• 13 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
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  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: June 13, 2012

IEA: Iran’s Oil Exports Fall 40%

The International Energy Agency reported Iran’s oil exports have fallen approximately 40% since the start of the year, from 2.5 million barrels a day to 1.5 million barrels per day, as a result of sanctions (Chicago Tribune 6/13). Reuters estimates Iran has lost $35 billion in oil revenue this year due to sanctions and falling oil prices (Reuters 6/13).

The International Energy Agency “expects Iran’s exports to fall by another third,” creating “major upside risk for oil prices” (Reuters 6/13).

Iran Stockpiling Excess Oil

The International Energy Agency reports about 17 supertankers and seven Suezmaxes are holding crude “while another estimated 25 million barrels are being kept in onshore tanks,” citing information from unnamed shipping analysts (Bloomberg (6/13). Iranian production has yet to slow to meet lower export levels, causing Iran to stockpile the surplus (Reuters UK 6/13/12). Persian news sources claim that new storage facilities will be constructed to handle the surplus (Bernama 6/13).

Preparations for Moscow Talks

Former IAEA deputy director general Pierre Goldschmidt has proposed offering Iran a “grace period” to disclose details of any past nuclear weaponization activities to the IAEA to lay the groundwork for enhanced cooperation with the IAEA (Al-Monitor 6/13). “Without such a grace period, it is unlikely that Iran would fully cooperate with the IAEA or voluntarily declare any past violations,” Goldschmidt wrote.

Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said he is “optimistic about the final outcome” of next week’s talks (Reuters 6/13). During an interview in Tehran with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Jalili added, “This is a complex issue and we need to be patient but we’re on the right track”. Meanwhile Iran’s top negotiator told the Iranian parliament that Iran was going ahead with talks in Moscow because Catherine Ashton had “agreed that Iran’s five-point proposal is on the agenda for the Moscow discussions, even non-nuclear issues” (Washington Post 6/13).

Oil Trade Insurance

Iranian news sources claim that Iran’s biggest tanker operator, NITC, has secured $1 billion in insurance cover to serve Asian clients, despite US and EU attempts to prevent shipping firms associated with Iran from acquiring such “vital insurance cover” (Reuters 6/12Insurance Journal 6/13).  Recently passed US legislation targets shipping companies, like the NITC and National Iranian Oil Co., and allows sanctions to be extended to them, if they are found to be “an agent or affiliate of the Revolutionary Guards” (Reuters 6/12).

Analysis: “Europe’s Unique Opportunity to Act”- Trita Parsi and Reza Marashi

Delaying the sanctions will not ease pressure on Iran. According to renowned Iranian economist Bijan Khajehpour, 85 percent of the embargo is already in effect. Delaying its formal imposition will not cause buyers to return to the Iranian market. All it will do is to provide the West with an ability to use the oil embargo as the bargaining tool it was supposed to be — and exchange it for tangible, verifiable Iranian nuclear concessions.

If the embargo is formally imposed, however, it will become more difficult and costly to lift it and it will serve as naked escalation that will beget Iranian escalation rather than concessions. The risk of war will increase and the threat of an Israeli strike may materialize. (Huffington Post 6/12).

Posted By Jessica Schieder

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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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