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  • 29 June 2009
  • Posted By Sanaz Tofighrad
  • 4 Comments
  • Uncategorized

Rafsanjani Has Not Caved

Guest post by Jill Marie Parillo, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Very little press reported on Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s speech Sunday June 28, and I just don’t buy the analyses that are out there on it.  CNN does have a better piece, which is more neutral.  Most analyses claim that Rafsanjani is caving to Khamenei. For one, the speech does not sound to me (what I have heard translated into English) like a clear statement in support of Supreme Leader Khamenei, and it’s never a good sign when PressTV claims it to be true.

Rather, Rafsanjani said that he supported Khamenei’s decision to extend the Guardian Council’s time (by 5 days) to consider complaints of election fraud.  In some ways this is only confirming that he thinks there was fraud and complaints need to be heard.  Coming as no huge surprise, the 12 member Guardian Council confirmed today, after a partial recount, that the election was legal and Ahmadinejad is still President.

  • 29 June 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran updates – June 29

6:18 Plurality of American voters support Obama’s response to Iran

A plurality (42%) of U.S. voters believe President Obama’s response to the situation in Iran has been appropriate, according to a poll of register voters by Rasmussen Reports.  Almost as many, 40%, believe President Obama has not been aggressive enough in supporting Iranians protesting the results of the election. Five percent think the president has been too agressive, while 13% are unsure.

4:55 pm: Intelligence Minister says some of the arrested “will not be released.”

According to BBC Persian, Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie, the minister of intelligence, just introduced a new criteria for prosecuting arrested individuals.

Ejeie divided up the arrested individuals into three groups.  “Those who participated and had a hand in the decision-making process regarding the recent events will remain in custody until a decision is made…The other group consists of anti-revolutionary demonstrators who took advantage of the situation.  These individuals have been arrested and will not be freed.”  The third group, according to Ejeie, “is those who have been influenced by the atmosphere.  This group will be released if not already released.”

In addition, Ejeie indicated that a new tribunal will be set up shortly to prosecute the arrested demonstrators.

BBC Persian reported that Karroubi, Khatami and Mousavi have already made formal requests that everyone who has been arrested be released immediately.

4:41 pm: Mousavi’s Facebook: “Loudest Allahu Akbar yet” – Mousavi’s facebook page just confirmed; “Allahu akbar was heard Louder than all the previous nights.”

4:13 pm: MPs preventing Mousavi from appearing on TV

Amir Kabir newsletter (Amir Kabir Polytechnic University) reports that several supporters of Ahmadinejad in the parliament are trying to prevent Mousavi from attending a live TV program.  According to this newsletter, one MP has reported that several Ahmadinejad supporters are writing letters to the IRIB, the Guardian Council and the Secretary of the National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran to prevent Mousavi’s appearance on TV.  MPs such as Gholamali Haddad-Adel, Hussein Fadaei, and Ruhollah Hosseinian are trying to collect signatures for this letter.

2:22 pm: “According to recent polls 85% of the people trust the election process,” Fars News.

Hussein Taeb, commander of Basij forces, claimed today that “according to recent polls 85% of the people trust the election process and the remaining 15% will be resolved with the Guardian Council’s announcement.”   Taeb did not say how these polls were conducted.

1:14 pm: Translated news from an human rights activists in Iran:

“People in Melat Park, Valiasr Sq., Vanak and sidewalks of Vailasr St. are holding hands and are trying to form a human chain.”

“But reports of sporadic clashes indicate that the armed forces are trying to prevent the formation of the human chain.”

“Urgent: Mojtaba Tehrani, reporter for the Etemade Meli newspaper which belongs to Karroubi, has been arrested.”

“Security police officers entered Mojtaba Tehrani’s house and in addition to searching the house took away personal items such as computer and compact CDs.”

1:04 pm: The Guardian Council has officially reaffirmed the results of the election, according to the semi-official Fars News agency.

11:28 am: Fars News (Persian) is reporting that Ahmadinejad has picked up 12 extra votes in the recount of Jiroft. Mousavi’s campaign has boycotted the process, which they consider a ploy. It is clear that the recount is only going to confirm the disputed results announced on election night.

11:18 am: Mousavi’s homepage (Persian) has breaking news from the recount. One vote has been added Ahmadinejad’s tally and one vote has been subtracted from Mousavi’s tally.

11:15 am: No violations found so far in recounting the votes – Fars

According the semi-official Fars News agency (Persian), 10 percent of the votes have been recounted in some cities and no contradiction with the original count has been found.  The recount has reportedly been completed in Zarand, Islamshahr, Kerman, Karaj, and Babolsar.  Mousavi has refused to participate in the process, which he considers a ploy.

