• 14 September 2009
  • Posted By B. Danesh
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

More calls for Karroubi to be arrested

The following is a summary and analysis of an article in the infamous hardline newspaper Kayhan, which is close to the Supreme Leader and has a history of threatening Mousavi and Karroubi since the June 12 election. The following article was printed in Kayhan before Karroubi made his defiant statement today.

According to the hardline state newspaper Kayhan, the three-person special committee investigating claims of rape and sexual abuse by the security forces in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election has delivered its report to the judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani, declaring Karroubi’s claims of widespread abuse completely baseless.

Kayhan has published the special committee’s summary of their interview with Mehdi Karroubi, in which the committee questions the ex-presidential candidate’s claims of rape and sexual abuse on a case by case basis. The committee’s conclusion is that Mr. Karroubi’s claims do not meet the standard necessary to merit further consideration, citing lacking of proof. For example, in the case of Taraneh Mousavi, Mr. Karroubi is quoted as saying:

I have never seen the body of Taraneh Mousavi or spoken with any members of her family and only heard reports through Mr. [Mir-Hossein] Mousavi’s headquarters and the joint committee we set up for the election. I am not certain of any of these claims and having only heard them, and I myself have no proof.”

Their summary states that not only has Mr. Karroubi never spoken to or seen victims or witnesses of rape and sexual abuse, but that his claims are based on biased sources (mainly his Ettemad-e Melli party and pro-Mousavi groups and people). They add that none of the alleged victims were arrested by uniformed security personnel at the location or time of a protest, but by plain-clothed men at various times and locations.

In their conclusion, the special committee gives two suggestions to the judiciary chief. Firstly, they suggest that it be publically announced that the claims of rape and sexual harassment by Mehdi Karroubi are completely baseless, and secondly that the judiciary should consider arresting and pressing charges against him.

With rumors (confirmed by the New York Times) about the possible arrest and prosecution of Mr. Karroubi circulating in the press in recent days, this is an official signal (and threat) that it may soon happen. According to Iranian law, false public claims that damage the regime and society have severe punishments, although no specific recommendations have been made.

Posted By B. Danesh

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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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