• 23 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran

Embattled Science Minister now faces plagiarism charges

The conservative news website Alef is reporting that Kamran Daneshjou, the embattled Minister of Science in Ahmadinejad’s government who has faced harsh criticism for some pretty questionable irregularities having to do with his resume, allegedly plagiarized an article he published earlier this year.

Nature has more:

Large chunks of text, figures, and tables in a 2009 paper co-authored by Kamran Daneshjou, Iran’s science minister, are identical to those of a 2002 paper published by South Korean researchers, Nature has learned. Daneshjou served as the head of the interior ministry office which ran the disputed presidential elections in June, which returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. Daneshjou is also a former governor general of Tehran. The paper by Daneshjou and Majid Shahravi from the department of mechanical engineering at the Iran University of Science and Technology in Tehran is entitled “Analysis of critical ricochet angle using two space discretization methods“, and was published in the journal Engineering with Computers in 2009. In many places the text duplicates verbatim that of an earlier paper: “Ricochet of a tungsten heavy alloy long-rod projectile from deformable steel plates“, published by South Korean scientists in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics in 2002. Other sentences in Daneshjou’s paper are identical to those in a paper given by other researchers at a 2003 conference. The scientific credentials of Daneshjou, who was appointed as science minister earlier this month, have been the subject of controversy, with the Los Angeles Times reporting in late August about question marks over his PhD. According to his university webpage at the time, the PhD was awarded by the ‘Manchester Imperial Institute of Science and Technology.’ The webpage this afternoon has changed and says that the PhD was awarded in 1989 after working at Imperial College in London, but that the defence of the thesis was held in Amirkabir University of Technology in Iran.

Many Iranians have criticized Ahmadinejad’s choice of Cabinet appointments, citing a stunning lack of experience for some.  Daneshjou was a close ally of Ahmadinejad during the disputed 12 June election, and came under criticism this summer for listing a fictitious university on his resume.  He later changed his resume to list a PhD from one of the most prestigious universities in the UK, though the Imperial College of London has no record of his thesis.

During the Parliament’s vote of confidence, one of the members of the Majlis called him “a pin in the grenade” that will explode when the universities open.

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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