• 5 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • Uncategorized

Iran News Roundup 01/05

Sanctions watch

Turkish energy ministry official said that Turkey would seek a waiver from the U.S. in order to exempt its biggest refiner Tupras from new U.S. sanctions. Turkey gets about 30 percent of its oil from Iran (Reuters 01/04).

Meanwhile, A senior Iranian oil official has said that Iran has alternatives to keep oil exports up if the European Union decides to prohibit imports of Iranian crude oil (Reuters 01/04).

A State department spokesperson welcomed the European Union’s statement that it agrees in principle to an oil embargo on Iranian oil imports (Guardian 01/04). Meanwhile,

China analysts say that, in the event of a European embargo, China crude purchases will remain motivated by commercial, not political, interests and so it is unlikely to make up for lost Iranian exports. (Christian Science Monitor 01/05). China will reduce crude oil imports from Iran for a second straight month as China presses for better payment terms (Reuters 01/05).

Iran’s fuel rod

Former IAEA deputy director general Olli Heinonen assesses that Iran’s production of its first nuclear fuel rod, which he says would be used at the planed Arak heavy water reactor–not the Tehran Research Reactor, may indeed present diplomatic opportunities for the P5+1 to pursue with Iran.

Iran seeks to influence Afghan policy

Afghan officials and analysts say that Iran has launched a campaign to influence policy and anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan (Washington Post 01/04).

Meanwhile, Iran’s parliament has proposed a new law aimed at prohibiting foreign warships from entering the Persian Gulf unless the Iranian navy gives permission (Washington Post 01/04).

Additionally, Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi says that Iran plans to hold more military exercises in the Persian Gulf (Rferl 04/01).

Iran’s currency crisis

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Iran’s Central Bank has tried to introduce a cap on the market rate of 14,000 rials to the dollar as Iran faces a currency crisis. The drop in value of the rial threatens to weaken Ahmadinejad’s administration that relies on domestic economic strength for support (Christian Science Monitor 01/04).

The rial rose to 14,000 per dollar after foreign currency was made available to the market by Iran’s Central Bank (Bloomberg 01/05).

Notable opinion: 

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Fareed Zarkaria warns that Western pressure continues to lead to an increasingly weakened and desperate Iran that could be more inclined to cause problems:

In fact, the real story is that Iran is weak and getting weaker. Sanctions have pushed its economy into a nose-dive. The political system is fractured and fragmenting. Abroad, its closest ally and the regime of which it is almost the sole supporter – Syria – is itself crumbling. The Persian Gulf monarchies have banded together against Iran and shored up their relations with Washington. Last week, Saudi Arabia closed its largest-ever purchase of U.S. weaponry. Meanwhile, Europe is close to approving even more intense sanctions against Tehran.


So for now, Washington wants to build the pressure on Iran, in the hopes that it will force the regime into serious negotiations at some point.

This strategy is understandable. But it also risks building up pressures that could take a course of their own — with explosive consequences. The price of oil is rising during a global slump only because of these political risks. Without a carefully considered strategy, these risks will grow. Weak countries whose regimes face pressure can sometimes cause more problems than strong nations.

To read the full piece click here.

Additional Notable News:

The Iranian government has ordered the closing of the independent Iranian House of Cinema, a film promotion institute inside Iran.

The Guardian reports that Iran has introduced major restrictions on Internet cafes.

In an op-ed for IPS, Barbara Slavin says the escalating rhetoric between the U.S. and Iran could lead to war in the Persian Gulf.

In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Paul Heroux says military threats against Iran are shortsighted and diplomacy should be considered.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has posted a report on secret executions at Vakilabad Prison in Iran.

Posted By Ardavon Naimi

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign the Petition


7,350 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.



Share this with your friends: