• 4 July 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009, Sanctions

July 4 – Iran Updates


NYT: Iran’s Most Important Religious Group Defies Khamenei

The most important group of religious leaders in Iran has called the disputed presidential election and the new government illegitimate, an act of defiance against the country’s supreme leader and the most public sign of a major split in the country’s clerical establishment.

The statement by the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum represents a significant, if so far symbolic, setback for the government and especially the authority of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose word is supposed to be final. The government has tried to paint the opposition and its top presidential candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, as criminals and traitors, a strategy that now becomes more difficult — if not impossible.

Editor of Kayhan calls for Mousavi’s arrest for “treason” (via BBC)

Kayhan accused Mr Mousavi of “killing innocent people, inciting riots, hiring thugs to assault people, evident co-operation with foreigners and playing the part of US fifth column”. The newspaper, whose editor is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said there were “undeniable documents” proving that Mr Mousavi had links with foreign countries. It also accused former reformist President Mohammad Khatami of playing a key part in the unrest. “Mousavi and Khatami should account for these horrendous crimes and evident treason in an open tribunal”. Earlier this week, Iran’s pro-government militia, the Basij, called for Mr Mousavi to be prosecuted.

Haaretz: US opposed to new Iran sanctions; will not engage Iran in bilateral talks

The United States is opposed to enacting a new set of financial sanctions against Iran that are due to be discussed in the G8 summit next week, diplomatic officials in New York reported Friday.

According to officials, sanctions against Iran are expected to top the G8’s agenda. Sources are also predicting a pointed debate between the heads of the industrialized nations over an appropriate response to Iranian authorities’ suppression of reformist demonstrations in Iran led by Mir Hossein Mousavi and other Iranian opposition leaders.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi hinted in a newspaper interview earlier in the week that the G8 is due to decide on new financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Berlusconi disclosed that he had spoken with the heads of the G8 nations and has discussed such steps with them.

According to the Italian prime minister, “the general leaning [among G8 leaders] is toward sanctions.”

However, diplomatic sources in New York reported that American officials are working behind the scenes to prevent new sanctions from being imposed against Iran.

U.S. officials claimed that a tough stance toward Iran could backfire, bringing about an opposite outcome to that desired by those who support such measures.

The Obama administration, according to the diplomatic sources, has discarded the notion of direct talks with Iran. However, the United States is still interested in re-engaging Iran through the renewed discussion of its nuclear program through the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany.


Grand Ayatollah Saanei reiterates support for demonstrators

While extending my sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the recent tragedies, and wishing a speedy recovery for the injured, particularly for our precious and devoted student body in Esfahan, shiraz, Tehran, and other cities, who have stood up for their rights and have of late protested against the ambiguities surrounding the election results, seeking clarification which is indeed their right, I hereby express my grave sorrow and grief at the detestable incidents as have taken place and also express my aversion to those who had a hand in those disasters and tragedies. I hope that the wishes of the people will be fulfilled and their demands will be met by those responsible in the system, whose foremost duty should be the protection of people’s life and property.

Posted By David Elliott

David Elliott is the Assistant Policy Director at the National Iranian American Council.

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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.

Sincerely,

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