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

Iran News Roundup: July 11, 2012

Pentagon: Iranian Military Capability “Designed to Slow Invasion”

A Pentagon assessment of Iran’s military capabilities delivered to Congress states “Iran’s military doctrine remains designed to slow an invasion; target its adversaries’ economic, political, and military interests; and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions that challenge its core interests,” (FAS 7/11).

Tehran Warns Against Reports on Effects of Sanctions

Tehran has warned the media against publishing reports regarding the impact of Western sanctions on the regime. The Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohammad Hosseini said, “Our country is not in a position to allow the media to publish (any) news or analysis which is not compatible with the regime’s and national interests,” (AFP 7/11).

Supreme Leader Says West “Vaccinated” Iran Against Sanctions

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said, “[Westerners] don’t understand that throughout the last 30 years they themselves vaccinated the Iranian nation against sanctions,” adding, “The Iranian nation in the past three decades stood against all the conspiracies and sanctions and made progress and now we are 100 percent stronger than 30 years ago,” (Bloomberg 7/11).

Iraq Overtakes Iran as World’s Second Largest Oil Producer

For the first time since 1988, Iraq’s crude production last month has overtaken Iran’s output. Iraq pumped 2.984 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, whereas Iran produced 2.963 million bpd ahead of the implementation of EU sanctions starting July 1, said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) (Bloomberg 7/11). Iran’s production is at its lowest level since 1990 (WSJ 7/11).

Iranian Foreign Minister Says Iran Unlikely to Close Strait

After the EU began enforcing a ban on the purchase of Iranian oil, Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz to oil if its own exports are halted, adding “but I don’t think such a time will ever come,” (AP 7/10).

Annan’s Plan for Resolving Syrian Crisis Stirs International Tension

U.N. peace envoy Kofi Annan insisted on Tuesday on the inclusion of Iran in efforts to resolve the crisis in Syrian, saying, “Iran has a role to play. And my presence here explains that I believe in that.” Annan’s comments came after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran (Reuters 7/10).

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, “I don’t think anybody with a straight face could argue that Iran has had a positive impact on developments in Syria,” (The Hill 7/10). Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin threw his support behind Annan, saying, “China believes that the appropriate resolution of the Syria issue cannot be separated from the countries in the region, especially the support and participation of those countries that are influential on relevant sides in Syria,” (Reuters 7/11).

Iran Condemns Suppression of Shiite Demonstrators in Saudi Arabia

Iranian sources report Iran’s Foreign Minister Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran was “concerned by violent actions carried out by the Saudi forces against religious figures and people,” and called on Saudi Arabia respond to “the legitimate demands of the public and refrain from using violence against people,” (Bloomberg 7/11).

Japanese Insurers Increase Coverage for Iranian Oil Carriers

Japanese insurers are expanding their maritime coverage, increasing their cargo and hull coverage to $491 million, to allow more domestic tankers to transport Iranian crude in August, after having halted shipments from Iran this month. The insurance increase will allow two supertankers instead of one to transport Iranian oil through the Middle East at one time, boosting Japan’s shipping capacity from Tehran to more than 200,000 barrels per day (Reuters 7/11).

Romney to Lay Out Middle East Policy Immediately After Israel Fundraiser

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will host a $60,000 per plate fundraising event in Jerusalem on July 29. Romney will “lay out his Middle East policy” in Jerusalem immediately after the fundraiser (Jerusalem Post 7/11).

Iranian Committee Delays Subsidy Cuts on Inflation Concerns

Iranian news source, Shargh, reports the Iranian parliament’s economic committee has decided to postpone further cuts to energy and food subsidies until next March based on concerns for increases in food prices and high inflation (Bloomberg 7/11).

 

Notable Opinion: “Sanctions on Iran punish its people, not its leaders”

Saeed Kamali Dehghan humanizes the impact of sanctions on average Iranians:

The people of Iran should not be held to account for wrongdoing by their regime – and yet, that is what is happening as western countries impose ever-tighter sanctions.

Sanctions are pushing ordinary Iranians to the edge of poverty, destroying the quality of their lives, isolating them from the outside world and most importantly, blocking their path to democracy.

As a result of sanctions, Iranians are now cut off from the world. Universities can barely hold international conferences, students have to forget about exchange programmes, academics face ridiculous difficulties for simple tasks such as subscribing to international journals or submitting research papers to them.

Read the full article at The Guardian

 

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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