• 10 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 1 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 10, 2012

Iran Considers Response to Rial’s Decline

Iran is considering anew system of variable exchange rates for different products in order to stabilize the price of basic goods in the face of a significant slide in the value of Iran’s currency, the Rial. However, the new plan is meeting “heavy resistance from statesmen who have long promoted the private sector,” (Washington Post 7/9).

US Calls on Iran to Release Pastor

The US has called on Iran to release Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a convert to Christianity from Islam, who was jailed in 2009 and sentenced to death for his conversion. In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the pastor, “still faces the threat of execution for simply following his faith, and we repeat our call for Iranian authorities to release him immediately” (Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty 7/10).

Iran Reportedly Shuts Off Some Oil Wells

Western and Iranian sources say that Iranian oil production has dropped below 3 million barrels per day (bpd), forcing Iran to shut off some wells in its oil fields for lack of export demand and storage capacity. Peter Wells of geological consultancy Neftex Petroleum commented, “The more production is shut in, the harder and longer it is to bring back production when it is needed,” (Reuters 7/10).

Two Iranian Suspects Alleged to Have Shipped 100 Kg Explosives into Kenya

Iranians Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi are being held in Kenya on charges of intending to cause grievous harm after shipping more than 100 kilograms of RDX into Kenya. Police Sgt. Erick Opagal of Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit said, ““The police have information that the applicants (suspects) have a vast network in the country meant to execute explosive attacks against government installations, public gatherings and foreign establishments,” (AP 7/10).

Russia Offers to Host Syria Talks with Iran and Saudi Arabia

Russia has offered to host a new round of talks to discuss the situation in Syria after talks in Geneva on June 30, but with Saudi Arabia and Iran present. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that the proposed meeting had been brought up during the talks in Geneva. “Moscow regrets that because of the positions of a number of our partners Iran and Saudi Arabia were not present in Geneva,” he said.

Top Negotiators Will Make “Contact” After July 24th Talks

The newly scheduled deputy-level talks July 24th between Helga Schmid for the EU and Ali Bagheri of Iran, will be followed by “a contact” between head negotiators Catherine Ashton and Saeed Jalili, said Ashton’s spokesman (The Hill 7/9).  Recently released documents from Ashton and Jalili’s last meeting in Moscow have surfaced suggesting Iran has signaled it would be willing to stop its 20 percent enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief (The Christian Science Monitor 7/9).

Committee Begins Investigation into UN Technology Exchange

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has launched an investigation into whether a U.N. agency sent computer and other technology to Iran and North Korea, violating U.N. Security Council sanctions (Huffington Post 7/9).

Indian State Insurers Will Cover Iranian Oil Shipments

United India Insurance Co. has reached a deal to provide protection and indemnity to Indian ships carrying Iranian oil with General Insurance Corp. said two sources speaking on anonymity. Both insurers are state-owned, and the cover deal is scheduled to be finalized tomorrow. An executive from General Insurance Corp. said a $50 million P&I cover and a separate amount for hull and machinery will be provided for “all Indian ship owners” (WSJ 7/10).

 

Notable Analysis: “The Wall Street Journal Failed Its Readers on Apple-Iranian Discrimination Scandal

Benjamin Reeves analyzes the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of racial profiling against an Iranian American, Sahar Sabet, by Apple store employees in Georgia:

While there has been no legal decision in the case, Ahmari’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal displays a flagrant disregard for factual accuracy in an attempt to score a few right-wing political points. The idea that defending a U.S. citizen against discrimination in a store is tantamount to assisting the Iranian regime to do …  something (he does not specify what) is laughable at face value.

Moreover, the fact that Ahmari’s entire argument is founded on falsities renders his conclusions fallible. Not only do Baig’s and Sabet’s version of the events at the Apple store directly contradict everything Ahmari based his editorial on (as do the accounts of a myriad of established media outlets), his statement that Apple issued an apology to Sabet is undeniably wrong and can be substantiated without relying on Sabet or Baig’s words. A simple visit to the Apple website will reveal that the company made no such statement (Apple did not return calls regarding this matter).

Read the full article at International Business Times

Posted By Jessica Schieder

    One Response to “Iran News Roundup: July 10, 2012”

  1. Josette says:

    Hi I am trying to find my biological father who is from Iran and was elieved he went back to Iran from Chicago shortly after 1976 do you know who I can talk to to see if he is in iran and how to find him

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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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