• 10 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 10, 2012

Sanctions on Iran: ‘ordinary people are the target’
U.S. still believes Iran not on verge of nuclear weapon
White House says it has ‘eyes’ inside Iranian nuclear program
Israel media talk of imminent Iran war push
Asian oil buyers help Iran stave off the worst, for now
Iran playing ‘nefarious’ role in Syria: Rice
Fiery Erdogan Slams Assad, Iran
Iran Oil Embargo Has Ripple Effect for Europe
Analysis: False records issue is key to Standard Chartered case
Iran’s Navy Says Has No Plan for Naval Reactors
Iran urges Syrians to talk after Tehran meeting
Indian PM Likely to Visit Iran

Notable Opinion: Stop the Shadow War Talk

 

The Guardian: “Sanctions on Iran: ‘ordinary people are the target’

For Fatemeh, the pill she takes twice a day in her home in Iran means the difference between life and death. Earlier this summer when she contacted her friend Mohammad in the US to say she was running out of the medicine due to a shortage, the obvious thing for her fellow Iranian to do was to order it from the chemist next door and have it shipped directly to Iran. To the dismay of Fatemeh and Mohammad, the order was rejected because of US sanctions on trade with Iran.

Reuters: “U.S. still believes Iran not on verge of nuclear weapon

The United States still believes that Iran is not on the verge of having a nuclear weapon and that Tehran has not made a decision to pursue one, U.S. officials said on Thursday. Their comments came after Israeli media reports claimed U.S. President Barack Obama had received a new National Intelligence Estimate saying Iran had made significant and surprising progress toward military nuclear capability.

AFP: “White House says it has ‘eyes’ inside Iranian nuclear program

The United States said Friday it had “eyes” and “visibility” inside Iran’s nuclear program and would know if Tehran had made a “breakout” move toward acquiring a nuclear weapon. The comment by White House spokesman Jay Carney followed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s remark that new U.S. intelligence suggested that the threat from Iran was becoming more “urgent.” Carney declined to comment on intelligence matters in detail but said that Washington and Israel were agreed on Iran’s ambitions and its nuclear program. “I would also say that we have eyes — we have visibility into the program, and we would know if and when Iran made what’s called a breakout move towards acquiring a weapon.”

Reuters: “Israel media talk of imminent Iran war push

Israel’s prime minister and defense minister would like to attack Iran’s nuclear sites before the U.S. election in November but lack crucial support within their cabinet and military, an Israeli newspaper said on Friday. The front-page report in the biggest-selling daily Yedioth Ahronoth came amid mounting speculation – fuelled by media leaks from both the government and its detractors at home and abroad – that war with Iran could be imminent even though it might rupture the bedrock ties between Israel and the United States.

Reuters: “Asian oil buyers help Iran stave off the worst, for now

Asia’s major crude buyers are finding ways around tough U.S. and EU sanctions to maintain imports from Iran, suggesting that, for now, the worst may be over for the OPEC producer that is losing more than $100 million a day in oil export revenues. China, India, Japan and South Korea buy most of the one million barrels per day of crude Iran is able to export despite financial, shipping and insurance sanctions aimed at curbing funds for its controversial nuclear program. After a lull in imports in the middle of the year caused by Asian refineries, reducing purchases as sanctions kicked in, analysts expect shipments to rise in August and September.

AFP: “Iran playing ‘nefarious’ role in Syria: Rice

The United States on Thursday accused Iran of playing a “nefarious” role in the Syria conflict, one that strengthens the case for President Bashar al-Assad to be forced out of office. Susan Rice, US ambassador to the United Nations said the alliance of Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and Assad’s government — a group that boasts of being the Middle East’s “an axis of resistance” — was “bad for the region.” Rice was speaking to NBC television shortly after Assad met a top Iranian envoy in his war-torn capital this week and as Tehran hosted a conference on the conflict designed to shore up the beleaguered Syrian regime.