“Recounting 10 percent of the votes in front of the IRIB camera” 

Kadkhodaei, the Guardian Council’s spokesperson, told Jame Jam Online (Persian) that 10 percent of the votes in all provinces will be recounted in front of the state TV’s cameras.  Kadkhodaei said that the Guardian Council’s meeting with Mousavi’s representative was not successful.  “Therefore, an order was issued to recount the votes in front of IRIB’s cameras.”

10:40 am: Protesting mothers arrested

According to Amir Kabir Newsletter (Amir Kabir Polytechnic University), more than 20 women who were protesting the recent arrests and violence were taken into custody on Saturday.  These women had gathered in Tehran’s park Laleh when they were arrested and taken to Shapour detention facility.

The armed forces also prevented several women who were wearing black from entering the park and beat those who protested.  “According to eyewitnesses,” Amir Kabir reported, “several middle aged women were sitting on the park benches holding candles with black ribbons.”  Some of the women whose children are among the arrested or missing individuals were holding their pictures.

— Iran English News Roundup —

Basij ‘Impostors’ Blamed for Havoc, Radio Free Europe, June 29, 2009

As officials prepare to slam the door shut on any effort to revisit the June 12 election, they appear to be going on the offensive over allegations of thuggery and killing on the part of security forces.

Iran’s English-language Press TV quotes police officials saying they’ve uncovered “armed impostors who posed as security forces during postelection violence in the country.”

European Union Warns Iran Against Acts of Intimidation, The New York Times, June 29, 2009

The European Union on Sunday condemned Iran’s crackdown on postelection protesters and said it would meet any Iranian intimidation of European diplomatic staff with a “strong and collective E.U. response.”

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden, which takes over the European Union presidency starting Wednesday, said the Iranian government had done damage to itself at home and abroad through the response to the disputed June 12 vote.

Iran Says Recount of 10% of Ballots Has Begun, Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2009

Iranian authorities announced today that a recount of 10% of the ballots cast in recent presidential elections riddled with allegations of fraud has begun, though the main opposition candidate has rejected the move as a ploy and refused to participate.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters, meanwhile, that five of the eight British embassy employees arrested over the weekend in Tehran had been released but that three, all Iranian nationals, were under interrogation. The arrests sharpened Iran’s confrontation with the West over the disputed election and its violent aftermath.

Iran: No Downgrade of Diplomatic Ties with Britain, The Guardian, June 29, 2009

Iran dismissed the idea of downgrading diplomatic relations with Britain on Monday despite soaring tensions between the two countries after Iranian authorities detained local British Embassy employees accused of stirring up post-election unrest.

Britain angrily denied that any Iranian staff at its embassy in Tehran have been involved in challenges to the regime. On Sunday, the European Union condemned the detentions as “harassment and intimidation” and demanded the immediate release of those still in custody.

Schumer, Graham: Restrict electronics sales to Iran, The Hill, June 27, 2009

A bipartisan pair of senators is pushing for international restrictions on electronic equipment sold to Iran, citing reports that the government has monitored citizens’ communications after the country’s disputed elections.

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Friday called on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to request that the European Union curb all telecommunications equipment German and Finnish companies, Siemens and Nokia, sell to Iran.

Schumer and Graham also announced plans to introduce a bill on Friday that would render foreign companies ineligible for U.S. government contracts if they sell electronic equipment to Iran that contributes to the government’s monitoring of citizen communication.

Op-Ed: No Velvet Revolution for Iran, Washington Post, June 28, 2009

The three most powerful forces in the modern world are democracy, religion and nationalism. In 1989 in Eastern Europe, all three were arrayed against the ruling regimes. Citizens hated their governments because they deprived people of liberty and political participation. Believers despised communists because they were atheistic, banning religion in countries where faith was deeply cherished. And people rejected their regimes because they saw them as imposed from the outside by a much-disliked imperial power, the Soviet Union.

When we see the kinds of images that have been coming out of Iran over the past two weeks, we tend to think back to 1989 and Eastern Europe. Then, when people took to the streets and challenged their governments, those seemingly stable regimes proved to be hollow and quickly collapsed. What emerged was liberal democracy. Could Iran yet undergo its own velvet revolution?

It’s possible but unlikely. While the regime’s legitimacy has cracked — a fatal wound in the long run — for now it will probably be able to use its guns and money to consolidate power. And it has plenty of both. Remember, the price of oil was less than $20 a barrel back in 1989. It is $69 now. More important, as Zbigniew Brzezinski has pointed out, 1989 was highly unusual. As a historical precedent, it has not proved a useful guide to other antidictatorial movements.

