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

Iran News Roundup: August 7, 2012

The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran
Iran foreign minister in Turkey to seek help in Syria
Syrian rebels: government attack kills 3 Iranian captives
Iran Warns U.S. on Fate of Hostages in Syria
New intelligence reveals Iranian military nuclear program advancing faster than previously thought
Standard Chartered may lose NY license over Iran ties
Iran shoots for 3rd Greco-Roman gold medal in 3 days at London Olympics

Aide’s Fees Draw Critics and, Then, Defenders
Iranian state goes offline to dodge cyber-attacks
Indian shippers wary of state’s Iran insurance
Notable Opinion: “What Americans outside the Beltway think about war with Iran

Al-Monitor: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran

A new book on the long confrontation between the US and Iran blames the George W. Bush administration for squandering opportunities to improve relations with Tehran and invading Iraq in 2003 without recognizing that Iran would wind up being the power broker in that country. These criticisms are remarkable given their source: David Crist, author of The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict With Iran is a US Defense Department historian, lieutenant colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserve and the son of one of the early leaders of US Central Command (CENTCOM)… The George W. Bush administration considered cooperating with Iran over removing the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, but opposition from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his top civilian aides, as well as Vice President Dick Cheney, torpedoed a draft proposal by then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Instead, Rumsfeld’s office advocated getting rid of the Iranian government, too, in part by supporting an “Iranian National Congress” of exiles on the model of Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. At loggerheads internally, the Bush administration failed to approve any policy toward Iran in its first term.

Reuters: Iran foreign minister in Turkey to seek help in Syria

Iran’s foreign minister flew to Turkey on Tuesday seeking to mend a relationship sorely strained by the Syrian uprising and to secure Turkish help for dozens of kidnapped Iranians. “Turkey has its links with the opposition in Syria. So we think Turkey can play a major role in freeing our pilgrims,” Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters as he arrived in Ankara.

New York Times: Iran Warns U.S. on Fate of Hostages in Syria

Iran said Tuesday that it was holding the United States responsible for the fate of a group of Iranians held by Syrian rebels, as the highest-ranking Iranian official to visit Syria since the anti-government uprising began there arrived in Damascus to show support for President Bashar al-Assad and attempt to secure the release of the hostages.

Haaretz: New intelligence reveals Iranian military nuclear program advancing faster than previously thought

New intelligence information obtained by Israel and four Western countries indicates that Iran has made greater progress on developing components for its nuclear weapons program than the West had previously realized, according to Western diplomats and Israeli officials who are closely involved in efforts to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

Reuters: Standard Chartered may lose NY license over Iran ties

In a rare move, New York’s top bank regulator threatened to strip the state banking license of Standard Chartered Plc, saying it was a “rogue institution” that hid $250 billion in transactions tied to Iran, in violation of U.S. law. The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) on Monday said the British bank “schemed” with the Iranian government and hid from law-enforcement officials some 60,000 secret transactions to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in fees over nearly 10 years.

Washington Post: Iran shoots for 3rd Greco-Roman gold medal in 3 days at London Olympics

Iran had never won an Olympic gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling until the London Games. By the time the discipline wraps up Tuesday, the Iranians could very well be boasting about a gold for each day of the competition. Saied Mourad Abdvali of Iran hasn’t lost in nearly two years, and the 2011 world champion will be the favorite at 66 kilograms to join teammates Hamid Soryan and Omid Noroozi as gold medalists. The Iranians could end up with three golds in three days.

New York Times: Aide’s Fees Draw Critics and, Then, Defenders

The White House defended President Obama’s senior adviser on Monday for taking $100,000 in speaking fees before joining the government from a subsidiary of a company working with the Iranian government. The White House rejected criticism of Mr. Plouffe’s dealings with the firm, saying that MTN was not a major focus of those seeking to cut off business with Iran when it issued the invitation in the spring of 2010.

The Telegraph: Iranian state goes offline to dodge cyber-attacks

Reza Taghipour, the country’s telecommunications minister, said the step was being taken because sensitive intelligence was vulnerable on the worldwide web, which he said was untrustworthy because it was controlled by “one or two” countries hostile to Iran. “The establishment of the national intelligence network will create a situation where the precious intelligence of the country won’t be accessible to these powers,” Mr Taghipour told a conference on Sunday at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University. He described the move as the first phase of a project to replace the global internet with a domestic intranet system scheduled to be completed within 18 months.

Reuters: Indian shippers wary of state’s Iran insurance

India’s top shipowners have rejected a government offer to ship Iranian oil, saying insurance provided by the state as sanctions hit alternative cover is inadequate. Their resistance means India’s refiners will have to use Iran’s own insurers and tankers for their imports, which make India the second-biggest buyer of oil from Tehran after China.

 

Notable Opinion: Stephan Walt: “What Americans outside the Beltway think about war with Iran

I detected no support for any sort of war with Iran. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Not by us, not by Israel, and not by anybody else. It’s possible that some people in the audience would use force as a last resort, but no one in the audience or in private spoke in favor of that option or even asked a question that leaned in that direction. (One retired government official said he believed there would eventually be a war, but he made it clear that he thought that it was a terrible idea). Instead, they were mostly interested in what could be done to prevent a war, and several questions centered on what could be done to improve U.S.-Iranian relations over the longer term. That view, by the way, is more-or-less consistent with recent surveys showing relatively little support for the “military option.”

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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