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

Iran News Roundup: August 3, 2012

Don’t attack Iran now, warns ex-IDF intel chief
No imminent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, experts say
Analysis: Israeli rhetoric not seen leading to Iran war – yet

Netanyahu: If Israel attacks Iran, I will take responsibility for the consequences

Iran blames U.S., others for failure of Annan’s plan: report
Iranian hostages may be freed Friday: Libyan Red Crescent
Iran boosts strategic grain stocks with wheat buy
Iranian tankers return to buy Syrian crude
US lawmaker compares Iranian exile camp to Auschwitz

Notable Opinion: Sanctions cripple Iran’s middle class, not the regime

 

Jerusalem Post: “Don’t attack Iran now, warns ex-IDF intel chief

“An attack is not a single strike and once it happens we are in a whole other world,” he said. “Iran will pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad will reunite and it will be clear that they need a bomb now so that we cannot attack them again.  This means that Israel will need legitimacy to be able to maintain the operation with more attacks within weeks, months and years after. Otherwise what did you do?” “Israel needs to know if it can, over time, ensure that the attack is maintained,” he added. “This is the key to success or failure.”

Los Angeles Times: “No imminent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, experts say

But nonproliferation experts and Middle East analysts are skeptical of Israeli claims that the Tehran regime is so close to building a nuclear weapon that time is running out for a peaceful resolution of the decades-long standoff. “This is a window that has been closing for 15 years now, and it’s always imminently about to close,” said Jamal Abdi, policy director for the National Iranian American Council.

Reuters: “Analysis: Israeli rhetoric not seen leading to Iran war – yet

An array of analysts in Israel see an Israeli strike in coming months as unlikely, pointing to the huge difficulties posed by military action coupled with the political intricacies of defying Washington in the run-up to the U.S. vote. An Israeli official told Reuters Netanyahu’s inner council, comprising the coalition’s eight top ministers, had not discussed Iran in detail since last year, suggesting there was nothing imminent in the works.

 

Haaretz: Netanyahu: If Israel attacks Iran, I will take responsibility for the consequences

Speaking in a closed meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Thursday that he is not troubled by the possibility that an investigative committee could be formed after a theoretical Israeli strike on Iran.  Netanyahu criticized security establishment officials for their handling of the issue, hinting that they are primarily concerned about avoiding having to take responsibility for their actions.  Two officials who attended the meeting, who asked to remain nameless, said that the majority of those present left the meeting feeling that Netanyahu remains steadfast in his determination not to rely on the United States, and can be expected to order the IDF to attack Iran in the coming months.  Others present at the meeting however, pointed out that Netanyahu’s comments seemed to be part of the “psychological warfare” campaign that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are conducting, in order to pressure the U.S. into attacking Iran itself.

Reuters: “Iran blames U.S., others for failure of Annan’s plan: report

Iran blamed Western and Arab countries on Friday for the failure of Kofi Annan’s Syria peace plan, the official IRNA news agency said on Friday, a day after the former U.N. secretary general quit as international envoy.

Reuters: “Iranian hostages may be freed Friday: Libyan Red Crescent

Seven Iranian relief workers may be freed later on Friday by an armed group that took them hostage on Tuesday in the heart of the Libyan city Benghazi, a Libyan Red Crescent Association official said.

Reuters: “Iran boosts strategic grain stocks with wheat buy

Iran’s state grain buyer continued to build its strategic stocks, purchasing at least 240,000 tonnes of milling wheat this week, as a drought-fueled grain price rally kept food security on government radars. Iranian grain imports are usually handled by the private sector but the state was compelled to step in and help with purchasing earlier this year because of the disruption to trade financing caused by sanctions aimed at Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.

Reuters: “Iranian tankers return to buy Syrian crude

Iran has become Syria’s main crude oil buyer, helping Bashar Al-Assad’s flailing government to circumvent Western sanctions, as Iranian tankers have returned for a third time since April, shipping industry sources said. Although Tehran already finds it difficult to sell its own crude under sanctions, two of its ships picked up Syrian oil late in July following a smaller purchase at the start of the same month. Asia is the likely destination for the Syrian oil but the sources said it remained unclear where the previous cargoes ended up.

AFP: “US lawmaker compares Iranian exile camp to Auschwitz

The outrage over the conditions came as the US State Department expressed concern over Iraq’s threatened forced closure of Camp Ashraf, where 1,200 members of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) remain despite a UN-brokered accord to leave as a first step toward resettlement. The Iraqi government has been locked in a bitter dispute with the MEK over plans to relocate them to Camp Liberty, a former US military base, and 1,900 people have already moved there. But the rest have refused to move, and none have transferred since May, under steps toward all the exiles eventually being expelled from Iraq.

 

Notable Opinion: “Sanctions cripple Iran’s middle class, not the regime”- Foreign Policy

Mohammad Sadeghi Esfahlani and Jamal Abdi discuss the effects of the US sanctions regime on Iran’s middle class:

Punishing the social backbone of Iran’s democracy movement in an effort to engineer discontent demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about the movement’s origins and strengths.  But advocates of this strategy appear unconcerned with the details. Just as advocates of sanctions supposedly designed to stop Iran’s nuclear program now say they have failed, there will come a time when the rebranded sanctions supposedly aimed at producing a democratic Iran will also be pronounced dead. And with “economic warfare” no longer on the table, sanctions hawks will tell us there is only one remaining option to “liberate” Iran.

 

Netanyahu: If Israel attacks Iran, I will take responsibility for the consequences, Haaretz

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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