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  • 4 November 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 1 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Latest report on Iran Protests

This just in from the Green Freedom Wave:

(Translation copyright New York Times Company. Please do not repost without giving credit)

Based on the latest reports from the earliest hours of today’s protests, Green-wearing protesters have flooded the streets in Tehran and the provinces once again renewed their commitment to the ideals of the martyrs of the Green movement and the political prisoners.

Once again, the Coup detat supporters have proven that in order to quench the widespread wave of Green protesters, they are willing to use any weapon/tactic. At the intersection of Haft Tir square & Tehran University and likewise on Vali Asr street (the main avenue in Tehran), police/riot control forces fired bullets in the crowd, and multiple times eyewitnesses heard the sound of their bullets firing during the demonstrations. (It is not clear if bullets were fired AT the protesters or just into the air.)

Plain-clothes security forces attacked and went after students using batons and maces, and used tear gas to separate the people from each other. But a few minutes was enough before the Green Wave was once again they regrouped/steeped (?) themselves on Far’ei Street near the main avenue. Likewise on the outskirts of Kargar Shomali-Amirabadi street, plainclothes civilian forces attacked the people. At about 11 in the morning, Sheykh Mehdi Karroubi joined the lines of demonstrators received an outstanding welcome to chants of “Karroubi, Karroubi, we support you!” After a few minutes of walking alongside the people, the brave leader of the movement was subjected to attacks and violence from Coup d’etat-supporting forces and was forced to leave the scene of the protests.

On the outskirts of Mefteh (“key”) street, Pol-e Karim Khan (“Karim Khan’s bridge”) street, opposite the main entrance of Tehran University, and also on Vali Asr avenue, to this very minute the conflicts continue. The people are active on the path of the demonstrations with slogans like “Death to the Dictator,” “Ahmadinejad is their exemplar, he’s so unsophisticated.” In the moments when they were firing tear gas toward the people, the people were still chanting the slogans “Do not fear, do not fear, we are all together!” and keeping each others’ spirits high. According to the reports of Green Freedom Wave’s reporters on the front lines of the demonstrations, the plainclothes civilian forces have used naked force to disperse the people. Like always, the plainclothes forces are using tear gas and batons for repressing the people. A number of patriots have been arrested in today’s demonstrations. There are still no accurate/confirmed reports about the state of the arrested.

It is worth mentioning that most of the streets leading to the American Embassy and the the Russian Embassy and likewise Ferdowsi Square have been blocked off, and a large number of Basij forces from a few hours ago were standing outside the Embassy [of America] wearing “special uniforms.” [Gholam Ali] Haddad-Adel (former Speaker of Parliament and conservative MP) gave a 40 minute speech at the today’s ceremony, which was broadcast over the radio, and during the broadcast the chanting of “Death to the dictator!” could clearly be heard from the audience.

Around 11:40 in the morning today, it was announced that the cellphone systems along the paths of the demonstrations were disabled by radio interference/disturbance. Despite this, the people recorded movies and took pictures of the scene of the demonstrations using their cellphones and many of these reports have been published on this site and for the next few hours we will continue to publish these independent reports on this very news website.

The Green Wave was not only present in Tehran demonstrations. In the provincial cities there are also reports indicating that demonstrators wearing green clothes and wristbands were present at demonstrations. From Shiraz news arrives that there was a very large-scale presence of people wearing green at the Shah Cheragh (“King of Light”) Shrine (one of the most beautiful religious sites in Shiraz), and there was an assembly at the student square of this city, where they shouted slogans like “Death to the dictator!” and “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein.” Reports that have come into Green Freedom Wave from the town of Arak report that there was a widespread presence of demonstrators wearing green who shouted the slogan “Death to the dictator!” From Tabriz, also, news reaches us that during the first minutes of the protests in this city, plainclothes civilian forces and a Special Police Unit attacked the people like wild animals.

In this wild animal attack, people were arrested and taken en masse to Hotel Tabriz, and then were moved towards Fellekeh University, where plainclothes security forces attacked them using pepper spray, and people around the square of Fellekeh University in Tabriz were able to breath only with great difficulty. Likewise scattered confrontations continue in Tabriz. There is no accurate information on the number of injured or arrested in the provincial cities.

Universities across the nation were the scene of a blossoming presence of Green students. According to news that we have obtained from the city of Kerman, students began demonstrations around 9am, and until 12 noon the assembly of Green students opposite Vahdat (“unity”) Hall continued, and these students shouted slogans like “Mousavi, Karroubi, we support you!” and “Coup de’tat government, Resign, resign!”

