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  • 20 June 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 14 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

The latest from Iran – Saturday

9:27 pm: We’ve posted a drastically improved translation of Mousavi’s statement. See the 6:34 pm update. A million thanks to Ali S.

8:28 pm: NIAC Calls for New Election in Iran
Condemns Government’s Use of Violence and Killing of its Citizens

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the largest organization of Iranian-Americans in the US, released the following statement in response to ongoing violence in Iran:

The National Iranian American Council strongly condemns the government of Iran’s escalating violence against demonstrators and reiterates its demand that the government cease using lethal force against unarmed protesters and bystanders.

The only plausible way to end the violence is for new elections to be held with independent monitors ensuring its fairness. Such elections would be consistent with the Iranian constitution.

We support President Obama’s decision not to take sides in the disputed election, particularly in the absence of any candidate calling upon him to do so. At the same time, the White House needs to speak vociferously against the bloodshed taking place before our eyes.

While the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy is not new, Iran will never find internal or external balance unless the human rights, will, and needs of its people are met.”

Trita Parsi, president of NIAC, said: “If action is not taken now, the violence will consume everyone.”

Dokhi Fassihian, a member of the NIAC board, added: “The Iranian-American community and all Iranians in the diaspora are shocked and devastated by the brutality that has been committed against the Iranian people in the past week. Images being sent out of the country clearly indicate the severity of the situation and demand the world’s attention.”
###

8:04 pm: Mehr News reports [Persian] that the Assembly of Experts announced their full support for Khamenei’s Friday address

Huge news. The Assembly of Experts is the organization that has responsibility of electing and supervising the Supreme Leader.

7:30 pm: Basij taking detained to mosque/headquarters: A close friend of ours just got a call from his grandmother in Tehran.

Masjid

My grandmother just called me; it’s about 3:40 AM in Tehran. My grandparents live across the street from a Mosque that is also a Basij base. Last week on Saturday she told me that she saw Basijis gathering riot gear and assault rifles from the mosque. According to her, about an hour ago she saw basij vehicles transporting arrested individuals to the mosque. She has been watching from the window and so far, no one has left the building yet.

This mosque/basij base was used in the 1999 student uprising as makeshift jail, and it was rumored that many student were tortured there. My friend Samir had his arm broken at this mosque by Basij officials in 1999 when he was a freshman at the university and wrote political poems for the school’s newspaper. Samir was my neighbor back in the day and was known by many as a political activist. This led to the brutality that was used on him.

The mosque is located off of Vali Asr Sq. in Shahid Saeed Kabkanian St. I took a pic of the mosque when I was in Tehran last summer. In the bottom right corner of the picture you can see the basij insignia.

6:34 pm: Mousavi’s Statement (Much improved, updated translation – Courtesy the amazing Ali S.)

A reference point of history is being shaped these days and nights. People ask themselves what they should do or where they should go. I believe that it is my duty to tell you about my beliefs—tell you, and hear from you, and learn. May we all remember our historic duty, and not run from the tasks upon which the fate of our children and future rests.

Thirty years ago, a revolution was victorious in our country—a revolution in the name of Islam. It was a revolution for freedom, for humanity, for honesty and dignity. During these years—especially when Imam [Khomeini] was alive—we expended so many human resources, finances and hard work to establish this holy structure. And we gained so much—a spiritual life which we had never had before. And people tasted a new way of life which, regardless of all hardships, tasted sweet to them. What people gained was God’s grace, freedom, and the signs of a holy life. I am certain that those who have seen those days will never be satisfied with anything less.

What has happened to us these days? Why do we no longer feel that spiritual happiness? Are we missing something, which keeps us away from that spiritual space? I came to say that it is not too late, and that we are not that far from that brilliant place. I came to show that we still can have a spiritual life in today’s world. I came to speak about Imam [Khomeini’s] beliefs about radicalism. I came to say how dangerous it is to run from lawfulness to dictatorship. I came to remind people that respecting human rights does not weaken our regime, but rather strengthens its foundations. I came to say that people seek dignity and truth in their leaders, and that many of our problems are am result of lies. I came to say that we do not deserve poverty, corruption and mismanagement. I came to invite people to join the Islamic revolution in its honorable, original form, and to re-shape it into to what it must be

