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  • 16 February 2012
  • Posted By Brett DuBois
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 2/15

Iran Announces Nuclear Program Advances

Iran began loading domestically manufactured nuclear fuel rods into its Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes used in cancer treatments. In a ceremony broadcast on state TV, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad placed the first fuel rod into the reactor. He praised this achievement as an important step toward Iran’s goal of mastering the complete nuclear fuel cycle. (USATODAY 2/15)

During the ceremony, Iran also announced that it had began using advanced, “fourth generation” carbon fiber centrifuge models at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. Iranian officials claim the new centrifuge models will increase their enriched uranium production capacity by operating at a higher speed. However, some Western nuclear experts have cast doubts on these claims and assert that Iran has failed to demonstrate evidence of less advanced second- or third-generation centrifuge capabilities. (CBS News 2/15)

Iranian state media also reported that Iran is ready to formally announce that the Fordo uranium enrichment facility, located in a mountain bunker near the city of Qom, is fully operational. Following an inspection of the facility last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran is enriching uranium up to 20%, which is the level needed to produce fuel for the medical research reactor. (Washington Post 2/15)

  • 13 February 2012
  • Posted By Brett DuBois
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 2/13

Netanyahu Accuses Iran of Involvement in Bomb Attacks Targeting Israeli Diplomatic Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah of involvement in bomb attacks targeting members of the Israeli diplomatic staff based in India and Georgia. In New Delhi, a bomb attached to a car injured four people, including the wife of the Israeli Defense Attache. In Tbilisi, police diffused a bomb discovered in the car of a member of the Israeli embassy staff. Netanyahu alleged that these incidents were linked to attempted attacks in Azerbaijan and Thailand, which were thwarted last month. “Iran, which stands behind these attacks, is the largest exporter of terror in the world,” he said. (Reuters 02/13)

In a statement to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, Iran’s Ambassador to New Delhi, Mehdi Nabizadeh, denied any Iranian involvement. He said, “These accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like previous times.” (Jerusalem Post 02/13)

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, Commentary, and New York Daily News praised the Mujhadin-e Khalq for allegedly working with the Israeli Mossad to conduct acts of terrorism in Iran. (Think Progress 02/13)

Iran Promises Nuclear Announcement in Coming Days

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during events commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the 1979 revolution that ,“Within the next few days the world will witness the inauguration of several big new achievements in the nuclear field.” (The Atlantic Wire 02/11)

There is speculation that the announcement will relate to  operations at the Fordo facility, where centrifuges have already been installed.  (China Daily 02/13)

Iran Blocks Access to Popular Internet Sites

Iran has cut off access to a number of popular websites, including Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo email, Facebook, and a variety of foreign news outlets. While the government has not released a formal statement announcing this measure, some attempts to reach these websites were met with a page in Persian indicating, “Access to this page is a violation of computer crime laws.” (Agence France-Presse 02/13)

Senior U.S. Navy Official in Persian Gulf Says U.S. Forces Can Prevent Iran from Blocking the Strait of Hormuz

In a press briefing at the base for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, Vice Admiral Mark Fox, head of the Fifth Fleet, indicated that U.S. forces are prepared to prevent Iran from attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz. Fox stated that he took seriously Iran’s recent threats to close the Strait and he also described a number of steps Iran has taken to augment its naval capabilities in the Persian Gulf.  While Fox asserted that the Fifth Fleet was prepared to deal with any contingency in the region, including a potential conflict with Iran, he emphasized his belief that diplomacy should be the preferred solution for ratcheting down tensions. “So when you hear discussion about all this overheated rhetoric from Iran we really believe that the best way to handle this is with diplomacy… I am absolutely convinced that is the way to go. It is our job to be prepared. We are vigilant.” (Reuters 02/12)

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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