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  • 4 October 2012
  • Posted By Dylan Zehr
  • 0 Comments
  • Iranian American activism, MEK, Uncategorized

Media dupes lump entire Iranian-American community in with MEK

As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at the United Nations, a large rally took place near the United Nations building. This participants were described as “Anti-Ahmadinejad protesters” (AFP), “anti-Iranian regime protesters” (CNN), merely “protesters” (NY Daily News, USA Today), “sponsored by groups including the Association of Iranian-Americans in New York & New Jersey” (CBSNewYork), and “a coalition of Iranian-American groups” (AP).

Let me show you a few pictures.

(c) Marcus Santos/New York Daily News

(c) Robert Deutsch/USAToday

(c) GaryofNYC/CNN

It may be subtle, but these are not actually pictures of an unaligned rally. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that when you spell out a message in giant mylar balloons, that’s probably the most important message of your rally.

  • 2 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 2, 2012

Congress Sends New Sanctions Bill to President

A day after President Obama increased sanctions on Iran via executive order, Congress is sending a new sanctions bill to the President’s desk, which attempts to bankrupt Iran and cause hyperinflation by preventing Iran from repatriating any revenue from its energy. NIAC criticized the sanctions, saying “The bill imposes collective punishment on the Iranian people by seeking to destroy the Iranian economy (The Hill 8/1; NIAC 8/1).

UN Secretary General Calls on MEK to Leave Camp Ashraf

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (MEK)  to follow orders and leave their paramilitary base in Iraq, Camp Ashraf. The group has stopped adhering to the agreement it signed to abandon its base, despite the State Department saying its decision on whether to keep the group on its terrorist list would be based in part on its cooperation (Washington Post 8/1).

Amnesty International Report Voices Concern for Iranian Women

  • 1 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 1, 2012

Netanyahu Challenges Credibility of US Threat Against Iran

Speaking next to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, “Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program.”  Panetta responded by reiterating that “If they make the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapon…we have options that we are prepared to implement to ensure that that does not happen,” (Reuters 8/1).

Beijing “Furious” Over Sanctions on Chinese Bank

Beijing has reacted furiously to new US sanctions imposed on a Chinese bank, Bank of Kunlun, over transactions with Iran, and urged the US to revoke the “groundless” sanctions, saying the sanctions violated “norms of international relations” (AP 8/1).

Iran, OPEC Oil Production Falls

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

Iran News Roundup: July 31, 2012

Obama Authorizes New Iran Sanctions

President Obama authorized new sanctions against banks that facilitate the sale of petrochemical products by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Naftiran Intertrade Company (NIC). Additionally, the President imposed sanctions on the Bank of Kunlun in China and Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq for processing transactions for sanctioned Iranian banks (Reuters 7/31; The White House 7/31).

US Lawmakers Push for More Sanctions on Iran

US lawmakers in favor of new sanctions have reached an agreement, and the new legislation is expected to be voted on in the House as early as Wednesday. As explained by the Senate Banking Committee, “The bill aims to prevent Iran from repatriating any of the revenue it receives from the sale of its crude oil, depriving Iran of hard currency earnings and funds to run its state budget.” (AP 7/30; Senate Banking 7/30).

Iraq Says It Will Force MEK Out of Paramilitary Base

Iraq has told the Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK), a US-designated terrorist organization, that they must move out of Camp Ashraf, or be forced to leave. Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayadh said at a conference that, “Now we are free to implement the mechanisms required to transfer those who live in (Camp Ashraf) to where we find appropriate.” Iraq said it will observe a grace period of “a few days” to allow for a solution to the impasse, which arose when the MEK stopped cooperating with efforts to relocate the group’s members (Reuters 7/31).

Persian Gulf States Expand Arms Purchases

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

Iran News Roundup: July 6, 2012

MEK Supporters Face Allegations of Unregistered Lobbying for Terrorist Organization

Under federal law, advocates for foreign organization are required to register as lobbyists and provide details about their clients and income, but supporters of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), a well-financed designated terrorist organization, have not registered, according to a Washington Post investigation. The MEK supporters have been meeting with senior Obama administration officials to pressure the State Department into removing their organization from the State Department’s terrorist list.

Administration officials told the Post that the inquiry of whether the MEK’s paid supporters are violating the law by advocating for a designated foreign terrorist organization “remains essentially on hold” until a decision is made to keep the group on the terror list (Washington Post 7/5). Meanwhile, columnist Clarence Page was formally reprimanded by the Chicago Tribune for giving a paid speech at a MEK event, though he added his job “is safe for now.” (Talking Points Memo 7/6)

Canadian Bank Freezing Accounts of Canadians with Family in Iran

Canadian bank, TD Bank Group, has begun closing the accounts of customers which “appears to include any use of an account to send or receive money via wire transfer to or from friends and family in Iran,” according to the Ottawa Citizen.  “We are simply following regulations set out by the sanctions,” said TD Bank Group spokesperson Mohammed Nakhooda (Ottawa Citizen 7/6).

Post-Meeting Insight into Moscow Negotiations

Iranian diplomats are indicating that Iran is willing to replace the heavy water reactor it is building in Arak with a light water reactor, according to Jim Walsh, a non-proliferation expert at MIT who was present a presentation by the diplomats. Such a concession would reduce proliferation concerns, since heavy water reactors can produce weapons grade plutonium (The Guardian 7/6).

The Guardian also reports that “European diplomats have said that if Iran had asked for a postponement of the oil embargo at the official talks in return for 20% suspension, the six-nation group would have found itself split and would have difficulty turning it down. As it happened, the Iranians made the country’s guaranteed right to enrich their central demand,” (The Guardian 7/6).

  • 19 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: 19 June 2012

Moscow Talks Concludes

Talks concluded today with the parties agreeing to an “early follow-on technical-level meeting” in Istanbul on July 3rd, to be followed by a meeting at the deputy-level between the EU and Iran (Reuters 6/19). EU representative Catherine Ashton said the P5+1 remains “absolutely unified in seeking a swift diplomatic resolution to international concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program, based on the NPT and the full implementation by Iran of UNSC and IAEA Board of Governors Resolutions” (Consilium Europa 6/19). Iran’s representative, Saeed Jalili, added that the Moscow talks were, “more serious, more realistic and way beyond just expressing the viewpoints and positions” (NYT 6/19). Iran left the talks without any assurances of a delay or alleviation of sanctions (NYT 6/19). Oil prices rose on the news (Bloomberg 6/19).

Yesterday, Iran emphasized on Monday that sanctions relief must be provided if Iran is expected to curb its nuclear activities (Salon 6/18). Using a PowerPoint presentation, Jalili laid out a detailed account of Iran’s five point proposal (The Guardian 6/18). NIAC’s statement on the talks can be found here.

Ahmadinejad Sends Message to the West

On his presidential website, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has posted: “’From the beginning the Islamic Republic has stated that if European countries provided 20 percent enriched fuel for Iran, it would not enrich to this level’” (Reuters 6/18).

U.S. Fed Up with MEK Intransigence on Camp Ashraf

The U.S. urged the Mujehedin-e Khalq (MEK) to abandon the paramilitary base it set up under Saddam Hussein, Camp Ashraf, warning that failure to do so would diminish the likelihood that it would succeed in its lobbying campaign to be removed from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland emphasized that the paramilitary’s base’s closure “is a key factor in determining whether the organization remains invested in its violent past or is committed to leaving that past behind”  (State Dept. 6/18).  An unnamed US official additional said, “We believe that they are gravely mistaken to think that any conceivable Iraqi government would in fact allow them to remain as a paramilitary organization in Iraq” (Reuters 6/18).

Romney: U.S. cannot survive a nuclear Iran

As conservatives in Congress press for confrontation with Iran, presidential candidate Mitt Romney argued, “We cannot survive a- a course of action which would include a nuclear Iran.”  Romney further stated that an attack on Iran would not require Congressional approval (The Washington Post 6/18).

Escalating Sanctions

Iranian banks Pasargad and Bank Tejerat have applied to the Turkish banking watchdog for licenses to operate in Turkey to avoid sanctions on bank transactions with Iran, demonstrating the strain on Iranian banks as a result of political pressure (Reuters 6/18). Turkey has cut its oil imports from Iran from 210,000 bpd to 140,000 bpd in the first four months of this year (Reuters 6/18).