Although I have failed in conveying this message eloquently, the noble message of the Revolution was itself so appealing that our young generation—which is far removed from those revolutionary days, and has felt unconnected to its heritage—accepted it and created scenes reminiscent of the early days of the revolution and the Holy Defense [against Saddam’s invasion of Iran]

This young generation chose green as their symbol. And I confess that I only follow them in this way. A generation accused of nihilism has chosen “Allah o Akbar” and “ya Hussein” as their slogans. They return back to Khomeini’s name to show that this holy tree’s fruits are the same any time it blossoms. Nobody but Nature has taught them these slogans. How unjust are the beliefs of those little men who say that these are the work of foreign enemies, and call it a “velvet revolution”

As you know, we have always been faced with betrayal and lies in this way. What I predicted to be the result of by-passing the law has came to us sooner than I expected, and in a more obvious shape than I thought. The people’s overwhelming participation in the elections were because of all the efforts we had made to give them hope for the future despite all the mismanagement they saw and all the misery they felt. We tried to answer those demands which, if remained unsatisfied, may bring instability to the entire regime. If the people’s trust in us and their votes cannot be defended, or they cannot defend their rights in a civilized non-violent way, they will choose dangerous ways to do so. And all the responsibility will rest on the shoulders of those who do not allow civilized behavior.

If the immensity of betrayal and fraud is used as evidence to show that it could not have actually occurred, the republic part of our regime will be corrupted forever, and will prove the argument that Islam and republican government are incompatible. This fate will satisfy only two groups: 1) those who stood from the very beginning in front of Imam [Khomeini] and told him that the Islamic regime is a righteous dictatorship and that the people must be dragged into paradise; and 2) those who believe that Islam cannot be mixed with liberty and republican governance. The great art of the Imam was to defy both of these groups, and neutralize their incorrect beliefs. I came to immobilize these groups once more

Now, the leaders of the country hold the authority to approve the results of the election, and limit all future investigations, and have banned cancelling the election or even changing the final outcome. This is even after they have seen that, in more than 170 poll boxes, the number of ballots exceeded the number of eligible residents. They asked us to bring our complaints to the Guardian Council. But we can see that this council has proven its biased position before, during, and after the election. We know that the very first requirement for good judgment is having a neutral judge.

I insist that nullifying the election—and recasting votes—is a non-negotiable right, and must be monitored by a neutral, trustworthy national committee. This right must not be declared out of the question, as the right to protest must not be banned due to the risk of violence and bloody events.

In addition, instead of threatening us and putting the blame on our shoulders, the National Security Council must give us reasonable answers regarding the plain clothes forces who have been attacking the people and public assets, and creating the violence.

<Ali was unable to finish, so the remaining three paragraphs come from this translation.>

As I am looking at the scene, I see it set for advancing a new political agenda that spreads beyond the objective of installing an unwanted government. As a companion who has seen the beauties of your green wave, I will never allow any one’s life endangered because of my actions. At the same time, I remain undeterred on my demand for annulling the election and demanding people’s rights. Despite my limited abilities, I believe that your motivation and creativity can pursue your legitimate demands in new civil manners. Be sure that I will always stand with you. What this brother of yours recommends, especially to the dear youth, in terms of finding new solutions is to not allow liars and cheater steal your flag of defense of Islamic state, and foreigners rip the treasures of the Islamic republic which are your inheritance of the blood of your decent fathers. By trust in God, and hope for the future, and leaning on the strength of social movements, claim your rights in the frameworks of the existing constitution, based on principle of non-violence.

In this, we are not confronting the Basij. Basiji is our brother. In this we are not confronting the revolutionary guard. The guard is the keeper of our revolution. We are not confronting the army, the army is the keeper of our borders. These organs are the keepers of our independence, freedom and our Islamic republic. We are confronting deception and lies, we want to reform them, a reform by return to the pure principles of revolution

We advise the authorities, to calm down the streets. Based on article 27 of the constitution, not only provide space for peaceful protest, but also encourage such gatherings. The state TV should stop badmouthing and taking sides. Before voices turn into shouting, let them be heard in reasonable debates. Let the press criticize, and write the news as they happen. In one word, create a free space for people to express their agreements and disagreements. Let those who want, say “takbeer” and don’t consider it opposition. It is clear that in this case, there won’t be a need for security forces on the streets, and we won’t have to face pictures and hear news that break the heart of anyone who loves the country and the revolution.

Your brother and companion

Mir Hossein Mousavi

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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