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

Iran News Roundup: July 27, 2012

Iranian Increases Defense Capabilities in the Persian Gulf, Adds Anti-Ship Missiles

Analysts say Iran has developed an arsenal of sophisticated anti-ship missiles in the Persian Gulf, and it has expanded its fleet of submarines and fast-attack boats to increase its defense capabilities (Washington Post 7/26).

P5+1 Talks with Iran to Resume “Soon”

EU foreign policy spokesman Michael Mann said a meeting between top EU and Iranian representatives to discuss the nuclear issue “will happen soon, but we don’t yet have the date,” (AP 7/26).

Khamenei Advisor Says Talks Will Continue Until  “Positive Conclusions” are Reached

Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, commented on nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran, saying, “The talks will be continued until they reach positive and constructive conclusions,” (AP 7/27).

US Lawmakers Call for Investigation of ZTE for Alleged Sanctions Violations

Seventeen members of the US House of Representatives have written a letter asking Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to investigate ZTE Corp, a Chinese telecommunications equipment maker, over allegations that the company sold a surveillance system and computer equipment to Iran (Reuters 7/27).

India bans US-sanctioned Iranian ships from entering its water

India’s largest importer of Iranian oil, Manglore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, announced that it has only been able to import a fraction of the oil from Iran that it originally intended to import due to U.S. and E.U. sanctions (Economic Times 7/27).

Sanctions’ Effects on Ordinary People Unprecedented

A 36% reduction in car manufacturing in Iran, increases in the prices of food staples including sugar, and inflation, among other factors, have made the effects of current sanctions on ordinary Iranians unprecedented (insideIRAN 7/26).

American Pleads Guilty to Charges for Sanctions Violation

Andro Telemi pleads guilty to felony charge for attempting to export missile parts to Iran without a license from the US government. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and a $250,000 fine (Reuters 7/26).

 

Notable Opinion: “Nuclear Submarine Program Surfaces in Iran”

The International Civil Society Action Network  analyzes the effects sanctions have had on Iranian women:

As one women’s rights activist stated, “the international community’s sole focus on the nuclear issue has resulted in the adoption of policies that inflict great damage on the Iranian people, civil society and women. Militarization of the environment will prompt repressive state policies and the possibility of promoting reform in Iran will diminish.”

Iranians’ wariness of the international community, however, has not quelled criticism of their own government. They have neither an appetite for war nor for the bellicose language of the state. They criticize the government’s mishandling of the economy in recent years. They balk at the continued imposition of social restrictions. Those involved in civil rights activism including students, workers, women and leaders from ethnic groups and religious minority communities are among the first to feel the endless pressures and limitations imposed on them. Not least because the sanctions and threat of war allow the state to invoke “a state of emergency” and in so doing suppress critics and voices of dissent.

Read the full report on ICAN’s website


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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