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  • 22 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Nuclear file, Sanctions

P5+1 talks in Geneva

Today from Press TV:

With the world awaiting a meeting between major powers and Iran to resolve the country’s long-wrangled-over nuclear case, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says the negotiations will take place in Geneva. Solana, who has headed the Western negotiating efforts with Iran, named Geneva as the venue for the much-awaited talks. The new location was picked as he had earlier said that, “I think very likely it will be Turkey.”

The chief Western negotiator told reporters in New York on Tuesday that the powers will not put forward new proposals to convince Tehran to halt its debated uranium enrichment program. “It’s freeze for freeze,” Solana said, referring to a proposal under which Iran would freeze its enrichment program in exchange for economic incentives and a halt to further UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The remarks came as six powers are set to hold a ministerial meeting to discuss Iran’s nuclear case on Wednesday on the sideline of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Meanwhile, Solana said he did not expect the Wednesday session of the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain — the five permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council — plus Germany on Iran to produce any ‘substantive decision.’ Addressing the possibility of further sanctions against Iran, Solana said he does not expect Russia, China to rule out such new sanctions. “I don’t think that the Russians and Chinese will say … never again,” the EU chief said.

  • 10 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Nuclear file

Iran to discuss “new nuclear proposal,” though questions remain

This morning from PressTV:

Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has elaborated on the new package of proposals to the 5+1 group but noted that Tehran would not negotiate its nuclear program. Speaking at the UN nuclear watchdog’s board of governors meeting in Vienna Wednesday, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, explained the general content of Iran’s new package.

This proposal encompasses all the main issues such as economic and security cooperation, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, energy supply and demand, energy supply security, and peaceful applications of atomic technology,” said Soltaniyeh. In a later interview with the Alalam Arabic-language news network, however, Soltaniyeh pointed out that Iran would conduct no further talks with the West over its nuclear program. “The package has been presented to end the disputes over Iran’s nuclear program,” he told the network. “Tehran is ready for logical talks on various issues such as enabling all states to benefit from nuclear energy and preventing the spread of atomic weapons, but these talks can not include discussions on Iran’s legal nuclear activities,” he added.

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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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