• 3 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

18 Cabinet nominees approved by Majlis

Iran’s Majlis approved 18 votes of confidence for President Ahmadinejad’s 21-member Cabinet on Thursday. Although, it was expected that at least 1/3 of the nominees would not receive a vote of confidence because of  rumors of “disqualification,” it is said that the Speaker of Majlis (Ali Larijani) informed the Representatives of the Supreme Leader’s desire to have all Cabinet nominees approved.  If this news is accurate, the strong support of the Majlis could be considered as an important boost for the Supreme Leader influence.

Press TV reported on the vote Thursday:

Iranian parliamentarians have given their vote of confidence to 18 of the 21 nominees proposed for ministerial posts, including one of the women candidates. Of the 18 approved ministers, Brigadier Ahmad Vahidi won the highest number of votes and Marzieh-Vahid Dastjerdi became Iran’s first woman minister since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The nominees who failed to win the parliament’s approval were the proposed candidates for the ministries of welfare and social security, energy, and education, Fatemeh Ajorlou, Mohammad Aliabadi, and Sousan Keshavarz. Ajorlou only gained 76 votes, much less than the required 143 votes. Aliabadi fell short of gaining the vote of confidence by six votes, and Keshavarz got the lowest approval with just 49 votes.

The lawmakers approved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s choice of the following individuals for the leading posts at the country’s ministries:

(Candidates: Votes in favor, Votes against, Abstentions)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki: 173, 79, 34

Minister of Oil Masoud Mirkazemi: 147, 117, 19

Minister of Defense Brigadier Ahmad Vahidi: 227, 54, 5

Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi: 194, 67, 25

Minister of Justice Morteza Bakhtiari: 225, 36, 23

Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar: 182, 75, 25

Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini: 224, 41, and 21

Minister of Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari: 158, 91, 37

Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini: 194, 61, 31

Minister of Cooperatives Mohammad Abbasi: 163, 83, 37

Minister of Industries and Mines Ali Akbar Mehrabian: 153, 103, 27

Minister of Jihad-e-Agriculture Sadeq Khalilian: 200, 54, 32

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Reza Taqipour: 197, 62, 27

Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi: 175, 82, 29

Minister of Housing and Urban Development Abdolreza
Sheikholeslami: 193, 63, 30

Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Ali Nikzad: 219, 40, 27

Minister of Science, Research and Technology Kamran Daneshjoo: 186, 75, 25

Minister of Road and Transportation Hamid Behbahani: 167, 83, 33

The new cabinet is scheduled to hold its first meeting in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Sunday. President Ahmadinejad has invited all the parliamentarians to take part in the planned meeting.

Posted By Matthew Negreanu

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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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