• 11 July 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 1 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Iran Updates – July 11

1:47 pm: Aid to supreme leader warns everything would collapse if regime changes L.A. Times

Mohammad Mohammadian, a midranking cleric who heads Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office of university affairs, acknowledged simmering discontent over the vote, which sparked massive protests and a violent crackdown last month.

“We cannot order public opinion to get convinced,” Mohammadian said, according to the Mehr news agency. “Certain individuals are suspicious about the election result, and we have to shed light on the realities and respond to their questions.” […]

Many within the establishment who harbor doubts about the election fear that a continuation of the unrest could undo the Islamic Republic.

“If even certain rights have been denied throughout the election process, nobody should make such a fuss,” said Mohammadian, the supreme leader’s aide. “If the regime changes, everything would collapse.”

12:55 pm: A warning about Facebook and how to protect yourself

A scary anecdote from Iran. A trusted colleague – who is married to an Iranian-American and would thus prefer to stay anonymous – has told me of a very disturbing episode that happened to her friend, another Iranian-American, as she was flying to Iran last week. On passing through the immigration control at the airport in Tehran, she was asked by the officers if she has a Facebook account. When she said “no”, the officers pulled up a laptop and searched for her name on Facebook. They found her account and noted down the names of her Facebook friends. [From foreignpolicy.com]

Anyone concerned about something like this happening to them should be aware that Facebook has extensive privacy controls.

To make it so that only your friends can see your profile, go to: http://www.facebook.com/privacy/?view=profile

To limit what information (such as your friends list) non-friends can see when they search for your name, go to: http://www.facebook.com/privacy/?view=search

12:30 pm: Must Read – “Inside the Iranian Crackdown”

Farnaz Fassihi tells the story of one basiji and his sense of duty to the Islamic Revolution:

“It wasn’t about elections anymore,” says Mr. Moradani, a short, skinny man with pitch-black hair and a beard. “I was defending my country and our revolution and Islam. Everything was at risk.”

And the personal price he paid:

For Mr. Moradani, the biggest shock during the election turmoil came in his personal life. He had recently gotten engaged to a young woman from a devout, conservative family. A week into the protests, he says, his fiancée called him with an ultimatum. If he didn’t leave the Basij and stop supporting Mr. Ahmadinejad, he recalls her saying, she wouldn’t marry him.

He told her that was impossible. “I suffered a real emotional blow,” he says. “She said to me, ‘Go beat other people’s children then,’ and ‘I don’t want to have anything to do with you,’ and hung up on me.

Read the whole story at the Wall Street Journal.

11:00 am: Iran preparing negotiating proposal for talks with the west

“The package can be a good basis for talks with the West. The package will contain Iran’s stances on political, security and international issues,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said during a news conference in Tehran, without giving further details.

Posted By David Elliott

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

    One Response to “Iran Updates – July 11”

  1. godless says:

    Only a laic republic, alike the one created by Mustapha Kemal Ata Turk will enable people to live a free life. Mullahs and consorts will have to be eradicated

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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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