• 12 December 2011
  • Posted By Loren White
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, NIAC round-up, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Iran News Roundup 12/12

Iraqi PM to discuss Iranian influence after U.S. pullout
Obama is scheduled to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and according to a CBS report, Iran will be one of the major topics of their discussions (CBS 12/12).  The Wall Street Journal reports that Maliki has vowed to prevent Iranian interference in his country.  He added that “If [Iran’s] excuse was that the presence of U.S. troops on Iraqi soil posed a threat to their national security, then this danger is over now” (Wall Street Journal 12/12).

Asian states pulling out of Iran
The NY Times is reporting that Chinese firm, Huawei Technologies, a leading supplier of telecommunications equipment to Iran, has announced that it would voluntarily restrict business in Iran considering the “increasingly complex situation” there.  Huawei is the same company over which concerns have been raised in the past regarding its having provided Iran with equipment that assisted the regime in its crackdown on opposition members (NY Times 12/9).   Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reported, while Japan was resisting new energy sanctions against Iran, that they would be imposing new targeted sanctions, freezing the assets of an additional 106 organizations, one individual and three banks (Wall Street Journal 12/8).

Notable opinion
Tony Karon writes in his op-ed in Time that the current push for crippling sanctions, rather than being an alternative to war, are actually a step towards war.

“Behind the Administration’s hesitation over putting Iran’s economy in a chokehold at this point: it could prove to be a not easily reversible step on the path to confrontation. If such sanctions are adopted as the only alternative to war, as the current debate frames them, their (likely) failure to bring Iran to heel renders armed conflict inevitable — at least as long as the logic that “the only thing worse than bombing Iran is Iran getting the bomb” prevails in the Washington conversation.
Escalation could even happen relatively quickly. Most states would treat an effective economic blockade that imposed “crippling, unendurable pain” as an act of war, and if Iran responds militarily, directly or via proxy forces or terror attacks, the two sides could find themselves quickly locked into potentially disastrous war. Yet, the domestic political dynamic in both Washington and Tehran raises the cost for leaders in both capitals of restraining the momentum towards confrontation.”

To read the full piece click here.

Additional Notable News:
The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that, because the Obama administration does not support an Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s ability to launch such an attack has been “curtailed.”

Republicans and Democrats in Congress, according to the Huffington Post, are rejecting Obama administration’s calls for proposed Congressional sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank to provide the President more flexibility.

Another “mysterious” explosion is being reported by the Jerusalem Post to have taken place at a steel factory in Yazd, killing seven people.

Reuters has reporting that the Iranian military has refused to comment on reports that they recently held military exercises practicing the closing of the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil transport point.

Israeli Defense Minister is being reported in the Washington Post to have said that if the Assad regime was to fall that it would be beneficial for the international communities’ ability to place pressure on Iran.

According to an article in the Independent, Iranian President Ahmadinejad had a shoe thrown at him today by an unemployed man as he toured the North of the country.

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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