• 16 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 1 Comments
  • Uncategorized

Sunday News Roundup

Mousavi Forms “Green Way of Hope” (NYT)

The Iranian opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi announced the formation of a new social and political movement on his Web site on Saturday, following through on a promise made last month and defying a renewed government campaign of intimidation aimed at him and his supporters.

The movement is not a political party — which would require a government permit — but a “grass-roots and social network” that will promote democracy and adherence to the law, Mr. Moussavi wrote in a statement on his site. It is to be known as the Green Way of Hope, in deference to the signature bright green color of his campaign for the June 12 presidential election, which he maintains was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The announcement was Mr. Moussavi’s first major public statement since the Iranian authorities stepped up their pressure on the opposition by opening a mass trial two weeks ago.


Ahmadinejad Appoints Six Ministers (Press TV)

Speaking on state television on Sunday, President Ahmadinejad nominated Ali-Akbar Mehrabian as the Minister of Industry and Mines, Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini as the Minister of Economy, Hojjatoleslam Heidar Moslehi as the country’s Intelligence Minister and Mohammad Abbasi as Iran’s Minister of Cooperatives.

President Ahmadinejad went on to announce that he will make use of at least three women ministers in the new government.

He named Fatemeh Ajorlou as the Minister of Welfare and Social Security and Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi as the Iranian Health Minister.


Grad student imprisoned in Iran returns to US (AP)

A graduate student imprisoned for a month in Iran and barred from leaving the country for nearly a year has returned to Los Angeles.

Esha Momeni, 29, was charged with acting against Iran’s national security and held mainly in solitary confinement after conducting research on the Iranian women’s rights movement for her thesis at California State University, Northridge.


Clinton calls on Iran to free detained Americans (AFP)

In a statement Clinton pointed to five cases: the three Americans who hiked into Iran from Iraq in late July; a US-Iranian scholar; and a private detective and former FBI agent who went missing in Iran in 2007.

Washington “is deeply concerned about the welfare of our American citizens who have been detained or are missing in Iran,” Clinton said.

Iran Begins Trial of 25 more people (AP)

Iran on Sunday put on trial 25 more activists and opposition supporters, including a Jewish teenager, for their alleged involvement in the turmoil following the recent presidential election.

The prosecutor opened Sunday’s trial with a general indictment of all 25 defendants, accusing them of plotting t he post-election turmoil years ahead of time, said the state news agency.

During the trial, authorities played a film showing attacks on public property, cars and a mosque by protesters.

One of the people who went on trial Sunday belongs to Iran’s tiny Jewish community.

Yaghoghil Shaolian, 19, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying he wasn’t an activist and didn’t even vote, but just got carried away and threw some stones at a bank branch in central Tehran, resulting in his arrest.

Iran’s sole Jewish parliamentarian, Siamak Mereh Sedq, confirmed the detention of Shaolian and his Jewish identity to The Associated Press. He said Shaolian’s detention was not related to his religion.

”He is innocent. We hope to see his release soon based on Islamic mercy,” he said.

Shaolian’s trial is the first time a Jew has been tried in Iran since 2000 when 13 Jews were charged with spying for Israel. Iran is home to 25,000 Jews, the largest such community in the Middle East outside Israel.

Ahmadinejad’s new judiciary chief, Sadeq Larijani, will take responsibility for the controversial trials after his inauguration Monday.

Posted By David Elliott

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

    One Response to “Sunday News Roundup”

  1. Particularly in the wake of Canada’s sponsorship of a resolution in the United Nations on Iran’s deplorable human rights record I request, that the Canadian government uses its good offices to intervene on behalf and monitor the conditions and trial of Mr. Yaghoghil Shaolian, an Iranian national, who was picked up and falsely imprisoned on trumped up charges, and risks arbitrary severe punishment, or even death. His predicament, as a member of Iran’s small and vulnerable Jewish community, is most precarious, and urgently requires Canada’s and the international community’s protest and intervention.
    Will Canada – together with our allies and international partners – intervene to monitor his conditions of detention, his trial, provide legal assistance, and otherwise protect the life of this innocent Iranian citizen?
    I call upon you not to let Yaghoghil Shaolian end up as Delara Darabi, recently executed on May 1 2009.

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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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