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  • 10 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 10, 2012

Sanctions on Iran: ‘ordinary people are the target’
U.S. still believes Iran not on verge of nuclear weapon
White House says it has ‘eyes’ inside Iranian nuclear program
Israel media talk of imminent Iran war push
Asian oil buyers help Iran stave off the worst, for now
Iran playing ‘nefarious’ role in Syria: Rice
Fiery Erdogan Slams Assad, Iran
Iran Oil Embargo Has Ripple Effect for Europe
Analysis: False records issue is key to Standard Chartered case
Iran’s Navy Says Has No Plan for Naval Reactors
Iran urges Syrians to talk after Tehran meeting
Indian PM Likely to Visit Iran

Notable Opinion: Stop the Shadow War Talk

  • 9 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 9, 2012

Israeli Defense Minister publicly divulges US intelligence report
Iran Syria talks seen short on action
Standard Chartered begins fightback on Iran allegations
Flame and Stuxnet Cousin Targets Lebanese Bank Customers, Carries Mysterious Payload
Iran says abrupt Assad fall would be “catastrophic”
Gulf Nations Aim to Secure Water, Food Supply
U.S. Navy Rescues 10 From Iranian Ship on Fire
Pakistan, Iran agree wheat price in barter deal
Turkey Warns Iran: ‘You Cannot Threaten Us’
Tehran denies kidnapped Iranians killed in Syria
Egypt’s president holds talks with Iran’s vice president
MTN in Talks With U.S. to Unlock Iran Earnings

Notable Opinion: Sanctions Will Kill Tens of Thousands of Iranians

  • 26 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 26, 2012

Chairman of U.S. Intelligence Committee Blames Iran for Burgas Bombing

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers (R-MI), said he believes Iran was behind the recent suicide attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, making him the highest US official to place blame on Iran. He said, “I believe there were certainly elements of Hezbollah [involved] and I believe it was under the direction of their masters in Iran,” (The Hill 7/26).

Iranian UN Ambassador Accuses Israel of Plotting Burgas Bombing

Iran’s UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee accused Israel of plotting and exacting the suicide attack on a bus in Bulgas, Bulgaria last week, during a UN Security Council debate. Israel has accused Hezbollah and Iran for the attack. Khazaee said , “Such terrorist operation could only be planned and carried out by the same regime whose short history is full of state terrorism operations and assassinations aimed implicating others for narrow political gains,” (Reuters 7/25).

Iranian Support for Syria “Unchangeable” Says Iranian VP

Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has pledged “unchangeable” support for Syria, saying, “The Iranian people have an unchangeable stance on Syrians and will always stand by them,” reports Iranian news sources (Reuters 7/26).

Latest Round of P5+1 Talks with Iran “Positive”

  • 3 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 3, 2012

US Increases Military Presence in the Persian Gulf

In response to proposed legislation in the Iranian parliament to close the Strait of Hormuz, the United States has “quietly” moved additional fighter jets, minesweepers, stealth warplanes, and other military reinforcements into the region. Navy ships are in place patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, reportedly to ensure that the waterway isn’t mined. “The message to Iran is, ‘Don’t even think about it,’” one senior Defense Department official said (NYT 7/3The Guardian 7/3).

The senior Defense Department official added, “This is not only about Iranian nuclear ambitions, but about Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions,” (NYT 7/3).

Second Day of War Games Continues in Iran

Today is the second day of war games in the north-central desert area of Semnan province in Iran by Revolutionary Guards Corps. The efficiency of warheads and missile systems, including the Shahab 3 missile and unmanned drones, are being tested partially in response to the implementation of an EU embargo on Iranian oil. Iran has announced a new ballistic missile called Arm, which allegedly has the capacity to detect and hit radar bases (WSJ 7/2; Reuters 7/3).

Russian Think Tank Suggests Russia Could Sell S-300s to Iran

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, commented today during an interview of anti-aircraft missile sales that, “The S-300 ban was a political decision and these systems are not actually subject to sanctions.”  He suggested, “If the Syrian regime is changed by force or if Russia doesn’t like the outcome” of a peaceful transition to a new government, “it most likely will respond by selling S-300s to Iran” (Bloomberg 7/3).

NITC and Sinopec Struggle to Resolve Freight Dispute

  • 27 January 2012
  • Posted By Jacob Martin
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

News Roundup 01/27

NYTimes: Israel doubtful that military strike would result in Iranian retaliation

The New York times reports that Israeli academics and intelligence officials are skeptical of the ferocity of Iranian retaliation tactics in the case of an Israeli strike and believe that possible measures, such as shutting down the Strait of Hormuz, would cause Iran to harm itself.  This belief is based on an analysis of Iran’s interests and previous actions, as well as the many over exaggerated threats presented in the past by Iraq and Hezbollah.  “A war is no picnic,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio in November. But if Israel feels itself forced into action, the retaliation would be bearable, he said. “There will not be 100,000 dead or 10,000 dead or 1,000 dead. The state of Israel will not be destroyed.” (NY Times 01/27)

Oil industry see Iran sanctions benefitting China, hurting West

Despite sanctions, Iran will continue to sell oil at a similar volume, although the majority of exported oil will go to China.  Being one of Iran’s only remaining customers, the Chinese will be able to bargain for a significantly reduced price on oil.  The West is relying heavily on an increased output from Saudi Arabia to avoid a spike in oil prices, which would hurt an already deteriorating global economy.  (Chicago Tribune 01/27)

U.S.-Israel joint missile defense drill now slated for October 2012

The largest-ever joint missile defense drill between the U.S. and Israel has been rescheduled for this Fall after news leaked that it had been suspended.  The drill, in which several thousand U.S. military personnel will be stationed in Israel, has been perceived as a signal to the region of the U.S. and Israel’s unity and resolve regarding Iran.  Auster Challenge’s abrupt cancellation two weeks ago fueled suspicions of a rift between the two countries in their approach to Iran, though U.S. and Israeli officials insisted it was due only to technical issues.  (Business Insider 01/27) 

  • 26 January 2012
  • Posted By Jacob Martin
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/26

Iran unlikely to begin building nuclear weapon in 2012

 According to a report drafted by the Institute for Science and International Security, Iran is unlikely to take steps toward building a nuclear weapon in 2012 due to their inability to produce a sufficient amount of weapons-grade uranium.  According to the report, “Iran’s essential challenge remains developing a secure capability to make enough weapons-grade uranium, likely for at least several nuclear weapons.”  The effectiveness of airstrikes was also disputed by the report, which said strikes would be “unlikely to destroy Iran’s main capability,” and would allow Iran to rapidly rebuild their capabilities.  (Reuters 01/26)

IMF warns Iran sanctions could increase price of oil 20-30%

 The IMF has stated that Western financial sanctions on Iranian oil could result in a 20-30% hike in global pricing.  According to an IMF statement to the G20, “ A blockade of the Strait of Hormuz would constitute, and be perceived by markets to presage, sharply heightened global geopolitical tension involving a much larger and unprecedented disruption.”  The IMF says this shock could be significantly greater if Iran goes ahead with its threat to blockade the Straits of Hormuz.  (BBC 01/26)

U.S. Joint Chief Chairman: Talk of Military Options on Iran “Premature”

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an interview with National Journal, discussed his recent trip to Israel and his current thinking regarding Iran.  “I do think the path we’re on—the economic sanctions and the diplomatic pressure—does seem to me to be having an effect,” he said. “I just think that its premature to be deciding that the economic and diplomatic approach is inadequate.”

He also warned, “A conflict with Iran would be really destabilizing, and I’m not just talking from the security perspective.  It would be economically destabilizing.”  Dempsey explained the U.S. position on Iran as, “We are determined to prevent them from acquiring that weapon, but that doesn’t mean dropping bombs necessarily.  I personally believe that we should be in the business of deterring as the first priority.”  (National Journal 01/26)

  • 20 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/20

Terms of nuclear talks to be disclosed

The P5+1 released the  details of a letter sent to Iran last October demonstrating a willingness to hold talks with Iran amidst tough sanctions and speculation of a military conflict (Reuters 01/20).

Details of U.S. letter to Iran emerge

Laura Rozen reports the Obama administration used three channels of communication to deliver a message to Iran’s Supreme Leader regarding “red lines in the Strait of Hormuz” and conveying that the U.S. and its allies “remain committed to a diplomatic solution,” with Iran.  They sent the letter through the Swiss Ambassador to Iran, through the UN, and through Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Rozen also reports that European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton’s office has released her October letter to Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, which outlined proposed terms for nuclear talks (Yahoo 01/20).

Sanctions Watch 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that “time is running out” for diplomacy with Iran and called for China and Russia to back increased sanctions on Iran.  “We need stronger, more decisive sanctions that stop the purchase of Iranian oil and freeze the assets of the central bank, and those who don’t want that will be responsible for the risks of a military conflict,” Sarkozy stated. (Reuters 01/20).

Iran News Roundup 11/8

Israeli war talk continues amidst ex-Mossad chiefs’ objections and world leaders’ concern
Israel plans on issuing a statement calling for tougher sanctions on Iran in response to expected IAEA report.  Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak said “lethal” sanctions required and until then “we continue to recommend to our friends in the world and to ourselves, not to take any option off the table.”  In addition to sanctions, he also argued for a naval blockade against Iran.  In contrast, a second former Mossad leader objected to strikes on Iran.  Ex-Mossad chief Halevy says that the Israeli “radical right” poses a bigger threat than Iran, and that an Israeli strike against Iran could negatively affect the region for 100 years.

Voicing concern over increased war talk, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that the current threats could lead war and this “would be a catastrophe.”  Hong Lei the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said, “China always holds that the Iranian nuclear issue should be properly solved through dialogue and cooperation…At present, it is imperative to prevent new turbulence in the Middle East security situation.”

Evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons program in leaked IAEA report called into question
Today a copy of the IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program was leaked.  The report discussed evidence regarding Iran having an active nuclear weapons development program.  Two pieces of evidence offered in the report involve a “former Soviet scientist” that helped Iran overcome some of its hurdles with the nuclear process, and a steel tank allegedly used for testing nuclear explosions.

However, EA Worldview reports that this “former Soviet scientist” is a Ukrainian nanotechnology expert who claims to have been assisting Iran develop its nanotechnology industry.  If true, this would help explain the existence of the suspicious steel tank.  An important item in nanotechnology is nanodiamonds, and these nanodiamonds are created by the detonation of explosives in the same type of steel tank discussed in the report. (EA WorldView 11/8)

 

Other notable news:

New York Times: G.O.P. candidates talk tough on Iran

Washington Post: G.O.P. candidates shouldn’t attack Obama on Iran

Time: Tony Karon on Israeli push for war in context of IAEA report

Christian Science Monitor: An imminent Israeli strike on Iran nuclear program? Not likely.

Oil prices on the rise as a result of increasing talk of war with Iran

Bruce Riedel highlights two prominent ex-Mossad chiefs’ pushback against war

Revolutionary Guard threatens retaliation if US assassinates commanders

UK urged to ban sale of software used to crackdown on dissent

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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