• 28 July 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Tehran Journal – July 25 – Laleh Azadi is the pseudonym for a journalist operating in Tehran who has been providing near daily updates of the situation following the election.  Her analysis and observations have been indispensable throughout the last month.

Now she has a message for policymakers in the West:

Associating with anyone from the West is dangerous. In these times, those abroad play a delicate but vital role. Their assistance in disseminating information from Iran is crucial but any form of intervention, be it military (the bombing of nuclear facilities) or economic (increased sanctions), is only incredibly destructive. Each threat of military aggression or proposed negotiation deadline, makes “green” efforts more difficult. And increased economic sanction, deteriorates our lives and safety. Some think the two recent airplane crashes may have been affected by our country’s lack of access to parts and planes.

This is our movement. We appreciate and continue to ask for global solidarity but this struggle is for Iranians. I believe that Nobel Peace Price laureate Shireen Ebadi’s statements echo the wider sentiments of the Iranian people. While speaking in Germany, she stated, “I am against economic sanctions and military interventions… Diplomatic ties must not be severed, instead the embassies could be downgraded to consulates. This would not harm the Iranian people, but it would illustrate the government’s isolation.” Keeping the table open with no conditions and encouraging dialogue with all factions in Iran is vital. However, it must be done extremely carefully so as not to provide any means of leverage for Ahmadinejad.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    3 Responses to “Tehran Journal: Threat of sanctions make ‘green’ efforts more difficult”

  1. Al says:

    Sanctions is the only way out of this. When people are having a hard time putting food on the table they will change the government

  2. Ben says:

    Does it really make a difference? When we give the regime an excuse, the regime uses it to silence the opposition. When we don’t give the regime an excuse, the regime fabricates an excuse and uses it to silence the opposition.

  3. Megan says:

    I agree with Al and Ben.

    I have been listening to number of calls coming into CNN Iran Desk from student protesters who are asking for intervention by the west. Callers were specifically asking for 1) blockade of Iran import of refined gasoline through Strait of Hormuz, 2) EU and U.S. not recognizing current government in Iran. They claimed shutting down import of refined gasoline to Iran would bring the government down to its knees in less than two weeks.

    Laleh Azadi’s reasoning would work if the world community was dealing with a rational government in Iran. Unfortunately, you cannot take rational and logical steps with a regime whose principle answer when cut in lie is brutally murdering its own people.
    I honestly believe that it is much too late for these half-measures proposed by Iranian intellectuals who are well off financially. Ordinary people are fed-up. They cannot feed their family and their government is provoking world community by pushing its nuclear agenda. They want food, jobs, and freedom to live they lives as they see fit and their government tell them to chant death to Israel or death to America. They see being teased and insulated by promise of a fair and their government nullifies their votes and says the results was divine intervention and anyone who thinks otherwise is a foreign agent.

    I believe the fraud election and the subsequent response by the government was the straw that broke camel’s back. We will see continuation of this movement and radicalization of more and more Iranians irrespective of what world community does or does not do.

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Sign the Petition


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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