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

Khomeini’s Grandson Flees Iran

Guest post by Jill Marie Parillo from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The 50 year old grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, Sayed Hassan Khomeini, has reportedly left Iran rather than bow to recent pressure that he attend Ahmadinejad’s upcoming inauguration ceremony.  Sayed Hassan is a mid-level cleric who is also in charge of the beautiful and vast (5,000 acres) Mausoleum of his grandfather.

Sayed opposes the violent crackdown against protesters of this year’s election, claiming that violence is not a revolutionary value that his grandfather promoted in 1979.

“If a soldier wants to enter into politics, he needs to forget the military and the presence of a gun in politics, since this means the end of all dialogue.”

In a rare interview with Al-Arabiyya TV in 2006, Khomeini said that the current Iranian regime is “a dictatorship of clerics who control every aspect of life.”  He claimed that the current government had the revolution all wrong, giving for example that his grandfather did not want to make women wear black head scarves, but give them the option to do so, or not.  “I lived through the revolution, and it called for freedom and democracy,” he said.

Interestingly, Khomeini’s grandson has also said publicly that he does not support nuclear weapons in Iran.  “Iran will gain [real] power if freedom and democracy develop there.  Strength will not be obtained through weapons and the bomb,” he said.

It is unclear where he has gone to (perhaps a familial return to Neauphle-le-Château?). That being said, he could be in Iraq, having briefly fled there in July 2004 when threatened by the Iranian regime. While in Iraq he told Voice of America, “I’d be happy to do anything in this environment — everything from peddling in front of Hazrat Mooseh-Abn-Jafar (a religious site) to creating a theological school.”  However, things in Iran have changed a lot for the worse since 2004, so he may go farther away–and he may have more on his agenda this time, as the movement for popular change in Iran continues to mount.

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

Iran updates – July 7

5:59 pm: Ahmadinejad says his reelection gave him a mandate – LA Times

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today declared his disputed reelection gave him a mandate to continue his domestic and international policies and spoke out defiantly against the West in a televised speech meant to shore up his legitimacy amid continued political turmoil.

But he softened his rhetoric toward opponents at home from the days after the June 12 election, when he dismissed his rivals as sore losers.

“We have entered a new era in both the domestic sphere and at the international level,” he said. “Inside the country the path people are taking is clearer than before. And we will tread on that path more powerfully than before.”

During and after his speech, Iranians in various neighborhoods climbed to their rooftops and stepped out into their rooftops to chant “God is great,” and “Death to the dictator” in what has become a nightly protest against Ahmadinejad and in support of former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, his chief rival. Mousavi posted a statement on his website today calling on the government to free prisoners swept up in a crackdown against those disputing the election.

“…”

Ahmadinejad described the election as a “momentous” event which “was the freest and the healthiest election the world has ever seen,” setting a new start for Iran.

“People put their seal of approval to [my] four years in office,” he said.

He said those who alleged that the vote was rigged “failed to offer even a single piece of evidence,” though Mousavi recently released a 24-page document detailing accusations of fraud and official photos of a partial recount effort showed hundreds of unfolded ballots, despite the requirement that voters are to fold their ballots.

Ahmadinejad blamed “arrogant” foreign enemies for doing “everything at their disposal to insinuate into the minds that the vote was tainted,” alleging some Iranians collaborated with them.

5:40 pm: ISIS clarifies Biden’s supposed “green light” of Israeli attack – ISIS, the Institute for Science and International Security, takes a look at the media coverage of Biden’s remarks about an Israeli strike on Iran:

Vice President Biden has been widely quoted (here and here are but two examples) from his Sunday appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos as saying that the United States will not stand in Israel’s way should it decide to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.  The Los Angeles Times piece’s headline bluntly states “Biden says Israel has the right to attack Iran.”

Unfortunately, this reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what Biden actually said.  Yes, the Vice President plainly stated that Israel, as a sovereign nation, can determine “what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.” But he also plainly stated that U.S. and Israeli interests are currently aligned:  “What we believe is in the national interest of the United States, which we, coincidentally, believe is also in the interest of Israel and the whole world” and that these interests are currently best served by engagement.  More important, Biden was saying that the United States would not be pushed into a course of action by Israel:  “If the Netanyahu government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice.” Fine distinctions?  Perhaps, but worth being sensitive to.

5:23 pm: Ousted soccer captain speaks out

MahdavikiaThe captain of Iran’s soccer team, Mehdi Mahdavikia, said farewell to the nation following his “retirement” in a letter today.

While Mahdavikia expresses his deepest gratitude for the fans and all those who have supported him and the Iranian soccer team ‘team meli’, he expresses his frustration with the political backlash that several prominent members of the team have met in the face of the presidential elections that were recently held in Iran.

