• 8 February 2012
  • Posted By B.Farshneshani
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

News Roundup 02/08

Iran Sanctions Squeeze Country’s Food Supply

Sanctions are beginning to seriously affect Iran’s ability to import food products.  The All India Rice Exporters’ Association has called on its members to stop exporting rice to Iran on credit after Iranian buyers defaulted on payments for 200,000 tons of rice (Chicago Tribune 02/07).  In addition, Ukraine has stopped selling grain to Iran due to payment difficulties, and Malaysia has similarly stopped providing palm oil (Reuters 02/08). 

Former Israeli Spymaster: Israel Does Not Face Existential Threat

Former director of Mossad, Meir Dagan, maintains that there is no existential threat to Israel, putting him at odds with the country’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, who he has accused of dashing toward a rash military strike on Iran (Washington Post 02/08).

Iran and India Settle Oil Deal Payments

Iran’s envoy in India has reportedly said Iran will accept 45% of crude oil payments in Rupees (RFE/RL 02/08).

MEK Delaying Relocation to Camp Liberty

U.S. officials are urging the designated terror group, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), to relocate to Camp Liberty as part of the deal reached between the group, the UN, and Iraq.  The UN announced in December that the new facility was ready, but no MEK residents have yet relocated to the facility, despite an order from Iraq that they leave their current base, Camp Ashraf (The Cable 02/08).

Notable Opinion:

Iranian Journalist Jason Rezaian takes the pulse of Tehran, and finds an increasing level of despair about the economic situation and growing resentment over sanctions.

The currency crisis is the most recent sign of what may lie ahead and one that poignantly affects the lives of millions of Iranians, as this has become a conspicuously consumptive society that can’t keep up with its own demands. Domestic production has nearly disappeared and imports are getting tougher to come by, with ever tightening trade sanctions placed on Iran by Western powers by the day.

Says small business owner Majid, “I never had a bad thing to say about (U.S. President Barack) Obama until he signed that bill (on Dec. 31.) Now I’m really angry with him. Lots of people feel the same here.”

Another sign that U.S. attempts to win over Iranian hearts and minds are failing.

Read more at IPS.

Posted By B.Farshneshani

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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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