• 15 April 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Human Rights in Iran, UN

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BloggingheadsTV had Mark Leon Goldberg of UN Dispatch talking with Suzanne Nossel of the State Department yesterday about Iran’s bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

Yes, you heard that right.  This, apparently, is how the Human Rights Council works — the countries most qualified to speak about human rights are the ones who have first-hand experience violating human rights themselves.

Cynicism aside, this is an incredibly important issue, and the Obama Administration has to get it right.  In the absence of direct diplomacy, and in the context of the sanctions push that is still ongoing, the US is doing very little to actually promote human rights in Iran.

The least — and I mean the very least — they can do is work to stop Iran from making a mockery of an important international institution for the promotion of basic universal rights.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    7 Responses to “So Iran wants to be on the UN Human Rights Council… (VIDEO)”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Patrick, there’s more to human rights than merely those espoused by certain Western nations, such as the United States. For example, just to name a few, there’s:

    – access to food

    – access to basic health care

    – access to education

    In Iran, higher education is free to those who qualify. In the US? Tens of thousands of dollars.

    In Iran, basic heath care is a right. In the US, a program has just been established, yet it is somehow opposed by a majority of Americans!

    Kahrizak has been closed. Has Guantanimo?

    How many wars of aggression has Iran initiated in the past two centuries? How many has the United States?

    How many arrests without due process has the US carried out against Iraqi and Afghani citizens? 25,000 plus. How many were tortured? Thousands.

    How many innocent Iraqi and Afghanis citizens have been killed in America’s wars? Hundreds of thousands.

    How many drone attacks have killed innocent Afghanis citizens? Hundreds.

    And you, Patrick, have the hypocritical audacity to advocate the US prevent Iran’s inclusion on the UN Human Rights Council?

    You have obviously never personally endured an American war and occupation, or an American assisted war against your homeland. If you had, you would never make such outlandish remarks.

  2. Iranian-American says:

    Haha… That’s rich.

  3. Sara055 says:

    The worst is that the chances are big, that in a little while, we WILL see Iran is becoming a member…. As we are seeing them applying all kinds of technology that they shouldnt be applying. ppl are being imprisoned, raped, tortured, killed in Iran for 31 years now and so far not 1 leader of any country has even tried the least to put an end to this. The future will show us how big of a mistake is being made on the subject of Iran. I believe it is a BIG mistake. But probably they wont notice until a nbomb drops on their lawns…. With love from Iran….
    Hoping 4 the best, yet expecting the worst.

  4. Iranian-American says:

    Pirouz has clearly never been to Iran. I say that giving him the benefit of the doubt, because while it does not take a genius to realize Iran is far from a prosperous and pleasant country to live in, it would take a real fool to land in Iran and still talk about the “human rights” in Iran. I have been to almost every major city in the US. You can not even compare it with Tehran. The streets of Tehran are full of homeless, crippled people. You can not stop at a light without a young boy that should be at school coming to your car window with the incense to make some money. It really is sad. “access to food”, “access to basic health care”? That is an absolute joke to those of us who have actually been to Iran. Shiraz and Isfahan are not much different.

    “access to education” is also quite a ridiculous claim to make. From my cousins to friends who have recently come to the US from Iran, I have literally not heard one person speak well of Iran’s “access to education”. Actually, my uncle teaches at Tehran University. I visited the university. Just going to the university it is clear the facilities are not nearly what they are in an average university here in the US. It is a shame, because there are some very bright students there.

    While I find your opinions based on US action in Afghanistan and Iraq foolish, at least they are based on some truth. Your opinions about life in Iran are simply not based on anything that resembles the truth. Your notions of what life is like in Iran are almost completely imaginary. You really should take a trip…

  5. Sara055 says:

    Sorry, but saying that Kahrizak has closed, in baseless. It has been closed, but it is a fact that ppl are being treated the same in numerous jails all over Iran. On health care: If an average Iranian can pay for it, he will have acces. If not, too bad. Education? Only if you apply to government standards. Which means: if you are political active (or maybe not active, just attend some meeting(s)) you will be “starred” and expelled. If you are a Baha’i, it is unlikely you will ever even enroll to university, and if you do, they will find an excuse to kick you out long before the final exams. The Baha’i that took part in concour (entance-exam) never had acces to their results, nor were they allowed into universities. Please do not tell us that Iran has human rights at a high standard, not before you have been to Iran and seen the homeless, addicted, poor people that work from the early morning until late at night, to be able to buy a piece of bread. I have to agree with Iranian-American on this. In every country there are some things that could be better / should be better, but Iran has many of those. A lot more then America or your average European country.
    As long as children roam the streets to wash car windows, clean shoes, sell things, just to have something to eat, there is no Way all ppl in Iran have access to food, access to basic health care and access to education. On paper maybe it is all good in Iran, but as you may know, they don’t even respect their own laws, let alone the basic human rights. It just doesnt matter to them. They dont care. But they are very good at seeming to care. That is why they implement laws and sign treaties, not because they care or believe in it….

  6. Iranian-American says:

    Now Sara sounds like someone who has been to Iran…

  7. Sara055 says:

    I have been actually, multiple times actually, to visit family 🙂

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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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