• 24 June 2010
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • 11 Comments
  • Congress, Sanctions

On Monday, the latest version of Congress’ sanctions bill was unveiled just in time to be passed and sent to the President’s desk by July 4. The new sanctions bill comes on the heels of the one-year anniversary of the Iranian elections that sparked a massive protest movement and brutal government reprisals. But while lawmakers have attempted to reconcile the pain that these new sanctions will impose on ordinary Iranians with Congress’ claims of support for the people of Iran, this bill remains a blunt instrument that perpetuates the sanctions-only framework that has dominated the United States’ Iran policy for decades.

The sanctions bill is officially titled the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (H.R.2194), but it is better known by its shorthand moniker–“crippling sanctions”. This was the term popularized by Senator Hillary Clinton when she was campaigning for President, but which fell out of vogue in Secretary Clinton’s State Department following the violence and suffering that occurred in Iran over the last year.

Congress, however, never abandoned the concept of “crippling” Iran through sanctions. Now that the Obama Administration has passed UN sanctions, and protests and government brutality in Iran no longer dominate the news, Congress has free reign to pass sanctions that would “cripple” Iran’s economy by cutting off gasoline to Iran that is used by ordinary Iranians for everything from heating their homes to producing food and transporting medicine.

Continue reading at Foreign Policy

Posted By Jamal Abdi

    11 Responses to “Congress moves forward with “crippling sanctions” (and misses opportunity to support Iranians)”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Have I misread this, Jamal? Are you pro economic sanctions? If only the “rights” issue is mentioned?

    One step closer to war, unfortunately, in my opinion.

    I’m sure glad my ex-Marine nephew isn’t in Afghanistan. I hate saying it, but those Iranians are going to respond, in contested theaters in the region. There will be escalations, if things get too tough.

    If and when a war erupts, all this sanction complicity is going to affect your conscience. My, that will be another sad day.

  2. Iranian-American says:

    “If and when a war erupts, all this sanction complicity is going to affect your conscience. My, that will be another sad day.”

    Does your complicity regarding human-rights violations by the Iranian government not affect your conscience? My guess is no.

    Now that is truly a sad day– when innocent people can literally be murdered on the streets, and the apologists find a way to justify it to their conscience.

  3. Pirouz says:

    Well I-A, the problem is that war, in the name of human rights, will result in potentially many thousands of combat casualties. And economic warfare (in the name of human rights) will effect specific privations on ordinary Iranians.

    Is this what we want?

    On the other hand, rapprochement will provide the potential for many improvements in the lives of ordinary Iranians, and reduce the level of internal security measures necessary under current cold war conditions.

    So it’s basically a choice between heightened confrontation (in the name of human rights), which will only bring about stricter security measures (which critics will point out as related to human rights issues), or improved relations which lessen the need for such.

    I mean, the end game is what we’re driving at, here.

    Consider the example of China, as a historical case where this type of approach worked to the advantage of both ordinary Chinese and American peoples.

  4. Iranian-American says:

    Pirouz,

    China is not a good example. A better example of what Iran will look like under this corrupt authoritarian government, especially when oil runs out, is a mix of North Korea and Pakistan. It will be the death of what was a great civilization and people.

    And when that happens, the only reason your complicity will not affect your conscience, is because of your incredible imagination and ability to live in a state of denial, far far away from what promises to be an even poorer country, with even more corruption and more injustice towards its people. As bad as Iran is right now, it is doing relatively well. Things will only get worse, and much worse, once the oil runs out.

    I’ve posted many cold-hard facts about the state of Iran, from economy and poverty, to education and health care. I fully expect you to continue to ignore the facts that contradict your state of denial.

    Nevertheless, here is a fun one about corruption in Iran (http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009). Iran is currently right there with the likes of Afghanistan, Chad, Sudan, Venezuela and Uzbekistan for perceived corruption.

    War would certainly be a horrible outcome. But Iran’s future under the current government is very likely just as horrible.

  5. Pirouz says:

    Thanks for providing that link to TI. But in terms of the CPI, I could not find a link to its detailed methodology. (a must have) Can you provide a link to, or details of its methodology?

    You say China is a bad comparison, but give no reason why other than this one index without methodology. Consider that China was in the grips of the Cultural Revolution when it was offered detente and rapprochement with the US from President Richard Nixon. That actually supports the Leverett contention, which I support.

    I-A, when was the last time you visited Iran, in-person? Our family was in Tehran last year (before the election). While things were not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, they were nowhere near as bleak as your impression. It was a pleasant trip, to be perfectly honest. My anti-regime Aunt was actually impressed by the social advances made since she left, all the way back in 1979.

  6. Iranian-American says:

    “But in terms of the CPI, I could not find a link to its detailed methodology.”

    Really? On the left side, there is a link that says “Methodology” ;). Click it. You will find both a Short Overview and Detailed Overview.

    You may want to ask yourself if you subconsciously have selective vision that helps to reinforce your very “unique” idea of life in Iran. This selective vision may also be why you only seem to only know of polls that suggest last year’s election was fair, despite the existence of very convincing evidence to the contrary. I only suggest this because when it comes to anything that conflicts with your impression of Iran, you seem to ask questions like the one above, when many times the answer is right there. Like I said before, you have very selective skepticism that suggests a very strong pro-regime bias. If you want to be honest with yourself, you need to ask yourself if the above question was an honest mistake, or a deliberate or subconscious attempt to discount things you would rather not believe.