Germany’s Germanischer Lloyd has stopped verifying safety and environmental standards for Iranian companies, making it more difficult for Iranian ships to call at international ports (Reuters 6/18).

An American citizen was turned away from an Apple store after she spoke Farsi with her uncle (WSBTV Atlanta 6/18). The store manager justified the action by explaining the store’s policy was merely complying with US sanctions against Iran, which make the sale of Apple goods to Iran illegal (WSBTV Atlanta 6/18).

Analysis: “MEK Working Through Senate to Sabotage Iran Diplomacy”

Affiliates of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, are claiming to be behind a major letter from the Senate aimed at curtailing U.S. diplomatic efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute.

The letter, sent last week by forty-four Senators, calls for President Obama to abandon any further diplomatic efforts with Iran unless stringent preconditions are immediately met.   While many assumed that the prominent American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby was behind the letter, MEK-affiliates are now taking some of the public credit.

The lead author of the letter, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), enjoys ties to the Iranian-American Cultural Association of Missouri, an MEK-affiliate that released a statement supporting the letter. (NIAC 6/19)

  • 15 February 2012
  • Posted By Jacob Martin
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 02/14

Injured Iranian held responsible for Thailand bombings

 A man believed to be Iranian had both legs blown off after attempting to throw a bomb at Thai police in Bangkok.  Two other nearby explosions, which resulted in several people being injured, accompanied this attack.  These explosions occurred a day after bombing attacks against Israeli diplomatic staff in India and Georgia. Although the bombing targets remain unclear, Israeli officials have accused Iran’s complicity in these attacks and believe that this is part of a greater campaign being perpetrated by Iran and Hezbollah amidst rising tensions. Responding to this incident, Israeli defense minster Ehud Barak released a statement, saying that this “proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to perpetrate terror.”  (BBC 02/14)

In addition, University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole notes that Indian investigators do not believe Iran was involved in the embassy bombing, instead assuming culpability on “Indian Mujahidin,” a pro-Palestinian Sunni group responsible for staging a very similar attack against Taiwanese tourists in 2010.  Cole says that this sort of operation is unlikely to have been undertaken by Iran, since India is a crucial trading partner and one of the few remaining nations that continue Iranian oil purchases.  (Juan Cole 02/14)

Meanwhile, former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel warns that the “spy versus spy” game played by Israel against Iran and Hezbollah has the potential to cause disaster if it is not contained.  Riedel cites the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the 1982 IDF invasion of Lebanon as examples of crisis brought about by terrorist attacks and efforts of retaliation.  (Al-Monitor 02/13)

 Iran to install domestically produced fuel rods in nuclear reactor

Iranian officials have announced that tomorrow they will insert their first-domestically produced fuel rods into a nuclear research reactor in Tehran, marking significant advances in Iran’s nuclear program.  President Ahmadinejad, who previously indicated an “important” announcement would be made regarding Iran’s nuclear program, is expected to be in attendance at this event.  “Because Western countries were unwilling to help us, we began enriching uranium to 20% to make nuclear fuel rods,” stated Ali Bagheri, deputy chief of Iran’s national security council.  (RIA Novosti 02/14)

U.S. groups call upon China to support Iran sanctions

 Various American advocacy groups aiming to further isolate Iran are planning to use Vice President Xi Jinping’s upcoming U.S. trip to criticize China’s continued purchases of Iranian oil as well as call upon the next Chinese leader to work more closely with Obama on the prevention of Iranian enrichment.  One such group, the Partnership for a Secure America, submitted a letter to Jinping, urging him “to make clear that China will significantly reduce its imports of oil from Iran, uphold the applicable resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, and use its economic influence with Tehran, coupled with robust diplomacy, to help resolve this issue peacefully.”  China is currently the largest single importer of Iranian oil.   (NY Times 02/13)

