• 19 February 2010
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • 8 Comments
  • Diplomacy, US-Iran War

2+2=Regime Change

Many of us acknowledge that most major media outlets limit their reporting on Iran to one or two narratives, spinning the news to focus only on the nuclear weapons or regime change.  But today the Washington Post has gone one step further and has actually distorted the message in a letter from one of its own readers to fit into one of the status quo narratives.

The letter to the editor in question, which discusses Hillary Clinton’s recent comments that Iran is becoming a military dictatorship, is titled “Hillary Clinton conveys hope for regime change in Iran”.  What’s peculiar is that what the letter says is actually the EXACT OPPOSITE.

The letter states that Hillary Clinton’s comments “should be read as a clear indication, if it wasn’t clear before, that “regime change” is dead as a U.S. policy goal toward Iran”.  The writer explains that Clinton’s comments “implied that as much as the U.S. government disagrees with Iranian policies, it concedes the legitimacy of its civilian institutions, as opposed to the illegitimate exercise of power by the Revolutionary Guard Corps.”  Somehow to the Washington Post this reads as “Clinton conveys hope for regime change”.

It’s one thing when media outlets spin the news.  But the Washington Post spinning its own letters section, that’s something you don’t see everyday.

Hillary Clinton conveys hope for regime change in Iran

Posted By Jamal Abdi

    8 Responses to “2+2=Regime Change”

  1. DFGHK says:

    this article is also a very good one for your institution, particularly for Trita Parsi, to read:

    The Iranian Greens and the West: A Dangerous Liaison

    http://www.counterpunch.org/sasan02182010.html

  2. Publicola says:

    THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRACY IS THE ONLY GUARANTEE AGAINST A MILITARY STRIKE

    Karim Sadjadpour, a renowned expert on Iran at the international think tank, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and considered a leading researcher on Iran issues, with close connections to the Obama administration, emphasizes that as long as Iran’s internal opposition continues to agitate, there is less of a likelihood of a military strike. But if, by 2011, the opposition movement has faded, and Iran is defiantly moving forward – toward a weapons capability – the likelihood of such a strike goes up significantly.
    Source: Interview “Iranian Opposition – ‘Running a Marathon, Not a Sprint’ ”
    SPIEGEL Online – February 17th, 2010
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,678447,00.html

    GLOBAL POLITICS AND A MILITARY STRIKE:
    USA, Russia, China

    The clear indication now is that the Russians will sign on for a U.S. push toward tougher sanctions — if true, a major dividend for Obama’s decision to shelve a missile-defense program in Eastern Europe. On Feb. 9, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Presidential Security Council, said Iran’s “actions … raise doubts in other countries and those doubts are quite valid.” This might leave Beijing in a place it can hardly want to be: isolated on the Security Council.
    The message within the UN now to Beijing could well be: The only thing that may stand between an eventual Israeli air strike and the resulting chaos in the Persian Gulf is you.
    So just how does China define its “overall and long-term interests” in Iran? We’re about to find out.

    Source: “China’s Iran Dilemma” by Bill Powell
    TIME magazine – 22.02.2010
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1963587,00.html

  3. Iranian-American says:

    @Publicola
    Thank you for the relevant articles. I especially like the first one. I have found Karim Sadjadpour to be very reasonable.

    @DFGHK:
    I would argue that the article you mentioned provides no interesting or useful insight.

    The article simply states well-known facts about the Shah’s dictatorship and the fact that Western countries “supported” the Shah. Asking the same immaterial question numerous times in different ways does not make it interesting.

    “Has all this been forgotten? Have the liberal Iranian forces lost their memory? Are they suffering from historical amnesia?”

    Here is the answer. No one has forgotten. It’s just not relevant, because liberal elements in Iran are not allying themselves with Western countries. First, let’s assume the poorly written article had done a better a job at making its point. To do so, it would have done well to mention the role of the US and Britain in overthrowing Mohammad Mosaddegh. This is, in my opinion, the very best evidence of the West’s support of dictatorship in Iran.

