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

Iran News Roundup: June 27, 2012

Congress Eyes More Sanctions

U.S. lawmakers are seeking to finalize Iran sanctions legislation in July.  Senator Menendez said, “‘We’re trying to see if we can get the House either to largely accept what we put through, or to come to what would be a quick staff conference that would lead us to a final conclusion that we could ratify.’” (Reuters 6/27; Reuters 6/27).

Iran Threatens Retaliatory Embargo on South Korea

In response to South Korea’s announcement that it will suspend all oil imports from Iran, Iran has announced that it may put on an embargo on all goods from South Korea. According to the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy, South Korea’s shipments to Iran amounted to $6 billion last year (CNN 6/27; The Korean Times 6/27).

Iraq to Overtake Iran as World’s Second Largest Oil Exporter

Iraq is producing at its highest level in 20 years, and output at 3.07 million bpd in June was just shy of Iran’s 3.1 million bpd. Guy Caruso, an energy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies tells Al-Monitor that there is a danger that Iran might be enticed to sabotage Iraq’s production, saying, “‘One way to get the price up a bit is to create some sort of disruption of Iraqi oil that throws uncertainty into the market.’” (Bloomberg 6/26; Al-Monitor 6/26).

Iranian Vice President Makes Anti-Semitic Speech

In front of a crowd gathered for an anti-drug conference in Tehran, the Iranian vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi delivered an offensively anti-Semitic speech, blaming “Zionists” and the Talmud for the illegal drug trade, in front of a crowd of international diplomats (NYT 6/26).

Notable Opinion: “How to Stop the Lose-Lose Game”

Hossein Mousavian, the former spokesperson for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team and the author of The Iranian Nuclear Crisis, A Memoir, and Mohammad Ali Shabani, a political analyst and the editor of Iran’s leading foreign-policy journal, discuss why the administration shouldn’t be dragging its feet in negotiating with the P5+1 and Iran:

Bottom line: the Islamic Republic is willing to agree on a face-saving solution that would induce it to give up the cards it has gained over the past years.

Meanwhile, it is becoming increasingly obvious that domestic political considerations are pushing the Obama administration to drag its feet on the negotiations while seeking to keep them alive. This approach allows the White House to remain tough on Iran by not offering any sanctions relief without completely discarding dialogue as an instrument to solve the nuclear issue.

This is a lose-lose game, benefiting none of the involved parties. For the forthcoming talks on July 3, the P5+1 should prepare a comprehensive list of all possible measures guaranteeing that Iran will agree to a maximum level of transparency and cooperation with the IAEA, ensuring that there is no breakout capability and that it will remain a nonnuclear weapon state forever. In exchange, the P5+1 should recognize Iran’s legitimate rights for enrichment and agree to gradually remove sanctions.

Read the full article at The National Interest

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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