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  • 8 July 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran updates – July 8

7:41 pm: Open Letter by Shirin Ebadi to Ahmadinejad – Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi sent an open letter to President Ahmadinejad on Sunday requesting the removal of a ban placed on the operation of her human rights organization, and an end to pressures on civil, political and human rights activists by governmental officials in his administration.

The honorable President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,

With a brief examination of the pressures and limitations placed on myself and the members of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, any objective onlooker will understand the level of pressure your government has placed on the defenders of human rights in Iran and the illegal and inhumane treatment you have imposed on them. These extreme pressures have taken place despite the fact that our government in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, voted and adopted by the UN members including Iran in 1999, has committed to cooperate with human rights defenders, and to provide them with immunity from prosecution with respect to their human rights activities.

I would like to only address a portion of the pressures which we as human rights defenders have faced in the past 6 months:

Read the full letter here (English).

7:37 pm: Tweets:

“Important: Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, lawyer and member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center has been arrested.”

“Mohammad Reza Yazdan Panah member of the Participation Front has been arrested.”

7:34 pm: Mothers protesting the arrest of their loved ones in front of Evin Prison

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cx8rqHRp3A]

7:32 pm: People boycott SMS – According to Etemademeli, SMS customers in Tehran are discussing the boycott of SMS “for a long time” in order to protest its disconnection for several weeks.  “83% of the phone company’s shareholders believe stopping SMS service increases risk and lowers revenues of the company…SMS is one of the most important sources of revenue for this company.”  After the SMS was back in service, one message was sent which said “God freed SMS” but after that no messages were sent.  “Even the time passing and father’s day coming did not change the decision of the protesting people” and unlike last year, no one used this service to send greeting messages on Imam Ali’s birthday anniversary.

7:09 pm: Key points of Ahmadinejad’s speech:

The following summary was posted by an Iranian-American professor to an Iran-centric list-serve. For those who speak Persian and are interested in watching the complete speech, watch it here:

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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