Mahdavikia was one of the 6 players who wore green arm bands during Iran’s last world cup qualifying against South Korea.

He said:

“My last word is to those who have called national soccer players traitors. How dare you speak without any proof or any documents calling players who over the years have sacrificed everything including their bodies, their souls and their families in order to make Iran proud, and to bring titles and joy to the people of Iran.”

“I suggest you show your track record and give us the honor to learn loyalty from you…though I am sure people will judge between us the traitors and you loyalists well.”

“Every night, before you sleep, think about respect and be conscious of those who you are about to disparage. The members of the national team are proud individuals who at every instance have given their utmost to make Iran proud.”

“National players did not work so hard for you to insult them with these words.”

4:07 pm: Closing down the Tehran and other cities: air pollution or scheduled strikes?

Multiple sources in Iran are skeptical about air pollution being the real reason behind closing down Tehran and other cities.  Some believe that recent shut downs are meant to coincide with scheduled strikes and the anniversary of the 1999 dorm incident at Tehran University this week.  On July 1st, Mousavi’s Facebook featured a flyer calling for national strikes from July 6-8th where Mousavi’s supporters asked the people “anywhere in the country and anywhere in the world” to take off work during those days.  The pollution is a real problem in Tehran, but many people have lost trust in the government and are questioning its true motives.

Qom and Ilam also closing down – Fars News Agency

In addition to Tehran, all government institutions in Qom and Ilam will be closed tomorrow because of “air pollution.”

4:06 pm: Ayatollah: Election approved by God and Hidden Imam

According to Amir Kabir Newsletter, the Ayatollah Morteza Moqtadayee, Dean of Qom’s Elmiyyeh Theological Seminary, has claimed that the June 12 presidential election “is approved by God and the Hidden Imam and there are no problems with it.”  Moqtadayee said “after the Guardian Council’s approval, the case of the elections must be closed.”  Moqtadayee believes that “believing in Velayat-e Faqih (the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist) means believing in the person whose word is the Hidden Imam’s word and speaks for the interest of Islam, the country and the society.”

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

Iran updates – July 2

Happy Fourth of July Weekend – We’ll be taking a little break from posting this weekend,though will still be following events in Iran as they happen. As always, check back here for major developments, and have a great weekend.

4:39 pm: Mowj confirmed that Rafsanjani will not lead the Friday prayers

Mowj announced that Hashemi Rafsanjani has “declined” to lead the Friday prayers for a second time.  “Temporary Friday prayer Imams” are scheduled to lead the sermons by taking turns.  No official reason has been announced on why Rafsanjani has not been present for his last two turns.  “The rumors regarding resignation from his position as a temporary Imam have not been confirmed.”

3:31 pm: Twitter feeds confirm that  Hashemi Rafsanjani will still not attend the Friday Prayer that will be held tomorrow.

2:53 pm: Parleman News filtered – Parleman News, the formal news portal of the Followers of Imam’s Line, reports that it has been filtered since Wednesday.  “This site was one of the only few unfiltered news sites which was trying to deliver the news relating to the reformists within the legal framework.”

2:32 pm: Over at BloggingHeads, Ellen Laipson and Paul Salem discuss the recent events in Iran, noting particularly how the Arab world is responding as things develop.  Ms. Laipson is the President and CEO of the Stimson Center, a security and non-proliferation think tank in Washington DC, and Mr. Salem is the Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center.

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2:24 pm: Thousands pay respects to “martyrs” in Tehran – According to Peyke Iran, thousands of Tehranis paid their respects to those who were killed during the recent unrest at the Behesht Zahra cemetery, reportedly filling the cemetery with flowers.

“The painful scene of mothers and fathers mourning the loss of their loved ones made others feel like they are all one family and that was everyone’s pain.”

Plainclothes police were also reportedly present at the cemetery, patrolling and carefully monitoring the people.

11:58 am: Twitter feeds are reporting that the mothers of the dead demonstrators are organizing a silent demonstration in the 4 major parks of Tehran on Saturday, July 4.  This is interesting, as the 4 major parks in Tehran are very large, so they must be expecting a large crowd.

11:26 am – Tell Russia, China, and the EU to stop the violence in Iran – The United States has no diplomatic relations and very modest commercial ties to Iran; therefore there just isn’t a whole lot that our government can do to stop the brutal crackdown against the Iranian people.  But others do have leverage and can put pressure on the government to end the violence.

Russia, China, and the EU all have the ability to put intense pressure on the government of Iran.  These countries have not done enough to put a stop to the bloodshed.

Please take a moment to send a letter to the Embassies of Russia, China, and the EU, telling them to use their influence with Iran to stop the crackdown.

  • 2 February 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Culture, Events in Iran

BBC: Recalling the Ayatollah’s return

The BBC marks the 30th anniversary of Khomeini’s return and the Iranian Revolution.

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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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