• 23 October 2009
  • Posted By Matt Sugrue
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Nuclear file

Early Warnings Over Enrichment Deal (Updated…)

Reuters is reporting that Iran has turned down the enrichment deal proposed by IAEA chief Mohammad Elbaradei. The deal was proposed this week in Vienna and has been approved already by all of the other countries (U.S., France and Russia) that took part in the negotiations.

The report relies on an unnamed member of Iran’s diplomatic team, who told State TV that:

Now we are awaiting a positive and constructive response on Iran’s proposal from the other party on providing nuclear fuel for Tehran’s reactor…The other party is expected to avoid past mistakes in violating agreements … and to gain Iran’s trust.

Iran’s alternate plan, of which very few details have emerged, apparently proposes that Iran buy nuclear fuel for its Tehran research plant. The accuracy of these early reports is unclear, but the BBC reports that France’s Foreign Minister has said indications coming from Iran “are not very positive.”

Update: We’re hearing more and more that the reports about Iran “turning down” the proposed deal are unofficial, and as such should be treated with a very healthy dose of skepticism.  Iran’s official response is still pending, though it appears Tehran might try to prolong the deadline for a yes or no answer to next week.

The Obama administration acknowledged that they are only interested in Iran’s official response last night in the State Department’s daily press briefing with spokesman Ian Kelly:

I’m sure there are a lot of voices in Tehran right now, but we’re going to wait for that authoritative answer tomorrow.

Update II: Even more from the administration about the State TV reports of a rejection, from Reuters:

WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) – The United States is still awaiting Iran’s formal response to a U.N.-drafted plan for it to cut a stockpile of nuclear fuel that the West fears could be used for weapons, a U.S. official said on Friday.

The official, speaking on condition that he not be identified, said Washington did not regard an Iranian state television report suggesting that Tehran would not endorse the deal as Tehran’s official response to the plan, seen as one way to buy time for broader talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

Update III: The BBC has reported that Iran has asked for more time to consider the IAEA deal proposed in Vienna:

Iran will respond to a proposed deal on its controversial nuclear programme by the middle of next week, the UN atomic agency (IAEA) has said.

IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei said he hoped the answer would be “positive”.

The UN agency had suggested exporting most of Iran’s enriched uranium to Russia and France for further refining…Iran informed the Director General today that it is considering the proposal in depth and in a favourable light, but needs time until the middle of next week to provide a response,” the IAEA said in a statement.

Posted By Matt Sugrue

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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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