• 29 September 2009
  • Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iranian Youth, Uncategorized

Today at Tehran’s Sharif University, students protested the visit of Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou, (whom we’ve reported on extensively, and who was appointed with the new Ahmadinejad cabinet). (see video in earlier post). It is the second demonstration at a major university in two days, showing the persistence and resolve of the green movement in the face of government intimidation.  Student Advarnews is cited as a source for reports of the protests in the New York times.  Previous demonstrations include one on Sunday against Parliament member Gholam Ali Hadad Adel’s speech and another on Monday which forced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to cancel a scheduled appearance.

Radio Liberty reports chants of “Death to the Dictator” and “Political Prisoners Must Be Released” heard among the hundreds at the anti-government demonstration.

Students also expressed support for Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Ayatollah Yusef Sanei, and opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi who have spoken out against the government’s postelection clampdown on Iranian civil society protest.

The New York Times reports:

“Student leaders do not have a formal presence,” said Ali Afshari, a former student leader who is currently in Washington and is still in touch with students in Iran. “They have all been summoned and threatened. But the frustration is very widespread and the government can only shut down the universities if it wants to stop the protests.”

The protest movement, which has produced some of the nation’s worst unrest in 30 years, emerged as a response to a widespread belief that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had falsified election results in his favor. Universities have often been the site of protests, partly because of a student pro-democracy network, the Office for Consolidating Unity, and a law that bans police officers from entering the campus.

The Office for Consolidating Unity, which once had offices on nearly every campus but has been decimated by government pressure since Mr. Ahmadinejad took power in 2004, issued a statement on Tuesday saying the protest movement was a result of years of frustration with the government and that the students would remain part of it. The statement urged students to refrain from violence and pursue their demands in a “peaceful and civil” manner.

Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo

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Sign the Petition


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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