The Greens in Tehran and the provincial cities holding up placards and shouting slogans in support of the leaders of the Green movement to this very moment on November 4 has been unforgettable, and this Green legacy will continue.

  • 28 July 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Tehran Journal: Threat of sanctions make ‘green’ efforts more difficult

Tehran Journal – July 25 – Laleh Azadi is the pseudonym for a journalist operating in Tehran who has been providing near daily updates of the situation following the election.  Her analysis and observations have been indispensable throughout the last month.

Now she has a message for policymakers in the West:

Associating with anyone from the West is dangerous. In these times, those abroad play a delicate but vital role. Their assistance in disseminating information from Iran is crucial but any form of intervention, be it military (the bombing of nuclear facilities) or economic (increased sanctions), is only incredibly destructive. Each threat of military aggression or proposed negotiation deadline, makes “green” efforts more difficult. And increased economic sanction, deteriorates our lives and safety. Some think the two recent airplane crashes may have been affected by our country’s lack of access to parts and planes.

This is our movement. We appreciate and continue to ask for global solidarity but this struggle is for Iranians. I believe that Nobel Peace Price laureate Shireen Ebadi’s statements echo the wider sentiments of the Iranian people. While speaking in Germany, she stated, “I am against economic sanctions and military interventions… Diplomatic ties must not be severed, instead the embassies could be downgraded to consulates. This would not harm the Iranian people, but it would illustrate the government’s isolation.” Keeping the table open with no conditions and encouraging dialogue with all factions in Iran is vital. However, it must be done extremely carefully so as not to provide any means of leverage for Ahmadinejad.

  • 13 July 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran Updates – July 13

 7:02 pm: NIAC Calls for the Release of Kian Tajbakhsh, an End to Political Detentions and Abuse – NIAC issued this press release earlier today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Washington DC – The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) condemns the arrest and imprisonment of Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American intellectual who was taken from his home in Iran and jailed late last Thursday. NIAC calls for his release and the immediate release of all those who have been arrested and detained for demonstrating in the weeks following Iran’s disputed presidential election.

“Tajbakhsh’s recent arrest is part of an ongoing effort by the government of Iran to silence dissent,” said NIAC President Trita Parsi, “and it shows the Iranian government’s continued disregard for the basic rights of its people in the wake of last month’s election.” NIAC has condemned the use of violence and political detentions against demonstrators in Iran, and called for a new election as the only plausible way to end the turmoil. 

Tajbakhsh was not involved in the current demonstrations, but had been arrested in 2007 along with four other dual citizens on charges of trying to foment a ‘velvet revolution’ against the Islamic Republic. He spent four months in Tehran’s Evin Prison before his was released. Following his release in 2007, he remained in Iran and deliberately avoided politics, his friends and family members say. Tajbakhsh, a Columbia University graduate, taught urban policy at the New School for Social Research in New York City from 1994 until 2001.

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, over 240 other prominent Iranian lawyers, activists, journalists, professors, human rights defenders and students have been arrested without charge, and have been taken to undisclosed locations since the demonstrations began.  NIAC has also received many reports of detainees in Iran’s prisons being mistreated, including prisoners being tortured and raped. 

NIAC calls on the Iranian government to restore basic human and legal rights to its prisoners, including a halt to torture and guaranteed access to legal representation in accordance with the Iranian constitution

5:10 pm: Association of Iranian Journalists suing Kayhan editor for defamation – The editor in chief of the state run newspaper, Kayhan, will be put on trial next month for charges of defamation. “This case…was formed by multiple complaints [which accuses Kayhan of] publishing lies with the purpose of creating anxiety among the public and accusations.”

5:09 pm: The official state news agency IRNA praises Ahmadinejad, says his hair turned white prematurely because he “worked so hard for justice”

Ahmadi_aging

4:15 pm: Tehran’s minister of justice: I don’t have data on the detainees – According to Amir Kabir newsletter, the head of Tehran’s Justice Department claimed that he does not have written and formal information regarding the number of detainees.  “So far, I have not been invited to attend the meetings of special committee formed by the head of the judicial branch to investigate the situation of recent detainees and I have not received any communications regarding this matter and I have no information about their work.”

Alireza Avayee has reportedly visited Evin prison twice and said “many of the detainees have been freed and several more are about to be released.”

3:57 pm: According to Kodoom, Iranian Americans have scheduled demonstrations from July 22-24 in front of the United Nations building in New York.

