• 5 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
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  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 5, 2012

P5+1 Talks to Continue

Technical-level talks in Istanbul between the P5+1 and Iran ended early Wednesday, saying that talks would resume between the deputies of lead negotiators at an unspecified later date (NYT 7/5).

In a new document, presented to Iran experts by Iran’s mission to the UN, which includes transcriptional excerpts, both parties seem interested in continuing negotiations until after the November 4th election day. The text prioritizes sanctions relief, and an interest in setting the framework for “comprehensive and targeted dialogue for long term cooperation” that goes beyond the nuclear issue, reports Laura Rozen. (Al-Monitor 7/4).

If US Attacks, Iran Claims to Have Contingency Plans to Attack American Bases

Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency quoted the air force commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps claiming he has contingency plans to attack 35 American bases across the Middle East, as well as Israel, within minutes of the start of a conflict (NYT 7/5; Reuters 7/4).

Ahmadinejad: “Most Severe and Strictest Sanctions Ever”

On Tuesday Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “The sanctions imposed on our country are the most severe and strictest sanctions ever imposed on a country.” He added, “But the enemies’ assumption that they can put Iran in a weak position through these sanctions is false and is the result of their materialistic calculations,” suggesting the sanctions would not affect Iran’s nuclear activities (NYT 7/3).

Iranian Parliament Approves of Nuclear-Powered Fleet

An Iranian parliamentary committee has approved a plan calling for a nuclear-powered commercial fleet of oceangoing tankers and ship, which would require weapons-grade uranium enrichment, well above Iran’s current 20 percent ceiling (NYT 7/3).

South Korea Struggles to Cover Oil Shortages

South Korea stopped importing Iranian oil as of July 1st, but the country is struggling to cover the resulting shortages and is considering using Iranian tankers to receive future shipments. The official added, “[We’ll] see how India goes about this,” (WSJ 7/4).

Iranian July Exports Expected to Nearly Halve

Iran will export a maximum of 1.1 million bpd, although continued contract disputes with China and indications of long-term structural changes in the Chinese economy could push exports lower. Iran averaged 2.2 million bpd in 2011, meaning exports this July will be almost half of what they were in July of 2011. Iran is expected to lose $3.4 billion in revenue in July.

Iranian output remains at 2.95 million bpd, its lowest output in nearly a quarter of a century (Reuters 7/5; The White House 6/28).

India Receives Oil via Iranian Tankers, Avoids Breaching Insurance Sanctions

India has begun receiving Iranian crude on tankers owned and insured by the Islamic Republic to avoid sanctions. Hindustan Petroleum has received a shipment via the MT Clove, a National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) Suezmax tanker, and a second Suezmax shipment is already scheduled.

India is reportedly using Euros to clear most of its purchases of Iranian oil through a Turkish bank because of problems in arranging payments in rupees (Reuters 7/5; Bloomberg 7/5).

UN Agency Investigated for Sanctions Violations

The US has announced it is reviewing the activities of the Geneva-based United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), after correspondence between WIPO and the Iranian agency for intellectual property from August of 2010 surfaced, suggesting WIPO had supplied IT equipment to the Islamic Republic (Reuters 7/4).

Tanzanian Government Reviews Berman’s Concerns

Following accusations from US House Committee Chairman Howard Berman that NITC tankers were flying Tanzanian flags to use international ports, Tanzanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe told reporters that, “if it is confirmed that the ships flying Tanzania’s flag are indeed from Iran, we will take steps to deliberately obliterate the registration” (Reuters 7/5).

Japan Will Resume Imports of Iranian Crude in August

Japan will not import Iranian crude in July, due to E.U sanctions, but will resume imports in August by issuing sovereign guarantees on shipments of oil from Iran. The temporarily removal of Japan from export markets, coupled with South Korea’s withdrawal, will cost Iran $750 million in July at current oil prices (Reuters 7/4).

Swiss Widen Sanctions Against Iran

The Swiss government will not implement a European Union ban on Iranian oil, but it will widen sanctions, to include restrictions on petrochemicals, telecommunications, and precious metals and diamonds (Reuters 7/5).

Iranian Buyout Could Save French Refinery

A private Iranian company, Tadbir Energy Development Group, has offered to take over a French refinery, Petit-Couronne, to avoid its shutdown, juxtaposing France’s domestic economic agenda and its desire to put pressure on Tehran.  (WSJ 7/4).

Kenya Cancels Agreement for Iranian Oil

On Wednesday, Kenya cancelled an agreement to import 4 million tons of Iranian crude oil per year because of sanctions. “There is an embargo on Iranian oil. We don’t want to get involved in the intricacies of international inter-governmental issues,” said Patrick Nyoike, permanent secretary in the Kenyan energy ministry (Reuters 7/5).

 

Notable Opinion: “Nuclear Brinksmanship with Iran”

Reza Marashi discusses the very real dangers of politically-motivated brinksmanship in Washington:

To the credit of Washington and Tehran, their public-relations departments have done a masterful job spinning just how badly the negotiations in Moscow went. Privately, however, officials from both sides concede that a breakdown in the talks occurred largely because the United States moved the goalposts—again. And an honest assessment indicates that political factors drove Washington to back away from a deal.

While there is always concern about whether Tehran will live up to its end of a bargain, numerous P5+1 officials have acknowledged that the Iranians have focused their bottom line on uranium enrichment at the 3.5 percent level and sanctions relief. At present, Iran’s enrichment of uranium to the 20 percent level; its corresponding stockpile; and its underground Fordo nuclear facility all are fair game—for the right price.

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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