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

Iran News Roundup: Week in Review

‘Israel Willing to Hit Iran, Even to Delay Nuke Program’
Barak: Waiting on Iran Would Be More Dangerous, Complicated
A Grave Warning on Iran From ‘The Decision Maker’
Ex-Obama Official Warns: Take Israel Iran Threat ‘Very Seriously’
Mofaz slams Netanyahu’s Iran saber rattling
Israel strike on Iran would be disaster: Netanyahu’s ex-deputy
Israel’s Peres against any solo Iran attack, trusts Obama
Report: Iran pardons 130 post-election detainees
Iran Group May Remain on U.S. Terror List
Iran Rejects Foreign Aid To Help Earthquake Victims – Or Does It?
Standard Chartered Bank Sued By Lebanon Bombing’s Victims’ Families Over Iran Connection
Syrian Rebels Said to Be Holding Elite Fighters From Iran
Iran’s Response ‘Huge’ If Targeted By Israel, Hezbollah Says
U.N. Watchdog May Lower its Estimate of “Missing” Iran Uranium
Iranian Media Reports On Calls For Khamenei To Curb Ahmadinejad’s Power
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad calls Israel’s existence ‘insult to all humanity’
Iran Seeks Higher Returns on S. Korea Bank Accounts -Source
Notable Opinion: Diplomacy is the Best Tool for Iran

Jerusalem Post, ‘Israel willing to hit Iran, even to delay nuke program’

Israel is willing to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities even if doing so only delays the Islamic Republic’s nuclear progress for a few years, Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren told Bloomberg News Wednesday. “One, two, three, four years are a long time in the Middle East – look what’s happened in the last year,” he said in reference to the ongoing upheaval throughout the Arab world.

Jerusalem Post, Barak: Waiting on Iran Would Be More Dangerous, Complicated

Barak, speaking to the Knesset plenum, added that discussions surrounding the issue are unprecedented in their thoroughness. “In all the wars and peacemaking in Israel’s history, there is no issue that has been dealt with in such depth as Iran has,” he said.  … Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz on Thursday accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of a “corrupt and cynical maneuver” for appointing former Kadima MK Avi Dichter as home front defense minister.

Haaretz, A Grave Warning on Iran From ‘The Decision Maker’

From the point of view of the American president, the moment has not yet come. The United States will be able to act next year, too. So the Americans are telling us that it would be a serious mistake to act now. After all, they could deal the Iranians a knockout blow, while they think all we can do is give them a black eye. So it would seem that it would be worth it for us, too, for them to be the ones to act and not us. But as a sovereign state, we’re saying that on issues vital to our security, we cannot place our fate in the hands of others.

Al-monitor,  Ex-Obama Official Warns: Take Israel Iran Threat ‘Very Seriously’

“I think it is more likely Israeli leaders are preparing the Israeli public for a strike, and creating a narrative for the international community that diplomacy and sanctions have failed and thus Israel has no choice,” said former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl. “There is clearly a crescendo emerging, and there is a lot of detailed, point-by-point argumentation …laying the foundation for a potential strike.”

Globes, Mofaz slams Netanyahu’s Iran saber rattling

“You are headed for a rash confrontation at an unnecessary cost while abandoning the home front,” opposition leader Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz said at the Knesset dais, in response to remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and talk about an attack on Iran. “Over the past few months, Israel has waged an extensive and relentless PR campaign with the sole objective of preparing the ground for a premature military adventure.”

Reuters, Israel strike on Iran would be disaster: Netanyahu’s ex-deputy

Naming both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, [Shaul Mofaz, a parliamentary opposition leader who quit Netanyahu’s cabinet last month where he served as vice premier] said he was “very worried at what they are preparing”. He added: “I hope very much we don’t reach such a war because it would be a disaster.”

Reuters, Israel’s Peres against any solo Iran attack, trusts Obama

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday came out against any go-it-alone Israeli attack on Iran, saying he trusted U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge to prevent Tehran from producing nuclear weapons. … “Now, it’s clear to us that we can’t do it alone. We can delay (Iran’s nuclear program). It’s clear to us we have to proceed together with America. There are questions about coordination and timing, but as serious as the danger is, this time at least we are not alone.”

AP, As talk of Iran strike and fear of war grow in Israel, a jittery public objects

The heightened rhetoric has fueled jitters that the zero hour is near. But there are also growing signs of discontent with the government’s approach, with critics accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, of recklessly plunging Israel into an unprecedented missile war. “I’m very afraid. I want peace, not war. I absolutely don’t want Israel to strike Iran,” said Pnina Grinbaum, a 55-year-old government clerk in Jerusalem

AP, Report: Iran pardons 130 post-election detainees

Iran’s top leader has granted amnesty to 130 prisoners related to the 2009 post-election turmoil, a state-run newspaper reported Thursday.

