• 21 June 2011
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Podcast: Interview with Sarah Shourd

Listen to NIAC’s “Let’s Talk Iran” Podcast featuring an exclusive interview with American hiker, Sarah Shourd.

Sarah along with her fiance Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were detained in Iran on July 31, 2009, while hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan near the Ahmed Awa waterfall, a local attraction.  Bauer and Fattal have been held for 686 days without trial.  Shourd was released on September 14, 2010, on humanitarian grounds after spending 410 days in solitary confinement.

Sarah discusses in detail about her experience imprisoned in Iran, about the abuse that Shane and Josh have faced while she was in prison, about their current status in prison, and about what exactly happened the day they were captured.

After much delay, Josh and Shane’s trail is set to take place on July 31, 2011 (on the 2nd anniversary of their arrest).

Posted By Lily Samimi

    One Response to “Podcast: Interview with Sarah Shourd”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Lily.

    I think this should be put into the same context of national security as that experienced by Iranian-American Cyrus Kar who, was detained for a prolonged period of time without benefit of due process by US military forces in Iraq.

    http://www.venusproject.net/ecs/Cyrus_Kar_Filmmaker.html

    Wouldn’t you agree this is more pertinent to Iranian-Americans than those Americans trespassing into a sensitive border area of Iran without proper documentation?

    We really should prioritize more local concerns of the Iranian-American community, over that of another country’s criminal justice system judged in a highly partisan and judgmental nature.

    That said, all of this converges into the point I often make: the emphasis upon conflict resolution, in place of extended confrontation. That should be square one, to be built upon toward the realization of US-Islamic Republic of Iran rapprochement.

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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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