• 20 November 2009
  • Posted By Matt Sugrue
  • Human Rights in Iran, UN

U.N. General Assembly Censures Iran

From Bloomberg.com:

The Iranian government’s treatment of protesters following the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, including torture and arbitrary imprisonment, was censured today by the United Nations General Assembly.

The General Assembly, consisting of all 192 member governments of the world body, voted 74 to 48 to adopt a resolution sponsored by the U.S. and most European Union nations that details human rights abuses in Iran. There were 59 abstentions from the vote.

The measure expresses concern about “harassment, intimidation and persecution, including by arbitrary arrest, detention or disappearance, of opposition members.” It also cites “violence and intimidation by government-directed militias,” torture, rape and forced confessions.

“This resolution demonstrates that the international community is deeply concerned over the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran and the government’s failure to uphold its obligations under its own constitution and international human rights law,” U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement.

“Those in Iran who are trying to exercise their universal rights should know that the world continues to bear witness and their voices are being heard,” he said.

Posted By Matt Sugrue

    9 Responses to “U.N. General Assembly Censures Iran”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Good to see this post doesn’t read “NIAC welcomes” a UN bill co-sponsored by Israel against Iran.

    The vote was actually interesting. If you add the negative votes to the abstentions, you actually get a total vote of 74-107, indicating a minority in favor of passage.

  2. Eric says:

    “The measure expresses concern about “harassment, intimidation and persecution, including by arbitrary arrest, detention or disappearance, of opposition members.” It also cites “violence and intimidation by government-directed militias,” torture, rape and forced confessions.”

    Pirouz, how is this some secret Israeli bill against Iran? I love how (brainwashed) followers of Mahmoud such as yourself blame everything on the Israelis. Next time I stub my toe I know who to blame…Israel! This bill simply condemns the abuses that the dictator and his goons did to the Iranian people. I guess you are right, this bill should not have been passed because we all know the Iranian dictator and his thugs are completely civil human beings who would never hurt a fly. Ha!

  3. Pirouz says:

    Eric, I made a mistake. It’s actually a resolution (not a bill) that was openly co-sponsored by Israel against Iran. If you cannot see the obvious hypocrisy and politicization of such, and must resort to reduction to the absurd, well there’s not much more to be said.

    BTW, Saudi Arabia voted for this resolution. Saudi Arabia! Just goes to show the lack of credibility.

    One more thing. Today the US Justice Dept. dropped charges against a Blackwater security contractor accused of killing in cold blood 14 innocent Iraqi civilians. Where’s your UN resolution for that violation of human rights? For Gaza? For Cast Lead? For the rapes and torture deaths at Abu Ghraib? Bagram? etc. etc.

    Politicization of human rights is offensive in and for itself.

    And just so you know, Eric, I voted for someone else other than Ahmadinejad in the last election. Which Iranian candidate did YOU vote for?

  4. Iranian-American says:

    As Pirouz has pointed out, it is no secret that Israel sponsored this resolution. If the UN was really interested in violence and intimidation against innocent people, it should take a look at how Israel treats Palestinians. None of this is conspiracy theory, but very obvious observations.

    Pirouz’s points are all correct. Yes, Saudi Arabia and Israel have no right talking about human rights. Where he loses credibility, in my opinion, is when he fails to see Iran doing the same thing. The notion that the Iranian government’s support for the Palestinians comes from wanting what is best for the Palestinian people is just as absurd as Saudi Arabia’s vote for this resolution. The Iranian government wants to keep the Israeli-Palestinian conflict going on as long as possible so that it can divert attention from its own crimes even if that means sabotaging any chance of peace between Israel and Palestine, so that Israel will keep killing Palestinian people. Luckily for Khamenei, Israel is doing a good enough job destroying any prospects for peace with the Palestinians.

    To see just how effective Iran’s use of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is in deflecting attention from its own crimes, just take a look at any one of Pirouz’s posts. If it even works for people that didn’t vote for Ahmadinejad, imagine how well it works for Ahmadinejad supporters, many of whom are religious Muslims who sympathize with the Palestinian people.

    One could easily argue, “How can Iran talk about arrests, torture and oppression of Palestinians by Israel when it does the same, if not worse, to its own people?” But that argument is just as silly as, “How can Saudi Arabia and Israel talk about human rights in Iran?”. The answers to both these questions are obvious (i.e. the Iranian government doesn’t care about Palestinians and the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel do not care about Iranians), and thus these arguments are counterproductive.

    Yes, human rights are politicized. The governments of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran all do it. NIAC has to decide what is best for the Iranian people. In some cases it will be supporting such resolutions despite the fact that the motives of many of the countries who sign on are not sincere (and in some cases malicious). Support for such resolutions does not mean that NIAC is being tricked. It just means that NIAC supports what the resolution states.

    The danger of not supporting such resolutions is that the world accepts a brutal dictatorship in Iran, the same way it has accepted dictatorships in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, allowing the Iranian government to brutally and permanently end the Iranian people’s long and difficult struggle for freedom and human rights.

  5. Don Cox says:

    “For the rapes and torture deaths at Abu Ghraib? ”

    Those happened in Saddam’s era, and there were numerous resolutions.

    ” If the UN was really interested in violence and intimidation against innocent people, it should take a look at how Israel treats Palestinians.”

