• 28 August 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Ahmadinejad’s female cabinet nominees face opposition

According to Press TV:

In a crucial setback for the Iranian president, a major block of Parliament deputies have decided to reject Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s proposed women ministers. In the run up to his second four-term in office, Ahmadinejad made major changes to the combination of his Cabinet while he selected three women to head key ministries.

However, in an internal meeting, the Principlist Islamic Revolution block decided earlier in the week to reject the three females, reported the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Friday. A block member, who did not want to be named, explained the reasoning for their decision, saying that each candidate was rejected for a different reason. With regards to proposed health minister Vahid-Dastjerdi, he said that “certain reports about her business activities had reached the block which altered the opinion of the members about her.”

The Principlist Majlis deputy, who sits on another block as well, said about Keshavarz, who has been offered the education portfolio: “We have heard that she was active in the campaign headquarters of (defeated presidential candidate) Mir-Hossein Mousavi.” Keshavarz had reportedly told deputies that Ahmadinejad had tapped her with knowledge of this fact.

The third candidate, Ajorlou, who was picked for the welfare post, was rejected because she ‘is too good.’ “It would be a shame if she becomes welfare minister,” said the unnamed source, presumably because the ministry is due to be disbanded in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the main reformist block of the Majlis has decided in favor of one of the three women, the proposed health minister, Vahid-Dastjerdi. Intensive lobbying by the president and his staff are going on at the same time, and the final decision about the fates of the proposed ministers should be determined in the coming days after a week of cross-examination and deliberation by the Majlis.

The three women, — Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, Susan Keshavarz and Fatemeh Ajorlou – and the rest of the new Cabinet need to be approved by the Majlis, which is due to consider their appointments from August 30.

Posted By Matthew Negreanu

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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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