The aim of the demonstrations are to declare support for the green movement in Iran, to denounce the Iranian government’s use of violence arbitrary arrest and torture against the demonstrators, and to bring into light the lack of accountability of the Ahmadinejad government.

Reportedly, these rallies will be attended by many of the popular Iranian personalities living in the United States, such as pop singer Gogosh, Akbar Ganji and many others.

3:12 pm: Raja News claims Ayatollah Montazeri suffering from memory loss – Raja News, which is a strong supporter of Ahmadinejad, claims that Ayatollah Montazeri has been “sick for several months,” suffering from “imbalance and severe memory loss.” Montazeri has been supportive of the demonstrators and has condemned the government’s post-election behavior as contrary to Islam.

According to their reports, statements that are supposedly from Montazeri are in fact being written by other people.  “Mohsen Kadivar, who is outside Iran, along with one of Montazeri’s sons are primarily responsible for creating these fatwas and statements, using Montazeri’s stamp and publishing them through anti-revolutionary media and have probably downgraded Montazeri’s role to a low level political element.”

His son, Ahmad Montazeri, denied the claim and said in an interview with Parleman News that his father is perfectly healthy.

2:59 pm: UANI Calls On New York Area Hotels To Refuse To Host Ahmadinejad – The organization United Against Nuclear Iran issued a statement today calling on New York area hotels to refuse service to the Iranian delegation when they come to the UN General Assembly in September.

“These hotels must join the international community in condemnation of Iran’s illicit nuclear program and for its brutal repression of the Iranian people.  If President Ahmadinejad comes to the UNGA he should stay in the Iranian Mission to the UN as a testament to his international isolation and responsible entities should decline to host the Iranian delegation.”

The group advocates divestment from all companies that do business in Iran until the Iranian government gives up its nuclear program.

2:39 pm: Mousavi legally prohibited from forming a political party, says Kayhan – According to the state run newspaper Kayhan, Mohammad Reza Mir Taj al-Dini, member of the principalist faction has said “in the Islamic Republic system, a person who does not accept the guardianship of the jurist and the Guardian Council is not qualified to form a party.”

The Deputy of the Council for Coordination of the Forces of the Revolution said, “Mousavi must first prove that he does not have enmity and hostility towards the regime and accepts the existing laws and then think about forming a party.”

“I believe that given current circumstances Mousavi wants to impose his illegal words by using partisan force and this in not acceptable and he should not be given a permit.”

Kayhan also quoted the speaker of the Society Loyal to Islamic Revolution who said “creating a party by people like Mousavi whose loyalty to the regime has not been proven is against the constitution.”  Mohammad Azimi added “Mousavi’s behavior after the announcement of election results has risen doubts about his loyalty to the constitution…therefore he is not qualified to form a party.”

1:51 pm: Mahmoud Mirlohi: “Mousavi’s party will be definitely created” – Deputy interior minister for legal and parliamentary affairs of the reform movement, Mahmoud Mirlohi, announced that “Mousavi’s party will definitely be created and he more capable than just retreating against word from a few unauthorized individuals.”

“The opponents (of Mousavi) only accept certain laws and according to their own interpretation and do not recognize laws regarding freedom of assembly, speech … which are the explicit wording of the law.   Therefore, it is natural that they are anxious about the creation of a party by Mousavi.”

“They are trying to close legal channels to the people and now the law has really turned into an instrument in their service.”

12:41 pm: July 17 – Rafsanjani to lead Friday Prayers

July 17th Friday Prayer

Mousavi’s facebook page has released the following statement along with the attached poster: “The Friday prayer will be held by Ayatollah Rafsanjani and will also be attended by Mousavi and Khatami.”

Rafsanjani has not delivered the Friday prayers since the disputed presidential elections.

11:35 am: More on Kian Tajbakhsh’s detention – Time Magazine: U.S. Citizen Living in Tehran Said to Be Arrested

11:24 am: Two of Iran’s Top Clerics Criticize Ahmadinejad for Silence on China’s Muslims – Karroubi’s official newspaper [Persian] reports that two of Iran’s top clerics, Grand Ayatollahs Shirazi and Golpayegani, have criticized Ahmadinejad’s government for its failure to condemn the Chinese government for its violent crackdown of its Muslim population (uighurs).

The grand ayatollahs are “sources of emulation,” a top distinction in Shia Islam.

According to Shirazi, “the political and economical co-operation between Iran and China should not be taken into consideration when our Muslim brothers and sisters are getting killed.”

Hossein-Ali Montazeri and Yousef Saanei are the only Grand Ayatollahs in Iran who have criticized the Iranian government’s crackdown on post-election demonstrations.

