• 10 July 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran Updates – July 10

5:16 pm: Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili: Many of the detainees will be freed next week – According to Parleman news, in a meeting with the wives of two of the detainees, Tajzadeh and Mirdamadi, Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili announced on Friday that “many of the detainees will be released next week.”  The wives, who have no news about their arrested husbands, went to Qom on Friday to speak to Mousavi Ardebili about their concerns.

Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili “expressed his deep concerns about the current situation” and said that he has news indicating that many of attendees will be release by next week.  “He also expressed his concerns regarding the condition of female prisoners and requested immediate investigation of this matter.”

5:15 pm: Recent unrests to be investigated after MPs come back from their summer vacation – Sarmayeh newspaper: Parviz Sarvari, an Iranian MP, said that the representatives did not have the chance to investigate the recent events and “will investigate the post-election issues after the vacation.”

5:13 pm: Washington Times’ coverage of Obama’s statement at G8 – As we reported earlier, President Obama spoke at the G-8 meeting today in L’Aquila and addressed the issue of just how long he’s willing to wait to hear back from Iran about the P5+1 invitation for another round of talks on the nuclear issue.

The story in today’s Washington Times, however, paints a slightly different picture:

AQUILA, Italy — President Obama said Friday that Iran faces a September deadline to show good-faith efforts to halt its nuclear weapons program, and said the statement issued by the world’s leading industrial nations meeting here this week means the international community is ready to act.

The Washington Times editorial board has made no secret of its desire for President Obama to set a firm deadline on talks with Iran, after which he should pursue harsher measures.  This article’s take on Obama’s statement seems a bit like wishful editorial thinking, rather than strictly accurate reporting.

Admittedly, Obama’s remarks today were difficult to comprehend, but much of the other news coverage interpreted his message as saying that Iran has until September to accept the invitation to sit down for talks — not “show good-faith efforts to halt its nuclear weapons program.”  That, after all, would be the ideal conclusion of the talks.

Here is the video and a transcript; you decide:


I think the real story here was consensus in that statement, including Russia, which doesn’t make statements like that lightly.  Now the other story there was the agreement that we will reevaluate Iran’s posture towards negotiating the cessation of a nuclear weapons policy at the G20 meeting in September.

3:15 pm: Prominent Iranian-American intellectual arrested in Iran – From the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran:

(10 July 2009) Agents of the Security Police arrested Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh at his home in Tehran on the evening of 9 July, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. The agents did not provide any legal justification for the arrest and took him to an undisclosed location.

Tajbakhsh joins more than 240 other prominent Iranian lawyers, activists, journalists, professors, human rights defenders, and students who have been arrested without warrants at their homes or places of work by unidentified agents and taken to undisclosed locations. These detainees are being held in incommunicado detention and the authorities have refused to provide any information regarding charges against them or their condition to their families.

Dr. Tajbakhsh previously has taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City and at institutions within Iran.  He was imprisoned in Iran for four months in 2007, around the same time that Woodrow Wilson scholar Haleh Esfandiari was also detained.

2:48 pm: “No one is scared anymore, they are goners” [Translated from a Persian blog] – From a colleague, we received an email with this personal account of yesterday’s events, which paints a hopeful and enthusiastic picture of the renewed public demonstrations.

What an honorable day the 18th of Tir is.  All have come.  Young and old and middle aged.  Not only in one street; they have learned from previous days.  There are mass protests in 7-8 parts of Tehran.  There is no silence.  Everyone is chanting.  Some say Allah-o Akbar replaced immediately by Death to Dictator and Coup d’état Government, Resign, Resign! The center of clashes is the Valiasr-Enghelab intersection, Daneshju Park.  The population is concentrated and condensed and anti-riot guards attack with tear gas and batons.  Faces are bloody.  The people constantly move around from the streets to sidewalks and from sidewalks to streets.  All cars are honking like two weeks ago.  Continuous beeps.  Fists and two-finger signs of victory and solidarity are in the sky again.  Waves of people come from main streets toward Enghelab Square and the University.  This time everyone is chanting a long slogan in the 1979 style: Traitor Mahmoud, get out/you ruined the soil of the nation/you killed the nation’s young…Death to you! Death to you…Death to you!

Tear gas is raining on people but it’s unbelievable; like everyone has got used to it.  No one is getting sick.  They just make a fire immediately.  Some send cigarette smoke towards the person next to them.  We are at the intersection Keshavarz Blvd. and Kargar Street.  Special forces are coming from down the street.  We run up the street while chanting.  A condensed group joins us from Fatemi St., and we go back down the street chanting: Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, we are all together.

There are no shots being fired here.  There’s also no news of shots in other places.  So many girls! So many mothers! In the front row.  Angry and cheerful and inspiring! They attack us again.  This time they brought the plainclothes [security forces] too, but their numbers are less compared to previous days, and it is clear that it is because of recent revelations about the crimes of the Basij.  They have dressed some of them in Revolutionary Guards (Sepah) uniform so they seem more orderly.  Now they attack the crowd with large numbers and motorcycles.  Several hundred enter the market next to Laleh Park, which is a dead-end, and they get stuck there.  Along with a few others, we jump over the barbed wire and fence and enter the park.  The destination is Amir Abad Street.  They are closing the street from the corner of Fatemi so the crowd in Amir Abad doesn’t join the crowd around the park.  Amir Abad is packed.  A crowd is standing at the corner of the street where Neda died and is chanting Death to Dictator.  An old man who says he is 80 years old happily says no one is scared anymore.  They [the government] are goners.  Look at the crowd – unlike 1979, no one is wearing a turban! The people will get revenge for Neda’s blood! They are right.

