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Posts Tagged ‘ Chicago Council on Global Affairs ’

  • 11 September 2012
  • Posted By Dylan Zehr
  • Uncategorized, US-Iran War

Majority of Americans oppose Iran war in all circumstances, support direct talks

A new survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows that Americans oppose war against Iran under just about every circumstance. This includes military action with UN support (51% against), unilateral U.S. attacks (70%), and even joining military action with Israel if Iran retaliated to unilateral Israeli strikes (59%). Given that Pentagon simulations predict that the US would be quickly drawn into such a conflict, noting public opposition is important.

Interestingly, support for direct talks between the US and Iran is on the rise, with 67% support, up from 61% support in the 2010 survey.

All of this is in spite of the survey’s findings of significant levels of misinformation about the status of Iran’s nuclear program:

In a new question respondents were asked what they thought was “the most recent assessment by the U.S. intelligence services, including the CIA,” of Iran’s nuclear program. When presented four options, only 25 percent of respondents choose the correct answer: “Iran is developing some of the technical ability necessary to build nuclear weapons, but has not decided whether to produce them or not.” The most common answer, chosen by 48 percent, is that, “Iran has decided to produce nuclear weapons and is actively working to do so, but does not yet have nuclear weapons.” Another 18 percent go even further, choosing the position that “Iran now has nuclear weapons.” Just 4 percent say intelligence sources think that “Iran is producing nuclear energy strictly for its energy needs.

Even so, a majority of Americans would support a bargain allowing Iran to enrich for peaceful uses if inspectors were allowed permanent and full access to facilities (52%).

The majority favoring such a bargain is greater among participants who are accurately informed about the status of Iran’s current program (64%).  The numbers against military action are similarly affected–with those who have correct information opposing military action in greater numbers:

Not surprisingly, those who say that intelligence sources think Iran has nuclear weapons or that Iran is actively working to build them are more likely to see Iran’s nuclear program as a critical threat (72% and 68%, respectively) and to support authorization of a military strike through the UN Security Council (each 52%). Among those who say intelligence sources think Iran is gaining the technical ability but has not decided whether to produce nuclear weapons, many fewer see Iran’s program as a critical threat (53%) or support UN authorization of a military strike (35%).

This is perhaps the most important message of the survey: when people have accurate information, they tend to oppose war with Iran and support diplomacy.

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7,350 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.



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