    In case you still can’t find it, here is the link to the Detailed Overview:

    http://www.transparency.org/content/download/47733/762810/CPI_2009_methodology_long_en.pdf

    I trust you’ll give it a fair reading.

    “I-A, when was the last time you visited Iran, in-person? Our family was in Tehran last year (before the election). While things were not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, they were nowhere near as bleak as your impression. It was a pleasant trip, to be perfectly honest. My anti-regime Aunt was actually impressed by the social advances made since she left, all the way back in 1979.”

    The last time I was in Iran was 5 years ago. My trip was also a very pleasant, as most of my family is in the affluent parts of Iran. But everyone from family members, to taxi drivers, to the guy that cut my hair was very unhappy with the government– with the exception of a Basiji who seemed quite offended that his son wanted his hair cut like mine and gave me a hard time. Almost everyone that found out I was visiting from the US, expressed their wish to move to the US or have their kids move to the US.

    I must admit, I am surprised that you were there last year. From your previous posts, I would have guessed you had never been in Iran. Though again, selective vision may explain your experience.

    At the very least, it is good to see you admit that “things were not ideal by any stretch of the imagination”. This seems (to me at least) to be a departure from your the rosy picture you painted in some of your previous posts.

    I must say, your impression of Iran is quite unique.

  7. Pirouz says:

    I-A, unfortunately, that methodology is somewhat vague. Which specific entity was used to calculate Iran? It doesn’t say. Why are the number of replies for so many of these entities rendered “not applicable”? This looks to be an externally perceived judgement on the country, and not a survey necessitating the inclusion of those relevant nationals doing business inside the country.

    But really, for me to make any sort of judgement on this, I need to know specifically which entity was involved in rendering this data for Iran. Have I missed this in the methodology? If so, please provide it.

    BTW: American approval of the USG is also at or near an all-time low. That doesn’t mean we’re anti-American. Same with Iran. We shouldn’t be anti-Iran and advocating war. We should be advocating peace and rapprochement.

    Thanks again for providing the methodology, I-A. If you can also provide the details I’ve requested, that’d be great.

  8. Iranian-American says:

    Pirouz,

    I think you missed my point, and this time I’ll take the blame, because for once it was not an obvious point that you missed.

    I am suggesting the following things:

    – You are being dishonest– with me, but more importantly with yourself.
    – You will discount any evidence, regardless of how convincing it is, in favor of very few and far between experts like the Leverett’s which I believe you had to look for to support your obscure beliefs.
    – You have many of your excuses predetermined and use them to discount facts and legitimate arguments that conflict with your obscure beliefs.
    – You were never interested in the methodology; rather, that is one of your predetermined excuses that you used without even looking for the methodology, which was clearly right there on the page.
    – Once I pointed you to the methodology, before looking at it, you knew you would go to other predetermined excuses (e.g. claim it is somewhat vague, somehow talk about the US, etc.).
    – Your other predetermined excuses, including the one’s you hav yet to use, are very likely just as wrong as you the first, because they are completely independent of any particular article or piece of evidence.

    It is no wonder you have such an confused impression about Iran. I am NOT suggesting you are being dishonest on purpose. You seem to have yourself pretty convinced. But I would ask you to take a hard look at yourself. No one seems to be buying it but you.

    Perhaps you just think that is what debate it. To me, it seems more like propaganda– stick to your story regardless of all the evidence. Thus, I think it may be more productive (though probably just as unproductive) to make these points rather than to discuss the CPI, which you were going to discount from the start.

  9. Pirouz says:

    I-A, I need to know which entity judged Iran in this survey, and I need to have some idea as to the composition of the specific entity. Am I asking a lot here? Consider the detailed methodology of the WPO polls, for comparison.

    I don’t think I’m asking too much here.

    By your answer, you’re telling this is not there.

    And no, I don’t have predetermined judgements on reports and data. If that methodology was complete, and it included a range of Iranians doing business inside Iran, I’d be inclined to accept it. But it sure doesn’t look like this is what it represents.

    And I certainly wouldn’t use this as a justification for war against the people of Iran, as you have.

  10. Iranian-American says:

    “And I certainly wouldn’t use this as a justification for war against the people of Iran, as you have.”

    I was not using this as justification for war. I was simply using it as one example (among many many others) about the pathetic state of the Iranian nation caused by the very government you defend. In fact, on this issue Iran is worse of than Pakistan.

    Furthermore, I was providing an explanation for why your idea of what Iran is like is very far from reality. Your original response where you claimed you looked for the methodology, when it was clearly under Methodology -> Detailed Overview was strong evidence that suggested you were not interested in this because it did not support your “fantasy world” (as DOS put it). Thus, it is little surprise you have found a reason not to believe it once I searched long and hard under the “Methodology” link to find the link you somehow failed to find.

  11. SLC says:

    I-A, I admire you for trying to reason with Pirouz, but I’m afraid it is a futile effort. This is someone who comments on nearly EVERY post on this website, and most all of them negative comments. I doubt he’ll ever see the light of reality on the topic of Iran.

    But I again, I admire you for trying. Your responses are articulate and well thought out.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
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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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