Al-Monitor: “Fiery Erdogan Slams Assad, Iran

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has unleashed all kinds of condemnations of Syria and Iran. He questioned whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was really a Muslim, which will likely provoke Alawites inside Turkey and abroad. Erdogan also accused Iran of disloyalty, vowing to fight “the enemies of Turkey” until the end. Erdogan strongly criticized Iran, saying: “We stood by Iran when no one was at its side. Is it consistent with our beliefs to defend a regime that has killed 25,000 people? The Iranian leadership must first take responsibility for its actions.”

Wall Street Journal: “Iran Oil Embargo Has Ripple Effect for Europe

By the time July 1 rolled around, most European refiners had already replaced Iranian oil with crude from other countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iraq and oil prices were hovering near their lowest level since May. And yet a significant dent to one Italian refiner’s profits in the second quarter suggests that although European refiners have kept the oil flowing, the cost of sanctions could still prove problematic. Saras, one of Italy’s biggest private oil refiners announced a net loss of €131.8 million Friday despite a sharp drop in oil prices over the period.

Reuters: “Analysis: False records issue is key to Standard Chartered case

A New York state case against Standard Chartered Plc is more about whether the British bank carried out an old-fashioned cover-up using allegedly false records and less about the role the bank played in the alleged money-laundering of funds tied to Iran, according to people familiar with the situation and court documents.

AP: “Iran’s Navy Says Has No Plan for Naval Reactors

An Iranian semiofficial news agency is quoting the country’s acting navy commander as saying that Tehran has no immediate plans to build nuclear naval reactors. The Thursday report by ISNA says rear Adm. Gohlamreza Khadem Bigham told the country’s Arabic language Al-Alam TV late Wednesday that while Iran possesses technology and capabilities to produce highly-enriched nuclear fuel for naval reactors, plans to produce either have not been on the “agenda” of the country or its navy.

Reuters: “Iran urges Syrians to talk after Tehran meeting

Iran urged Syrian rebels on Thursday to start talks with President Bashar al-Assad about political reform and said it won international support at a meeting in Tehran for such a strategy to end the conflict. The Iranian foreign minister insisted Assad’s administration – a key ally of Tehran – would not collapse under pressure from abroad and the state broadcaster said a diplomatic gathering attended by Russia, China, India, Jordan and a couple of dozen other states had backed Tehran’s call for a three-month truce.

Wall Street Journal: “Indian PM Likely to Visit Iran

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to visit Iran at the end of this month to attend a Non-Aligned Movement summit, a government official said Friday, spurring hopes of improving trade ties between the two countries. Although India has moved to reduce purchases of crude oil from Iran in recent months following western sanctions, Iran still remains a major supplier to India. Shipments have become increasingly difficult, however, with few companies willing to provide insurance cover for transport of the crude, including Indian-owned companies.

 

Notable Opinion: “Stop the Shadow War Talk

Ellen Laipson cautions against “normalizing” the idea the US is at war, fearing such a normalization increases the chances of military action:

The rhetorical use of “war” to describe U.S.-Iranian relations has been harmful, although such imprecise use of the word is not unique to Iran. War is used to describe counterterrorism efforts, and its use in domestic contexts (war on poverty, for example) has trivialized the term. History has also dumbed down the meaning; countries no longer exercise the quaint courtesy of declaring war to warn an adversary about the commencement of hostilities, and evolving international norms prefer the management of conflict to the formalities of war and peace. Most wars are undeclared, and peace agreements are sometimes not irrevocable commitments. Still, labeling U.S.-Iranian relations as in a state of war creates a mindset in both publics and political classes that undermines prospects for any normalization of relations.

The war talk has created a very one-dimensional view of Iran, and a limited and disturbing view of what’s at stake for the United States. The future of U.S.-Iranian relations will require a sustained effort to build better bridges between the two societies, and to help ensure that the war talk not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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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