• 3 May 2010
  • Posted By NIAC
  • Events in Iran

Though most Iran watchers this weekend focused on the impromptu protest which followed Ahmadinejad’s surprise speech at Tehran University, another tense gathering occurred outside the Labor Ministry.

Approximately five thousand people were walking outside of the Labor Ministry on Saturday, May 1st around 5:30 pm in honor of International Labour Day. Factory workers have been increasingly laid off due to Ahmadinejad’s short sighted policies to fix Iran’s severely weakened economy.

One participant who found out about the event through a text message told NIAC, “There was a guy videotaping us from the beginning and he followed us everywhere, it was very nerve racking. There were also undercover cops everywhere so you didn’t know who to trust.” Our contact suspected he was being followed because he was accompanied by two other young men.

According to Iran News Agency (INA), an opposition site, three people were arrested. INA also confirms our contact’s description of a “very tense atmosphere.”

The gathering followed Mir Hossein Mousavi’s message on Thursday, April 29. As IGV reported, he, “cited inflation, decline in production, corruption, the spread of deceit and mismanagement, unpaid wages of workers, the continuing shut down of plants and their operating at low capacity, as some of the current problems in the country.”

In comparison to protests last year, it would seem that this one was a failure. If people stood in groups of more than ten, motorcycle cops would run up to them and break them apart and only about fifty daring people started to chant anti-government slogans, but were quickly silenced.

But the failure of this protest is only on the surface, by taking a deeper look, it shows the paranoia of the Iranian government. The opposition did little to spread the word about the event as nothing was written on Mousavi’s Facebook page and only a few websites had mentioned the possibility of a gathering. Unlike the little preparatory work by the opposition, the Iranian police were out in full force with hundreds of motorcycle and undercover cops videotaping and methodically breaking up groups—once again displaying their fear and paranoia.

What the government has is force and perhaps it can successfully stop people from protesting, but it is not sustainable. Rather than creating new ways to improve Iran’s weakened economy, the government is using its resources to monitor and control their own citizens. As our contact told us, “I don’t think we’ll be able to have the same level of protests as last summer, but this does not mean that our fight is over.”

Posted By NIAC

    3 Responses to “May Day in Tehran: The protest you may have missed”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Another fizzle. Relevancy is more and more being called into question.

    The perspective and analyses of Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett are again validated,

    It’s really too bad that so many of our own Iranian-American analysts became so politically partisan following the June election; generating a sense of bias that has served to flaw their own analyses and provide false expectations. No more excuses: it is time to set ego aside, and return to a more analytical approach to political observations made on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  2. Iranian-American says:

    “No more excuses: it is time to set ego aside, and return to a more analytical approach to political observations made on the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

    Iranian-American community, you heard it here. It is time we all remain silent about the crimes of the Islamic Republic against the Iranian people. It is time we defend the incompetent, backwards and criminal Iranian government while they make a mess out of our country and oppress our people while they do it. No more excuses.

    Pirouz, it really is quite amusing to see just how seriously you take yourself ;-).

  3. mannoushka says:

    To Pirouz: I feel you’re a non-“biased observer” yourself; of course, your definition of the word ‘biased’ needs to be clarified. Let me help you!

    The regime in power in Iran is morally bankrupt and becomes increasingly more unacceptable to those of us who cannot and will not forget the victimization of our people in the name of the Islamic Republic. I suppose this would make us into ‘biased observers’ alright, that is, if your idea of what constitutes a “more analytical approach” is to be taken at face value.

    Actually, Pirouz, our rulers know a bit more about the source of our expectations than you might care to acknowledge, as they continue to suppress the green movement, sparing no effort at demoralizing the silent majority.

    And it’s not a question of absolute right or wrong, either. If we’re talking politics, then we people do deserve a better government than this, but need to learn to fight even harder for what we deserve. This has actually been the lesson of the past 30 or so years since the victory of the 1979 revolution. Politics is all about antagonisms and about trying to have a voice.

    However, regardless of whether we the people of Iran fight, fall fighting, or remain passive for the time being, the fact of the matter is that there now remains not one shred of legitimacy in the whole of the fabric of the state, no policy decided on or carried through by the government of ANJ that’s worth defending on this or that technical point, except by true outsiders who in fact are better off staying where there are, i.e. outside. I’m sure such a stance would present itself to you as being suitably ‘unbiased’.

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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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