• 30 January 2012
  • Posted By Sheyda Monshizadeh-Azar
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

News Roundup 01/30

Iran invites IAEA inspectors to extend visit

Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi told journalists that the three day inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency can be extended “if they desire”. Iranian officials have insisted that Iran’s quest for nuclear energy is for peaceful purposes and “the remarks appear to be part of a show of flexibility and transparency by Tehran”. (Time 01/30)

Panetta: It would take Iran 2-3 years to have deliverable nuke

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta appeared on 60 minutes this past weekend and said, “the consensus is that, if they decided to do it, it would probably take them about a year to be able to produce a bomb and then possibly another one to two years in order to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort in order to deliver that weapon.”  Panetta has previously made it clear that Iran has not decided to go forward with building a nuclear weapon and that this is the U.S. redline. (The Hill 01/30)

Vote to cutoff oil exports to EU delayed

Iranian lawmakers on Sunday delayed a vote on a bill to immediately halt oil exports to the European Union. The bill would have pre-empted an oil embargo approved by the EU last week. (WJP 01/30)

A decision by Iran to cut oil exports to the European Union will affect the price of oil and hurt the region’s economy, OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri told CNBC on Monday. El Bardi said that, “Today…the market is stable, there is no shortage of oil anywhere in the world,” he said. “However, to take out 400-500,000 barrels a day in a matter of days, this will affect the price. Of course the price will go up.” However , he also argued that the demand for oil is also weakening because of the protracted debt crisis in the euro zone, “when I see the EU debt crisis, it’s a problem, if not solved it will affect…almost everybody. The world growth will be less, there is no decoupling at this time,”.(CNBC 01/30)

Meanwhile, India reiterated it won’t cut back on Iran oil imports despite new U.S. and EU sanctions. (Washington Post 01/30)

Series of deaths reported within the Revolutionary Guard

“Over the last few days, four former commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps passed away without the usual condolences to their families from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.” (Tehran Bureau 01/28)

Pressure on Ahmadinejad

“Alef, the website that is published by Majles deputy Ahmad Tavakoli, a prominent Ahmadinejad critic, demanded that parliament declare the president incompetent under Article 89 of the Constitution, so that he can be impeached. Hossein Shariatmadari, the hardline managing editor of the newspaper Kayhan, accused Ahmadinejad of working with the United States.” (Tehran Bureau 01/28)

Iranian Scientist Arrested in the U.S. 
Seyed Mojtaba Atarodi, an Iranian professor, is being held in a U.S. prison in California, federal prison records show. Associated Press reported yesterday that Atarodi had been arrested and charged with buying scientific instruments from the U.S., citing a Sharif University spokesman who spoke on condition of anonymity. (Bloomberg 01/27)

Notable Opinion: Will Israel Really Attack Iran?

Gary Sick writes takes issue in Tehran Bureau with the New York Times Magazine cover story, “Will Israel Attack Iran?“, in which author Ronen Bergman concludes that Israel is likely strike Iran in 2012:

“Not only is his conclusion at odds with virtually everything he produces as evidence, but there are some omissions in his analysis that regrettably have become predictably routine in talking about the Iranian nuclear program.

He darkly quotes “the latest intelligence” about the number and current activity of Iran’s centrifuges. Where did he get that secret information? Well, just like you or me, he can read the periodic reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which are published on the web virtually the same day they are handed to member states. How did the IAEA get that “intelligence”? Not hard: they have inspectors in all the sites where Iran is producing enriched uranium. These inspectors, who make frequent surprise visits, keep cameras in place to watch every move, and they carefully measure Iran’s input of feed stock to the centrifuges and the output of low-enriched uranium, which is then placed under seal. You would think that would be worth mentioning, at least in passing, but it gets overlooked by virtually every journalist writing on this subject.

Like virtually all other commentators on this issue, Bergman slides over the fact that the IAEA consistently reports that Iran has diverted none of its uranium to military purposes. Like others, he focuses on the recent IAEA report, which was the most detailed to date in discussing Iran’s suspected experiments with military implications; but like others, he fails to mention that the suspect activity took place seven or more years ago and there is no reliable evidence that it has resumed. A problem, yes; an imminent threat, no.”

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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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