• 9 October 2009
  • Posted By Matt Sugrue
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Amnesty International released a statement today asking the Iranian government to review the October 8th death sentence handed down to Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani. The release states that,

Zamani, 37, was sentenced to death by a Tehran Revolutionary Court on Thursday after he was convicted of “enmity against God for membership of and activities to further the aims of the terrorist grouplet Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran (API)”.   

The API is an exiled opposition group which advocates the ending of the Islamic Republic and the establishment of an Iranian monarchy.

He was also convicted of “propaganda against the system”, “insulting the holy sanctities”, “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national internal security ” as well as of leaving the country illegally to visit Iraq where he was alleged to have met US military officials.

Mr. Zamani is the first of the 100 prisoners arrested after the June election protests to be sentenced to death. Amnesty accurately describes the trials that led to Mr. Zamani’s conviction as “show trials,” as well as a “mockery of justice.”

The international community must loudly condemn the conviction of Mr. Zamani based on a confession that was almost certainly obtained through torture.  It’s unconscionable to think that a government would execute one of its citizens for exercising their right to voice their opinion. Tehran’s decision to proceed down this path shows that it has truly gone beyond the pale in its efforts to repress dissent and hide from the legitimate suspicions that surround the disputed elections that took place in June of this year.

Posted By Matt Sugrue

    4 Responses to “Amnesty International Issues Statement About Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani”

  1. Mia says:

    Shame on Obama for killing the funding for Iranian human-rights watch agency. It’s ridiculous that he has won the Nobel Peace Price. I was one of his fans during the election race, now I wish he had never won US presidency. He is going to help bastard Ahmadinejad who is a sellout to Iran to do horrible crimes to Iranians.

  2. john says:

    We got sold out for the nobel prize.

  3. Jason says:

    Mia, please reread the earlier entry, wherein there were multiple groups, including members of the Iranian opposition that wanted the funding pulled to remove the appearance of bias and puppetry. They are going to do funding drives instead.

    I have not followed the bit with the peace prize sufficiently to say whether or not this is a show gesture or not, but the timing could be better for sure. Better to have waited for next year, or the next, for a fuller measure of his results. But I don’t make the votes for this.

  4. Artin says:

    I agree with your sentiment Mia, it’s unfortunate that Obama admin officials decided to cut off that funding and I’m not sure why they did it.

    But let’s not jump to conclusions — who said Obama will help out Ahmadinejad? I think he’ll avoid that at all costs if he can

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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.



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