• 20 August 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran

All the President’s women

In an article on Wednesday, Rooz reveals more information about Ahmadinejad’s three female cabinet nominees.

Although this is the first time in 30 years after the 1979 Revolution that Iranian women are allowed to serve as cabinet ministers, some female activists like Fatemeh Haghighatjou and Parvin Aradalan believe that this does not affect the fundamental situation women face in Iran.  According to them, the appointments are mainly a “tactic” by Ahmadinejad to soften the harsh language against him by the opposition side.

On the other hand, his choice of these three conservative nominees could simply signify Ahmadinejad’s desire to control the leadership of three important ministries that mainly cover and serve the middle class families in Iran who turned to become major Mousavi supports during and after 12 June election.

While some conservative members of Parliament such as Ahmad Tavakoli criticized Ahmadinejad on the fact that some candidates “do not have even one day’s worth of experience in administrative works,” Mohammad Reza Bahonar, said on Thursday that “at least 4-5 candidates will definitely not receive Majlis’ vote of confidence”. He also mentioned that the Majlis needs to obtain more information over 3 other candidates who are almost “unknown” to them.

Fatemeh Ajorlou is nominated by Ahmadinejad as the new Minister of Welfare and Social Security. She is Karaj’s representative in Parliment who is actually one of the main accused in Abbas Palizdar’s case. Abbas Palizar (Ajorlou’s cousin) reveled evidence of corruption in the Judicial system of Iran in the Universities of Shiraz and Hamedan in 2008. Palizdar, a former member of the Parliment’s Investigation Committee, explained how senior ayatollahs and their families, as well as high-ranking civilians and officers of the Revolutionary Guards have profited from their influence and positions to obtain from governments highly profitable mines, factories, import licences for sugar and cigarettes etc. He was arrested shortly after blowing the whistle on this corruption. Ajorlou has been Ahmadinejad’s ultra-conservative supporter in Parliment during the past two sessions. She was an IRGC nurse during the Iran-Iraq war, an honored member of the IRGC, and member of Research and Education Committee in Parliament.

Dr. Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi served two terms as Tehran’s representative in Parliment. She has held various positions in medical fields, and is currently the consultant of the President of the Tehran University of Medical Science.  Also, she is the director of the international relations office of as well as the President of the Kish branch of the Tehran University of Medical Science. Dastjerdi is Hossein Shariatmadari’s wife, who is editor-in-chief of hardliner newspaper Kayhan. Dastjerdi is nominated by Ahmadinejad to serve as the Minister of Health and Medical Education.

Susan Keshavarz is Ahmadinejad’s candidate for the Ministry of Education who currently serves as deputy of Special Education in this Ministry. Keshavarz has a PhD in Education and Philosophy. She has not had any specific background in teaching or the field of educational administration other than her current position.

Check out BBC Persian for more information.

Posted By Matthew Negreanu

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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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