  • 24 June 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 6 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran updates – June 24

niacINsight on Rachel Maddow tonight:

Before we sign off for the night, we wanted to share with you a clip from the Rachel Maddow show from tonight, which quoted this blog’s account of the rally in Baharestan Square earlier today (posted at 3:23 pm):

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.842034&w=425&h=350&fv=]

This was definitely a first for this blog, so thank you to Rachel, MSNBC, and–most importantly–all of you for reading.

5:12 pm: Iran’s Interior Minister is accusing demonstrators of receiving financial support from the US government and a terrorist organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (via semi-official Fars News):

Many of those participating in the post-election unrests in Iran have received financial backup from the US, CIA and anti-Iran terrorist group Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), Iranian Interior Minister Seyed Sadeq Mahsouli said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, Mahsouli described the US, Britain and Israel as among the foreign states which o contributed a major role in the recent unrests in Iran, and said that rioters are in contact with the US, CIA and MKO.

He said that Iranians’ massive turnout in the country’s 10th presidential election, which was a vote of support for the Islamic Republic, angered the US, Britain and Israel, adding that these states intended to undermine the popular support for the Islamic Republic.

“All the terrorist groups, which receive support from outside (from the foreign countries) in different ways, mobilized to join the riots” in a bid to deteriorate the situation, Mahsouli added.

“A large number of rioters receive financial backup from the US, CIA and the MKO,” the official reiterated.

Iran’s government has been making a concerted effort to paint the demonstrators as under the influence of foreign agents.

4:17 pm: Mousavi’s facebook page now contains four posters of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, highlighting one of his more famous quotes:

K-4

“The measure of a nation is its vote.”

4:05 pm: 70 university professors arrested – According to Kalemeh, 70 university professors were arrested today after meeting with Mousavi.  According to the report, “there is no information available on where these professors were taken.”

3:59 pm: After getting slammed in the editorial pages of the Washington Post, NY Times, and WSJ for days, the LA Times comes to Obama’s defense, saying he is hitting the “exact right note on Iran.”

  • 22 June 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 22 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran Updates – June 22

9:34 pm: We received this email from an Iranian now living in the US. She told us she escaped to the US following the 1999 student uprising:

dear sirs/ ba arze salam:

I came across your site recently while following up on the iranian events.

I cannot identify myself other than saying that I was one of those seriously injured previously in a iran protest and reside here now. I have read fairly thoughtfully regarding obama’s response to iran in your site. It is clear that taking the imperialist intervention card from the regime was obama’s intention which was effective. he has been consistent here by refering to the regime as the islamic republic of Iran as he did repeatedly in the norouz message and by speaking about the plight of the Palestinians in cairo. he explicitly has moved away from regime change. however I believe that it would not be taking sides or interfering in iran if ahmadinejad’s government and his envoys to all western countries be held to be without credentials when his term ends. this can be done within the context of respecting the constitution of the islamic republic which is in accordance to the US government’s acceptance of the plebecite in Iran in 1979. This simply raises iran above the level of a third world country that need not explain its legitimacy past its guns. For your information in the last protest and probably this time I witnessed iranians hoping the the americans would step in and got hurt in the process. As Iranians we know that if this protest is crushed it would have been a exercise to the benefit of the regime. the anti government forces would have been brought out imprisoned and hurt. the regime in fact attempts this today by having its agents cry allahuakbar in the streets. leila m.

9:25 pm: From a Tehran resident today:

I cannot sleep and not write this.

Today in Haft-e Tir, there were so many members of basij that they outnumbered the demonstrators 3 or 4 to 1. They were less focused on women. This must be related to the murder of poor Neda. And this was also why whenever they got hold of a man, women would surround them and shout don’t beat him, don’t beat and they would turn and anxiously say we didn’t beat him. It was astonishing. They explained; they talked.

But they didn’t allow us to congregate; they kept telling us to walk and the crowd walked quietly for 2 hours in the circle (meydaan) and spontaneously gathered in whichever area they were not present. About 2000 of us were walking around the circle and only shouting Allah-o Akbar until they were forced to disperse us with tear and pepper gases. I thought people’s patience and persistence was great, although there were also many bad scenes and I cried.

They arrested a whole bus load of people. There were many intelligence folks in the crowd too. They would point to a person and the basijis would arrest that person. There was no one from Sepah and the police was obviously sympathetic to the crowd. I swear some of the Basijis were only 14 or 15, or at least what they looked like to me. On the other hand, women are playing an amazing role in the streets; both in terms of numbers and effectiveness.

