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

Iran News Roundup: August 6, 2012

Iran tests upgraded version of short-range missile, says can hit sea targets
Israel’s envoy to U.S. jumps the gun, blames Iran for Sinai attack
Olympics wrestling: Reihanpour Soryan claims Iran’s first ever gold
Iran rial sinks 5 pct vs dollar as devaluation expected
Israel hardens missile shield

‘Bootleg chicken’ sold for record prices in Iran
Iran warns against foreign intervention in Syria
Syria rebels threaten to execute Iranian captives
Iran Denies Iranians Seized in Syria Include Military Members
Iran plans to host meeting on Syria
Iran airs “confessions” in killings of nuclear scientists
Iran’s Ahmadinejad to Attend Mecca Summit Next Week, Office Says
Obama associate got $100,000 fee from affiliate of firm doing business with Iran
India HPCL begins rupee payment for Iran oil
Notable Opinion: Five Myths about the U.S.-Iran Conflict

AP: Iran tests upgraded version of short-range missile, says can hit sea targets

Iran claimed Saturday it has successfully test-fired an upgraded version of a short-range ballistic missile with improved accuracy, increasing the Islamic Republic’s capability to strike both land and naval targets. Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said the solid-fueled Fateh-110 has a range of 300 kilometers (185 miles). He claimed the weapon could strike with pin-point precision, making it the most accurate weapon of its kind in Iran’s arsenal.

Haaretz: Israel’s envoy to U.S. jumps the gun, blames Iran for Sinai attack

Only hours after the attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing, before the fog of war had time to dissipate, the ambassador [Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the US] announced on his Twitter account that Iran was behind the assault. It is unclear what prompted Oren to release these statements, as it is clear he was in no possession of evidence linking Iran to the attack. Just how unfounded these allegations are was further underscored by a briefing given Monday morning by Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In the briefing, Barak said the insurgents were operatives in an organization affiliated with Al-Qaida, “apparently some kind of global jihad, with unclear connections.”

BBC: Olympics wrestling: Reihanpour Soryan claims Iran’s first ever gold

Iran claimed their first ever Greco-Roman wrestling gold as Hamid Mohammad Soryan Reihanpour overcame Rovshan Bayramov from Azerbaijan at 55kg.

Reuters: Iran rial sinks 5 pct vs dlr as devaluation expected

Iran’s rial sank about 5 percent in trading against the U.S. dollar on Monday after the central bank said it would change the currency’s official exchange rate, prompting fears of another devaluation as the economy suffers from international sanctions. The rial was trading in the free market at around 21,510 per dollar, according to Persian-language currency tracking website Mazanex, down from about 20,440 on Sunday.

Reuters: Eye on Iran and Syria, Israel hardens missile shield

Israel is upgrading its Arrow II ballistic missile shield in a U.S.-backed “race” against Iran, Syria and other regional enemies, a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday. The new “Block 4” generation of guided interceptor rockets, radars and technologies for synchronizing Arrow with U.S. systems was being installed in deployed Israeli batteries, a process that would take several weeks, the official said.

The Telegraph: ‘Bootleg chicken’ sold for record prices in Iran

In the latest twist to what has become known as the “chicken crisis”, Iranian police say have discovered 60,000kg (60 tonnes) of live and slaughtered poultry hidden in various locations throughout the country over a 15-day period. The discovery comes amid a bitter political furore over the soaring cost of chicken, which has risen more than threefold to up to 80,000 rial (£4.20) per kilogram in the past year. A chorus of public complaint over what is a staple part of the Iranian diet has even prompted the intervention of Iran’s police chief and senior clerics as the government has scrambled to make chicken available at affordable prices.

Reuters: Iran warns against foreign intervention in Syria

Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani accused the United States and regional countries he did not name of providing military support to rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran. “The fire that has been ignited in Syria will take the fearful (Israelis) with it,” Larijani said on Sunday, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

AP:  Syria rebels threaten to execute Iranian captives

Syrian rebels said three Iranian captives were killed on Monday during an air attack in Damascus province by government forces, and threatened to kill their remaining captives unless the army stopped its attack. “They were killed when the aircraft attacked, one of the houses they were in collapsed over their heads,” the group’s spokesman, Moutassam al-Ahmad, told Reuters. “We will kill the rest if the army does not stop its assault. They have one hour.”

Bloomberg: Iran Denies Iranians Seized in Syria Include Military Members

Iran “firmly” rejects claims that a group of people abducted by Syrian rebels near Damascus include members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said.

Reuters: Iran plans to host meeting on Syria

Iran, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, plans to host a meeting of regional and other countries this week on ways to resolve the country’s conflict, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday. However, only countries with a “realistic” stance on the conflict will be invited to the meeting on Thursday, IRNA quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as saying. The report did not say which countries would be involved but without Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all of whom back the opposition to Assad, it is unlikely to have a significant result.

Reuters: Iran airs “confessions” in killings of nuclear scientists

Iranian state television aired what it described as confessions of individuals accused of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, saying they worked as Israeli agents to sabotage the country’s nuclear programme. Five Iranian scientists and academics have been killed or attacked since 2010 in incidents believed to have targeted Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, which the West says is aimed at producing a bomb.

Bloomberg: Iran’s Ahmadinejad to Attend Mecca Summit Next Week, Office Says

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will take part in an Islamic solidarity summit in Mecca next week following an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported, citing the president’s office. Ahmadinejad will be present in the “emergency summit” on Aug. 14-15 that’s aimed at reviewing developments in Arab countries, Mohammad-Reza Forghani, director for international affairs at Ahmadinejad’s office said, according to IRNA.

Washington Post: Obama associate got $100,000 fee from affiliate of firm doing business with Iran

David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser who was President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, accepted a $100,000 speaking fee in 2010 from an affiliate of a company doing business with Iran’s government. A subsidiary of MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company, paid Plouffe for two speeches he made in Nigeria in December 2010, about a month before he joined the White House staff.

Reuters: India HPCL begins rupee payment for Iran oil

State-run Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) has made its first payment for Iranian oil in rupees to partially settle its bill for a cargo imported in May, company officials said on Friday, a move that will help New Delhi fix its trade imbalance with Tehran.

 

Notable Opinion: Five Myths about the U.S.-Iran Conflict– The National Interest

Reza Marashi and Reza Sanati discuss the myths surrounding the current US-Iranian standoff:

U.S. and Iranian strategies are stuck in the status quo, but the world around them is changing. From Egypt to Pakistan, longtime U.S. allies surrounding Iran are increasingly at odds with Washington, each for its own reasons. Most notably, some Israeli leaders are threatening a military conflict with Iran, a mess that the United States might have to clean up.

For Tehran, sanctions are too severe to circumvent by the old means. The U.S.-led assault on Iran’s banking infrastructure, shipping lines and oil exports has forced the Islamic Republic to create new methods of trade. And the Arab Spring is challenging U.S. and Iranian influence in the Middle East. Neither country really wants a collision—war would be disastrous for both—but that is where the status quo appears to be headed.

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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