Analysis: Iran criticized Italy’s handling of G-8 protesters, but has said little about China. The reason is very clear. China and Iran have deep economic ties, and China has veto power on any possible new sanctions in the UN Security Council. Neoconservatives (and some liberals) often claim that Iran is a deranged, irrational state actor that poses an existential threat to Israel (and thus needs to be bombed). While there is no doubt that Iran poses at least a limited threat to Israel, particularly through its support of Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran’s silence on China’s actions provides yet another example of how Iran is willing to ignore ideology in pursuit of its national and security interests.

10:36 am: Pro-Ahmadinejad MPs: “Representatives who do not believe in the legitimacy of this government are not qualified to be in Majlis” – According to Amir Kabir newsletter, a member of the principalist (hardline) faction in Majlis said “those representatives who deem the government as illegitimate, are not qualified to be in the 8th Majlis.”  Satar Hedayatkhah, a pro-Ahmadinejad MP, added:

“when this group of representatives entered the Majlis they pledged to defend the constitution, and when they stand up against the guardianship of the jurist (the Supreme Leader) and the constitution, they lose their qualification as representatives and in terms of religious law, any rights and benefits they get from the Majlis will be illegal.”

This member of the parliament said that the real legitimacy of the Islamic government comes from god and “people’s votes do not have legitimacy; they only give the Islamic government acceptability.”

10:10 am: AP:  Iran readies package for P5+1 talks – Providing more details on Foreign Minister Mottaki’s statement that we reported on yesterday:

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran is preparing a new package of “political, security and international” issues to put to the West, its foreign minister said Saturday.

“The package can be a good basis for talks with the West. The package will contain Iran‘s stances on political, security and international issues,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference.

This seems to be Iran’s response to President Obama’s message from the G8 summit last week that the invitation for Iran to join another round of talks will expire in September, after which he will push for more sanctions.

Unfortunately, from Mottaki’s comments, it seems less than certain that Iran is willing to accept the invitation as it was presented to them, and instead would prefer to develop its own package to discuss.  This happened in previous rounds of negotiations, in which both sides presented their own version of a plan to the other, and ignored the other’s requests for a response.  The result was that both sides waited for the other to respond to their proposal, and talks stalled for nearly two years.

9:59 am: According to Tabnak, Mohsen Namjoo an Iranian artist and folk singer was sentenced to 5 years in prison for singing lyrics of the Koran in a modern popular style of Music.

Mohsen Namjoo is very popular in Iran and has made a few concerts around the world including in North American cities.

This is further evidence of the government’s ongoing effort to clamp down on artists and musicians.

12:12 AM: Mohsen Rezaie calls for the opposition’s concerns to be resolved

BBC Persian reports the statement released by former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaie on his website. This message calls for the resolution of the opposition’s concerns soon — warning that if they remain unresolved, the Islamic Republic may disintegrate.

Further, he indirectly criticizes Hassan Firouzabadi, the current commander of Iran’s Armed Forces. Firouzabadi, an Ahmadinejad supporter, recently published a message calling the opposition “the new Monafeqin” (Monafeqin means hypocrites — the government’s epithet for the Mojahedin-e Khalq organization). Rezaie appears to be warning him not to push his claims further, even invoking the specter of a possible civil war.

Today, Iranian society and the armed forces loyal to the Islamic Republic are at odds. The household of the Revolution has fallen under a rain torrent of slander. A minority calls some members of this household “new Monafeqin.” Another minority has given some members of this household the title of Kharijites (the sect that murdered the Shia saint Ali). Don’t you think this is a conspiracy to make Iran’s armed forces start fighting each other and foment civil unrest?

The continuation of the methods that some political actors (presumably the opposition) are using takes us backward and will bring us to defeat — and it has already brought some damage upon us — while if the other faction of political actors (presumably Ahmadinejad supporters) continues their methods of action, they will bring us to a mountain slope of damage.

He lends legitimacy to both sides of the debate in his appeal:

I am convinced that an Islamic Republic without both freedom and religious principles has no significance

Finally, he warns of the possible downfall of the Islamic Republic and mentions:

These questions and discussions regarding the Presidential election’s results affected the entire Nezam [the system].

  • 9 July 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran updates – July 9

7:13 pm: NIAC President Trita Parsi and Carnegie’s Karim Shadjadpour are on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer right now.

6:43 pm: Roxana Saberi Calls for Release of Iranian Baha’is

Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist who spent almost four months in an Iranian prison earlier this year, today called for the release of seven Iranian Baha’i prisoners of conscience who are set to go on trial Saturday and could face the death penalty.

