Iran News Roundup 11/17

Top Story

Action on Iran at the UN: With the IAEA Board of Governors meeting today, the Washington Post is reporting that China and Russia have agreed to sign on to a resolution condemning Iran, over the IAEA’s most recent report that will not include the harsher language that the U.S. had sought (Washington Post 11/17). Additionally, IAEA director Amano is saying he wants a high-level mission to go to Iran to investigate questions raised in the IAEA report(NY Times 11/17). For its part, Iran has announced that it is going to send an “analytical” response to the IAEA over the allegations posed in their report (AFP 11/16).

Meanwhile, the Saudis are pushing the U.N. to adopt a resolution denouncing the alleged Iranian assassination plot against their Ambassador to the U.S  (Washington Post 11/16). In response, Iran has issued a letter to the U.N. calling the resolution “politically motivated” and saying, that if passed, it would undermine the credibility of the body. (Iran Primer USIP 11/17)

Noteworthy Opinion

MJ Rosen writes in the Huffington Post that Rep. Brad Sherman’s “Iranian plane crash provision” in the House sanctions bill explicitly targets ordinary Iranians and is endemic of a sanctions policy that makes little sense.

Death in the Air: House Bill Bans Fixing Iranian Civilian Aircraft:

No doubt Brad Sherman will hold forth about the merits of his legislation that will ensure that Iran’s civilian air fleet is the most dangerous in the world. And he will be cheered. If we are lucky, Howard Berman will respond that one can sanction Iran without crashing its planes, but perhaps not. He rarely, if ever, deviates from the AIPAC line either.

The bottom line is that our Iran policy is nuts, and not just Brad Sherman’s either. Our sanctions policy in general makes little, if any distinction, between targeting the Iranian regime and targeting Iran’s people. Although most supporters of sanctions have not specifically gone after civilians, as Sherman does, few seem to care that it is civilians and not the mullahs or the Revolutionary Guard, who suffer because of them.

Read more at Huffington Post

Additional Notable News:

Mark Fizpatrick of IISS tells Haaretz that Netanyahu is more likely to tell Obama “I’m not asking for a green light, I’m just telling you” that Israel is striking Iran, and that  the Obama Administration would have little recourse in midst of the election season.

Obama is taking a “gradualist” approach on Iran, according to Leon Hadar Huffington Post op-ed, that takes non-military steps to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but that could still lead U.S. to war.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a public appearance in Canada that he is “not very optimistic“ about prospects of U.N. passing strong sanctions against Iran.

Iran’s High Council for Human Rights Mohamad Javad Larijani says in CNN interview that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, and regarding reformist leaders, that “no one is currently under house arrest without trial or judicial order.”

Posted By Loren White

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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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