    First, it is completely inaccurate to claim that liberal elements in Iran are allying themselves with any Western countries. The only evidence the article provides is an exiled filmmaker asked Obama to increase public support of for democracy in Iran and suggesting sanctions. Forgetting the fact that that is only one guy, and NIAC as an organization has warned against crippling sanctions, this is a long way away from allying with Western countries.

    As a side-note, after the Shah fled and Khomeni returned to Iran, the West would have been perfectly fine accepting the new Islamic Republic, no matter how much they disliked it. It was the hostage crisis that made the American public demand the American government publicly express its opposition to Iran, and it was the Islamic Republic’s insistence of very publicly (and stupidly) promoting “exporting the revolution”. The fact is, the West was going to be disappointed by the revolution, but would have accepted it. It was the Islamic Republic’s own stupidity and lack of tact that made it an enemy of the West, and most of the world. I am not saying it is wrong to encourage other countries that are ruled by dictators to have popular revolutions is wrong or right. I am saying that it is indisputable that Iran made itself a much scarier country (e.g. the Salman Rushdi fatwa) than it needed to, making it that much easier for Iran’s enemies to get most of the world on their side. The idea that the US hated the Islamic Republic for getting rid of their beloved bff, the Shah, is an oversimplification.

    So what’s the point? The point is no one is allying with Western countries. Western countries are not (and were never) hell-bent on making sure Iranians suffer under a dictatorship. It was only ever a side-effect. At one time, there was a dictatorship they were close to, and they did whatever they could in their power, which clearly was not enough, to keep that dictator in power. It didn’t make a difference either way to how that dictator treated the people of Iran. The current dictatorship in Iran is one that the West is not close to, and therefore would not mind seeing it collapse in a popular revolution.

    To think that the Western countries are hatching a plan to replace the current dictatorship with one that is close to them is just not the current reality. The West has not been able to willing to impose that type of imperialism from back-in-the-day. Just look at Iraq. The government in Iraq, which was very much set up by the US, is not a US puppet dictatorship. It is a government that is actually much closer to Iran than the US would like. The West, and specifically the US, has clearly come to the conclusion that in the case of Iran a democratic Iran would be much easier to deal with than the current theocracy in Iran, and the a puppet government would be impossible to impose.

    The opposition is not asking the West to bring Iran democracy. The only request the opposition movement in Iran has made to the West and the rest of the world is to support the Iranian people’s attempt to bring Iran democracy. Practically, this means little more than not ignoring the brutal repression of the Iranian people by the Iranian government. This is no different than what Iranians requested of the West and the rest of the world during what became the Islamic Revolution. While the West may be more responsive to this request, given that it does not particularly like the current Iranian government, it is a far way off from leading or even (for better or worse) providing any meaningful assistance to the Green Movement.

    The real fatal mistake the 1979 revolution made, which Sasan Fayazmanesh also makes in this article, is to over-simplify the international players that have shaped and continue to shape Iran’s struggle for democracy.

  4. DFGHK says:

    Iranian-American:

    so, you want to say it my aunt who was chanting anti Iran slogans like “na ghaze na lobnan…” in the streets of Tehran and in the internet? which are clearly in the interest of the west and israel.

    your mentioning of history of Iran and you knowledge of Iran seems to be like your master, Trita. typical Iranian rooted people grown up in the west with a high degree of disillusionment toward the history and culture of Iran. yes, it was the hostage crisis that isolated Iran at the first place. if so, it was done by so called reformists, the liberal backbones of the past few months events.

    and guys you are talking about democracy makes me laugh. you, and people like Mr.Parsi, didn’t appreciate the outcome of an obvious election simply because it was not in your interest. and you guys have not shown any clear evidence of fraud, yet a propagandist self-styled experts like Mr.Parsi is consistently talking about fraudulent election. I am afraid, as your actions show, your commitment to liberal ideas would be the same as your commitment to democracy. what a disgrace.

    you better show you are a true Amercain. that’s the job you are entitled to do.

  5. Iranian-American says:

    @DFGHK:

    “anti Iran slogans like “na ghaze na lobnan…” in the streets of Tehran”

    To suggest that such slogans are in any way anti-Iran is nothing less of absurd. Just read the slogan. In fact, to suggest that this slogan (in English something to the effect of ‘Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I will die for Iran’) is anti-Iran is itself anti-Iran. Anyone who disagrees with this slogan is clearly saying that the interests of Gaza and Lebanon are more important to them than the interest of Iran.