“In addition to the hundreds of Iranians who have been detained in the context of Iran’s disputed presidential poll, many other ‘security detainees’ arrested long before the June election remain behind bars,” wrote Miss Saberi in a letter to USCIRF requesting U.S. government intervention in the Baha’i case. “These Iranians and the authorities who have detained them need to know that the Iranian people’s human rights are a matter of international concern.”

4:39 pm: Large Demonstrations

We are seeing higher quality videos come out of Tehran, which appear to be from today. The first video shows a very large crowd, apparently at the intersection of Taleghani and Valiasr avenues. We can’t confirm the video is from today, but given the size of the crowd and the notable absence of green, it seems likely that it is.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2adQe1CBmSc]
Here is the full description posted to youtube:

This video shows the time when protestors arrived at the intersection of Taleghani and Valiasr ave, heading toward Valiasr Square. The duration of this rally was about 25 minutes and before arriving at Taleghani intersection, riot forces were not interfering but closed behind the crowd to block the accumulation of people. After arriving at the intersection of Taleghani and Valiasr ave, people continued toward Valiasr Square, as shown in this video. At this time, the anti riot forces shot teargas and followed people on motorcycles forcing the crowd to Taleghani ave. I continued toward Chahar-rah Valiasr where people were blocked from going to Enghelab Square. The revolutionary guards on motorbikes hit pedestrians with batons. On my way to the subway station I saw a lot of military cars full of anti riot guard heading west, apparently to help their forces stationed at Enghelab square

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I015R00dHQ]

4:28 pm: Pictures from Gooya news:

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4:22 pm: Challenging the official death toll

Tucked away in their story about Mojtaba Khamenei taking over the Basij militia, the Guardian says this:

The official death toll from that backlash is less than 20 but, according to a Tehran doctor who has given his account to the Guardian, the actual number is much higher – 38 in the first week at his hospital alone. He said the basiji covered up the deaths and pressured doctors not to talk.

3:08 pm: EU putting entry visas for Iranian diplomats on hold –

Iran Updates – June 25

6:02 pm: Rep. Cantor asks Pelosi for hearings
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi today asking for joint hearings on the situation in Iran.

I know that you share our deep concern about the growing violence and brutality in Iran.  Unfortunately, it has become clear that the cleric-backed Iranian regime has decided to end the public demonstrations through violent oppression.

Today, I am asking you to call on House committees to hold joint hearings on the situation in Iran, the policies of the United States towards Iran, and any need for changes in our policy

The full text of the letter can be found here.
5:55 pm: Message from Ayatollah Montazeri: “Worldly positions are not permanent” According to Mowj news, Ayatollah Montazeri “harshly criticized the inappropriate actions of the authorities.”

Ayatollah Montazeri praised the people of Iran for proving their braveness and maturity once again by participating in political and social scenes and expressed his regret that in reaction to people demanding their rights the authorities “have taken an approach and committed actions that is beyond imagination by any just human being.”

Montazeri said “I have been involved in the struggles against the previous (Shah) regime and the establishment of the Islamic Republic as much as I can.  I feel ashamed in front of the people and clearly announce that beloved Islam…is different from the behavior of the current rulers.  These actions and policies being done under the banner of religion will certainly cause large segments of people to become cynical regarding the principles of Islam and theocracy and will ruin the hard and valuable work of the Islamic ulema.”

Montazeri harshly criticized the militarization of the society saying “In a country and a regime which is proud of being Islamic and Shiite, and only 30 years after the victory of the revolution when people still remember the last scenes of the past regime, how could they turn Tehran and other large cities into a big garrison while the world is watching? They have put our brothers in the armed forces against the people.  By using plainclothes agents, who are reminders of baton-carrying agents of Shah, cowardly shed the blood of the youth and men and women of this land.”

Montazeri then posed questions to authorities asking “was this the strategy of Prophet Mohammad and Imam Ali? They never cursed and accused their enemies and didn’t silence them by the sword…Now, a group of people thinking that they can commit any crime because they see themselves as being close to the government; attack student dorms, beat them and throw them down the building, commit chain murders and terrorize intellectuals of this nation and be immune from punishment; this is not compatible with any religion and custom.”

Montazeri advised the people to “pursue their reasonable demands while maintaining their calm.”  He also advised the authorities, asking them to stop using harsh and irrational measures which destroys people’s trust and exacerbates the separation between them and regime.  “[The authorities] should not create divisions among the people, apologize for their past mistakes, and understand that worldly positions are not permanent.”

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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