• 22 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Iran Election 2009

Rafsanjani voices support for Khamenei

AFP has the story:

Powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani urged Iran’s warring political groups on Saturday to follow the orders of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for ending the present political turmoil.

In his first such statement in direct support of Khamenei since the June 12 election, the former president said “the current situation needs everyone to observe the leader’s decrees and advice,” Iranian news agencies reported.

Rafsanjani was speaking at the start of a meeting of Iran’s top political arbitration body, the Expediency Council, which he heads.

He urged the bitterly divided groups to create “appropriate conditions to act and commit to the constitution … and confront law breakers, whatever their ideological leanings.” […]

On Saturday, Rafsanjani called for the current “excited and emotional atmosphere” to be replaced by a “wise one.”

He said authorities must follow Khamenei’s advice also on the issue of political detainees jailed in the aftermath of the election.

“The way out of the current situation is commitment to the leader’s advice on detainees of recent events and retrieving the rights of those whose rights have been violated,” he said.

Enduring America downplays the significance of the AFP story above, arguing that this is less of an event than my first take. They say “Rafsanjani’s statement is simply that he is not taking apart the system of ultimate clerical authority. It remains to be seen where he takes his next step against the political leaders in that system.”

Posted By David Elliott

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

    One Response to “Rafsanjani voices support for Khamenei”

  1. The full text is of course needed for accurate analysis and you would be doing us a favor if you were to find a source in English, but just judging from the quote in your own analysis…

    Considering the Iranian context of vicious treatment of peaceful protestors and calls by Ahmadinejad backers for even harsher treatment of opponents, for Rafsanjani to call for “appropriate conditions to act and commit to the constitution … and confront law breakers, whatever their ideological leanings” constitutes a challenge to the obviously biased Khomenei and a slap in the face of Ahmad Jannati and Ahmad Khatami. Admittedly, his words are less than courageous, but following the brilliantly clear moral guidance of Grand Ayatollah Yusef Sanei, won’t almost all Iranians read these words as supporting the opposition?

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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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