• 1 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
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  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 1, 2012

Netanyahu Challenges Credibility of US Threat Against Iran

Speaking next to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, “Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program.”  Panetta responded by reiterating that “If they make the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapon…we have options that we are prepared to implement to ensure that that does not happen,” (Reuters 8/1).

Beijing “Furious” Over Sanctions on Chinese Bank

Beijing has reacted furiously to new US sanctions imposed on a Chinese bank, Bank of Kunlun, over transactions with Iran, and urged the US to revoke the “groundless” sanctions, saying the sanctions violated “norms of international relations” (AP 8/1).

Iran, OPEC Oil Production Falls

OPEC oil production fell 1.2 percent in the last month, as Iranian production decreased 300,000 barrels from June to 2.86 million bpd (Bloomberg 7/31).

Russia Attempts to Block Iran from Caspian Sea Port

Russia is taking action to block companies controlled by Iran from acquiring the strategic Astrakhan port on the Caspian Sea, which both Russia and Iran border. Russia alleges that Iran’s access to the sea port would violate sanctions, and Russia was successful in blocking Iran’s acquisition of the strategically significant port two years ago (Bloomberg 7/31).

Iran Allows Taliban to Open Office in Eastern Iran

Iran has recently allowed the Taliban, its historical foe, to open an office in the eastern Iranian city of Zahedan. According to a U.S. official, Iran views providing insurgents in Afghanistan with surface to air missiles as a potential contingency option should the U.S. attack Iran’s nuclear facilities (Wall Street Journal 7/31).

Former Intelligence Officers Call for US-Iran Crisis “Hot-Line”

Eleven former US intelligence officials have proposed the adoption of a “hot line” between the US and Iran for communication in the event of a crisis. The officials urge the adoption of such a measure in a letter to the President , referencing the merit of the US-USSR hotline during the Cold War (Consortium News 7/31).

US State Department Expresses Concern About Camp Ashraf

The US State department  deputy spokesperson, Patrick Ventrell, released a press statement today voicing concern regarding the Iraqi government’s reference yesterday to the involuntary relocation of Mujahideen-e Khalq, or M.E.K., members remaining at Camp Ashraf (US State Department 8/1).

Azerbaijan Excludes Iran from Pipeline to Europe

Azerbaijan has announced it will exclude Naftiran Intertrade Co. (NICO) from a pipeline project to Europe from the Caspian region.  Vaqif Aliyev, head of State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan’s investments department commented , “Nico’s participation in the Trans-Anatolia pipeline or other pipelines is not being considered,” (Bloomberg 8/1).

State Department Terror Report Describes Growing Iranian Threat

The newly released annual State Department terrorism report for 2011 reveals increased concern regarding the growing terrorist threat of Iran as well as the emerging threat of the al Qaeda presence in Syria. Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief said, “We are increasingly concerned about Iran’s support for terrorism and Hezbollah’s activities” (WSJ 7/31).

Iran Denies AC/DC Cyber Attack

Iran has denied that its nuclear facilities suffered a cyber attack that led to computers being shut down and playing AC/DC music, reports Iranian news sources (Bloomberg 8/1).

 

Notable Opinion: “Searching for yet Another Alternative to War with Iran”

Farideh Farhi discusses Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s recent letter to Secretary Clinton, urging her to support a Azeri separatists within Iran:

What is most troubling, though, is the desire – you can also call it a dream or an urge – to harm contemporary Iran in any way possible and without any concern for implications. Rohrabacher’s letter was apparently prompted by recent news stories concerning a budding military cooperation between Israel and the Azerbaijan Republic.

“It would be wise for the United States to encourage such cooperation, as the aggressive dictatorship in Tehran is our enemy as well as theirs,” writes Rohrabacher. “The people of Azerbaijan are geographically divided and many are calling for the reunification of their homeland after nearly two centuries of foreign rule.”

Let’s decode this. In a single sentence, a people and a territory are joined and the separation of one territory from a country so that it can be joined to another country is made simple. Given the desire to pose a danger that is even “greater than…bombing its underground nuclear research bunkers,” there seems to be no need to contemplate the fact that millions of Iranian Azeris live outside of the four Iranian provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ardebil, and Zanjan wherein Azeris are prominent, and a large percentage of the population in West Azerbaijan are Kurds and not Azeris. These are apparently irrelevant facts for Rohrabracher and most of the Iran-obsessed US politicians who also cannot be bothered with inconvenient details.

http://www.lobelog.com/searching-for-yet-another-alternative-to-war-with-iran/

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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