a Cadillac and his own gasoline supply, we flew out on January 3rd, abandoning all of our belongings except for a half dozen Persan carpets. We had cultivated many close relationships during our sojourn in Teheran and we loved the country and its people. My heart goes out to every Iranian who is fighting for the unalienable rights of mankind…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There has been far too much tragedy and travesty in that country. I truly hope that the regime will adhere to the precepts of the Koran and justice…and allow the people of Iran to decide their own future and their own leaders.

  17. I put the link to this extremely well written blog in a post on my own blog. I thank you for your work on this site.

    Your site is a place every American with a concern for foreign policy, and every one who cares about Iranian people should visit. Well done.

  18. Eloxi says:

    mark schalter,

    Thank you for your well intended words. I hope we all can travel to Iran someday.

  19. mark schalter says:

    Mousavi and the grand ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri
    have called for demonstrations of mourning tomorrow for the victims of the regime’s brutal crackdown. If these demonstrations bring out a 100,000 protesters and more, they will send a strong message to Khameini. But if only a few thousand take to the streets, the regime will be reinforced to continue its suppressive actions and there will be more bloodshed. Also, if Mousavi attends these rallies personally, he will probably be arrested. The safer and more effective strategy would be for the opposition to go on a general strike, not wear green, keep a low profile, and buy nothing but essentials. That’s basically the strategy Khomeini used to topple the Shah. The thoughts of freedom-loving people throughout the world are with the Iranians who are fighting for justice, democracy, free speech,and liberty. In the end, the Iranian people will succeed, but not without perseverance and sacrifice.

  20. Kia Taheri says:

    روز جمعه، تظاهرات در آسمان خواهد بود. همه با هم در روز جمعه بادکنک های سبز به آسمان خواهیم فرستاد. وقتی جایی در زمین نداریم، در آسمان تظاهرات می کنیم… . بادکنک های سبز را راس ساعت 1 بعد از ظهر به آسمان می فرستیم

  21. Also, you vastly underestimate Iranians when you say they don’t know what is going on in Cuba or with Cuban Americans. I visited my relatives last summer and they know more about international politics and American society that most Americans, especially the youth.http://www.shopt3.com/ I got into a nuanced discussion with my cousins about 20th century American literature, the latest shows on TV, Obama and McCain’s stances on a variety of political issues. All while CNN was playing in the background.

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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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