• 2 September 2009
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • Diplomacy, Iran Election 2009, Uncategorized

Tehran Bureau is reporting that President Ahmadinejad is not just looking to replace the 40 ambassadors previously reported, but 40 more as well. This apparently stems from the Foreign Ministry’s state of disarray:

Two reliable sources in Iran’s foreign ministry have told the author [Muhammad Sahimi] that the ministry is in chaos, with at least two factions vying for influence. One group consists of the traditional conservatives that have been at the Ministry since Ali Akbar Velayati was the Foreign Minister from 1981-1997. The second group consists of those who have been brought by Ahmadinejad into the Ministry, with very little, if any, experience in foreign affairs.

Although Manouchehr Mottaki is officially Iran’s Foreign Minister, he is often overruled by the hardliners. The men who have more power than Mottaki are Saeed Jalili, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and the chief nuclear negotiator, and Velayati who is the Supreme Leader’s advisor on foreign affairs. Ahmadinejad tried to appoint Jalili as the new Foreign Minister, but the appointment was blocked by higher authorities (i.e., the Supreme Leader and his inner circle). It was decided that Mottaki will stay on as the Foreign Minister, apparently signaling that hard-line Saeedi will not lead Iran’s negotiations with the West.

Iran’s most seasoned diplomats have either been forced into retirement, or have left the foreign ministry. In their place there are and will more people whose only “qualification” is close ties to Ahmadinejad and the hardliners. Fars News Agency, which is controlled by the IRGC, has reported that the new ambassadors will be selected from amongst those “experts who believe in the principles of the Revolution,” hard-liners’ new code word for those who support their election coup. Sadegh Mahsouli, the former Interior Minister, is rumored to become Iran’s representative to the United Nations.

In an apparent gaffe, Fars reported that one reason the ambassadors were being replaced en masse, was that many of them supported the demonstrations against the rigged election. Rooz, the online daily, reported that some of the ambassadors to be axed had refused to video tape the demonstrations that took place by Iranians in the Diaspora in front of their embassies in foreign capitals, in order to identify the leaders of the demonstrations.

Posted By Darioush Azizi

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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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