• 7 April 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Persian Gulf, US-Iran War

Iran’s Bond-Villain Plan for Naval Superiority

Iran has purchased a super-advanced speedboat and is going to use it to sink an American warship in the Persian Gulf!

Well, we don’t know for sure that they’re using it to sink an American warship, but they’re definitely up to something. Actually, there’s not even any evidence that the boat is for military purposes; or that it was purchased by the Revolutionary Guards; or that it’s even all that much faster than other boats…

But still, someone in Iran bought a really fast boat, so everyone should be afraid; be very afraid!

That about sums up this tabloid-esque story that ran in the Financial Times Sunday, and then was reprinted in the Washington Post alongside a completely unrelated yet sufficiently eerie photo of a tanker ship that ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef of all places.

Has a record-breaking British powerboat become the “ultimate toy” for an Iranian playboy or – as US investigators fear – is it now equipped with the world’s fastest torpedoes aimed at sinking an aircraft carrier in the Gulf?

In spite of efforts by the Obama administration to stop it falling into the hands of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the Bradstone Challenger – a high-performance powerboat built with support from a US defence contractor – is believed to be under new and dangerous ownership.

Aside from a brief mention of US officials trying to prevent the sale of the boat, it is unknown who in Iran actually purchased it.   Nor is there any evidence to suggest that this boat gives Iran some vastly superior capability for carrying out some nefarious plan that it might have. 

The boat’s claim to fame was that it broke the record for circumnavigating Great Britain.  It’s not the world’s fastest boat, nor does it have high-tech stealth capabilities, or anything else of great military use for that matter.  No, this is the boating equivalent of a 1500 meter gold medalist. 

But still, it’s fast.  So obviously Iran is going to put a torpedo on it and ram it into something, right?  We all remember the speedboat incident from 2008, so that’s obviously what this is about too, right?

Well, the FT doesn’t really give any evidence for that either, nor do they actually take the time to explain why Iran thinks a torpedo would be more successful strapped to the front of a 51 foot boat than if it were actually fired from underwater, as torpedos are intended. 

But I guess the editors at the Financial Times and the Washington Post assume that if they put the word “Iran” next to enough scary-sounding speculation about some military capability or other, then everyone will just accept it as fact.  After all, it worked with the nuclear program, right?

Posted By Patrick Disney

    2 Responses to “Iran’s Bond-Villain Plan for Naval Superiority”

  1. Pirouz says:

    The vessel includes a host of interesting performance “goodies” that may or may not be interesting to adapt onto or supplement the current FAC types in the Iranian naval inventory.

    (Got a good laugh at the FT’s desciption of “dangerous ownership.”)

  2. Rob says:

    RE:”actually fired from underwater, as torpedos are intended.”

    Only submarines fire torpedos from underwater. There are many surface vessels that still fire torpedos into the water from above the waterline. Any sailor will confirm ‘fewer holes in your hull is better’ , but that statement is on par for the rediculous story 🙂

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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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