New York Times, Iran Group May Remain on U.S. Terror List

The two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter involves litigation, said Mrs. Clinton had not made a decision yet. But they said the group’s refusal to complete a move from Camp Ashraf to the former site of Camp Liberty, near the Baghdad airport, may doom its bid. Asked why the M.E.K.’s failure to move from Camp Ashraf was relevant to the terrorist designation, one official said that the group had long used the facility for paramilitary training. Though the group was disarmed after the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, he said, a refusal to move would raise questions about whether the group has truly changed its intentions.

Huffington Post, Standard Chartered Bank Sued By Lebanon Bombing’s Victims’ Families Over Iran Connection

They [the families] claim in the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the bank conspired with Iran and its agents to hide Iran’s assets from them. They’re seeking to trace assets as they try to enforce a $2.6 billion judgment against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

New York Times, Syrian Rebels Said to Be Holding Elite Fighters From Iran

“We have received indications that at least some of the passengers on the bus are I.R.G.C., and now in F.S.A. custody,” said one American official, who discussed the information on the condition of anonymity. Senior Iranian officials have appealed directly to the Assad government for help in gaining the captives’ release. Requests from Iran on other matters have been made to countries on Syria’s border, including Turkey. Potential channels that Iran could use to negotiate with the rebel leaders are, as one government official said, “murky at best.”

Bloomberg, Iran’s Response ‘Huge’ If Targeted By Israel, Hezbollah Says

Any strike by Israel would give Iran the “golden opportunity” it has been dreaming of for years, Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Lebanon-based Hezbollah, said today in a speech relayed to supporters in South Beirut to mark Jerusalem Day. Hezbollah can reach targets in Israel with just a small number of missiles that are already in place and inflict “tens of thousands of Israeli deaths,” Nasrallah said. Hezbollah cannot destroy Israel but can turn the lives of millions of Israelis into “real hell,” he said.

Reuters, U.N. Watchdog May Lower its Estimate of “Missing” Iran Uranium

The United Nations’ atomic watchdog may decide that less uranium is missing at an Iranian research site than it had previously thought, diplomats say, and that may go some way to easing concerns that it may have been diverted for military use.

Tehran Bureau, Iranian Media Reports On Calls For Khamenei To Curb Ahmadinejad’s Power

Several “personalities” of the Iranian establishment and a number of lawmakers have sent a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that apparently suggests moves that could dilute the powers of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. That is according to a report by the website Fardanews, which is said to be close to Tehran Mayor Mohammad Qalibaf.

AP, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad calls Israel’s existence ‘insult to all humanity’

Israel’s existence is an “insult to all humanity,” Iran’s president said Friday in one of his sharpest attacks yet against the Jewish state, as Israel openly debates whether to attack Iran over its nuclear program. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said confronting Israel is an effort to “protect the dignity of all human beings.”


Notable Opinion: Diplomacy is the Best Tool for Iran

Nicholas Burns, director of the Aspen Strategy Group, discusses the three steps the United States should take in order to avoid war with Iran:

First, the winner of November’s election should do what every president since Jimmy Carter has failed to do — create a direct channel between Washington and Tehran and begin an extended one-on-one negotiation with all issues on the table. The United States should aim for the sustained and substantive talks it has not had in the three decades since American diplomats were taken hostage in Tehran. Once elected, either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney could ask his secretary of state to lead talks with Iran or choose a distinguished former cabinet official such as James A. Baker, one of America’s most accomplished negotiators. We should exhaust diplomacy before we consider war. To attack a country before we have had our first meaningful discussions since 1979 would be shortsighted, to say the least.

Second, the United States must for the first time put far-reaching proposals on the table if diplomacy and negotiations are to succeed. Obama has rightly followed essentially the same policy on Iran as George W. Bush. Both offered to negotiate but also placed increasingly tough sanctions on Iran and threatened force if necessary. But the negotiating channel we have tried for six years now — a multilateral forum with the United States as one of six countries under European Union leadership — has produced no results and tied the hands of American negotiators. A new US-Iran channel would reinforce those talks. To be successful, however, the United States must be ready to compromise by offering imaginative proposals that would permit Iran civil nuclear power but deny it a nuclear weapon.

Third, the United States needs to take the reins of this crisis from Israel to give us more independence and protect Israel’s core interests at the same time. Israel’s concern that an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose an unacceptable risk is completely understandable. We should reaffirm our determination to protect Israel’s security. But the United States, not Israel, must lead on Iran during the next year. It is not in America’s interest to remain hostage to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s increasingly swift timetable for action. We need the freedom to explore negotiations with Iran on our own slower timeline before we consider force.

Posted By Roshan Alemi

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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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