Currently Browsing

Author Archive

  • 4 November 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran Unrest Part Two

Relative calm has returned to Iran after a day of protests. Widespread pro- and anti-government protests, and the police forces’, Basij’s, and IRGC’s attempts to suppress the Green movement using force have come to an end.

Here is the second part of the Green Freedom Wave’s report on anti-government protests across Iran:

(Again, translation copyright New York Times Company – please give credit if you quote it)

Today’s demonstrations all across Iran were the scene of the widespread presence of Greens protesting the Coup d’etat of Khordad 1388. The scene of the protests in most of the cities across Iran today was the scene of complete aggression. An aggression without guise and naked, in which the main actors were plainclothes civilian forces using maces, Basij forces using weapons, and riot control police and people without any refuge, whose only crime was wanting to participate in demonstrations, were the innocent sacrifices of these forces. Green Freedom Wave’s reporters in Tehran and across Iran inform us about bullets being fired in the air and the irregular usage of pepper spray and tear gas, by the riot control police, in order to disperse the assemblies of the people. And in addition to this, as we reported before, Mehdi Karroubi and two of his bodyguards were subject to brutal attacks by uniformed Basij forces and were targeted by bullets. The condition of one of his bodyguards is serious and they have transferred him to a hospital. Likewise repressive forces opposite the Iranian Academy of Arts did not allow Mir Hossein Mousavi’s entourage to move towards the demonstrations. And they began attacks and beatings and creating fear amongst the people by spreading tear gas in the area.

Based on the reports that have come into the Green Freedom Wave, in addition to the injuring of a number of patiots resulting from baton beatings and the use of tear gas, a number of demonstrators today have been sent to the hostpitals and a minority have been arrested. Amongst the arrested are political activists such as Mohammad Hashemi [A leading hostage taker in 1979 and husband of Massoumeh Ebtekar their spokeswoman] central member of the Office of Unity, Fayyeseh Za’-Kohan a journalist, Hojjat Sharifi a member of the Bureau of Consolidating Unity (the leading student protest group), Vahideh Molavi a member of the group Women’s Square, Ali Mashmooli – member of the Islamic Students of Sharif University of Technology, Ali Malihi – member of the Bureau for Consolidating Unity, Hamad Sadeghi — member of the Bureau for Consolidating Unity, and Hassan Asadi-Zaydabadi — member of the Bureau for Consolidating Unity. A small number of the protesters were taken from the streets and transferred to strange, unmarked homes and we do not know what has happened to them.

The reports of the Green Freedom Wave from Neyshapur (near Mashhad) indicate that there was a widespread contingent of Green-wearing protesters in the streets there and they have recorded the people’s attempts to escape the from the hands of the coup d’etat government. In this city two girls who were being attacked by plain clothes forces were given a chance to escape by some people standing nearby and the Green Freedom Wave finds this report very interesting. Likewise the brave artists and teachers of this city were present at the Green demonstrations and they played an important role in guiding the people away from the hands of the repressive forces. Quoting from the Wave’s reporter in Neyshapur, teachers used their educational ID cards to protect people who were under threat of being arrested.

Likewise Green Freedom Wave’s reporting from Rasht (in the north of Iran) records that there was a large presence of Green-wearing protesters in this city, and they were subject to violence by coup d’etat government officials. According to the Wave’s report, news media report that Green supporting youth were marching from Toshiba Square towards Culture Square when, after having marched half of their path, a group of plainclothes security forces and men on motorcycles attacked them wildly. But the green youth changed their patht o move towards the University of Sciences of Gilan and they moved in that direction. A number of students were trying to enter the main area of the University when plainclothes security forces suddenly showed up and prevented them from entering the University. Students linked up with the people standing opposite the University gates and shouted the slogans “Death to the dictator!” “Down with Russia and the eyeless government!” Likewise in the Government’s office square in Rasht which was on the official demonstration’s path, reports indicate many confrontations occurred. This happened while the champion of Gilan’s local government, alongside Ayatollah Ghorbani (the Supreme Leader’s Representative in Gilan), and Bijan Nowbaveh an MP from Tehran, who had a special presence as the main speaker at the government’s ceremony, were all present at a special location. While the Basijis and government-supporting teachers were shouting slogans from loudspeakers, a number of young boys and girls suddenly began chanting in response: “Our nation says Death to Russia!” and their numbers quietly increased – shocking the audience. Plainclothes security forces first looked at this scene with surprise but then they suddenly attacked these protesters using batons. Police forces entered the scene after the Basij attack, as they usually have in recent months, and instead of helping the people they arrested a number of protesters. There still is no accurate information on the number of arrested in Rasht but eyewitnesses inform the Wave’s reporter in Rasht that about 15 people were arrested in the government office’s square. It is still unclear where these people were transferred to.

