• 11 August 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Families of missing hikers release statement

The families of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal have released the following statement regarding their children’s detention in Iran (h/t Lara):

“It is now twelve days since our children were detained in Iran, when they strayed across the border while on a brief hiking vacation in Iraqi Kurdistan. As loving parents, nothing causes us more heartache than not knowing how our children are, and not being able to talk to them and learn when we will hold them in our arms again. Shane, Sarah and Josh are young travelers who share a great love of the world and a deep respect for different cultures, societies and religions. We believe that when the Iranian authorities speak to our children, they will realize that Shane, Sarah and Josh had no intention of entering Iran and will allow them to leave the country and reunite with their families. We continue to hope that this misunderstanding will be resolved as quickly as possible.”

Posted By Patrick Disney

    3 Responses to “Families of missing hikers release statement”

  1. treet007 says:

    Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal knew they were in a war zone. Now they are putting the U.S. government in a compromised position to save their sorry butts. The statements from their families did not show any acknowledgement of this fact, and I believe they are very selfish. Why should the people of the U.S. be burdened by their kids’ stupidity?

  2. Pirouz says:

    The Iran/Kurdistan border is a war zone, involving the Iranian military and the Kurdish terrorist group PJAK.

    Three recent precedents are relevant here:

    (1) The capture of “enemy combatants” by the US military in Afghanistan, and their indefinite detention at Guantanimo. (At least one of which was a journalist for Aljazeera)

    (2) The roundup and detention of Iraqi citizens by the US Military, as suspected terrorists, to be held indefinitely at prisons such as Abu Ghraib. (The number of those held is in the tens of thousands)

    (3) The arrest of five Iranian diplomats at the Iranian consulate in Kurdistan, who were held for over two years by the US Military. The diplomats were accused of spying.

  3. Aleen Stein says:

    Other injustices by the US government forces does not mean US citizens should be abandonned when they are held in US prisons when they committed no crimes.

    Presidents to the Rescue
    Published: August 11, 2009

    THERE has been much speculation about the role President Obama played in Bill Clinton’s trip to North Korea to free two American journalists. But few realize that if the women, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, were wrongfully held, Mr. Obama had a legal obligation to help gain their release.

    According to Title 22, Section 1732 of the United States Code: “Whenever it is made known to the president that any citizen of the United States has been unjustly deprived of his liberty by or under the authority of any foreign government, it shall be the duty of the president forthwith to demand of that government the reasons of such imprisonment.” If the imprisonment appears to be wrongful, “the president shall use such means, not amounting to acts of war and not otherwise prohibited by law, as he may think necessary and proper to obtain or effectuate the release.”
    This applies also to the hikers who trespasses inadvertently into Iran.

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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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