• 26 July 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

“My standpoint (about the election) is the same as I mentioned in the Friday prayer sermon,” Rafsanjani said today, according to a Reuters translation of the semi-official ILNA news agency.

In doing so, he refused to back down despite a call by the majority of the Assembly of Experts, the body Rafsanjani heads, to be more supportive of Ayatollah Khamenei. 50 of the 86 members said in the statement that, “Many … expect the head of the assembly, who has always helped the leader in solving problems and obstacles in the past, to show more and clearer support for the leader during these sensitive times.”

The Assembly is bestowed with the authority to supervise and even replace the supreme leader by the Iranian Constitution, giving statements by the majority of its members much significance.

The apparent support for Khamenei by a majority within the Assembly of Experts may help explain why Iran’s opposition leadership made a more direct appeal to the top clerics in Qum yesterday:

(AP) The appeal to the clerics came in a letter signed by the main opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, former President Mohammad Khatami and 67 other prominent reformists.

The letter, a copy of which was made available to The Associated Press, accused the government of forcing the admissions.

“They have resorted to illegal, immoral and un-Islamic methods to obtain confessions,” said the letter. “What legal, Islamic or human rights code can justify the repeated torture of those who live under the banner of Islam?”

The letter said the government’s methods recalled those used under the shah, who was ousted in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“The only way out of this situation is to release all detainees and put an end to the security state imposed after the election,” the letter said.

The opposition hopes that enlisting the support of the clerics will provide an effective counterweight to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has dismissed the opposition’s claims of fraud in the June 12 election.

Ayatollah Khamenei has the final say over all state matters, but the nine clerics in Qum who hold the rank of marja taqlid, or source of emulation, have great influence.

The clerics normally congratulate the winners of presidential elections, but only one has done so this time. Three others have spoken out against the violent crackdown on hundreds of thousands of supporters of Mr. Moussavi, who took to the streets to dispute President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory.

At least 20 people were killed in clashes between security forces and protesters, according to the police, though rights groups fear the number could be much greater.

The letter called on the clerics “to remind the relevant authorities of the damaging consequences of employing unlawful methods and warn them about the spread of tyranny in the Islamic republic system.”

Posted By David Elliott

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

    One Response to “Rafsanjani’s Continued Defiance & Iran’s Top Clerics”

  1. jinnderella says:

    I think that is a fake.
    50 is 2/3 of 86, too convienient…….and Rafi is waay too savy a politician to leave Qom without consolidating his support among the clerics.
    They are bad at faking, like the election results.
    Remember Yazdhi’s earlier statement?
    That had fake signatures also.

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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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