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

Iran News Roundup: June 26, 2012

South Korea to Halt Iran Oil Imports

South Korea has announced it will be the first major Asian importer of Iranian oil to halt oil imports after a July 1st EU ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil goes into effect.  During the first five months of this year, South Korea imported about 192,000 barrels per day (bpd) on average (Reuters 6/25).

EU, Iran Brace for Oil Embargo

EU leaders ratified its planned Iran oil embargo Monday, dismissing Greece’s concerns that a reduction in oil supply could increase prices and further destabilize the Euro zone (WSJ 6/25). Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi responded to the ratification this morning by urging EU leaders to look “‘into the matter with more rationality and wisdom because I think nobody benefits from confrontation’” (Reuters 6/26).

Meanwhile, the National Iranian Tanker Company, has delayed a planned expansion of its fleet, according to industry sources (Al Arabiya 6/26).

EIA: Oil supply increasing, but spare capacity tight

A new Energy Information Administration report states that the world’s spare production capacity for crude oil increased to 2.4 million bpd, up from 2.1 million bpd. However, the EIA cautioned that spare capacity “is still quite modest by historical standards, especially when measured as a percentage of global oil production and consumption.” (Reuters 6/26).

Israel Leans on Putin to Increase Pressure Iran

“‘I am confident that Russia, which defeated fascism, will not allow today’s threats to continue,” said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in front of visiting Russian President Putin. Despite Netanyahu’s increasing pressure on Russia, Putin demonstrated a continued reluctance to support tougher sanctions on Iran. An Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity commented of the bilateral meeting to discuss Iran and Syria, “‘Do not expect any major breakthrough’” (NYT 6/25).

Iranians Tighten Their Belts as Food Prices Rise

With an estimated inflation rate of 50% and 60%, and the price of bread increasing 33% in the last two weeks alone, Iranians have launched a three day boycott of milk and bread to protest the inflation. In a speech on Monday Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said the rising prices were “creating ‘psychological problems in society’” (WSJ 6/25).

Morsi Aide Denies President-Elect Reached Out to Iran

Yasser Ali, an aide for Egyptian president-elect Mohamed Morsi, denies that Morsi spoke to officials in Tehran before Sunday’s election results, as reported earlier in the week (Reuters 6/25). In the alleged interview, Fars news agency claimed Morsi was interested in “reconsidering” Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, drawing the attention of major news outlets. The incident highlights a rift within the Iranian press corps (Radio Free Europe 6/26).

Notable Opinion: “Our obsession with Iran obscures the bigger threat”

In the end, the desperate effort to stop the Iranian nuclear programme – while living with Pakistani nukes – may have a simple explanation. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. Iran can still be stopped.

But next time somebody tells you that Iranian nuclear weapons would be an unparalleled and intolerable threat to international security, you might remember that we are already living with a more alarming menace: the Pakistani bomb.

Read the full article at Financial Times

 

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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