Iran News Roundup 11/14

GOP candidates talk Iran at Saturday’s CBS/National Journal debate
The first question posed to the candidates was on their willingness to launch military strikes against Iran. Romney, Gingrich called Obama’s Iran policy a failure and expressed support for using military strikes and covert actions against Iran. Santorum called for the U.S. to work with Israel on targeted military strikes similar to those carried out by Israel on Iraq and Syria’s nuclear facilities. Perry called for sanctions on Iran’s central bank and Cain said he would support opposition forces but not militarily. (For video of the candidate responses click here)

A fact check following the debate found numerous false claims in the candidates’ responses. (Associated Press 11/13)  Shortly after the debate, NIAC issued a press release condemning the candidates’ endorsement of military strikes, additional sanctions, and support for “insurgents” inside Iran. (NIAC 11/12)

Officials expressing concerns over military strikes and further sanctions on Iran
Top officials and experts continue to warn against military strikes and further sanctions on Iran.  U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says attacking Iran as it could have “unintended consequences” for the region. (Guardian 11/11)

In an interview, former Carter national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski voiced skepticism about military action in Iran and said that we currently have a unique opportunity to “engage Iran.” (Lobelog 11/10)

A leading Israeli firm came out with its assessment of the costs of the different policy options for Iran, ranging from light sanctions to military options, and their determination was that the costs of a military strike outweigh the costs of a nuclear armed Iran.  (LobeLog 11/11)

Lastly, former UK ambassador to Iran, Sir Richard Dalton, opposes further sanctions saying that they empower the Revolutionary Guard by increasing demand for smuggled goods. (Huffington Post 11/14) 

Other notable headlines:

Suspicions of MEK and Mossad links to explosion at reported Iranian missile base

NY Times’ Cohen suggests using “contain and constrain” strategy with Iran

Russia and China refuse to support more sanctions after meeting with Obama at APEC summit

Iranians could face 5 yrs in jail for travel to Israel

US plans bomb sales to Persian Gulf countries to counter Iran threat

Posted By Loren White

    One Response to “Iran News Roundup 11/14”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Loren, that article which states the travel ban was instituted by the last Shah in 1972 can’t be right.

    I attended an international high school in Tehran in 1975, with classmates that were Israeli-Iranian dual citizens. They travelled freely between the two countries.

    Even though Trita is too young to have firsthand experience with this, with his past research on the Iran-Israeli relationship he might be able to weigh in on this.

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Sign the Petition


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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