• 4 August 2009
  • Posted By Sanaz Tofighrad
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

montazeri_4Grand Ayatollah Montazeri issued a statement today regarding recent trials, condemning forced confessions and other human rights abuses:

With complete surprise and regret, our dear and suffering people are witnessing the broadcasting of unlawful and immoral interviews by their captive love ones; those who have been detained for more than 40 days and some of them have become martyrs.

These confessions, which have unfortunately been common in the Islamic Republic for years and have been taken in illegal prisons under abnormal conditions by threatening and deceiving the prisoner, cutting off his relationship with realities of the society, and by imposing physical and psychological pressures, are completely against the law and religion and are considered to be “major sins…”  The overseers and executor of these must be tried and punished…One the other hand, no pious court can try and sentence someone based on these confessions and interviews. […]

In addition, breaking experienced figures that were influential in the revolution and establishing the regime for illusive and cowardly excuses is another “major sin,” the consequence of which will eventually befalls on the perpetrators.  People ask what kind of a regime is this where its former high ranking authorities in the government and parliament, who had an effective role in creating the regime, are being charged with treason?

Again, I advise the decision-makers and those involved…to compensate people for violations of their rights, regain their confidence and do something so satisfy the people; instead of further committing atrocities after they have imprisoned hundreds of protesting people…

Why do they do things that make people compare their courts with courts of Stalin and Saddam and other dictators? Why rulers who claim Shi’ism and adherence to Imam Ali act contrary to the commands of that Prophet regarding taking confessions in prison with the use of threats and  force?

It is certain that getting and broadcasting these interviews and forced confessions, not only will this not solve any of this country’s major problems, it will also increase mistrust and anger among the people, deepen the current crisis of the Islamic Republic, and weaken its position in the world more than before.  According to the Constitution, the country belongs to all people and they have the right to express their views by peaceful assembly and even via radio and television.  Why does radio and television only belongs to the rulers? And why people’s peaceful gatherings, is followed by clubs, detention, and torture and so-called trials?

In the end, with a sorrowful heart I express my sympathy to mourning families who lost their youth in the events following the elections…and ask for immediate release of all prisoners of recent events and punishment of those responsible…

Posted By Sanaz Tofighrad

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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.



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