    The Palestinians, while suffering from a great deal of oppression from Israel, have never done anything for Iran. During the Iran Iraq war most of the Palestinian people sided with their Arab brothers in Iraq.

    The closest thing one could say that any Palestinian group has done for Iran is the promise from the most extreme elements to blow up clubs and buses with Israeli civilians should Iran be attacked. An Iran that we could be proud of should reject such “help”, and in doing so make it clear that it is against the loss of civilian life. An Iran like that would be much more effective in lobbying against Israel’s illegal occupation and inhumane oppression of Palestinian people.

    This is precisely the mistake of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Iran should not side with all enemies of America and Israel.

    “… if so, it was done by so called reformists, the liberal backbones of the past few months events.”

    Perhaps. I have no strong allegiance to any political party, in Iran or in any country. I just wish for a free and independent Iran. Iran is currently a long way form that.

    With regard to the election, the real problem is that the Iranian people do not have the freedom to assemble. Only rallies in support of the government are allowed. Opposition rallies are met with violence from the government and pro-government forces, much the same way the Shah met opposition to his rule. The fact that the Iranian government has decided it is worth sacrificing its credibility to stop anti-government rallies suggests it lacks popular support.

    One point you indirectly make is that it is true that the Iranian government and its propaganda machine have succeeded in distracting people like you from their own failings and commitment to the people of Iran by pointing to various boogie-men (e.g. Israel, US, Britain), a strategy similar to the one the Bush administration successfully used after 9-11. The recent events (and the particular slogan you mentioned) in Iran suggest the Iranian people are not falling for the same tricks of the past.

    In any event, I live in a free country (i.e. the US), which I was not even born in, where I have had opportunities to speak out against this countries actions (e.g. military support of Israel), and yet have never been punished in any way for it. On the contrary, I have had many opportunities for education and employment here. I don’t have to worry about being denied an education or employment for being an atheist. Excuse me if I would like the same thing for my cousins back in Iran rather than international isolation, unemployment, listening to corrupt and dishonest religious people, and hallow chants of “marg bar Amreeca”.

    Unfortunately, with all the evils in the world, the corrupt leaders of the Islamic Republic have been able to rape a proud country by convincing the simple-minded to forget about their own evils by pointing to other evils. I think people are waking up. I hope you will wake up.

  6. DFGHK says:

    Iranian-American:

    where are you heading toward? you give a typical paranoid analysis. I recommend, before naively talking about very complicated politics of the middle east, read at least, Dr.Parsi’s half true book. sadly, our main drive to support Ghaza and Lebanon is not for humanitarian or religious duty (there is a small dimension for that though, particularly in the case of Lebanon) rather it’s about our core national interests. if they don’t fight in Ghaza and Lebanon’s border, we, Iranians, may need to fight in our borders, probably in Khozestan, Kordestan, Balouchestan…. Those who support Ghaza and Lebanon are indeed more nationalist than you (I am not gonna value nationalism or internationalism. but you claim to be a pure nationalist). you guys thought that you have found a new era in nationalism? the slogan should be “ham ghaze, ham lobnan, janam fadaye Iran”. human being is in a constant game. look at what you do with your friends and alike. the politics of nation states is pretty much the same, if not identical. it’s about preserving self-interests (this is in a naturalist perspective for you as an atheist!). politics is a science and like every other sciences has certain criteria. for one to get master of that ,so to be able to talk in a clear cut manner, like what you do, one need to at least get trained (by himself/herself at least, if not institutionally). you may need to review how many political books and analysis (not necessarily bashing documents though) you have read before jumping up to the end point.

