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

Iran News Roundup: June 29, 2012

Shorter Range Missiles in the Persian Gulf

In an apparent escalation in Iran’s  standoff with the West, a Revolutionary Guards commander was quoted as saying Iran expects to equip its ships in the Strait of Hormuz with shorter-range missiles (Reuters 6/29).

Dubai’s ENOC Affected by State Department Clarification

U.S. State Department officials have clarified that financial transactions that facilitate the import of Iranian “condensate”, a production material Dubai’s national oil company depends on, makes the UAE liable under the US sanctions that go into effect on June 28th. As a result, two sources close to the company said Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) had already applied for a waiver to avoid US sanctions (Reuters 6/29).

Iran Offers to Deliver South Korea Oil

Less than a day after Iran threatened “reconsideration of its ties” with South Korea in response to an announcement by the country that it would stop purchases of Iranian oil, Iran has come forward to offer to deliver its oil to South Korea on its own ships (Reuters 6/28; Reuters 6/29).

Continued Signs of Rivalry within OPEC

Despite agreeing on June 14th to cap OPEC production at 30 million bpd, OPEC members are producing 1.63 million bpd above that, while Iran’s production slipped in June down 180,000 bpd to 2.95 million, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Saudi Arabia increased its production the most.

At an energy conference in London, the Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, commented on the changing dynamics of OPEC saying, “‘The wealth for Iraq, the oil, is going to create more competition – definitely with the Saudis’” (Reuters 6/29).

Chinese Waiver seen as “Goodwill Gesture”

An exemption from US sanctions on the importation of Iranian oil that was provided to China yesterday has been explained partially as a “goodwill gesture”. “‘This saved both sides from an ugly test,’” said Shi Yinhong, an expert on US-China relations at Renmin University in Beijing (WSJ 6/29).

Delayed Assad Interview Thanks Iran

In taped interview, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad thanks Iran for being one of the “wise governments” seeking to protect stability in Syria. Iran, Syria’s only remaining ally in the region, had delayed, for unknown reasons, broadcasting the interview (NYT 6/28).

Russians Disagree with US on Iran, Syria

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said of talks in Geneva on Syria and Iran, “‘The Russian proposal on this has met unsurmountable objections from the U.S. side, especially on the part concerning Iran.’” The statement was made public “shortly before a dinner in St. Petersburg at which U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected to try to persuade Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Moscow should agree to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure” (Reuters 6/29).

Turkish Imports Drop Ahead of EU Sanctions

In line with Turkey’s pledge to cut imports of Iranian oil by about a fifth from its annual average, Ankara reports its imports from Iran have dropped by more than 35 percent in May from April, as it attempts to convince the US to waive sanctions on it imports of Iranian oil (Reuters 6/29).

Notable Analysis: “Iran sanctions will halve oil sales but may still not succeed”

The Guardian’s Julian Borger and Saeed Kamali Dehghan discuss why Western powers are hesitant to put sanctions on the table and why Iran might need them to negotiate productively:

Saeed Jalili, the chief Iranian negotiator, demanded concessions that included recognition of the right to enrich uranium and a lifting of all sanctions. He was ambiguous over whether Tehran was offering a permanent halt to 20% enrichment. In the course of two days of discussions neither side showed any readiness to make further concessions.

“I think the [western powers] are scared of putting sanctions on the table and use them as bargaining chips because that would risk undermining the basis for sanctions themselves. They would lose their original purpose, which was to force a suspension of all enrichment,” Joshi said.

But he said that by not putting sanctions on the table their power as a policy tool had not been properly tested. “It would have made headlines – if the west had made that offer and Iran still remained silent. It seems to be a missed opportunity.”

Read the full article at The Guardian

Notable Opinion: “U.S. Hawks Aflutter as Clinton Clears China on Iran Oil Sales”

Jim Lobe discusses why some conservatives aren’t satisfied with Obama’s comprehensive sanctions regime:

Despite the escalating impact of sanctions on Iran’s economy, however, many analysts, notably neo-conservatives and other hawks who had led the drive for “crippling” sanctions, now believe that the strategy is not working and that the Iranian regime can withstand the pain the sanctions are inflicting.

In testimony last week, two members of a hawkish task force from the Bipartisan Policy Council (BPC) testified before Congress that Washington should be building up its military forces around Iran to make the threat of a military strike more credible, a position echoed in a letter sent by 44 senators to Obama on the eve of the Moscow talks.

At the same time, the neo-conservative Weekly Standard, a major promoter of the Iraq War, called for Congress to approve an “Authorization of Military Force” to halt Iran’s nuclear program, similar to the one approved by Congress five months before the Iraq invasion.

Read the full article at Inter Press Service

Posted By Jessica Schieder

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Sign the Petition


7,350 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.



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