People understand the situation well.  They understand the weakness and fragility of the regime.  No one is scared anymore.  Young and old are chanting.  Harder and more determined than three weeks ago.  A family’s car is continuously honking and moving north on Amir Abad St.  The son sticks his head out and tells people: “You still want to fight peacefully! Don’t you see they have guns!” His sister joins him by chanting “Death to Dictator!”  My only response is to repeat the slogan with them and raise my fist.

I get on the internet quickly and write this report.  Tonight will be very hot.  Chants on the roofs will create uproar! Injured and arrested are not few.  It’s not dark yet.  They have set up checkpoints staffed with uniformed Basijis here and there.  They are supposedly intimidating people and showing them this is a state of emergency! What idiocy! It’s the thousands and thousands of people who showed the regime the situation is extraordinary with their powerful presence in the streets.  We haven’t heard of other cities yet.  But without a doubt Tir 18th of this year will be very influential on the current developments.  Without a doubt.

1:56 pm: The economist profiles how the student movement is going underground.

Above all, a sense of paranoia has taken hold. Large numbers of students enter university as a reward for joining the baseej, a vigilante militia that answers to the Revolutionary Guard, so the campuses are heaving with informers. Students are afraid to talk to foreigners. Some refuse even to glance at them.

12:43 pm: Police attack cameraman


Credit to Nico for finding this video too.

12:40 pm: Students arrested at Golshan dorm freed, Amir Kabir Newsletter

The plainclothes [security forces] who attacked the Golshan dorm at night had taken four of the student residents.  These students were freed after several hours.  One of the students, Navid Gorgin, was released with his eyes covered at 3am in one of the streets near the dorm.  Two of the released students have bruises from being hit by batons.  Despite this, Roozbahani, the dean of cultural affairs at the Amir Kabir University “deceitfully claimed that students did not suffer any injuries.”  Roozbani also did not mention the use of tear gas, damages to property and the temporary arrest of the four students.

12:26 pm: Stephen Walt, over at Foreign Policy, is discussing Iran’s recently tarnished imaged in the region, and why that’s a good thing:

The ability of Iran’s current rulers to suppress the current challenge to their rule is both disheartening and unsurprising, but there is a silver lining. By forcing them to reveal their true colors, recent events have further diminished whatever regional appeal the Islamic Republic might once have possessed. If Obama’s diplomatic outreach to Iran does not succeed and we are forced to rely on some combination of containment and deterrence, Iran’s tarnished image will make that task much easier.

Interestingly, these are the sorts of statements that we would have criticized on this blog prior to the election as contributing negatively to the negotiating atmosphere between the US and Iran (by focusing on what to do if talks fail rather than how to make diplomacy succeed).  Only now, the situation is much less certain, our diplomacy will be delayed for the time being, and Walt’s analysis may prove to be helpful for understanding the situation.

We’re still in the process of formulating a new direction (with your help, through our survey…hint, hint) for the the coming months and years, but it’s a testament to just how monumental the events of the last few weeks really are that no one–including policymakers in Washington–is sure how things will play out on the ground in Iran.

11:03 am: French President Sarkozy says an Israeli attack on Iran would be “an absolute catastrophe.”

10:45 am:  Ayatollah says presidential election law reform needed

From the state-funded Press TV:

A senior Iranian cleric says a parliamentary revision of the presidential election law is needed to prevent post-vote unrest in the future.

Tehran’s Interim Fridays Prayers Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani urged the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) to take necessary measures and address the current shortcomings in the Iranian election code.

“The Parliament should rectify the election code of conduct in whatever way it deems necessary,” said Emami-Kashani.

10:40 am: The nightly chants continue


This video is said to be from last night. It’s part of a compilation attempting to collect videos from every night in Tehran. You can find it here (h/t again to Nico)

10:22 am: Obama on the future of U.S.-Iran diplomacy

President Obama is clear that he wants talks to begin soon on the nuclear issue with Iran. He said that if Iran does not come to the table before the end of September, “we need to take further steps.” He added, “We’re not going to just wait indefinitely.”

This engagement would most likely take place within the existing P5+1 framework, with the United States finally becoming an active participant at the table with its European allies. The future of bilateral diplomacy, however, is less clear.

10:08 am: Iran criticizes Italy for “violent suppression of anti-G8 protesters” (h/t Nico)

Iran summoned the Italian Ambassador to Tehran to “protest against the violent suppression of anti-G8 protesters,” according to Press TV.

9:56 am: “The ethics of the people is better than their government” – Mousavi’s facebook page

pic 1

9:40 am: NIAC President Trita Parsi and Carnegie’s Karim Shadjadpour provided excellent analysis of the situation in Iran at the Newshour with Jim Lehrer last night. (Click on the image below to open the video player.)


Posted By NIAC

    2 Responses to “Iran Updates – July 10”

  1. Al says:

    Are you kidding? Press TV is a joke. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei need to be removed. People of Iran would love dearly if they could live in Italy instead of the dictatorship they live in.

  2. Eloxi says:

    Thank you for updating the rest of us on the ongoing plight of Iranians even though this is not a whole picture, I tend to grab vital or trivial information from many sources. So keep posting.

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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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