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

Iran News Roundup: July 9, 2012

U.S. Urges MEK to Leave Camp Ashraf Ahead of Iraqi Deadline

The Obama administration has increased pressure on the Mujahadeen-e Khalq (MEK) to leave its paramilitary base in Iraq. On Friday, Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s special adviser on Camp Ashraf said, “It is past time for the M.E.K. to recognize that Ashraf is not going to remain an M.E.K. base” (Reuters 7/6).  Benjamin said, “MEK leaders appear to believe that the Secretary has no choice now but to delist them,” but added, “That conclusion is quite

P5+1 Talks with Iran to Resume July 24th

Deputy nuclear negotiators for Iran and the P5+1 will meet again in Istanbul on July 24th announced an EU spokesman. The spokesman said, “The objective for the meeting of [Helga] Schmid and [Ali] Bagheri is to look further at how existing gaps in positions could be narrowed and how the process could be moved forward,” (Al Monitor 7/9).

In the interim, diplomats have indicated that the P5+1 and Iran went into the Moscow talks with “maximalist” proposals (Christian Science Monitor 7/9).

Iran MPs Propose Tariff on Ships Passing Through Strait of Hormuz

Iranian lawmakers have proposed a bill to impose tariffs on ships sailing through the Strait of Hormuz, reports Shargh. The tariff targets “ships of certain countries [which] transit the waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf ‘under pretexts such as security,’” to pay for the environmental damage they cause, said Alireza Khosravi, a member of the Iranian parliament,  (Bloomberg 7/9).

State Department Welcomes Italian Energy Company’s Withdraw from Iran

The U.S. State Department has welcomed a move by Edison Energy of Italy to withdraw from Iran’s energy sector, cancelling a $107 million contract to explore Iran’s Dayyer natural gas field. The State Department said, “As long as the company continues to act in accordance with its assurances, under the law it will not be subject to an investigation into past Iran-based activities” (Reuters 7/6).

Iran Is Producing New Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Missiles

Modeled on Russia’s Kornet, Iran is producing new laser-guided anti-tank missiles, say defense analysts in Moscow and London. The design is potentially copied from non state actor, Hezbollah which used Russia’s Kornet at war with Israel in 2006, or Syria and Hamas (Bloomberg 7/9).

plainly wrong” (Al-Monitor 7/6).

Iranian Foreign Minister on Assad: “No ruler is an eternal ruler”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview with Reuters in Dubai that, “”No ruler is an eternal ruler, so in the case of Mr. Bashar al-Assad, by 2014 there are presidential elections in which we will have to let the events take their normal course.” He added, “My message to all countries that can play a role in this regard is to be very prudent and wise not to worsen the situation” (Reuters 7/9).

Annan Flies to Iran After Speaking with Assad

U.N. peace envoy, Kofi Annan, is arriving in Iran after meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus to discuss the domestic crisis there. Annan said, “I just had a positive and constructive discussion with President Assad,” adding, “we agreed an approach which I will share with the opposition,” (Reuters UK 7/9).

Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, rejected the Kofi Annan’s suggestion that Iran play a role in resolving the country’s crisis, saying Iranians “cannot be part of the solution unless their positions change radically” (Bloomberg 7/9).

Iranian Inflation Estimation Significantly Higher Than Officially Reported

Gholamreza Kateb, a spokesman of the Iranian parliament’s planning committee, rejected Iran’s official inflation figure of 22.5 percent, claiming the current rate is 33.5 percent (Bloomberg 7/8).

Iran Claims a Private Consortium Could Circumvent Sanctions

Iran claims to have reached agreements with European refiners to sell 20 percent of its oil through a private consortium, in an attempt to avoid sanctions (Reuters 7/7).

Iranian Threats Fail to Stir Hesitant Market

Even though Iran staged missile tests and renewed threats to block key oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf, oil feel this week by $2.77, or 3.2 percent, suggesting Iran is less able to rattle oil markets because of growing concern for the world economy (AP 7/6).

US Naval Presence in Gulf Increases with USS Ponce’s Arrival

The USS Ponce has arrived in the Persian Gulf, joining four news minesweepers which had arrived in the Persian Gulf last month to support the Fifth Fleet (Reuters 7/7).


Notable Opinion: “The Last Time We Fought Iran”

Bruce Riedel discusses the lessons the US should have learned from the last time we fought Iran:

Many Israeli security professionals quietly told their American counterparts in the 1980s that they thought Peres’ dream of rebuilding the alliance with Iran was crazy and foolish.  They whispered to American intelligence officers that it would end in disaster. They were right.

Today many former Israeli intelligence officers are warning America not to listen the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to avoid a military clash with Iran.  Yuval Diskin, the retired head of the Shabak, the Israeli internal security service, has said Bibi is guided by “messianic feelings” which impair his judgment. Meir Dagan, his counterpart at the Mossad, the external security service, has said a military attack on Iran would be “stupid.” This time the warnings from our professional Israeli allies are not quiet.

Read the full article at The Daily Beast

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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