• 24 January 2012
  • Posted By Jacob Martin
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/24

Australia imposes sanctions on Iranian oil

Following yesterday’s announcement of EU imposed sanctions, Australian Foreign Secretary Kevin Rudd stated that Australia would also stop importing Iranian oil.  Rudd acknowledged Australia’s imports of Iranian oil are already “negligible.”   (CNN 01/24)

Fitch: EU oil sanctions likely to increase prices

Fitch ratings evaluates that it is very likely that the EU oil embargo on Iran will increase oil prices, though it states markets may have already priced in much of the increase. Fitch notes that it is “difficult to predict at this stage” what effect U.S. extraterritorial sanctions will have, adding “the global oil market would have less flexibility in the event of large unexpected supply interruptions elsewhere, potentially sending oil prices much higher than current levels” if the sanctions are aggressively enforced. (Fitch Ratings 01/24)

Netanyahu argues Israel must not rely on others

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that Iran poses a grave threat to Israel and, citing the Holocaust, stated that “that ultimately when there is threat to our existence, we must not leave our fate in the hands of others.” (Reuters 01/24)

UK increases naval presence in Persian Gulf

According to Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, the U.K. is considering sending additional naval resources to the Persian Gulf amidst rising tensions.  In a show of strength, the British Navy sent a frigate as part of an international flotilla traveling through the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday.    (BBC 01/24)

India may pay in gold for Iranian oil

India has decided to pay for Iran’s oil in gold, allowing it to sidestep Western sanctions and continue trade, according to an unconfirmed report on DEBKAfile and reprinted in Iran’s Press TV.   The report notes China may follow suit. (RT 01/24)

Iranians in Dubai concerned about sanctions

Iranians living in nearby Dubai are increasingly worried about the effects of the U.S. and EU financial sanctions.  About a third of Dubai’s population originates from Iran and many still maintain ties to their country of origin.  Financial sanctions have made it more difficult for Iranians in Dubai who wish to conduct business, mainly shipping, with Iran.  (BBC 01/23)

Iranians protest against satellite jamming

Iranians assembled to protest against the Iranian government’s use of censorship and satellite jamming at the World Radio Communication Conference in Geneva.  They called upon the conference’s organizer, the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency, to take decisive steps to pressure the Iranian government into removing censorship.  (ICHRI 01/23)

Human Rights

Mohammad Soleimani, a well known literary translator, has been detained in Iran for reasons currently unknown.  According to his family, security guards accompanied him to his home following his court appearance, and searched the house, seizing documents and electronic devices before disappearing with him. (CNN 01/23)  

The former Chancellor of Tehran University, Dr. Mohammad Maleki, has been sent to Evin Prison.   He had previously been arrested several times, and was sentenced most recently to one year in prison for insulting Ayatollah Khamenei, although he was later acquitted.  (EA Worldview 01/24)

In addition, Yaser Yousefzadeh, a supporter of opposition figure Mir Hossein Mousavi, was arrested at his residence in northern Iran.  (EA Worldview 01/24)

Notable Opinion:

In an op-ed for The Atlantic, author and journalist Robert Wright argues the Republican candidates policies on Iran are likely to lead to war:

The position of the three people who might be the Republican presidential nominee can be summarized as follows: (1) If Iran doesn’t meet our demands we must bomb it! (2) We must make demands that are essentially impossible for Iran to meet! The rest, as they say, may be history.

To read the full piece click here.

Additional Notable News:

Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, a major Indian oil refinery, states it may reduce its purchases of Iranian oil due to increased payment problems caused by extensive economic sanctions imposed upon Iran.

Peter Jenkins, Britain’s permanent representative to the IAEA from 2001–06, argues that the international community should seek an inspections based solution to the conflict with Iran.

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a controversial media aide to President Ahmadinejad, accused Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff of causing relations to deteriorate between the two countries.

Posted By Jacob Martin

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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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