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

Iran News Roundup: July 19, 2012

Confusion Surrounds Identity of Suicide Bomber in Bulgaria

Swedish and Israeli officials are denying Bulgarian reports that the suicide bomber who carried out an attack on a bus full of Israeli tourists Thursday, killing five Israelis, was Swedish citizen connected to al Qaeda (The Atlantic 7/19).

In an interview with MSNBC, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren insisted, “our sources confirm that Hezbollah was behind this. Hezbollah takes its marching orders directly from Tehran,” (NBCNews 7/19).

President Barack Obama said the U.S. would “stand with our allies, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators.” President Obama called Mr. Netanyahu to extend his condolences (WSJ 7/18).

State Department Official Calls Congressional Letter “Pandering” to Terrorist Group

State Department official Dan Fried called a Congressional letter supporting the MEK’s refusal of the to abandon its paramilitary base in Iraq “pandering of the worst sort and completely undermines U.S. policy.” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) are spearheading the letter to Secretary Clinton.   (Foreign Policy 7/18).

State Department Calls for Release of Iranian Activists

The State Department voiced “concern” in a press release yesterday for Kurdish activist Mohammed Seddigh Kaboudvand and human rights activist Nargess Mohammadi, who are serving prison sentences in Iran. Kaboudvand has been on hunger strike since May 26, after authorities precluded him from seeing his ill son, and Mohammadi has been denied proper medical attention. The press release says both “are suffering from rapidly deteriorating health” (State Department 7/18).

Yemen Warns Iran Against Meddling

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on state television that Iran would “pay the price” if it continues espionage activities and meddling in Yemen. He threatened, “We will embarrass them in front of the world,” (AP 7/18).

Ahmadinejad Says Sanctions Have Initiated “Heavy War”

Iranian press has quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying that the West has begun a “heavy battle” with Iran by tightening sanctions, but insisted Iran “will not retreat one iota” from its conviction that it should be allowed a right to a peaceful nuclear program (AP 7/19).

Ecuador to Import Iranian Oil

Ecuadorian central bank President Pedro Delgado has said it is negotiating with Iran for a purchase of $400 million in fuel, in spite of U.S. and E.U. efforts to suppress Iranian crude sales. Delgado told reporters, “Ecuador is a sovereign nation and can have relations with any country in the world,” (Bloomberg 7/18).

Japanese-Insured Oil Tanker to Call En Route to Iran

A non-Iranian tanker will call at Iran’s largest crude-export terminal for the first time since June 19, according to Bloomberg. A Japanese ship, the Ryuho Maru, which is insured by the Japanese state, will be the first international ship to carry Iranian oil since the July 1 EU ban on insuring vessels carrying Iranian oil was implemented (Bloomberg 7/18).

Indian Refiner’s Imports of Iranian Oil Up 70 Percent from Last Year

The only private Indian refiner, Essar, which buys Iranian oil has increased Iranian imports significantly.  Essar is imported 70 percent more oil this June than it did last June, and is expected to become the largest Indian importer of Iranian oil in July, overtaking Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd, which has been limited in its imports by insurance problems (Reuters 7/19).

 

Notable Opinion: “Brzezinski to Newsmax: War With Iran Could Last Years, Devastate Global Economy”

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski discusses Iran:

“A war in the Middle East, in the present context, may last for years,” Brzezinski, who served in the Carter White House, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “And the economic consequences of it are going to be devastating for the average American.

“High inflation. Instability. Insecurity. Probably significant isolation for the United States in the world scene,” Brzezinski says. “Can you name me any significant country that’s going to be in that war together on our side?

“That’s something no one can afford to ignore,” Brzezinski adds.

Read the full article and watch the interview at Newsmax

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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