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Posts Tagged ‘ Iran Mousavi ’

  • 18 June 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 17 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Post-Election Iran as it Develops

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The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on this very question tomorrow. Contact your elected officials to tell them what you think should be done:

#1: The US shouldn’t interfere.

#2: U.S. involvement would be counterproductive, but human rights violations must be condemned.

#3: The US should voice its support for the demonstrators.

* We have attempted to broadly capture the most common ideas about what the United States should be doing, but we recognize this is not an exhaustive list of options. If your views aren’t fully reflected, simply modify the message to reflect your views.

10:55 pm: Breaking: House to vote on Iran resolution tomorrow

According to CQ, the House will vote tomorrow on a bipartisan resolution expressing support for Iranian dissidents who have been demonstrating since the presidential election last week.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) joined with Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) on a resolution condemning the violence against the protesters, the suppression of communication technologies, and affirming “the universality of individual rights.”

This measure is almost guaranteed to pass–probably with an overwhelming number of votes–which will unfortunately put the Congress directly at odds with the White House in responding to the crisis in Iran. Up to now, the President has been very cautious not to be seen as choosing one side over the other in the election dispute, saying he doesn’t want the US to become the story inside Iran. But the Congress seems poised to speak out more vocally on the subject, choosing to come down squarely on the side of the dissidents.

Les Gelb, earlier in the day, had this to say:

Republican leadership calls for Obama to condemn Iran’s election results and speak out for the demonstrators shows no knowledge of Iran whatsoever. If he did so, America would become the issue in Iran, not Ahmadinejad, and we would become the excuse and justification for spilling Iranian blood.

These sniping remarks by Republican leaders also shows they put pandering to their right wing above American national security. Why can’t they listen to their own real foreign policy expert — Senator Richard Lugar — and see and say that the U.S. must exercise restraint in our public statements for Iran’s sake and our own.

As we’ve been saying for some time now, the President has it right here. Though of course everyone supports free and fair democracies, Iran is a country in flux at the moment. If US political figures come out in strong support for Mousavi, then what? Won’t Ahmadinejad just use that to declare Mousavi is a puppet of the West? That certainly won’t do much to help the cause for reform in Iran.

9:00 pm: A powerful and frightening account of a Canadian journalist mistakenly detained by the Ministry of the Interior in Iran:

Before I knew what was happening, I was whisked away on a motorcycle to the Interior Ministry headquarters, and taken to a large basement room.Inside a concrete room to my left, I could see more than 50 others being made to stand in uncomfortable positions – on their toes with their hands pressed behind their heads. Some were covered in blood, and police with batons patrolled the rows, tapping some detainees on the shoulders with their sticks.

There was no screaming, just the sound of boots pacing on the concrete floor.

For a few terrifying hours yesterday, I was mistaken for an anti-government protester, giving me a glimpse into how the hundreds arrested over the weekend are being treated by authorities in a system where dissidents are known to “disappear” and not be seen again for months.

What was dubbed a “terrible misunderstanding” by the officers in charge has given this Canadian journalist a glimpse into the nightmare that countless Iranians are experiencing right now. When President Obama condemns the violence and human rights abuses going on in Iran, this is what he’s talking about.

8:51 pm: A loyal niacINsight reader used the website we mentioned earlier to subtitle one of Mousavi’s campaign videos:

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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