Green Freedom Wave’s reporter in Mashhad also report a self-organized movement of students at the Ferdowsi University in Mashhad, who began marching in front of the Engineering University in Mashhad and moved towards the Engineering department, the Mathematics department, the administrative sciences department, and continued towards the Dentistry department, and later moved out of the University towards Freedom Square. At about 1 in the afternoon they were on Vakilabad street towards Freedom Square – near Ali al-Khosoos across from Ferdowsi University – when they met with heavy traffic. They could see Special Forces police units across from the main gate of Ferdowsi University. At the same time, at the start of the protests, the Basij forces received help from University teachers in using loudspeakers and other tools to create disorder in the protests, to which students responded with slogans like “Basiji, be Ashamed! Free the University [from your terror]!” Green students at Ferdowsi University who were increasing by the minute, were being filmed by forces covering their faces, to which they responded “Turn off your cameras! Listen to what we say!” They also shouted “Ahmadinejad, show us where you got your 63% from!”

Likewise eye witness reports in Mashhad indicate that many students carried signs saying “Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic” (as opposed to Khomeini’s slogan, “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic”), and they shouted the slogan “The Embassy of Russia is the Den of Spies” (Iran calls the ex-US Embassy the Den of Spies). It is said that the students living on campus were preparing to continue their protests into the night.

Allameh Tabatabaie University was also the site of a widespread Green protest. According to Green Freedom Wave’s reporter in Tehran, today in the Econmoics department at Allameh, located at AbbasAbad street on the intersection with Bucharest street, nearly 200 students assembled near the south door of the University and shouted anti-government slogans, and they were met by support from the people living on AbbasAbad street. Nearly 2000 students assembled outside the university on AbbasAbad. After nearly 30 minutes of the students’ assembly, IRGC forces (wearing IRGC uniforms!) broke down the doors to enter the University and they proceeded to beat a number of male and female students severely – which resulted in one of the students getting a fractured skull. Likewise many tear gas canisters were fired into the University and 3 students were hit directly by these canisters. These IRGC forces who had violated the privacy of the University were confronted by even the university’s Basij student contingent – and they physically confronted the Basij students and intimidated them. All of the classes at Allameh were cancelled for the day.

Likewise thousands of students at Qazvin Free University (in the north of Iran) organized pro-Green assemblies there. These students shouted slogans supporting Mousavi and Karroubi.

Scattered reports across Tehran and from universities across the nation indicate that people are going to shout “Allah Akbar” tonight from 9pm to 10pm.

  • 4 November 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 1 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Latest report on Iran Protests

This just in from the Green Freedom Wave:

(Translation copyright New York Times Company. Please do not repost without giving credit)

Based on the latest reports from the earliest hours of today’s protests, Green-wearing protesters have flooded the streets in Tehran and the provinces once again renewed their commitment to the ideals of the martyrs of the Green movement and the political prisoners.

Once again, the Coup detat supporters have proven that in order to quench the widespread wave of Green protesters, they are willing to use any weapon/tactic. At the intersection of Haft Tir square & Tehran University and likewise on Vali Asr street (the main avenue in Tehran), police/riot control forces fired bullets in the crowd, and multiple times eyewitnesses heard the sound of their bullets firing during the demonstrations. (It is not clear if bullets were fired AT the protesters or just into the air.)

Plain-clothes security forces attacked and went after students using batons and maces, and used tear gas to separate the people from each other. But a few minutes was enough before the Green Wave was once again they regrouped/steeped (?) themselves on Far’ei Street near the main avenue. Likewise on the outskirts of Kargar Shomali-Amirabadi street, plainclothes civilian forces attacked the people. At about 11 in the morning, Sheykh Mehdi Karroubi joined the lines of demonstrators received an outstanding welcome to chants of “Karroubi, Karroubi, we support you!” After a few minutes of walking alongside the people, the brave leader of the movement was subjected to attacks and violence from Coup d’etat-supporting forces and was forced to leave the scene of the protests.

On the outskirts of Mefteh (“key”) street, Pol-e Karim Khan (“Karim Khan’s bridge”) street, opposite the main entrance of Tehran University, and also on Vali Asr avenue, to this very minute the conflicts continue. The people are active on the path of the demonstrations with slogans like “Death to the Dictator,” “Ahmadinejad is their exemplar, he’s so unsophisticated.” In the moments when they were firing tear gas toward the people, the people were still chanting the slogans “Do not fear, do not fear, we are all together!” and keeping each others’ spirits high. According to the reports of Green Freedom Wave’s reporters on the front lines of the demonstrations, the plainclothes civilian forces have used naked force to disperse the people. Like always, the plainclothes forces are using tear gas and batons for repressing the people. A number of patriots have been arrested in today’s demonstrations. There are still no accurate/confirmed reports about the state of the arrested.

It is worth mentioning that most of the streets leading to the American Embassy and the the Russian Embassy and likewise Ferdowsi Square have been blocked off, and a large number of Basij forces from a few hours ago were standing outside the Embassy [of America] wearing “special uniforms.” [Gholam Ali] Haddad-Adel (former Speaker of Parliament and conservative MP) gave a 40 minute speech at the today’s ceremony, which was broadcast over the radio, and during the broadcast the chanting of “Death to the dictator!” could clearly be heard from the audience.

Around 11:40 in the morning today, it was announced that the cellphone systems along the paths of the demonstrations were disabled by radio interference/disturbance. Despite this, the people recorded movies and took pictures of the scene of the demonstrations using their cellphones and many of these reports have been published on this site and for the next few hours we will continue to publish these independent reports on this very news website.

The Green Wave was not only present in Tehran demonstrations. In the provincial cities there are also reports indicating that demonstrators wearing green clothes and wristbands were present at demonstrations. From Shiraz news arrives that there was a very large-scale presence of people wearing green at the Shah Cheragh (“King of Light”) Shrine (one of the most beautiful religious sites in Shiraz), and there was an assembly at the student square of this city, where they shouted slogans like “Death to the dictator!” and “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein.” Reports that have come into Green Freedom Wave from the town of Arak report that there was a widespread presence of demonstrators wearing green who shouted the slogan “Death to the dictator!” From Tabriz, also, news reaches us that during the first minutes of the protests in this city, plainclothes civilian forces and a Special Police Unit attacked the people like wild animals.

In this wild animal attack, people were arrested and taken en masse to Hotel Tabriz, and then were moved towards Fellekeh University, where plainclothes security forces attacked them using pepper spray, and people around the square of Fellekeh University in Tabriz were able to breath only with great difficulty. Likewise scattered confrontations continue in Tabriz. There is no accurate information on the number of injured or arrested in the provincial cities.

Universities across the nation were the scene of a blossoming presence of Green students. According to news that we have obtained from the city of Kerman, students began demonstrations around 9am, and until 12 noon the assembly of Green students opposite Vahdat (“unity”) Hall continued, and these students shouted slogans like “Mousavi, Karroubi, we support you!” and “Coup de’tat government, Resign, resign!”

The Greens in Tehran and the provincial cities holding up placards and shouting slogans in support of the leaders of the Green movement to this very moment on November 4 has been unforgettable, and this Green legacy will continue.

  • 9 October 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Mottaki: In talks, we will not buy expensively nor sell cheaply

IRNA has an interview with Manouchehr Mottaki about US-Iran relations. Policymakers will be interested to know how he frames the issue. He denies an alleged meeting with US congressmen, contrary to what Iran’s own al-Alam network has reported. From IRNA:

In a statement that appears simple but in reality is laden with meaning, Iran’s Foreign Minister said: “Since we are a nation that is very business-minded, it’s obvious that we pay complete attention so that we do not buy expensive things or sell our own products cheaply.”

