• 15 December 2011
  • Posted By Sheyda Monshizadeh-Azar
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Iranian labor movement warns against potential war

The Network of Iranian Labor Associations (NILA) has sent a sobering message to the international community, warning that an attack on Iran would have devastating consequences and would inevitably strengthen the regime to an unprecedented extent.

NILA, who are the leading advocates of Iran’s growing labor movement sent a letter to Amnesty International ahead of their International Human Rights in Iran event in Chicago this coming Saturday.

The letter, which heavily criticizes human rights abuses in Iran whilst congratulating human rights advocates for their continuing efforts, gives a frank assessment of the potential impact that an attack on Iran could have:

“They (Iranian Regime) are preparing themselves for war. The bloodier, the better, from their perspective. It would be their savior, a lifeline to the regime. Under the circumstances, it would be sheer folly for either Israel or the United States to go to war with Iran. Why give the Islamic Republic’s leaders a fresh lease on life when every visible sign points to a terminal state of being?”

The letter aims to warn hawkish factions of the international community that the growing threats of war only “consolidate the regime for many years to come and it would radicalize the Arab Spring into a radical Islamic fundamentalist nightmare.”

The letter pleas with the human rights and international community at large to reevaluate their priorities in respect to Iran, “there would be no room for campaigning for human rights when cities are bombed and civilians slaughtered.”

NILA’s message echoes the sentiments of a recent article published by the Washington Post about ordinary Iranians who are increasingly fearful of an international attack and the regime’s posturing against such a prospect.

“Instead of sharing that sense of defiance, however, many ordinary Iranians are increasingly worried that war could be catastrophic.”

“Members of Iran’s urban middle class — from bus drivers to lawyers and artists — say they feel increasingly caught between the defiant behavior of their rulers and the pressures exerted by the West, including the United States.”

When given the opportunity, those living in Iran are sending their unified message loud and clear that indiscriminate sanctions and rhetoric are  worsening their situation whilst bolstering hardline elements of the regime:

“If there is to be an oil embargo, our whole economy will crash,” said Masoud Niktab, 31, a bookseller near Tehran University. “At that point, common people will face the most hardship.”

Posted By Sheyda Monshizadeh-Azar

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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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