Tensions emerging between Iran and Azerbaijan

Azeri officials have contested Iranian claims that Azerbaijan has been assisting Israeli Mossad’s activities against Iran by allowing MEK members to travel through Azerbaijan and onto Israel to receive training related to the recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.  An Azeri foreign ministry spokesman said the Iranian complaint was likely in response to Azeri diplomatic protests over last month’s alleged Iranian plot to kill Israelis in Azerbaijan.  Azerbaijan maintains friendly ties with the U.S. and Israel, while it long has had shaky relations with Iran over the ethnic Azeri minority in northern Iran.  (BBC 02/13)

Turkey to continue import of Iranian oil

Turkey has announced that it will not reduce imports of Iranian oil despite the U.S. and the EU’s robust sanctions, which have made financial transactions with Iran increasingly difficult.  Recently Turkish delegates met with Saudi officials in Riyadh to discuss the possibility of importing additional Saudi oil as a substitute for Iranian oil, but ended up ruling against the decision.  Many industry analysts believed the Riyadh talks were simply a ploy to attempt to negotiate lower prices for Iranian oil.   Turkey imports about 200,000 barrels per day of oil from Iran, consisting of 30% of daily domestic consumption.  (Reuters 02/14)

U.S. Navy: Iran prepares suicide bomb boats in Gulf

Amidst escalating tensions, Iran has built up its naval forces in the Gulf, including small submarines and fast-attack craft intended to swarm and overwhelm superior U.S. naval forces.  According to Vice Admiral Mark Fox,  “some of the small boats have been outfitted with a large warhead that could be used a suicide explosive device.”  This tactic is of particular concern to Washington, and is reminiscent of Al-Qaeda’s suicide boat attack in 2000 against the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen that resulted in the death of 17 sailors.  (Reuters 02/13)

Authorities crackdown as Iranians protest detention of opposition

Supporters of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi organized several protests throughout Tehran to mark the anniversary of the two former politician’s arrest and call for their immediate release. Mousavi and Karoubi were arrested following an event showing support for the “Arab Spring” protests.   (BBC 02/14)

Among those advocating for their release is Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, who released a statement saying, “I support the call [of political prisoners] and invite all freedom-loving people across the globe to do all they can for the release of prisoners of conscience in Iran.”  (ICHRI 01/ 26)

EA Worldview has reported that security forces have turned out in great numbers, and have already arrested several protestors.  Also, Iranian security forces turned off virtual private networks (VPNs), making Twitter and other social networking sites impossible to access using typical methods.  (EA Worldview 02/14)

Notable Opinon:

 In a recent piece for Foreign Policy, Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt reviews the tensions between U.S./Israel and Iran from an outsider’s perspective, and questions American and Israeli fears over Iran’s intentions and capabilities:

 “If a sensible Martian came down to Earth and looked at the saber rattling about Iran, I suspect he/she/it would be completely flummoxed. For our Martian visitor would observe two very capable states — the United States and Israel — threatening to attack a country that hardly seems worth the effort. The U.S. and Israel together spend more than $700 billion each year on their national security establishments; Iran spends about $10 billion. The U.S. and Israel have the most advanced military hardware in the world; Iran’s weapons are mostly outdated and lack spare parts. The U.S. and Israeli militaries are well-educated and very well trained; not true of Iran. The United States has thousands of nuclear weapons and Israel has several hundred, while Iran has a vast arsenal of … zero. Iran does have a nuclear enrichment program (which is the reason for all the war talk), but the most recent National Intelligence Estimates have concluded that Iran does not presently have an active nuclear weapons program. The United States has several dozen military bases in Iran’s immediate vicinity; Iran has exactly none in the Western hemisphere. The United States has powerful allies in every corner of the world; Iran’s friends include a handful of minor non-state actors like Hezbollah or minor-league potentates like Bashar al Assad (who’s not looking like an asset these days) or Hugo Chávez.”

To read the full article click here.

Additional Notable News:

China has sent an assistant foreign minister, Ma Zhaoxu, to Iran to attend two days of talks related to Iran’s nuclear program.

Khabar Online reports that a Special Currency Control Committee has decided to replace the US dollar with the Turkish lira, Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Indian rupee, Russian ruble, and Euro for importers.

Iranian media are reporting that the President’s media advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, will receive a six-month prison sentence for “insulting the Supreme Leader” on his personal blog.

