• 4 January 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

As you know, when we here at NIAC aren’t promoting human rights in Iran, ensuring the free flow of information via Internet services, and protecting the interests of the Iranian-American community, we also do a little blogging.

From time to time, helpful users like you send us tips and information on interesting stories dealing with Iran, and most of the time we welcome the suggestions.  But of course, this can sometimes be a risky practice, and it is possible that our judgment will lapse from time to time–as it did today when we published a story about a supposed former IRGC intelligence chief.

Laura Rozen cautions:

With all the stories of continued Iranian unrest, human rights abuses and the complications for Western nuclear diplomacy, beware what seems a notable uptick, too, in very fishy stories of the Chalabi/U.S.-soldiers-will-be-greeted-with-flowers type emerging as well.

We apologize for not scrutinizing this story more than we did, and thank our friend Laura for the helpful reminder.

Mohammad Reza Madhi, a former intelligence chief for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Corps, “predicted the end of the Iranian regime,” saying it is time for a split between religion and state.  Madhi was one of the Supreme Leader’s closest advisers for nearly 20 years, until 2008 when he fled Iran from death threats and a 73 year jail sentence.

Below from an exclusive interview published yesterday in the Bangkok Post Madhi’s full quotes:

What’s Happening Now

The government has already collapsed. There’s going to be big changes very soon. Believe me, it will happen soon. I can promise you that I will meet you for the next interview in Teheran very soon. However, I am afraid that the transition won’t be peaceful. You see what has happened during the religious ceremony called Ashura a few days ago. They killed so many people, 11 to be exact, not eight as was reported by the western media.

The Ayatollahs are very much divided. They have so many problems between each other. There are many Ayatollahs who have different views. However, the ones in the government have the power, not the others.

At this moment, the government cannot rely 100% on the Iranian Army and even on the Revolutionary Guards, who are more powerful. There are now only a few hard-line religious people inside the Revolutionary Guards who are against the people.

There are some people inside the Revolutionary Guards who are against the government and side with the people. The government is aware of that. And the same applies to the Iranian Army. Many of them are now on the people’s side. Many of them are now against the government, but they are afraid to say it openly because they might have problems.

There are four major opposition groups and about 20 small ones. The big groups are united and are working with each other, but the small ones are not. However, they are all working for the same goal, which is to oust the government. I believe that the majority of people in Iran are against the government.

The Future for Iran

We want to keep our country as the Islamic Republic of Iran, but religion and politics must be separated. We want to change the structure of the government. The good clerics should help the people and the government, while the bad ones should be ousted from government…I believe that politics and the religion might be divided soon.

As for Israel, it is the Iranian government which doesn’t recognize its right to exist, but the Iranian people might think differently. Israel’s internal problems are its own affairs, not ours. We shouldn’t get involved. It shouldn’t concern us. My view is that Israel has the right to exist. We should recognize it.

To the USA

I have a message to President Obama: Instead of imposing sanctions, you should give more support to the opposition groups. The sanctions don’t work. The government uses sanctions as an excuse to put more pressure on the people.

Next Steps

I have many plans, for the Army, the Revolutionary Guards and the intelligence service, for university people and for all the people in Iran. I am looking forward to living with my family in Iran after the government changes. They are having a difficult time now.

I will go back to build my country. Every Iranian should work to reconstruct Iran.

Yes [I am in contact with my contacts in Iran], for 10 hours or even more every day! Sometimes I don’t sleep because it is time to talk with them. I use mobile phones, emails and other means to communicate with them. I know what is going on in Iran every day.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    2 Responses to “Woops…[update of “Former IRGC Spy Chief: The End is Near”]”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Patrick, you should do a little investigating before posting hype such as this.

    Check out what Laura Rozen has to say about the Bangkok post interview in question:


    Myself, I’ve never heard of this man. By his age and alleged status, he would have to be at least a Sartip dovom (~General), yet he shows up nowhere in any Iranian military references. And why he would be Khamenei’s “right hand man” over formal IRGC senior advisors to the SL (such as Maj. Gen. Safavi), or even long standing elements of his Sepah protection force, is never explained.

    I agree with Laura Rozen: this story is propaganda.

    It’s kind’a funny. Bloggers Cyrus Safdari and Arnold Evans have been suggesting a betting pool for stories like these to to crop up in 2010. It only took until January 4th- which is not really surprising when you think about it.

  2. Pirouz says:

    This kind of thing does happen to one from time to time, Patrick, especially if you’re relatively inexperienced with observing Iran’s military and security police forces. Good of you to offer the swift retraction.

Leave a ReplyLeave a Reply to Pirouz

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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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