• 23 April 2010
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • Human Rights in Iran

The Iranian government’s appalling human rights record will not be rewarded with a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council, according to a report by the Politico’s Laura Rozen.  Iran has decided to no longer seek election to the Council in May, owing to behind the scenes efforts by Western states to block the bid.  Human rights activists and organizations, including the National Iranian American Council, opposed Iran’s bid to join the UN Human Rights Council.  NIAC has publicly called for a special session of the Human Rights Council to address Iran’s human rights record.

From Politico:

The failure of Iran’s bid, after aggressive lobbying in New York, African capitals (Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in Zimbabwe this week), and elsewhere, is “a big embarrassment for them,” the official continued. It “seems to be a mark of their isolation and broad distaste for their human rights record.”

Iran’s bid to be a member of the UN rights body was strongly opposed by Iranian and global human rights activists, including by Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi who wrote a letter opposing Tehran’s bid.

Posted By Jamal Abdi

    3 Responses to “Report: Iran’s bid for UN human rights panel seat fails”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Well, if President Obama can be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (AfPak war escalation, ICBM con-warhead development, drone warfare, NPR declaratory against non-nuclear states, etc.), well then what’s all the hubbub about the Islamic Republic of Iran wanting a seat at the UNHRC? Heck, not very long ago, the US didn’t even want to be a part of it.

    But anyway, I wouldn’t characterize this as a “big embarrassment” for them. Surely they knew it would be an uphill battle, regardless. Really, in that part of the world’s perspective, it’s just another element of the “world of arrogance.”

  2. Monnie B says:

    Thank you, NIAC and Mr. Abdi, for the article! The rights we enjoy in Iran are in fact grossly inhuman ones. We are allowed the right to remain silent about the coup d’etat that was staged in the country and which was disguised as presidential elections. We are given the right to forget – even if we fail, for some odd reason, to forgive – the judiciary’s committing injustices against just protestations and criticism. We are given the right to be unsung heroes, in the sense that we may now begin to ‘bear it and grin’ in the face of economic hardship just as we did while defenceless youth were subjected to atrocities committed by the minions of the military regime in the aftermath of last June’s elections. The majority of Iranians are in the same boat as the (mostly Afghan) immigrants in having been made invisible and non-viable in one way or another, the only difference being that – at least so far – the Iranian citizen is still officially accounted for on paper and treated like a hero whenever there’s a need for it, while those who cross the border into the land of the mean are yet to be issued the hard-copy Iranian ID, a luxury which, out of the little bit of self-respect that is still allowed them, the meek immigrants no longer even desire. I don’t see how any international body could be expected to make a conciliatory gesture towards Iranian officialdom in any form when we the people living in Iran can’t bring ourselves to do the same.
    Do keep up the good work!

  3. Iranian-American says:

    Well, that’s a relief. At least the world has not gone completely mad.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign the Petition


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.



Share this with your friends: