Iran News Roundup 12/9

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Drone update

The Washington Post reports that a video of the drone that went down earlier this week aired on Iranian state television. Officials deny that the drone could have been brought down by Iran’s military (Washington Post 12/8). Military hardware expert Peter Singer doubts the authenticity of the drone shown in the video (Guardian 12/8).

Suggestions of military action against Iran continues  

GOP presidential hopeful and frontrunner Gingrich calls for joint operations with Israel against Iran’s nuclear program if Israel chose to attack Iran, saying, “I would rather plan a joint operation conventionally than push the Israelis to a point where they [the Iranians] go nuclear.”(Think Progress 12/8). video of Wednesday’s Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) forum where republican candidates suggested military action against Iran’s nuclear program is now available (Think Progress 12/8).  

President Barack Obama reiterated that the United States is “considering all options” in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon (Reuters 12/8).

Reuters reports that everyday Iranians are increasingly concerned and fearful of the potential for war. Maryam Sofi, a university teacher a mother of two, says she “cannot sleep at night, thinking about destruction and bloodshed if Israel and America attack Iran.” (Reuters 12/8). According to a senior geopolitical risk analyst at Barclays Capitol, the chance of a military strike on Iran has roughly tripled in the past year (Reuters 12/8).

Imprisoned Iranian journalists

 The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that the number of imprisoned journalists worldwide has risen up 20% with Iran being the worst jailer, with 42 journalists behind bars (CPJ 12/8).  Other independent journalists contest that the real figure is nearly double.

Notable Opinion:

 In a Huffington Post op-ed Robert Naiman discusses how The National Defense Authorization Act, blocking European banks and companies from doing business with Iran’s Central Bank, would raise oil prices and weaken the U.S. economy.

This is a big deal, because Iran is the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, and blocking Iranian oil exports to Europe would raise the price of oil, in Europe and in the United States.

Kirk’s amendment would hurt the U.S. economy, at a time when economic contraction in Europe could push the U.S. back into recession.

Raising the price of oil will hurt the U.S. economy directly. In addition, hurting the European economy will also hurt the U.S. economy by causing U.S. exports to Europe to fall. Furthermore, adding to Europe’s economic problems now would undermine attempts to contain the European financial crisis, as the trader’s joke about sanctions helping Italy, Spain and Greece to collapse suggests. And if efforts to contain Europe’s financial crisis fail, we’re going to feel that pain in the U.S., just as Europe felt the 2008 U.S. financial crisis.

To read the full piece click here.

Additional Notable News:

Farideh Farhi writes that the spin that never materialized in the IAEA report, and the rising pressure on Iran, has diminished political space in Iran in favor of hardliners, particularly regarding the the nuclear program and Iran’s stance towards the U.S.

Shirin Ebadi and Hadi Ghaemi write in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. and EU should press European satellite providers to halt broadcasting services for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting in retaliation for Iran’s signal jamming of outside broadcasts.

Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi, currently under house arrest, met with his family over the weekend.

Posted By Ardavon Naimi

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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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