He said, “We are observing the American government to see if the actions of Barack Obama’s government match with the stated policies of the American government in relation to regional issues and issues exclusive to the Islamic Republic.”

“Albeit, we believe that the measure of the compliance between this government’s stated policies and its actual policies is currently not large enough to be worth paying attention to.”

“MY TRIP TO WASHINGTON IS NOT A SIGN”

In another portion of this interview with IRNA, Mottaki talked about his surprise visit to Washington September 30: “Although the US gave a positive response to an Iranian Foreign Minister’s request to visit Washington, this cannot be taken as a sign of the state of our relationship.”

“I went to Washington to take care of business relating to the Interests Section — problems and affairs of Iranian living inside America – and nothing else.”

Mottaki denied reports that he met with two Congressmen on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

  • 1 October 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 1 Comments
  • Uncategorized

Mehr News: Next Round of Talks Late October (UPDATED)

Mehr News has published a report from “an informed source” saying taht the P5+1 and Iran have agreed to hold the next round of talks:

The six countries and Iran have reached an agreement to continue the talks held today.

According to Mehr reporting, an informed source close to the Geneva negotiations says: “The participants of the dialogue have agreed to organize the next round of talks between Saeed Jalili, Javier Solana, and the representatives of the six nations at the end of October”

Likewise, all parties have agreed that in preparation for the next round of talks, a roundtable meeting between the deputies of all representatives will occur.

Translation courtesy of the New York Times. Please give credit if you re-post.

Update: US diplomatic sources have confirmed this report about a second round of talks later in October.  Most analysts had agreed coming into the talks this morning that the bare minimum for a successful meeting is an agreed framework for continuing the negotiations.  This (low) bar seems to have been met in today’s talks.

No word yet on whether the P5+1 raised any issues of human rights for discussion.

  • 28 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran

Mehdi Karroubi criticizes Rafsanjani

BBC Persian reports that Mehdi Karroubi has criticized Rafsanjani severely for his performance in the recent Assembly of Experts meeting in a letter, and asks: “What is your answer to the people who, under dangerous conditions, question the actions of the Assembly of Experts under your leadership?”

He praises Rafsanjani’s role in the Revolution before asking, “by what measure have you preserved the ideals of the Revolution in your role as Chair of the Assembly of Experts, whose first duty is fighting injustice?”

Analysis: Karroubi is going on the offensive against Rafsanjani for at least appearing to back away from his support for the opposition.

Translations copyright The New York Times.

  • 25 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Nuclear file, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Insight into Iranian Government’s Thinking

Iranian government media are quoting Mehdi Mohammadi, a “nuclear expert” inside Iran, in statements that are likely to come to reflect the official government line.

Here are snippets of IRNA’s article entitled “The News of Iran’s new Enrichment Installations has left the West Confounded:”

“In the past years, the Westerners have repeatedly said that Iran has secretly hidden its work in Isfahan, Natanz, and Arak. In reality Iran notified the IAEA of Isfahan in 2000, 4 years before the making that site fully operational, Iran announced Natanz to the IAEA in February 2003, exactly 180 days before introducing radioactive materials, and Iran has given IAEA inspectors access many times to Arak, where radioactive material has not been introduced and which is not subject to safeguards.”

Mohammadi said: “The Westerners have been completely surprised. They expected that by announcing their deal with the Russians – which has not been completed yet – on the threshold of October negotiations, they would successfully bluff that they are ready for new, harsh sanctions, and that they would embarrass Iran. Iran, by announcing its construction of new uranium installations, showed the West that it can create surprise on its own, and left no doubt as to who has the initiative in negotiations, and who needs to compromise.”

He concluded by declaring: “The construction of these installations proves that all paths for stopping Iran’s nuclear program have reached a deadlock, and that the West has done nothing here except invent some new material for newspapers.”

Note: this translation is courtesy of the New York Times Company. Please do not use without asking for permission.

