• 6 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/06

Iran and West may resume nuclear talks

Turkey’s foreign minister said that on his trip to Iran he delivered a western offer to resume nuclear talks and Iran has accepted (Reuters 01/05). A European official says that Iran has not formally responded in writing to the proposal for a new meeting (Yahoo 01/05).

Countries react to U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports

China is criticizing unilateral U.S. sanctions against companies that conduct transactions with Iran’s central bank. China’s foreign ministry spokesman said, “China opposes placing one’s domestic law above international law and imposing unilateral sanctions against other countries” (AFP 01/05).

India’s MRPL, that country’s biggest purchaser of Iranian crude oil, says it hasn’t cut purchases despite U.S. sanctions.  However, Reuters also reports “Indian companies have begun talks with alternative suppliers to slowly replace Iranian oil, fearing their current mechanism for payments to Tehran for some 350,000 barrels a day (bpd) via Turkey could soon succumb to sanctions.” (Reuters 01/06).

Japan and South Korea are looking for new suppliers of crude oil to gradually lessen their dependence on Iran in response to U.S. pressure.  (Financial Times 01/05).  However, a Japanese government official also told the Wall Street Journal that “There is no change to our position that the 10% oil supply from Iran remains vital to Japan, and that we will continue to make efforts to protect this supply” (WSJ 01/06).

Iran’s economic minister said the proposed embargo on Iran’s oil exports are “an economic war” (NY Times 01/05). 

Politico reports that rising gas prices caused by growing tensions between Iran and the U.S. are increasingly factoring into election politics (Politico 01/06).

New war games as tensions rise; U.S. Navy rescues Iranians from pirates

Iran announced it will conduct a new round of naval drills in February, while Israel announced that it is preparing for a major joint missile defense exercise with the United States that will involve thousands  of troups (The Guardian 01/06).

Britain’s defense secretary warned Iran that an attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz would be unsuccessful and illegal (Huffington Post 01/06).

 

Meanwhile, a U.S. Navy destroyer rescued 13 Iranian fishermen from pirates in the Gulf of Oman. The rescued Iranian captain offered his “sincere gratitude,” according to the Navy (CNN 01/06).

Human rights watch

Iran is imposing increased surveillance on Internet cafes and is reportedly preparing to strengthen internet censorship by replacing the Internet with a “halal” intranet system, potentially within the next few weeks (WSJ 01/06).

The Mothers of Laleh Park, a group of women whose children were killed or detained during Iran’s 2009 post-election crackdown, have issued the names of seven members or supporters who have been sentenced to prison (Rferl 01/05).

Notable Opinion

In an article for Foreign Affairs, Brooking’s Suzanne Maloney argues that the Obama Administration’s Iran policy “is sliding toward regime change.”

The Obama administration’s new sanctions signal the demise of the paradigm that had guided U.S. Iran policymaking since the 1979 revolution: the combination of pressure and persuasion. Moreover, the decision to outlaw contact with Iran’s central bank puts the United States’ tactics and its long-standing objective — a negotiated end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions — fundamentally at odds. Indeed, the United States cannot hope to bargain with a country whose economy it is trying to disrupt and destroy. As severe sanctions devastate Iran’s economy, Tehran will surely be encouraged to double down on its quest for the ultimate deterrent. So, the White House’s embrace of open-ended pressure means that it has backed itself into a policy of regime change, something Washington has little ability to influence.

To read the full piece click here.

Additional Notable News:

Enduring America posts an analysis of why the Iranian rial is falling and what that means for Iranians.

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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