• 24 August 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Reformist trials, TV confessions set for tomorrow

The fourth session of the trial against  reformist activists and protesters will resume on Tuesday. According to Emruz, a pro-reformist news website, the trial will be held at the 15th branch of revolution court in Tehran. Saeed Hajjarian is among the accused reformists who will be present at the court tomorrow.

Emruz also reports that state-run TV will air the confessions of prominent reformists on Tuesday night.  Many of the top leaders of the reform movement, including Saeed Hajjarian, Mohsen Amin Zadeh, Mostafa Tajzadeh, and Mohsen Mir Damadi, are expected to explain their role in plotting a “velvet revolution,” though each of them has reportedly been abused during their time in prison, making their televised statements largely suspect.

For an insightful analysis of Iran’s televised show trials, read Laura Secor’s New Yorker piece “The Iran Show.”

Meanwhile, Zainab Hajjarian, Saeed Hajjarian’s daughter says that her father will be present in court tomorrow without his lawyer to defend him.

“Although my father has been arrested for more than two months, his lawyer, Dr. Riahi has not been allowed to meet and get access to his case’s details,” she said.

Zainab Hajjarian also mentions that Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran’s Prosecutor, chose his friend, Mr. Salahi, as Hajjarian’s new lawyer.

“Dr. Riahi, Saeed Hajjarian’s lawyer will be preset in court tomorrow, but he is threatened not to say any word at court otherwise he will be responsible for further consequences.”

Saeed Hajjarian, who was shot by a member of the Basij militia in 2000 in an unsuccessful assassination attempt, is still unable to speak with a clear voice and must use a wheelchair to get around.  His daughter says that since her father is not able to speak, someone else (perhaps, another arrested reformist) will read out his written confession for the audience at court tomorrow.

Posted By Matthew Negreanu

    One Response to “Reformist trials, TV confessions set for tomorrow”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Secor’s piece in the New Yorker wasn’t helpful.

    I’ve yet to read any commentary or analysis which includes relevant material on the exact composition of this court, the procedure being used, legal definition of laws being cited, terms of bail, etc.

    Generalizations of “show trial”, including claims of abused due process, really require a more in-depth approach to reporting.

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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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