• 29 December 2011
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • MEK, NIAC round-up, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Iran News Roundup 12/29

Italy supports oil sanctions

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said that the Italian government supports an oil embargo on Iran, provided certain exceptions are made for the Italian company Eni (Wall Street Journal 12/29).

Russian ambassador warns against Iran conflict

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations said that a potential conflict between Iran and Western countries poses the “greatest danger” in the next year.

“Our consistent stand, our effort, is going to be targeted at doing whatever we can in order to prevent this scenario of regional catastrophe being carried out in 2012,” he said (RT 12/29).

MEK agrees to transfer 400 residents out of Ashraf

The leadership of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) has agreed to allow 400 of the more than 3,000 residents of Camp Ashraf to be transferred to a former U.S. Army base, where the United Nations will process the residents’ applications for refugee status. (McClatchy Newspapers 12/28).

Amir Hekmati’s mother speaks out

The mother of Amir Hekmati, the Iranian-American held in Iran on charges of espionage, said that her son is under duress and urged Iranian authorities to treat him fairly (Detroit Free Press 12/29).

Investigation casts doubt on lawsuit claiming Iran aided 9/11

An investigation reveals that the recent “findings of fact” by a District judge in Manhattan concluding Iran assisted al-Qaeda in the planning of the 9/11 attacks was based on testimony from anti-Islam activists and  individuals deemed “serial fabricators” by U.S. intelligence officials. The testimony went unchallenged because the Iranian government did not defend itself in court (Truthout 12/29).

Stuxnet computer virus may have four “cousins”

Reuters reports that the Stuxnet computer worm that damaged Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 was likely one of five cyber weapons developed at the same time (Reuters 12/28).  

Notable opinion: 

In an article for CNN, NIAC President Trita Parsi discusses how recent tensions surrounding the Strait of Hormuz is part of the escalating rhetoric between the U.S. and Iran, which could spiral out of control and lead to war:

Such is the logic of pressure politics – pressure begets pressure and along the way, both sides increasingly lose sight of their original endgames. As this conflict-dynamic takes over, the psychological cost of restraint rises, while further escalatory steps appear increasingly logical and justified. At some point – and we may already be there – the governments will no longer control the dynamics. Rather, the conflict dynamic will control the governments.

Though neither side may have intended to drive this towards open war, but rather to merely deter the other side or compel it to change its policies, pressure politics in the absence of real diplomacy has a logic of its own. This formula simply drives us towards confrontation, whether we intend it or not.

To read the full piece click here.

Additional Notable News:

The U.S. has agreed to sell F-15 fighter jets valued at nearly $30 billion to Saudi Arabia, reports The New York Times.

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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