Today, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued guidance concerning the implementation of sanctions relating to Iran’s Central Bank and other Iran-affiliated institutions.


  • 10 February 2012
  • Posted By Richard Abott
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 2/10

Amidst increased sanctions, Asian powers push negotiation

The Foreign Ministry of China has said it would send an Assistant Foreign Minister to Iran to “have a further exchange of views with Iran over its nuclear program,” amidst sanctions that are affecting trade. China has already sought discounts on Iranian oil and cut purchases this year by over half, pushing up India to be the largest buyer of Iranian oil, although India is still working out the details of a barter system (Reuters 02/10). Moreover, Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, has said it would consider proposals from Iran in barter trade. According to Reuters, Tehran is offering gold bullion in overseas vaults and tankerloads of oil in return for food and basic staples (Reuters 02/10). Meanwhile, as a delegation of Indian businessmen head to Tehran for new trade opportunities, Prime Minister Singh said “There are problems with Iran nuclear programme. We sincerely believe that this issue can be and should be resolved by giving maximum scope to diplomacy” (Reuters 02/10).

Japan is trying to gain a waiver from U.S. penalties on companies doing business with Iran while it seeks suppliers to offset a reduction in Iranian oil imports. Japan currently gets about 9% of its oil from Iran and it has already reduced Iranian oil imports by 40% in five years (AP 02/10).

Iranian oil trade flows drop and steel imports collapse

The International Energy Agency has said up to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iran’s 2.6 million bpd of oil exports could be replaced once sanctions go into effect, significantly greater than the 600,000 bpd of Iranian oil the EU bought last year (Reuters 02/10).

Steel exports to Iran, one of the world’s largest importers of steel billet, are collapsing because sanctions are preventing local buyers from using major currencies. Major steel traders are unwilling to accept payment in alternative currencies such as Indian rupees and Russian roubles. Steel billets are semi-finished long steel products used primarily in construction. The reduction in Iranian imports is depressing the prices of international steel billets, which fell by about $50 a tonne in one month (Reuters 02/09).

  • 8 February 2012
  • Posted By B.Farshneshani
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

News Roundup 02/08

Iran Sanctions Squeeze Country’s Food Supply

Sanctions are beginning to seriously affect Iran’s ability to import food products.  The All India Rice Exporters’ Association has called on its members to stop exporting rice to Iran on credit after Iranian buyers defaulted on payments for 200,000 tons of rice (Chicago Tribune 02/07).  In addition, Ukraine has stopped selling grain to Iran due to payment difficulties, and Malaysia has similarly stopped providing palm oil (Reuters 02/08). 

Former Israeli Spymaster: Israel Does Not Face Existential Threat

Former director of Mossad, Meir Dagan, maintains that there is no existential threat to Israel, putting him at odds with the country’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, who he has accused of dashing toward a rash military strike on Iran (Washington Post 02/08).

  • 30 August 2011
  • Posted By David Shams
  • 0 Comments
  • MEK

Louis Freeh offers FBI tour for Rajavi

“No one except the regime in Iran opposes the de-listing of the MEK,” Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI under two Presidents, said Friday at a rally in front of the Department of State supporting de-listing the MEK.

Excuse me? I am no fan of the current regime—nor are my parents, my Iranian friends, or the millions of Iranians who took to the streets after the June 2009 elections.  But for just about all of us, it’s beyond comprehension as to why delisting the MEK is even being discussed.

Yet Freeh writes us all off as regime supporters.

Freeh then promised to personally give a tour of FBI headquarters to MEK leader Maryam Rajavi if the MEK gets delisted.  It makes me wonder: if Hamas or Hizbollah started paying former officials $25K per speaking engagement, would they be able to tour the Hoover Building too?

It’s a shame that former public servants–Patrick Kennedy, Ed Rendell, and John Sano all spoke at the rally– have taken to promoting a cult-like organization with little to no support among Iranians, both inside and outside Iran. If these officials were to ask other Iranians, they’d find a deep seeded disgust for the MEK and the current regime.  They’d find that the Green Movement views de-listing of MEK as a gift to the regime.

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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