• 15 February 2011
  • Posted By Todd Ruffner
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009, UN

In the wake of yesterday’s massive protests, a major crackdown appears to be underway.  Radio Zameneh is reporting 1,500 people were arrested in yesterday’s demonstrations and transferred to Evin Prison.  Officials are reportedly refusing to inform families about the status of their loved ones, and “special guards” even attacked and dispersed family members who gathered in front of the Revolutionary Court.

This comes just hours after 221 hard-line Iranian parliamentarians called for the trial and execution of opposition leaders Mir Hussein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and even former President Mohammad Khatami.  The large group of lawmakers shouted “death to Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami,” pumping their fists in unison.  Maintaining that they were responding to pressure from some unseen constituency, the MPs said they “believe the people have lost their patience and demand capital punishment” for the opposition leaders.

While conservative politicians have long called for the opposition leaders to be put on trial, today’s statement at a minimum represents a serious escalation in their attempts to intimidate the opposition into silence.

Considering the mass arrests and Iran’s recent “execution binge,” this could also mark the beginning of an even more egregious campaign of human rights abuses and repression by the Iranian government.

What is clear is that greater attention and action is needed by the international community to address this human rights crisis.

In just a couple weeks, there is a critical opportunity for the US to work with the international community to establish a human rights monitor to provide much needed international scrutiny of the Iranian government’s abuses.

International scrutiny on Iran’s abuses can extend needed protection to the Iranian people, including human rights defenders and democracy activists. The Brookings Institute has documented how these human rights monitors have a measurable impact to reduce human rights violations in trouble spots around the world. But while there are eight such monitors in place, there has not been one for Iran since 2002.

The Iranian people deserve the protection that international attention and pressure can provide in the face of an increasingly abusive regime.  If ever there was a time for the UN Human Rights Council to act, now is it.

Posted By Todd Ruffner

    One Response to “Crackdown Underway with Mass Jailings and Threats against Opposition Leaders”

  1. Pirouz says:

    1500 arrests? Were these performed in the field or at a dwelling, I wonder.

    Judging by the video evidence, NAJA doesn’t appear to practice mass containment/arrest procedures as done in the West since the 1990s. So I’m guessing this was accomplished by an investigative branch of law enforcement?

    I’m genuinely curious.

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Sign the Petition

 

7,349 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.

Sincerely,

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