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Posts Tagged ‘ Akbar ganji ’

  • 22 March 2012
  • Posted By Richard Abott
  • Human Rights in Iran, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Iranian human rights and democracy defenders on sanctions and war

Below is a compendium of public statements by notable Iranian human rights and democracy defenders regarding the impact that sanctions and threats of war have on Iran:

Iran sanctions strengthen Ahmadinejad regime – Karroubi, The Guardian, August 11, 2010:

  • “These sanctions have given an excuse to the Iranian government to suppress the opposition by blaming them for the unstable situation of the country,”
  • “Look at Cuba and North Korea,” he said. “Have sanctions brought democracy to their people? They have just made them more isolated and given them the opportunity to crack down on their opposition without bothering themselves about the international attention.”
  • “On the one hand, the government’s mishandling of the economy has resulted in deep recession and rising inflation inside the country, which has crippled the people of Iran and resulted in the closure of numerous factories. On the other hand, we have sanctions which are strengthening the illegitimate government.”
  • In relation to how the current Iranian regime treats its opponents more harshly than the shah, who was sensitive to international criticism, did: “But because Iran is getting more isolated, more and more they [Ahmadinejad’s government] are becoming indifferent to what the world is thinking about them,” he said.
  • Mir Hossein Mousavi co-authored a public letter with Karroubi: “Sanctions have targeted the most vulnerable social classes of Iran including workers and farmers,” the letter said.

  • 10 November 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Congress

NIAC rejects Rep. Kirk’s accusation

Cross-posted from

The National Iranian American Council issued the following statement today, in response to Rep. Mark Kirk’s (R-IL) slanderous allegation last week that NIAC is a “regime sympathizer.”

Representative Kirk spoke last week before the US Institute of Peace, and issued his allegation against NIAC saying: “Regime-sympathizers like the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) came to Capitol Hill urging members of Congress to cut off U.S. funding for democracy programs in Iran. Democracy funding ‘taints’ Iranian dissidents, they claimed, and only invites harsher crackdowns on the Iranian people.”  He provided no explanation backing up his statement, nor did he acknowledge that the foremost leaders of Iran’s pro-democracy movement have denounced the very same Congressional “regime change fund” that Kirk has championed.

NIAC communicated with Representative Kirk’s office immediately after his statement, requesting a retraction. His office refused to respond.

  • 12 August 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009, Sanctions

Ganji: Opposition Does Not Support Economic Sanctions (UPDATED)

Iranian human rights and democracy activist Akbar Ganji went on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman:

ANJALI KAMAT: Let’s bring this back to the present, Akbar Ganji. What are you calling for? You, along with several other Iranian intellectuals, have sent a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. You’re very clear in the letter that this is not a call for economic sanctions. This is something that some right-wing politicians in the US continue to call for. It’s also not a call for military intervention. But what are you calling for?

AKBAR GANJI: [translated] I have repeated this several times, and a large number of Iranian intellectuals concur on this, that we disagree with military action. We also oppose economic sanctions. Economic sanctions did not weaken Saddam; they weakened the Iraqi people.

We have to two major requests. In the hunger strike that we held, our request was for the Secretary-General of the UN to send an envoy to Iran to visit prisons and to meet with prisoners and to ask for the release of all political—prisoners of conscience.

The new campaign that we have launched is against crimes against to humanity. The International Criminal Court considers crimes against humanity. And it is our belief and our suggestion that the leaders of the Islamic Republic have perpetrated crimes against humanity.

What we are suggesting to the West and to the United Nations is that if you launch an attack on Iran and if you enforce military sanctions, this will destroy the Iranian people. Why would you punish the Iranian people? You should not punish the Iranian people; punish the Iranian regime, rather. Whoever has taken part in oppressing and suppressing the Iranian people, including and especially Ali Khamenei, should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

update:Translation of Ganji’s letter to UN Secretary General:

Translated from BBC Persian:

In an open letter to The United Secretary-General, Akbar Ganji, Human Rights activist and Iranian Journalist asked Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday, August 12, to pay more attention to the world-wide Iranian protests, and take initiatives to address Iranian rights and democratic demands.   In this letter which is signed by 79 academic scholars in the US, election in Iran is represented as not to be “free,” “competitive,” and “fair. Thus, it will never truly transfer the power within political structures in Iran. In his letter, Ganji suggests six options to the UN Secretary-General how to restore Iranian’s rights immediately.

1- To establish a special international probe committee to investigate the election’s process in Iran, as well as counting votes, and possible irregularities or fraud within it

2- To  put pressure on the Iranian government to cancel 12 June election’s result and call for a free,  competitive, and fair reelection under the direct UN’s supervision

3- To put pressure on the Iranian government to release all post-election’s prisoners

4- To put pressure on the Iranian government to lift the ban on opposition media, and to recognize people’s rights for free speech and non-violent protest against the election results

5- To put pressure on the Iranian government to stop any violence and suppression against people

6- To not recognize the “coup d’état” government of Ahmadinejad, and isolate it by all states and international organizations.

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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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