Mohammadi: The News of Iran’.s new Enrichment Installations has left the West Confounded

Mehdi Mohammadi, an expert on nuclear energy, has emphasized that the controversy of officials and news media in the West about the new nuclear energy installations of Iran have two goals: (1) Polluting the atmosphere and (2) Making it seem like the West has failed in stopping Iran’s nuclear program

In respodnign to IRNA’s question about why the West has chosen to accuse Iran of hiding this nuclear facility, Mohammadi said: “The Westerners know that secrecy is not currently a part of this project and was never a part of this project.”

He continued, “Yesterday the IAEA announced in an official message that it was aware that Iran was building new nuclear enrichment facilities, and Iran had told the IAEA about this situation before the official stamp was put on the message.”

He continued, “Iran is obligated under the law to inform the IAEA 180 days before the introduction of radioactive materials into nuclear installations.  Iran declared the new installations to the IAEA before its legally required timeframe, and the Westerners know this better than anyone.”

Mohammadi continued: “Of course, this has been true for all other uclear installations inside Iran. In the past years, the Westerners have repeatedly said that Iran has secretly hidden its work in Isfahan, Natanz, and Arak, while in reality Iran had notified the IAEA of Isfahan in 2000, 4 years before the making that site fully operational, Iran announced Natanz to the IAEA in February 2003, exactly 180 days before introducing radioactive materials there, and Iran has given IAEA inspectors access many times to Arak, where radioactive material has not been introduced and which is not subject to safeguards.”

This expert alluded to the strategic issues, implying that “The Nervous Anxiety of the West is Understandable, said: “The Westerners have been completely surprised. They expected that by announcing their deal with the Russians – which has not been completed yet – on the threshold of October negotiations would be a successful bluff that they are ready for new, harsh sanctions, they would embarrass Iran. Iran, by announcing its construction of new uranium installations, showed the West that it can create surprise on its own, left no doubt as to who has the initiative in these declarations, and who needs to compromise.”

He concluded by declaring: “The construction of these installations proves that all paths for stopping Iran’s nuclear program have reached a deadlock, and that the West has done nothing here except invent some new material for newspapers.”

  • 11 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Khamenei Has Ordered Arrest of Karroubi (UPDATED)

Mousavi’s Green Path of Hope news service is reporting that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ordered opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi’s arrest.  Here is the translation of that report (translation copyright New York Times):

Informed news sources in Tehran report that “hearings” indicate Khamenei has given an order for the arrest of Karroubi.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a meeting with members of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council, which is currently run by Hassan Rowhani, in referring to a meeting between himself and Ayatollah Khamenei said, “I will back away from everything, they are not granting me permission to speak at the Friday prayers anymore.”

He alluded to the fact that everything is being done under the authority of the IRGC and current conditions are in the control of IRGC members, and declared his great anxiety.

He continued by referring to the fact that he told Ayatollah Khamenei, “You should not have ordered the arrest of Mehdi Karroubi.” At the end of his meeting, Rafsanjani said he told Khamenei that the continuation of this procedure will make the situation more complicated, to which Khamenei replied with silence.

Update: The New York Times has confirmed this report.

A person close to Mr. Rafsanjani, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, confirmed the report, saying the order was issued at least two weeks ago. That left open the possibility that Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech was something of a final warning to Mr. Karroubi.

Rah-e Sabz: URGENT NEWS: Khamenei Orders Karroubi’s Arrest

http://www.rahesabz.net/story/1399/

Informed news sources in Tehran report that “hearings” indicate Khamenei has given an order for the arrest of Karroubi.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a meeting with members of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council, which is currently run by Hassan Rowhani, in referring to a meeting between himeslf and Ayatollah Khamenei said, “I will back away from everything, they are not granting me permission to speak at the Friday prayers anymore.”

He alluded to the fact that everything is being done under the authority of the IRGC and current conditions are in the control of IRGC members, and declared his great anxiety.

He continued by referring to the fact that he told Ayatollah Khamenei, “You should not have ordered the arrest of Mehdi Karroubi. At the end of his meeting, Rafsanjani said he told Khamenei that the continuation of this procedure will make the situation more complicated, to which Khamenei replied with silence.

  • 11 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Friday Prayer leader: Why isn’t Mousavi being arrested?

