• 5 November 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Congress, Human Rights in Iran, Iranian American activism

Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) has introduced a resolution expressing continued support for the Iranian people as they stand up for freedom, human rights, and fundamental elements of democracy.  The legislation, H.Res. 888, “condemns the brutal suppression of the Iranian people through censorship, imprisonment, and continued acts of violence” and calls on the international community to maintain robust communication with the Iranian people via the media, the Internet, and telecommunications.

Rep. Granger, as a founding member of the Trans-Atlantic Parliamentary Group, is also coordinating with members of the European Union Parliament and the Canadian Parliament to introduce similar resolutions in their respective bodies.  Thus, the initiative transcends any one country or government, uniting an coalition of nations in support of the principles Iranians are standing up to defend: those of freedom, human rights, and fundamental elements of democracy.

If these are principles that you support as well, ask your member of Congress to support H.Res. 888.

Posted By David Elliott

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

    3 Responses to “Texas Rep. Introduces Resolution Supporting Iranian People’s Struggle for Rights”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Human rights? The House of Representatives?

    On November 4, 2009, the US House of Representatives condemned the Goldstone Report by a wide majority: 334 delegates in favor, 36 opposed and 22 abstaining.

    David, I ask you, how is it that the US House of Representatives can so obviously and overwhelmingly vote against the human rights of the Palestinian people, while at the same time supposedly show support for an anti-establishment element in Iran- all in the name of human rights?

    Do you not see the contradiction? The hypocrisy? The anti-Iran agenda?

    What does this new Iran resolution accomplish? The Iranian Parliament will, like they’ve done in the past, pass a tit-for-tat bill of their own, condemning the US for its own recent human rights record. Take your pick: Guantanimo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, incarceration of tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens without due process, military and economic support enabling Zionist occupation of Palestine, the inhumane siege of Gaza, etc. etc.

    The net result? Keeps fueling the ongoing US/Iran cold war. Is that what we want? Don’t we want better relations, not worse?

    If this was a sincere effort at improving human rights, that would be one thing. But this resolution merely stokes further Iran bashing, in a current level of intensity not seen since the build up of a US case to go to war against Iraq. That’s really what you’re playing with here. And if war does come, realize that your support for anti-Iran resolutions (however moral they may be guised) represented an element of momentum toward that horrific end for the Iranian people.

    Now Trita is an intelligent young man. I’m quite hopeful he is aware of this danger. As a leader of Iranian-Americans, we’re just left to trust in his better judgement.

  2. James says:

    Congress being hypocritical is nothing new. But if our community never gets involved just because of that hypocrisy, we will be silencing ourselves and Iranian-Americans will be more marginalized than ever.

    If Congress is going to be busy doing something while the President is negotiated with Iran, we’re all better off if they’re debating resolutions expressing moral support for the Iranian people (rather than counterproductive sanctions bills). If nothing else, it does send a signal of support to the people fighting for their rights, even while the US gov’t is dealing with the world as it is, not as we wish it were, and is working to make us safer through an agreement with Iran that takes us off the path to war.

  3. Iranian-American says:

    I don’t think anyone would argue that congress is being hypocritical. This really should not be that alarming. Congress has determined that human-rights for Palestinians is not in the US’s national interest. Congress has determined that by pressing the human-rights violations of the Iranian government (of which there is no shortage), they may be able to get more support from the rest of world to pressure Iran on what they really care about, Iran’s nuclear program. Rest assured, if tomorrow the Iranian government accepted whatever the US wanted for the nuclear issue, then the US would suddenly have no problems with what the Iranian government did to its people.

    There would be no hypocrisy. Congress would have no trouble sleeping at night knowing Palestinians are being arrested and killed by Israel, and that Iranians are being arrested and killed by their government. But would this be better for the Iranian people?

    I agree it would not be better for the Iranian people to be attacked, but, at this point, I don’t see this resolution leading to the horrific end for the Iranian people. The real horrific end for the Iranian people that we are creeping towards is one where the Iranian government will become even more totalitarian and all hope for a free and prosperous Iran is gone.

    And if that military state does come, realize that your support for the Iranian government (which very well may come from a great pride in all things Iran) represented an element of momentum toward that horrific end for the Iranian people.

    I also agree that Trita is an intelligent young man. I feel very comfortable trusting his better judgement on this one.

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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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