• 1 October 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Diplomacy

The following statement is an extremely significant development. The sentence below, for example, says a lot:

“If Iran takes concrete steps and lives up to its obligations, there is a path towards a better relationship with the United States, increased integration for Iran within the international community, and a better future for all Iranians.”

CQ Transcriptions
Thursday, October 1, 2009 4:01 PM


Today in Geneva, the United States, along with our fellow permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, namely Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom, as well as Germany, held talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran. These meetings came after several months of intense diplomatic effort.

Upon taking office, I made it clear that the United States was prepared to join our P-5-plus-1 partners as a full participant in talks with Iran. I extended the offer of meaningful engagement to the Iranian government. I committed the United States to a comprehensive effort to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear power, provided that they live up to their international obligations.

And we have engaged in intensive bilateral and multilateral diplomacy with our P-5-plus-1 partners and with nations around the world to reinforce this point, including a historic U.N. Security Council resolution that was passed unanimously last week.

The result is clear. The P-5-plus-1 is united and we have an international community that has reaffirmed its commitment to nonproliferation and disarmament. That’s why the Iranian government heard a clear and unified message from the international community in Geneva.

Iran must demonstrate through concrete steps that it will live up to its responsibilities with regard to its nuclear program.

In pursuit of that goal, today’s meeting was a constructive beginning, but it must be followed with constructive action by the Iranian government.

First, Iran must demonstrate its commitment to transparency. Earlier this month we presented clear evidence that Iran has been building a covert nuclear facility in Qom. Since Iran has now agreed to cooperate fully and immediately with the International Atomic Energy Agency, it must grant unfettered access to IAEA inspectors within two weeks.

I’ve been in close touch with the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, who will be traveling to Tehran in the days ahead. He has my full support and the Iranian government must grant the IAEA full access to the site in Qom.

Second, Iran must take concrete steps to build confidence that its nuclear program will serve peaceful purposes, steps that meet Iran’s obligations under multiple U.N. Security Council resolution. The IAEA proposal that was agreed to in principle today with regard to the Tehran research reactor is a confidence-building step that is consistent with that objective, provided that it transfers Iran’s low- enriched uranium to a third country for fuel fabrication.

As I’ve said before, we support Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear power. Taking the step of transferring its low-enriched uranium to a third country would be a step towards building confidence that Iran’s program is in fact peaceful.

Going forward, we expect to see swift action. We’re committed to serious and meaningful engagement, but we’re not interested in talking for the sake of talking. If Iran does not take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then the United States will not continue to negotiate indefinitely, and we are prepared to move towards increased pressure.

If Iran takes concrete steps and lives up to its obligations, there is a path towards a better relationship with the United States, increased integration for Iran within the international community, and a better future for all Iranians.

So let me reiterate. This is a constructive beginning, but hard work lies ahead. We’ve entered a phase of intensive international negotiations. And talk is not substitute for action. Pledges of cooperation must be fulfilled.

We have made it clear that we will do our part to engage the Iranian government on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect, but our patience is not unlimited.

This is not about singling out Iran; this is not about creating double standards. This is about the global nonproliferation regime and Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, just as all nations have it, but with that right comes responsibilities.

And the burden of meeting these responsibilities lies with the Iranian government, and they are now the ones that need to make that choice.

Thank you very much.

Posted By David Elliott

David Elliott is the Assistant Policy Director at the National Iranian American Council.

    9 Responses to “President Obama’s really, really important statement about Iran”

  1. ex-obama supporter says:

    Shame on You Obama for agreeing to shake the hands of the dictators who rape torture and kill their own people, shame on you for talking to a bunch of terrorists who have taken their own people hostage, shame on you for letting the only genuine democratic movement in the middle east down, today you betrayed democracy, human rights and freedom!

  2. Please Remember What I am writing today!!!

    Never, Never and Never trust what this Regim of Iran are promissing, Never.

    They buying time and one day soon evrybody will be sorry.

    About 6 or seven years ago I wrote a letter to Washington and said my openion about these islamic Republic of Iran, ( not the people of Iran ) The islamic “Mulas” how Satanic, Charletan and Quackery they are.

    The only selution is this regim to be changed as soo as only few months.

  3. One NIAC Member says:

    So, what happened to human rights issue? I guess P5+1 does not care, why should they. Thank you president Obama.

  4. john says:

    Obama, give me my vote back.

    Way to champion human rights and democracy. What a joke.

  5. Pirouz says:


    Thank you President Obama. This is the first real change you’ve managed to initiate for the US, and I’m very happy it deals with Iran, a country with which we Iranian-Americans very much wish to gain better relations.

    For their part , the Islamic Republic of Iran appears to be taking a smart line.

    From this vantage point, there is now reason to finally hope for improved ties between our two countries.

    To all the pessimists and nay-wishers out there, your priorities are completely wrong.

    Thanks again President Obama, and thank you NIAC.

  6. john says:

    Yes our priorities are our family and friends living under a brutal dictatorship with no human rights.

    Thanks NIAC and Pirouz for propping up the regime. You think the millions that went into the streets want this regime legitimized by negtiations.

    As you can see no one is talking about human rights.


  7. James says:

    Talking to someone doesn’t mean you like them. Talking doesn’t equal ‘propping up the regime.’ That’s ridiculous. We talked to Mao. We talked to Stalin. Reality sometimes means we have to talk to terrible people.

    The US envoy *did* bring up human rights, even though it was a forum set up to discuss the nuclear issue. Read the NY Times article about this.

  8. Someone says:

    The green movement in Iran didn’t need U.S. support to form and it doesn’t need U.S. support to continue its challenge to the regime and its demand for human rights.

    No, the U.S., when acting within the framework of international relations doesn’t care about democracy and human rights. Why should it? It is responsible to its own people, not the people of other countries.

    Furthermore, as much as I despise the destructive domestic policies of the current government in Iran, including its authoritarian nature, its brutal repression of those seeking their rights and the destruction of the manufacturing industries through cheap subsidised imports (and many others), I believe that the normalization of relations with the international community is something that ultimately will serve the interests of Iranians, not to mention all people in the Middle East.

    As a final note, let not forget that the legitimacy of the government comes from the people. Those who think Obama (a foreign ruler of a hitherto hostile nation) will give the Iranian government legitimacy don’t know what the word “legitimacy” means. (i.e. is Ghadaffi “legitimate” ever since he made his backroom deals with Washington?)

  9. omid bahari says:

    The new movement in Iran will be overcome all reationary forces of Iran & World. Whatever it is, Russian supporters of present Dictatorship or Obama as represantatives of jewish democrats merchants who sold iran to reationary regim of Khomeini.
    in 1953 you supported reactionary forces of iran and killed Dr. Mossadeq, who was the the most national ibration of iran.

    Have you gained the play?

    History will laugh to yoy fool presidents.

    Viva With Libration Movements in all the world
    Down with Islamic Repubilc of Iran, as the best symbole of Reaction

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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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