• 31 December 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 2 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Sanctions

NIAC Applauds Shift Toward Targeted Sanctions

Contact: Phil Elwood
917.379.3787

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council welcomes the Obama administration’s decision to pursue targeted sanctions on Iran’s leaders rather than indiscriminate sanctions that would contribute to the suffering of the Iranian people.

“As the Iranian people continue to bravely stand up for their rights, NIAC has been calling on the Administration not to punish the Iranian people for the activities of their government,” said Dokhi Fassihian, member of NIAC’s Board of Directors.  “We are pleased that the Obama administration is committed to pressuring Tehran in a way that spares innocent people unnecessary suffering.”

In Congressional testimony submitted before the House Oversight Committee’s National Security Subcommittee in December, NIAC President Trita Parsi said that “after the groundbreaking developments of this past summer, continuing to ignore the impact additional broad sanctions will have on the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy will only come at our own peril.”

A noticeable shift has occurred in Washington’s plans for Iran sanctions in the new year.  The White House has told leading lawmakers that the Administration does not support untargeted sanctions legislation aimed broadly at the Iranian economy that would punish innocent Iranians. Senior US officials have told journalists that they prefer more targeted measures over so-called “crippling” sanctions because of the desire not to have the Iranian people blame the United States for their isolation.  “We have to be deft at this, because it matters how the Iranian people interpret their isolation — whether they fault the regime or are fooled into thinking we are to blame,” stated a senior official.

NIAC has supported legislation that is designed to target Iranian officials responsible for human rights violations, while at the same time taking steps to remove harmful restrictions on the Iranian people’s access to information, basic rights and freedoms.

NIAC reiterates its call for lawmakers to support measures that stand with the Iranian people, and calls on Congress to support the President’s strategy for dealing with Iran

Posted By NIAC

    2 Responses to “NIAC Applauds Shift Toward Targeted Sanctions”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Well, it appears Obama is choosing a path that isn’t going to seriously escalate an economic war that’s in no one’s interest. (The protesters conveniently affording the rationale.)

    I’d have much preferred more meaningful diplomacy, but we’ll take what we can get.

    Still, how in the world will “targeted” sanctions enable an outcome in our best interest? Wouldn’t some form of compromise (the Iranians have provided a multitude of such) offer a way forward toward solution? Why the insistence on take-it-or-leave-it?

  2. Iranian-American says:

    It is refreshing to see this administration’s policy decisions with regard to the current crisis in Iran, and it is impressive to see the role NIAC is playing. While defining “targeted sanctions” will without a doubt be difficult, the US administration is making it increasingly clear that it stands with those in Iran that support human rights and basic freedoms. If in fact the administration sticks to this policy, and does not surrender to those who would like to see crippling sanctions against the Iranian people, I am confident it will be clear to the Iranian people that it is the Iranian government that shoulders all the blame for any direct or indirect suffering resulting from targeted sanctions.

    Unfortunately, it is very difficult for the US administration to support the Iranian people as they bravely stand up to what is clearly becoming one of the most repressive governments in the world. There have been mistakes along the way. E.g. Obama waited far too long to condemn the Iranian government’s brutality against innocent Iranians. But, as and American citizen, this is perhaps the first time I have been proud of my governments efforts towards my other country of citizenship, Iran. Furthermore, the current events in Iran have really made me appreciate the opportunity to live in a country where there are free and fair elections.

    There is no doubt that those that openly support the Iranian regime along with those that cowardly hide behind a disguise will argue against any sanctions. Their intentions are nothing less than to help the government suffocate any hope for a better, free and prosperous Iran.

    Thanks NIAC.

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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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