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Posts Tagged ‘ Iran envoy ’

  • 3 February 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf

Breaking: Ross not envoy to Iran

dennis_ross_01301Photo: Scott J. Ferrell / Congressional Quarterly / Getty

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell is reporting that Dennis Ross will not be appointed Obama’s special envoy to Iran, and that he will instead act as a “strategic advisor” on Iran and the Persian Gulf at the State Department.

After months of speculation, it appears that the Obama administration was not comfortable with naming Ross to such a high-profile position handling the Iran portfolio.

Contributing to the eventual decision not to give Ross the envoy job was the swirling controversy over some of his recent publications–notably the Bipartisan Policy Center report–as well as some of the (less than prudent) actions on the part of Ross’s friends and employers.  The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Ross is the Zeigler Distinguished Fellow, released a congratulatory memo that proved a bit premature:

  • 22 January 2009
  • Posted By Sahar Jooshani
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf

A Critical Decision in the Midst of the New Administration

Obama has taken office. His first day was filled with phone calls to the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the president of the Palestinian Authority. It is evident that Obama is making an early effort to deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, an effort that was lacking in the administration of George. W. Bush.

Yet, we have seen little confirmation as to who will take on the difficult role of dealing with Iran. The three rumored front-men for the job are Dennis Ross, George Mitchell, and Richard Haas. Though these three men come from politically impressive backgrounds, their areas of expertise are distinctively different.

  • 9 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Persian Gulf

Update: Dennis Ross to serve as MidEast “Ambassador at Large”; or is he?

It seems that Dennis Ross’ role in the Obama administration will not be confined to the Iran portfolio as had earlier been suspectedBloomberg, AP and others are reporting that Ross will be in charge of the entire Middle East, acting as sort of a “regional Secretary of State.”

No word yet on who will focus solely on Iran–it might still be Ross, or it might be current Undersecretary of State Bill Burns, who is staying on under Obama.

More to come as information becomes available.  For additional news on all things transition, check out the wonderful Laura Rozen’s new blog, The Cable, over at Foreign Policy Magazine’s website.

update: Sources are saying that Ross will probably still hold onto the Iran portfolio as part of his larger duties…

update 2: We have it on good authority that Ross’ appointment is not a sure thing just yet.  It seems that Ross and a few backers are treating his appointment like a fait accompli, but that the decision has not formally been made.  This could be good news for people like Amb. James Dobbins or Amb. Thomas Pickering, both of whom would make outstanding envoys and who are sure to be on anyone’s short list…

  • 7 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf, Sanctions

Sources confirming Dennis Ross appointment as Iran envoy

dennis-rossAccording to Marc Ambinder, transition officials are confirming now that Dennis Ross will be appointed as the chief envoy to Iran under President Obama.

Though it’s not official until the administration announces it formally, this is looking like a done deal.  Ross is best known for his work as chief negotiator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under President Clinton.  But for many Iran analysts, the choice of Ross as special envoy is very concerning.

  • 19 December 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf, Presidential 2008 Elections

Breaking: Obama to appoint special envoy to Iran

from the Washington Times:

EXCLUSIVE: Obama to create Iran outreach post
Friday, December 19, 2008
The incoming Obama administration plans to create a new position to coordinate outreach to Iran and is considering a number of senior career diplomats, State Department officials and Iran specialists say.

President-elect Barack Obama promised during his campaign to seek dialogue with Iran without preconditions in an effort to persuade Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, but also has pledged to toughen sanctions.

A State Department official said the idea of naming a senior Iranian outreach coordinator was broached in the first transition meetings with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama’s choice for secretary of state, and her transition team earlier this month.

“The idea is that the position should build on the existing diplomatic framework,” the official said. He asked not to be named because a nominee has not been announced.

A spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton declined to comment for this article. Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for the transition, also would not comment.

However, several Iran specialists said such a position was in the works.

“There is every indication that they are seriously considering going this way,” said Patrick Clawson, deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a group that has warned of the dangers of Iranian proliferation.

Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, an organization that supports U.S.-Iran dialogue, said that a special envoy position for Iran is planned.

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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