    This is being looked at all the time. Now how about looking at how the Lebanon treats Palestinians (and Lebanese citizens descended from Palestinians)? There is an Apartheit state if ever there was one.

  6. Pirouz says:

    You make a good case.

    However in my view, with my experiences, I see this in far more complex terms.

    I’m not blind to the shortcomings of the Islamic Republic of Iran, nor am I blind to the shortcomings of the USA.

    The Iraq War, Guantanimo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, the tens of thousands of Iraqis that lost their lives, the tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens incarcerated without due process, as well as the excesses of US law enforcement during America’s own anti-establishment movement of the 1960’s and early 70’s- while all of it shameful and harmful, it did not bring me to the point where I became anti-America. Likewise, what’s taking place in Iran today, while in many ways disagreeable, is not making me anti-Iran.

    Political grandstanding at this level over the Islamic Republic’s shortcomings might offer to some a personal sense of “feel good”, or even serve the interests of an organization in need of qualifying itself against unfair attack by its many opponents. But realize the only tangible effect is the progression for war to be waged against the people of Iran.

  7. Someone says:

    You can oppose both war and the abuse of human rights. You can oppose human rights abuses in both Gaza and Tehran, in both Abu Ghraib and Evin. These are not either-or scenarios and this is exactly what the great political dissident Akbar Ganji calls “human rights without double-standards”.

    On being “anti-Iranian”: What does it mean to be anti-Iranian? If we don’t equate “Iran” with the government ruling the Iranian nation, then speaking out against the abuse of the human rights of Iranian citizens is clearly pro-Iranian not anti-Iranian.

    However, I would argue that even if we do equate Iran with its government, it is still more anti-Iranian to cover up and make excuses for Iranian “shortcomings” than to point them out in support of those who are fighting to remedy them. An Iranian government that is close to its people and doesn’t abuse its people is a stronger government, both domestically and internationally.

    Lastly, for those who truly intend to win the public relations battle against a disastrous Iran war, making excuses for Iranian government human-rights abuses will only cause you to be written off as a regime lackey and nullify (however unjustly) your anti-war voice. That’s why the NIAC’s approach of speaking out both against war and sanctions as well as Iranian abuses is so important. It maintains credibility and independence (and humanity) while at the same time pushing public opinion away from such a wreckless course as war.

  8. Iranian-American says:

    Whether you agree with NIAC’s strategy or not, you can not honestly believe that the reason NIAC would welcome criticism of the Iranian government is to “feel good” or even qualify itself against unfair attacks by opponents. It seems to me that NIAC wants to push for human rights in Iran so that it is one of the items discussed during any potential negotiations with the US. No matter how hypocritical, this may improve the lives of the Iranian people.

    While it may appear to you that you are seeing this in complex terms, it seems to me just the opposite. You are convinced the world is against Iran and wants to attack and no matter what it is you read or see, you see it from that perspective. It reminds me of Americans who are convinced by fear-mongering that Muslims want to kill Americans. Thus, every criticism of America is just more proof that these “crazy Muslims” hate America.

    I understand your concern about war against Iran. It is a legitimate concern in the face of threats coming from Israel. The current administration in the US is very unlikely to attack Iran and fairly unlikely to allow Israel to attack Iran. I will agree with you that A POTENTIAL effect is the progression for war, but trying to hide the Iranian governments crimes has its own potential negative effects, which I mentioned in my previous post.

    I would describe the fundamental disagreement between you and me as follows: you feel that I am understating the threat of war and overstating the abuses of the Iranian government, and I feel that you are understating the abuses of the Iranian government and overstating the threat of war. Would you agree?

  9. Emrouz says:

    This is a great statement by Pirouz, apart from his other reasonable statements: “..or even serve the interests of an organization in need of qualifying itself against unfair attack by its many opponents.”

    it tells you everything. I am not sure what else NIAC could do. it’s sad though.

    It makes me laugh when Trita Parsi is talking about human rights. if one reads his book, in more than 300 pages, one can find everything except the core issue which is killing innocent people, displacement, occupation… and instead he sounded like a real-politician without a heart!, purely to serve interests(so, what does the interest mean then?). Now suddenly, and in particular after the election when as his predictions turned out to be nonsense at best, he became an advocate of human rights (I think, it’s a stereotype to condemn the violation here, so I just move on!)(we have a nice word in Farsi for these actions. it’s called: فرافکنی ).

    He is talking about the killing of 30 people, in which there is nothing wrong with that, in which nearly one third were Basijis!, and never talked about, let say, the recent massacre in Gaza (it’s fine, but doesn’t look proportional, or I am thinking what is the meaning of Human Rights at all. Does it make sense just in Iran? what about SriLanka, Iraq, Afghanistan…). I think, first of all, we should ask Trita, who you consider to be Iran’s citizens? 30-10= or what?(bc you make the life of the rest a hardship by these claims as a results of resolutions, bills…that comes as a results) when you say Iranian people, please define whom you are talking about.as I go to Iran so often, I sporadically see the ones Trita means. Thus, I recommend him to say, some segments of upper middle class Iranians, instead of Iranian people as a whole bc otherwise outsiders might get confused. This definition is correct and justifiable as those who Trita refers to are also Iranians and their rights should be respected, IF it doesn’t come to point of restricting,or offending, the majority’s rights.

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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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