• 4 August 2010
  • Posted By Sherry Safavi
  • Congress, Human Rights in Iran

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal

Cross-posted from the NIAC homepage

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution yesterday calling for the “immediate” and “unconditional” release of three American hikers being detained in Iran.  The resolution, backed by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Arlen Spector (D-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), emphasized that Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer have been detained in Iran for over a year and urged their release on humanitarian grounds.

While the UC Berkeley graduates were originally reported to have been arrested after unintentionally crossing into Iran, a recent report by The Nation cites two eyewitnesses who said the three were arrested on the Iraqi side of the border.  The report by the Nation further reported that the IRGC official responsible for ordering the detention of the trio has since been arrested by the Iranian government and charged with smuggling, kidnapping, and murder.

The resolution emphasized that “the amount of time Sarah, Josh and Shane have spent in prison is unjustified in relation to their alleged offense of illegal entry into Iran.”

Though Iran’s criminal procedure code maintains that persons must be charged or released within four months of being detained, the hikers have yet to be formally charged of a crime.  Sarah, Josh, and Shane, who are being held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, have been allowed to see their families only once, in May, and have had otherwise limited contact with the outside world.  According to their families, Sarah and Shane may be suffering from potentially serious health problems.

The resolution text is below the fold:


Urging the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Immediately and Unconditionally Release Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer on Humanitarian Grounds

Whereas on July 31, 2009, Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer were taken into custody by Iranian officials after they may have inadvertently crossed the poorly marked Iranian border while hiking in the Kurdistan region of Iraq;

Whereas Sarah, Josh, and Shane have been held since last year in Evin prison in Tehran;

Whereas the amount of time Sarah, Josh and Shane have spent in prison is unjustified in relation to their alleged offense of illegal entry into Iran;

Whereas during the period of their detention, Sarah, Josh, and Shane have only been afforded the opportunity to see their families during a brief visit in May;

Whereas according to their families, Sarah and Shane may be suffering from potentially serious health problems;

Whereas the families of Sarah, Josh and Shane have suffered greatly in the absence of their loved ones;

Whereas July 31, 2010 will mark the one-year anniversary of their detention;

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate, That Congress—

(1) recognizes that Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer have been held in custody in Iran for one year; and

(2) urges the Government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer, on humanitarian grounds and allow them to reunite with their families in the United States

Posted By Sherry Safavi

    5 Responses to “The Senate Calls on Iran to Release Three Detained Americans”

  1. Pirouz says:

    If those political grandstanders in Washington were sincere about these three supposedly accidental infiltrators, they actually have it within their power to have them released within a week.

    President Ahmadinejad has publicly brought up the subject of a prisoner swap. There are Iranians in US custody they’re interesting in freeing.

    This type of arrangement is considered acceptable for Russians, why not Iranians?

    Just another in a very long list of double standards when it comes to Iran and Iranians.

    • David Elliott says:

      The US-Russia spy swap is the way real spies are handled. If the hikers had actually been spies, and the US had jailed Iranian spies, a swap would be quite likely.

      The absence of a swap is only more evidence that the three weren’t spies.

  2. Iranian-American says:

    The US has jailed Iranian spies. Iran has 3 innocent hikers. Everyone (including Pirouz) knows this. This is just more absurdity and silliness from Pirouz that demonstrates the increasing difficulty of defending a government as morally wrong as the Iranian government.

  3. Pirouz says:

    I think you’re being too technical, here. During the Cold War, there were swaps that took place that involved persons not directly involved in espionage. There have even been Arab-Israeli swaps that are not espionage related.

    And, keep in mind the Iranians that were held by the US military in Iraq for all that time possessed diplomatic credentials, and were never charged in a court of law, either.

    Come on. Don’t delude yourselves. Those three supposedly accidental infiltrators could be home inside a week if the Obama administration possessed the same level of domestic political capital as that of their counterparts in Tehran.

  4. Iranian-American says:

    This situation, like so many others, is further proof that the Iranian government consists of thugs. These thugs have kidnapped three innocent people to use as bargaining chips for other thugs. The civilized people of the world, both inside and outside of Iran, realize this. The Iranian people deserve and expect much better.

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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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