• 13 August 2012
  • Posted By Roshan Alemi
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 13, 2012

Iran earthquakes: Tehran criticized for response to disaster
Iran Moves to Distribute Aid After Two Earthquakes Kill 307
Iran raises toll from Saturday’s earthquake to 306 dead, over 3,000 injured
Israeli Minister Asks Nations to Say Iran Talks Have Failed
Revised gov’t protocol gives PM unprecedented powers

Nuclear ruse: Posing as toymaker, Chinese merchant allegedly sought U.S. technology for Iran
Oil rises to near $94 on Israel-Iran concerns
Standard Chartered in talks to settle Iran laundering probe
Notable Opinion: Why Do Israeli Media Keep Predicting War With Iran?


The Guardian, “Iran earthquakes: Tehran criticized for response to disaster

Iran’s government has faced criticism from politicians and the public over its handling of relief efforts after two large earthquakes killed 300 people and injured thousands in the north-west of the country. Although officials announced on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the disaster, that search and rescue operations had finished and all survivors had been freed from the rubble, some residents expressed disbelief that authorities could have reached some of the most remote villages so soon.

Businessweek, “Iran Moves to Distribute Aid After Two Earthquakes Kill 307

The U.S. said yesterday it stands ready to offer assistance, according to a White House statement e-mailed to reporters. The Swiss government also expressed readiness yesterday to provide humanitarian assistance, according to an IRNA report. Russia said it, too, was ready to help, in a statement posted on the presidency’s website. Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad- Najjar said Iran had received offers from abroad and had declined them. “We will carry out relief work by relying on our domestic potential,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

AP, “Iran raises toll from Saturday’s earthquake to 306 dead, over 3,000 injured

The death toll included some 219 women and children, Dastjerdi said, adding that around 2,000 injured people had been released from hospitals soon after the quake since they had only minor injuries. Dastjerdi said her ministry has deployed scores of ambulances and medics to the region but still needs helicopters to transfer seriously injured people quickly. Authorities say old, heavy roofs without frames were largely responsible for the death toll in the rural areas.

New York Times, “Israeli Minister Asks Nations to Say Iran Talks Have Failed

Referring to the Iran negotiations led by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, the minister, Danny Ayalon, told Israel Radio that those nations should “declare today that the talks have failed.” After such a declaration, if Iran does not halt its nuclear program, “it will be clear that all options are on the table,” Mr. Ayalon said, not only for Israel, but also for the United States and NATO. Asked how long the Iranians should be given to cease all nuclear activity, Mr. Ayalon said “weeks, and not more than that.”

Ynet News, “Revised gov’t protocol gives PM unprecedented powers

The government on Sunday approved amendments to its protocol which expand Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s powers in an unprecedented manner in the backdrop of the Iran strike debate. Under the new protocol, the prime minister will have the power to delay motions passed by ministerial committees and the option to decide government voting orders. The prime minister’s bureau explained that the move is meant to “improve governance.” In effect, the amendments mean that Netanyahu would be able to easily secure a majority for fateful decisions.

Washington Post, “Nuclear ruse: Posing as toymaker, Chinese merchant allegedly sought U.S. technology for Iran

Last month, the Justice Department announced indictments against two people, one Chinese and the other Iranian, for conspiring to acquire maraging steel and other restricted American technology. U.S. officials say the case is part of a broader effort by Iran to dramatically expand its capacity to enrich uranium — with Chinese firms serving as willing accomplices.

Businessweek, “Oil rises to near $94 on Israel-Iran concerns

Oil prices rose to near $94 a barrel Monday as increased concerns about the possible escalation of the conflict between Israel and Iran helped crude claw back last week’s losses triggered by the International Energy Agency’s lower crude demand forecast.

Reuters, “Standard Chartered in talks to settle Iran laundering probe

British bank Standard Chartered is trying to reach an early settlement over charges it hid $250 billion of transactions tied to Iran, backing down under pressure from U.S. regulators and shareholders. Despite chief executive Peter Sands’s strong denial of the charges leveled by New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS), the bank’s U.S. legal team has got as far as discussing a settlement figure with regulators ahead of a Wednesday showdown with the DFS head Benjamin Lawsky, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Notable Opinion: Why Do Israeli Media Keep Predicting War With Iran?

Time’s Tony Karon analyzes the growing expectation that Israel may attack Iran before the U.S. Presidential election:

Most Western analyses in recent months have concluded that Israel won’t scramble its bombers before November and that the sanctions that are steadily eroding Iranian living standards will be given more time to bleed Iran’s economy — although the Israeli leadership correctly points out that there haven’t been any signs, thus far, that the tightening choke hold of sanctions will prompt Iran’s leaders to capitulate to Western demands. By the logic of using the threat of military action to spur greater Western action, last week’s frenzied percussion on Israel’s war drums could be read as an attempt to challenge complacency in Washington and other Western capitals and to demand even harsher pressure on Iran in the months ahead.

Clearly, someone wants Israelis and the world to think Israel is moving closer to launching a fateful attack on Iran. Whether such a scenario has really become more likely than it was two weeks or two months ago, or the agenda is part of some game of bluff designed to change either Iranian or Western behavior, there’s a growing danger that the Israeli public’s expectations of war are being raised to a critical point. After all, as many in the security establishment have long warned, you can’t keep telling Israelis that there’s a grave and gathering danger of annihilation looming on the horizon without creating overwhelming pressure to act.

Posted By Roshan Alemi

    One Response to “Iran News Roundup: August 13, 2012”

  1. melvin polatnick says:

    Keffiyeh and Yarmulke wearers have never been in greater danger of extermination. The coming attack by Israel on Iran would result in a retaliation that would kill most Jews and destroy thousands of synagogues. Every nuclear bomb in the Israeli arsenal would then be used, 85% of Sunnis, Shi`ites and their Mosques would cease to exist. The few survivors will trash their Torah`s and Koran`s, they will only worship oil wealth and Shekels. The words Shalom and Allahu Akbar will be forgotten.

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Sign the Petition


7,350 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.



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