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  • 7 April 2008
  • Posted By Ali Scotten
  • 10 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in DC

Former leader of revolution, Ebrahim Yazdi, calls for US-Iran talks, rips into VOA Persian

If you’d been living in DC this past year, you could have made a full time job out of attending all the Iran events throughout the city. It seems like every day someone’s holding an Iran talk, whether at a think tank, local university, or up on the Hill. But Thursday’s event was something special. After shaking hands and chatting with former US embassy hostages, the reformist—and former revolutionary leader—Ebrahim Yazdi, spoke to a packed house at a Middle East Institute event called “The Iranian Situation.”

Read below about Yazdi’s message to US policy makers, and to VOA Persian.

  • 13 March 2008
  • Posted By Ali Scotten
  • 25 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Neo-Con Agenda, US-Iran War

Why can’t VOA Persian be as good as the English version?

As I read an article on Voice of America’s English website that objectively discusses sanctions as a strategy of foreign policy, I couldn’t help but ask myself, Why is it that VOA Persian can’t uphold that same standard of journalism?

  • 12 March 2008
  • Posted By Ali Scotten
  • 5 Comments
  • Diplomacy

Iranian Chemical Victims Remain Forgotten

As Iraq’s infamous Chemical Ali awaits execution, an article published on Friday by Anuj Chopra reminds us of the thousands of Iranian victims who still remain forgotten by the international community.

While the world knows a great deal about the Halabja massacres of Iraqi Kurds, for which Chemical Ali has been condemned to death, few realize that it was the Iranian Kurds across the border—attacked months earlier—that were the first civilian victims of chemical weapons. This was the first intentional use of chemical weapons against civilians in recorded history.

  • 4 March 2008
  • Posted By Ali Scotten
  • 3 Comments
  • Diplomacy

Thank you Diane Feinstein

The editors at the Economist are arguing that December’s National Intelligence Estimate on Iran has brought “international policy on Iran to the edge of collapse.” It has made America’s diplomatic position weaker, they say.

If by “diplomatic position” you mean threatening war and creating a hostile environment that strengthens Iran’s hardline elements, thus rendering a peaceful solution even more out of reach then, yes, the Economist is correct.

Thankfully, the NIE has opened up space for clearer heads to prevail by silencing those who were itching to bomb Iran.

  • 14 January 2008
  • Posted By Ali Scotten
  • 1 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in DC, Panel Discussion

Samore Wants to Talk to Iran…But Just Not Yet

Gary Samore doesn’t believe that negotiations with Iran should be pursued under the current administration. Instead, he thinks Bush should work towards another round of UN sanctions and leave the dialogue up to the next administration.

In his presentation at the Woodrow Wilson Center entitled “Prospects for an Iranian Nuclear Deal”, Samore argued that Bush should just ride out his current approach for the rest of his ‘lame duck’ term.

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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