• 11 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 4 Comments
  • Iran Election 2009, UN

UN Secretary General Congratulates Ahmadinejad

The campaign “Iranian American youth” put an ad in today’s Washington Times, urging UN Secretary-General ban Ki-moon not to recognize the IRI government as the legitimate government of Iran. However, Reuters reports that the UN Secretary-General has already congratulated Ahmadinejad.

(Reuters) – The United Nations said on Tuesday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose contested re-election sparked violent protests across the country.”The letter went out yesterday,” said U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe.

Iran’s June 12 election, which secured hardline President Ahmadinejad’s re-election, plunged Iran into its biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exposed deepening divisions in its ruling elite and set off a wave of protests that left 26 people dead.

Western leaders, already upset by Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel rhetoric, Holocaust denial and uncompromising nuclear line, refused to congratulate the president on his inauguration last week, although their counterparts in Japan and Turkey did so.

Among those leaders who withheld their congratulations to Ahmadinejad were U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The U.N. spokeswoman said Ban’s letter was a “customary letter on occasion of inauguration” but added that the text would not be made public. The secretary-general routinely congratulates leaders after elections and the U.N. has released the content of some of those messages in the past.

Separately, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi on Tuesday urged Ban to visit Iran to receive a first-hand account of human rights abuses.

Posted By David Elliott

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

    4 Responses to “UN Secretary General Congratulates Ahmadinejad”

  1. Jason says:

    “UN Bureaucracy Demonstrates Loss of Touch With Reality”

    There, I fixed that headline.

  2. leila mansour says:

    I just wanted to make a correction.
    The Iranian American Youth Campaign was not specifically geared towards the U.N. secretary general Ban ki-moon, in actuality the wording was to “The international community, world leaders, and institutions”. Im sure he would fall under that category. However, lets not write false information quoting a statement.
    Lets check our facts, before we post things. Thank You. I actually think that was a great move.

  3. Pirouz says:

    Not recognizing the IRI is an impractical suggestion. Moreover, such a campaign plays right into the narrative being provided in Iran that exile groups in the West are conspiring with the opposition to generate a color revolution. Not helpful, in my opinion.

    Who is this Iranian-American Youth Campaign anyway? Who makes up its membership and leadership? Where is it’s campaign base? Where does it get its funding?

  4. S Mahmudi says:

    UN Secretary General did not congratulate Ahmadinejad. If you’re going to post a live blog, please update with appropriate information– news changes daily.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-41722720090812

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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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