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  • 17 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 17, 2012

New Cyber Attack Detected in Iran

Israeli security company, Seculert, and Russia’s Kaspersky Lab have uncovered another cyber espionage campaign primarily aimed at Iran that they are calling the Mahdi Trojan. While primarily targeting Iran, the trojan, which is capable of stealing files and monitoring email, was also found in other Middle Eastern countries. The campaign which has effected more than 800 victims, targets infrastructure companies, engineering students, financial services, and government embassies (Reuters 7/17).

Pentagon Reportedly Building Missile Defense Radar in Qatar

U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal that the Pentagon is building an “X-band” missile-defense radar station at a secret site in Qatar, which is capable of detecting missile launches in cooperation with radar systems in Israel and Turkey. Additionally, the U.S. is preparing its largest ever minesweeping exercises in the Persian Gulf starting in September (WSJ 6/17).

Clinton Calls Iranian P5+1 Proposals “Non-Starters” in Israel

At a news conference in Jerusalem yesterday, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said, “”I made very clear that the proposals that we have seen from Iran thus far within the P5+1 negotiations are non-starters.” Clinton spoke following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She added, “Our own choice is clear: we will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” (CNN 7/16).

  • 25 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • 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).

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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