In a further sign of a confrontation between a united conservative front and the Mousavi camp, today’s Friday Prayer leader in Isfahan indirectly called for Mousavi’s arrest. News website Peykiran reports (translation exclusive to New York Times):

[Isfahan’s Friday prayer leader] announced: “The people expect that the Judiciary must bring judgment upon the people who are the main source of this corruption.”

According to Fars News reporting from Isfahan, Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabainejad, in referring to post-election events in his Friday prayer sermon, said, “I ask explicitly why Mir Hossein Mousavi, who played the main role in these political actions, has not been arrested.”

“The people expect that the Judiciary must bring to judgement those people who are the main source of this corruption. Why isn’t Mousavi being arrested?”

In asking why the authorities were after the branches and twigs of these political programs, Tabatabainejad said, “Why are you prosecuting a group of young people, when these young people admit themselves they have fallen victim to others’ lies?”

“Those who are politically motivated who say Qods Day should come with Green symbols must be strangled.”

The government’s actions show they are serious about confronting Mousavi. Coupled with the Supreme Leader’s confrontational speech today, and Sadegh Larijani closing down the 3-person Judiciary committee for investigating Karroubi’s claims, it looks like the stage is set for a final confrontation.

  • 9 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Mousavi Responds to Arrest of Top Aide

Mousavi’s 12 Announcement (h/t and translation exclusive to New York Times):

In the Name of God

The news of the arrest of dear brothers Dr. Seyyed Alireza Beheshti and Engineer Morteza Alviri, officials of the committee for following up the conditions of the post-election prisioners, and Sardar Moghaddam, from the committee of “sacrificers” for Mousavi’s electoral campaign, has created a wave of surprise and confusion amongst lovers of the Islamic System. They have been pushed to the limit in that they committed no crime except following the the path of the Revolution, defending justice in regard to the innocent blood that has been spilled, and helping the families of the innocents who were arrested after the election. Alas, they are now in prison, while those who orchestrated the recent catastrophes are free, and officials claim that they will definitely address the crimes that have been revealed. Do you think that by taking out of existence the documentation of these crimes, and arresting those who committed themselves to the rights of the victims, they will be able to address these crimes?

“One is kept in one’s son”. People’s dignity is preserved through their children. The people ask those who now claim to be the vanguard of the Islamic Revolution, in what way did you observe respect for the family of Martyr of the Revolution Ayatollah Beheshti?

People of Iran!

It is completely obvious that your attempts to return peace to our society will not be met with a wise, understanding response. Momentous days lie ahead of us. The arrest of individuals like Alireza Beheshti is a sign of the formidable events to come.  But they can be overcome, and what will remain is that which profits the Iranian people!

I give my condolences – especially for the dignity that has been stolen from Dr. Beheshti – to the children of that great Martyr, all students and followers and friends of him, and all lovers of the Islamic Revolution and Islam. And I hope to God that the legion that this action has created in the heart of the Iranian people will be cured, by rendering immortal the honor of this great family.

Mir Hossein Mousvi

  • 8 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Atefeh Imam – daughter of prominent jailed Reformist – freed from Prison

According to Mousavi-related news site Nowrooz News, Atefeh Imam — the 18-year old daughter of Mousavi’s Chief of Staff — has been released after one day in prison.

Nowrooz News runs the headline “Unbelievable New Details about the Arrest of Atefeh Imam“: (h/t New York Times)

Atefeh, the 18 year old daughter of Javad Imam (Mousavi’s imprisoned campaign Chief of Staff), after had been kidnapped and detained in an undisclosed location for nearly 28 hours was set free around dusk near Tehran’s cemetery yesterday in bad condition and without any money while her purse was taken! She was under pressure to “confess” to having unethical relations with some of the imprisoned political activists!

As Trita Parsi wrote in Huffington Post yesterday, the Islamic Republic’s arrest of Atefeh Imam represents the government making good on its threats to the Reformist camp. Atefeh Imam’s mother, Leyla Jalalzadeh, said in an interview with Mousavi campaign newspaper Kaleme that they arrested her daughter to put pressure on her father to make a confession.

Javad Imam was the Mousavi’s campaign’s Chief of Staff and a high-ranking Reformist politician.

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,

[signature]

Share this with your friends: