Currently Browsing

Posts Tagged ‘ Iran geneva ’

  • 2 October 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, UN

A cursory look at the balance sheet after yesterday’s Geneva talks


After one day’s meeting, a mere seven and a half hours long, the world woke up today to reports of “surprisingly productive” talks between Iran and the P5+1 yesterday in Geneva.

Let’s take a very brief look at what’s come out so far:

  • No breakdown: The absolute bare minimum of success yesterday was the absence of a complete and total breakdown of the talks.  The Obama administration had set the expectations sufficiently low that this really was the big question mark: whether the Iran delegation would flip over the table and storm out like a teenager who has been told to clean its room.  (They did not.)
  • Access to the Qom facility: The Iranians announced a day before the talks even began that they were committed to opening up the newly-revealed Qom enrichment facility to IAEA inspectors.  This very obviously would have been the first matter the West would have wanted to discuss, but Iran went ahead and granted access before the negotiations even began.  Inspections are promised to begin prior to the second round of talks.
  • Second round of talks scheduled: Based on a willingness on all sides to engage in good faith, a second round of talks has been scheduled to take place in the next couple of weeks.  Both sides have expressed their commitment to talks with each other.
  • Historic US-Iran bilateral meeting: The first ever high-level bilateral diplomacy took place between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran yesterday.  For about 30 minutes, Undersecretary of State Burns met in private with Saeed Jalili.

After the talks finished, it was clear what each side hoped to gain from further discussions:

  • Iran wants a presidential summit meeting between Ahmadinejad and Obama (don’t hold your breath); and
  • The West wants Iran to hand over its enriched uranium stockpile to a third country to be turned into fuel for a reactor

Then, in another surprise move, the parties announced late yesterday that Iran agreed to the West’s offer to turn over its uranium stockpile to RussiaJulian Borger explains why this is so significant:

Western officials here say that to restock the TRR, Iran would have to send out up to 1200 kg of LEU. That’s about three-quarters of what they’ve got, and it would be out of the country for a year. When it came back it would be in the form of fuel rods, so it could not be turned into weapons grade material in a quick breakout scenario.

Given all that has happened with Iran over the last few months, I can honestly say that, for once, it’s nice to have been pleasantly surprised.

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.



Share this with your friends: