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  • 25 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: June 25, 2012

Escalation, Counter-Escalation, and Repeat

The editor-in-chief of the hardline Iranian newspaper, Kayhan, argues that Iran can restrict oil tankers’ access to the Strait of Hormuz based on a “’right of retaliation’” under the 1958 Convention on the Territorial Sea after the implementation of an EU oil embargo. The paper’s editor, who is appointed by Iran’s supreme leader, wrote that Iran “‘can prevent the passage of oil tankers or ships with military or commercial loads that aren’t considered harmless for its security, order and peace’” (Bloomberg 6/24).

In response to concerns that Iran might block Hormuz, four U.S. minesweepers have arrived in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters to ensure the “‘continued, safe flow of maritime traffic in international waterways,’” said the U.S. Navy (Reuters 6/25).

In order to avoid continued escalation, analysts are calling for more “creative” diplomacy, and warning that without a diplomatic solution, Iran will escalate tensions in response to the U.S. and E.U oil sanctions. (AFP 6/24).

  • 21 December 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Iran Election 2009

The Significance of Today’s Events


Copyright AP

The hardline newspaper Kayhan reported that there were "a maximum of 5000" in the crowd mourning Montazeri's death. (h/t


Today clearly breathed new life into Iran’s opposition movement. Opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi both took the risk and attended alongside countless other mourners. (Mousavi’s convoy was reportedly attacked en-route back to Tehran by plain-clothed security officials who cut off the convoy and bashed in a window of one of the cars and injured one of Mousavi’s bodyguards.) 

Khamenei issued a rather insulting statement of condolence, which the NY Times reports sparked boos, chants of “we do not want rationed condolences” and “death to the dictator” from the crowd of mourners in Qum. Khamenei’s statement follows:

“We have become informed that the sublime jurisprudent Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri has departed this life. He was a competent religious authority and a prominent expert and many students attended his classes. A long portion of his life had been dedicated to the movement of the revered and great Imam (Khomeini), and he strived and suffered hardships on this path. In the last years of the Imam’s life, he (Montazeri) was faced with a difficult test. I ask Almighty God to forgive him through His mercy and to accept the hardships suffered during his life as atonement. I extend my condolences to his bereaved wife and children and ask God to bestow forgiveness and mercy upon him.”

While the Iranian government managed to successfully block BBC Persian service into Iran, another critical audience couldn’t possibly miss what happened today. One of the readers at the New York Times’ The Lede put it best: 

Qom is in many ways the heart of the last Revolution (how it ended up anyway) and its aftermath. Until now, the regime has tried very very hard to isolate Qom from the protest movement. The security presence there has always been reported as very high to prevent any protests. […] With today’s protests in Qom, and the clergy’s close-up view of it (perhaps for the first time for some of them) it will be interesting to see what the Qom clergy does in the days and weeks to come.

The next day to watch is Sunday, when two major days of mourning coincide: the day of mourning for Ayatollah Montazeri (the seventh day after his death) and the religious holiday of Ashura, which marks the martyrdom of the Imam Hossein.

  • 21 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Attacks on Khomeini grandson grow as he reaches out to reformist camp

According to parlemannews, the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini visited the families of imprisoned reformist figures on the day marking the end of Ramadan.  Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, along with other members of his family, visited the families of the following jailed reformist leaders: Mirdamadi (Secretary General of the Participation Front), Tajzadeh, Nabavi, Tajerniya, Arabsorkhi and Tabatabaei. In this meeting, the families thanked him and provided him with the lastest news from Evin prison.

Meanwhile, local sources reported last week that Mehdi Mirdamadi was arrested, while his father has been in prison for more than 90 days.  Prior to this, Saeed Hajjarian’s son was arrested and interrogated. After that Atefe Imam, the 18-year old daughter of Javad Imam too was kidnapped and then released in the deserts around Tehran. The arrests of children of prominent reformists, entered a new phase with the arrest of children of members of Qom’s Theological Center Research centre and also ayatollah Montazeri’s grandchildren.

Hojatoleslam Hassan Khomeini, has been harshly criticized recently by the hardliner media, specifically Kayhan and IRNA for his support of the reformist camp, accusing him of colluding with the reformist leaders and activists.

Kayhan also explicitly attacked the institute’s head and the revolutionary founder’s grandson, Hassan Khomeini, accusing him of being “suspiciously” silent against the clear manipulation of ayatollah Khomeini’s ideas by ayatollah Yousef Sanei, Mohammad Khatami, and Mehdi Karoubi.  Kayhan noted that Hassan Khomeini’s silence cannot mean anything but cooperation with the “manipulators.” IRNA, which supports the Ahmadinejad administration, also attacked Khatami and Mousavi-Khoeiniha, who heads the Assembly of Combatant Clergy [Majma Rohaniyoon Mobarez], accusing them of falling in line with the “enemy’s plan to overthrow” the Islamic republic and attacked Hassan Khomeini’s “support” of these “elements” as unjustifiable, according to roozonline.

  • 14 September 2009
  • Posted By B. Danesh
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

More calls for Karroubi to be arrested

The following is a summary and analysis of an article in the infamous hardline newspaper Kayhan, which is close to the Supreme Leader and has a history of threatening Mousavi and Karroubi since the June 12 election. The following article was printed in Kayhan before Karroubi made his defiant statement today.

According to the hardline state newspaper Kayhan, the three-person special committee investigating claims of rape and sexual abuse by the security forces in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election has delivered its report to the judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani, declaring Karroubi’s claims of widespread abuse completely baseless.

  • 16 August 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Mousavi Reveals Details about Election Day

Mir-Hossein Mousavi today shed light on what transpired after the polls closed on election day.

“Initially, I thought what I witnessed was due to mismanagement, and I tried personally to contact officials of the nation,” he said. “That very day I called the Chief of Judiciary twice, the Prosecutor-General twice, and the Speaker of the Majles twice, and the House of the Leader four times to raise the issue.”

Mousavi added that some days before the election he took into consideration “specific information” about multiple “scenarios” that could have occurred on Election Day, which he received from the “great wave of people who contacted” his campaign organization.

Mousavi confirmed that he had predicted some of the events of Election Day, such as the attacks from that afternoon against his campaign organization.

Mousavi criticized the people who called the election protests dependent on “foreigners,” turning their arguments against them by arguing that they are the ones who have served the interests of the West.

“To find the main suspects, look amongst the people that organized the toxic propaganda that attacked the people’s confidence and peace–with their melancholy resolutions, they have served the enemy.”

“Certainly the currents that have attacked the people in Kayhan and Seda va Sima [IRIB multimedia channel] in the past two months have supplied the interests of America and the United Kingdom.”

This happens at a time when Kayhan is accusing Mousavi of “clear cooperation with foreigners.” Officials of the Judiciary have accused some of the imprisoned post-election protestors of “clear cooperation with foreigners” as well.

Mousavi said that the government “violates the basic principles of judicial procedure” in the mass trial of political detainees. He added, “If the frequent reports we are receiving are true, then we must all bury our heads underground.” [It appears he is referring to claims of rape and Abu
Ghraib-style abuse by the guards, and the deaths that have occurred].

Mousavi said if the recent reports by Mr. Karroubi prove true, it makes reaching a solution much more difficult, and “it greatly widens the scope of justification for protests and pessimism.”

Mousavi emphasized that it is not possible to execute some parts of the Constitution but “throw away” other parts of it.

  • 2 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Hardliners Raise the Stakes

Charges of Treason Against Mousavi and Khatami Grow Louder (AFP):

[A] group of Iranian MPs have filed a complaint to the judiciary against Mousavi over the post-election violence, the Fars news agency reported.

“Those who issued statements and directed recent riots should be accountable for the bloodshed and go on trial,” said Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, a hardline member of parliament’s judicial commission.

Rahbar said Mousavi and Khatami were the main culprits behind the unrest.

The rival declarations underscore the scale of the political infighting in Iran, which has also seen Ahmadinejad come under fire even from own hardline supporters and triggered warnings of further radicalisation.

“Evidence of Khatami and Mousavi’s treason unveiled,” thundered the headline in the hardline Kayhan newspaper.

Kayhan called for Khatami and Mousavi to be charged with “acting against God,” an offense that carries the death penalty.

Mousavi Says Sham Trial an Attempt to Validate Fraudulent Election (AFP):

“The scenes that we saw were a clumsy preparation for the launch of the 10th government,” Mousavi said on his website of Saturday’s trial, held just days before Ahmadinejad is to be sworn in on Wednesday.

“They expect a court, which itself is fraudulent, to prove that there was no fraud committed in the election,” said Mousavi, a former post-revolution premier who lost to Ahmadinejad in what he said was a rigged election.

“What are they trying to convince people of… by relying on reports from reporters nobody has heard of and relying on confessions which obviously bore the hallmarks medieval-era torture?”

Khatami Condemns “Show Trial” (LA Times):

In comments published today on his website, Khatami, onetime leader of the nation’s reformist movement, warned that the confessions aired during Saturday’s mass trial for those allegedly behind Iran’s weeks of unrest would backfire by further dividing the people from the establishment.

“Such confessions expressed under special circumstances lack any legal standing,” he said in a meeting late Saturday, according to the, the website of a charity he oversees. “The regime and nation were insulted and what we heard in the show trial were repetitions of what we had already heard from special tribunes in violation of legal and religious norms.”

The trial opening aired on television as the nation braces for another possible outbreak of violence during events this week marking the launch of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second term. Many prominent political figures, including Khatami, plan to boycott the ceremonies.

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served as vice-president to Khatami during his presidency, was among those who appeared at the trial and read a confession recanting his previous allegation that Ahmadinejad’s June 12 election victory was a blatant fraud.

Former IRGC Commander Rezaei Calls for Trial of Security Forces (Press TV):

One day after Iran opened a mass trial of more than 100 opposition figures, defeated presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei questions the fairness of the move, calling for a trial of the security forces who broke the law. […]

“Recent events which brought severe damage upon the nation and the Islamic Republic were caused by two groups; one group were rioters and the second group comprised of self-driven individuals and security forces who violated the law,” Rezaei said in a letter to Iran’s Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, on Sunday.

Rezaei, who challenged Ahmadinejad in the June 12 election, argued that with two types of defendants, the authorities should move to hold two types of court proceedings.

“Otherwise justice and fairness will not be administered and it is even possible that insecurity does not come to an end and calm is not restored to the society,” Rezaei warned.

He said while Saturday’s trial only dealt with the first group of the accused, the question remains as to when the second trial is set to begin and why it was not held at the same time with the first court session.

Rezaei called on the country’s judiciary chief to put to trial “the security forces who attacked Tehran University’s dormitory and classes in Isfahan University”, “those responsible for battering the prisoners including Mohsen Ruholamini”, and “those responsible for assaulting peaceful protestors in the street”.

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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