    I don’t deny there is more freedom in the U.S than Iran. but it’s not a free world, as you say, for sure. it’s true that, if expressed openly, you would be discriminated in Iran for not being a Muslim. but that is not for the majority’s case (an absolute majority are Muslim and the culture is different. this is not the case in the U.S), as you would like to extend it. here in NA, however, we as immigrants are getting discriminated openly, …. how far can I go in this system even with a Ph.D? (and don’t forget nearly 1/3 of the U.S are either immigrant or have roots in there. look at what percent are in high echelon of power) I am not even black!, nor do I have a very bad English accent! and I do practice the very normal life style of NA. you seem to be living in illusion.

    for the rest of your comments, they fall short of superstition and in a sharp contradiction with your atheist point of view! so, I am not gonna go through them. i live it for you to figure that out. and I am not gonna reply you anymore here. good to talk to you.

  7. Publicola says:

    Election results fraudulent or not? – Figures and their meaning.

    A subjective, personal attempt at interpreting election figures in general from a European point of view:

    An Iranian election result of more than 35% – this only the officially conceded, highly controversial figure [which I definitely believe to have been forged/faked, but that is not the issue analysed here] – is a dead sure basis for decisively changing, for reforming any (!) society from head to foot, to the quick, down to atomic scale so to speak:

    The German ecological party „The Greens “ was elected into parliament in 2009 with 10,7%. This [over a span of 20 years] long-term percentage of about 10%, rarely more than that on a national level – a relatively rather modest and relatively rather small figure when compared to the current Iranian election result – has led to the (globalising) fact that
    all parties in Germany (and in Europe, where the ecological parties have been achieving similar results over the long term) are not able to exist as a eligible political parties and are not able to put up any (!) candidate of any (!) party for election
    without a pronounced ecological and environmental party program !
    Of course it takes its time !
    Profound changes are not brought about within half a year !

    So what consequently to expect of an Iranian, longterm [see the figures of former Khatami elections: 1997 elected with 70% into office; 2001 elected with 78,3 % into office] election result with at least and officially admitted more than 35% for the opposition candidates, that is triple the figure of those above-mentioned election results of European ecological parties ?

    Not only ecology is in accordance with mainstream thinking and has been so for some decades, starting that avalanche of ecological demands and ecological treaties – globally .

    Democracy is by far more contagious [than any ecological program] and might [some day] radiate from Iran into the Near and Middle East, not limiting itself to Iran.

  8. Iranian-American says:

    “sadly, our main drive to support Ghaza and Lebanon is not for humanitarian or religious duty (there is a small dimension for that though, particularly in the case of Lebanon) rather it’s about our core national interests.”

    This is a fair point. Believe it or not, some people, even some on these posts, point to the support of Hamas and Hezbollah as some kind of moral decision to help the oppressed people of Palestine and Lebanon. I’m glad you see it in more realistic terms.

    Nonetheless, I disagree that it is in our national interests to support groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Supporting those groups provides no defense against the wars you perceive on our borders. It only provides a defense against an Israeli strike. But it is the support of these groups in the first place that makes it easier for Israel to secure either direct or indirect international support for an attack on Iran. The best protection against and Israeli strike, which is the most significant threat Iran faces, is a better relationship with the West, particularly the US. Israel knows better than to bite the hand that feeds it, and with strong US opposition, an Israeli strike is very unlikely. Furthermore, a better relationship with the West would have economic benefits for Iranian citizens.

    “I don’t deny there is more freedom in the U.S than Iran.”

    Happy to see you concede that point. Hard to believe there are those that not only deny that there is more freedom in the US than Iran, but also claim there is in fact more freedom in Iran than the U.S.

    “it’s true that, if expressed openly, you would be discriminated in Iran for not being a Muslim. but that is not for the majority’s case”

    Iran’s discrimination of atheists is the least significant (I admit, I brought it up). Iran’s laws also discriminate, in varying extents, against women, worshippers of faiths other than the one’s they accept, and Bahai’s in particular. The fact that a majority of Iranians are Muslim is not an excuse, just as discrimination against African-Americans in the US can not be justified by the fact they are a minority.

    “immigrants are getting discriminated openly, …. how far can I go in this system even with a Ph.D? (and don’t forget nearly 1/3 of the U.S are either immigrant or have roots in there. look at what percent are in high echelon of power) I am not even black!”

    I’m confused on a couple different levels at that statement. I would just like to remind you that the US has an African-American president (or is that part of the illusion I’m living?).

    “and I am not gonna reply you anymore here.”

    Ok cool.

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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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