  • 21 June 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 9 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran Updates- June 21

12:45 am: Gary Sick analyzes what he calls Mousavi’s “manifesto”:

It is apparent from this statement that Mousavi’s movement—and Mousavi himself—has evolved enormously in the past week. The candidate started as a mild-mannered reformer. After the searing events of the past several days, he has dared to preach a counter sermon to Khameni’s lecture on Islamic government. Although he never mentions the leader by name, there is no overlooking the direct contradiction of his arguments. This open opposition to the leader by a political figure is unprecedented.

Mousavi has in fact issued a manifesto for a new vision of the Islamic republic. The repression and disdain of the government has brought the opposition to a place they probably never dreamed of going. And no one knows where any of the parties are likely to go next.

12:15 am: A NIAC employee just spoke with a contact in Tehran, who tells us that Iranian security forces are arresting injured demonstrators after they are released by the foreign embassies. This has not been corroborated.

The embassies reportedly started helping some of the injured because those being sent to hospitals were being arrested.

11:59 pm: From Tehran, a friend of a former NIAC intern sends the following message:

A day after the the black Saturday, you could see people shocked with the news of the killings. We all knew that these guys are savages. But what we did not think was that, in the time of the Internet and mobile phones with cameras, they would show their real face so early.

People want revenge. You probably have read what Iranians are posting on the Internet. “Neda” has become a hero–we will definitely rename the street where she was killed after her. We will fight back. People have not stopped chanting God is Great. The funniest thing is that a government which claims to get its legitimacy from Allah and Islam cannot stand people saying “Allah-o-Akbar”.

Nevertheless, there is nothing they can hide. We still have very slow Internet access which, if people continue to protest, I believe will be shut down completely. The only concern that we have now is the bloody Rajavis (MEK), who now want to benefit from the situation. They are definitely helping the dictators. They are only giving more reasons for cracking down the people. May God protect us all.

11:37 pm: There are now blogs and websites in Persian being circulated that tell you how to stop bleeding, etc. This one tells you how to take care of someone who has been shot, and this one says how to stop bleeding in general.

11:03 pm: Thinking up new ways to protest.

According to Kalemeh News [Persian], people are finding creative ways to protest since they have not been able to get permits for peaceful demonstrations. “People have decided to turn on their [automobile] headlights on Monday from 5pm to 6pm. It seems like this new method of protest is a result of unprecedented restrictions and harsh treatment of the people by the armed forces and militias.

10:27 pm: Mousavi’s statement.

An amazing NIAC member, Arvin, translated Mousavi’s 6th statement, which was posted today. The original Farsi is here: http://ghalamnews.org/news-21185.aspx [The newspaper, affiliated with Mousavi, was reportedly hacked earlier today and now appears down.]

It is worth nothing that unlike his earlier statements he is no longer saying there is doubt about the election or irregularity; he outright calls it cheating as a foregone conclusion. Also when he refers to “unlawfulness by the government” that is code for Ahmadinejad. That is what he called him during the debates, and is what he said he has come to stop. He also urges the people to keep their protests nonviolent.

In the name of God, the compassionate and merciful,

We are all from God, and one day we will return to Him [A Koranic quote, that signifies readiness for death]

The heart-wrenching news of martyrdom of a group of protestors, against widespread cheating in recent elections, has cast a pall of silence and sadness over our society. Opening fire on people, militarizing the city, spreading fear, provoking [the public] and power displays are all illegitimate children of the unlawfulness which we face and it is bewildering that the perpetrators of these acts accuse others of this. To those who call people lawless for expressing their opinions, I say that the biggest act of lawlessness is indifference [to the public] and contravention of the explicit [text] of article 27 of the constitution [allowing public demonstrations] by the government in not issuing permits for peaceful gatherings. Do revolutionary people who, with gatherings like these brought you and us out of the dark history of the Shah’s tyranny, need to be beaten and wounded and be threatened with force?

I, as a mourner, invite the people to self-restraint. The country belongs to you. The revolution and the government are your inheritances. Objecting to lies and cheating is your right. Be hopeful in exercising your rights and do not allow those, who try to instill fear in you to dissuade you, to make you angry. Continue to avoid violence in your protests and treat the disproportionate actions of the security forces as broken hearted parents would their children. Having said that, I expect that security forces will not allow memories of these days to cause irreparable harm in their relationship with the people. That they [security forces] are not informing the families of the martyred, the wounded, and the arrested, and are keeping them hidden and in limbo will not aid in restoration of peace and will antagonize [people’s] emotions. Arbitrary arrests lead to loss of respect and authority of security forces in the mind of the people and the society.

I ask the Almighty to be compassionate towards these martyrs and to give them the highest of honors, and for their stricken families I wish patience and fulfillment of their dreams.

Mir Hossein Moussavi

31 Khordad, 1388 [June 21, 2009]

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.

Sincerely,

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