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  • 7 November 2011
  • Posted By Loren White
  • Congress, Diplomacy, Legislative Agenda, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Iran News Roundup 11/7

War watch: Israeli and U.S. officials discuss military strikes on Iran
This past week has seen an increased amount of war talk in both Israel and the U.S.  Shimon Peres joined in, saying, “the possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option.”  Yet, ex-Mossad chief Ephaim Halevy attacked the justification for such military attacks, saying that Iran is “far from posing an existential threat.”  In the U.S. former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice said that the U.S. needed to “be doing everything it can to bring [Iran] down.”  Former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh said that the U.S. is the only country that has the ability to effectively strike Iran’s nuclear program, and that Israel and Saudi Arabia would not live with a nuclear armed “suicidal theocracy” in the Middle East.  However, an article in International Security Journal points out, just like with the strike against the Osirak reactor in Iraq, attacking Iran’s nuclear program would likely increase proliferation risks not reduce them.

Much speculation regarding upcoming IAEA report
A Washington Post article reports that the soon-to-be-released IAEA report will present evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons development program.  Additionally, it is being claimed that Iran has built a large steel container that could be used to test nuclear explosions.  On the overall impact of the report, a western diplomat was quoted as saying that there is no “killer fact” or “smoking gun” that would prove that Iran is building nuclear weapons. (Washington Post 11/6) (Financial Times 11/6)

Standoff between Congress and Obama on Iranian Central Bank sanctions?
On Friday, Obama Administration officials signaled in the LA Times that they will not go forward with the so-called “nuclear option” of sanctions—sanctioning the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).  They say such sanctions could have a negative impact on international oil markets and international economies as a whole, and could fracture international unity against Iran.  Instead they say they are likely to focus on increasing sanctions enforcement through the UN and ramping up other sanctions.  (Los Angeles Times 11/4)

But earlier in the week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislationthat would impose a 30-day deadline for the President to impose CBI sanctions.  And in the Senate, Mark Kirk announced today that he will offer an amendment to the State Department funding bill this week that would force CBI sanctions.  Kirk and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to the President signed by over 90 Senators calling for CBI sanctions in August.


Other notable news stories:
Ron Paul warns that additional sanctions take us closer to war with Iran

Guardian op-ed: Why military strikes against Iran are a bad idea for Israel

Rothkopf Foreign Policy op-ed: How the world is misreading Obama on Iran

Beeman op-ed: Legislation would prevent diplomacy and limit president’s leverage with Iran

Rice: Interests section plan put on hold

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Secretary of State Rice announced that the plan to open a US diplomatic interests section in Iran has been shelved.  According to her statement, the option for a diplomatic outpost is still available, but that the decision should be made by the next administration.

Secretary Rice listed the short amount of time remaining in Bush’s term, along with developments such as the Russia’s incursion into Georgia, as reasons for the decision.

Obviously, we at NIAC and many Americans wishing for a brighter future of US-Iran relations are disappointed in the decision.  We had hoped that a decision to send US diplomats to Iran in the final days of the Bush administration would be the perfect stepping stone to a more ambitious diplomatic agenda under President-elect Obama.

  • 9 July 2008
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections, Sanctions, US-Iran War

The (Neglected) Ties that Bind

A huge majority of the stories on Iran are about the nuclear issue and how the US, Israel and the EU are dealing with a uranium-enriching ‘rogue’ state. Rarely are other aspects of the relationship analyzed closely, but recently they have come under the microscope again, as details of American exports to Iran, talk of a ‘special interests section’ and Israel’s pistachio ordeal have come to light.

Sign the Petition


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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