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

Iran Updates – June 23

8:34 pm: CNN appears to have an interesting scoop and a photo to go along with it:

In a blatant act of defiance, a group of Mullahs took to the streets of Tehran, to protest election results that returned incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.
Clerics in robes and turbans join rallies to protest the disputed presidential election results in Iran.

6:08 pm: WhiteHouse.gov has the Farsi translation of the President’s opening statement from today’s press conference.

5:47 pm: Trita on Rachel Maddow last night

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2794439&w=425&h=350&fv=]
Trita has also given us assurances that he’s going to get at least some sleep tonight.

5:37 pm: Larijani pushing for Mousavi air-time

According to Tahlile Rooz, the speaker of the parliament is trying set up a time for Mousavi to appear on the state TV and discuss his complaints. One of the members of the committee charged with investigating the election violations said “the biased behavior of [IRIB] has fueled the current situation and some authorities including the speaker of parliament are critical of this [behavior].”

According to this member, “Larijani believes that censorship and taking sides by IRIB does not solve the problems or gain people’s trust. Rather, the opposition’s voice must also be heard.”

5:29 pm: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen takes shots at Obama for hotdog diplomacy

Previously, we applauded the Obama administration’s decision to invite Iranian diplomats to 4th of July celebrations at US Embassies around the world. Yesterday, during the State Department’s briefing, a spokesman said that the administration was giving no thought to rescinding the invitations, despite the ongoing post-election turmoil.

Now, in keeping with the tactic that some in Congress have been using to score cheap political points against the President for his prudent use of restraint over the last week and a half, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is shocked, shocked that our diplomats will be allowed to “comingle” with Iranians on our national day.

“The Fourth of July is a day when we celebrate democracy and reflect on the gift of freedom which all Americans cherish.

“I am stunned that some find it appropriate for U.S. officials to comingle with officials, representatives and agents of the Iranian regime this Independence Day. What kind of message does this send to the Iranian people, who are bravely standing up for the same rights and freedoms which Americans celebrate on this day?

“The Iranian people are no less worthy of freedom and self-governance than citizens of the United States.

“It is time for the United States to rescind this invitation and, instead, express our unwavering support for the Iranian people and their dreams and ideals. This Independence Day, we must stand with all who yearn to live free, instead of fraternizing with their oppressors.”

President Obama has made a number of statements about Iran over the last 10 days, and he has been absolutely unwavering in his support for the Iranian people. It’s just plain disingenuous to claim that he is doing anything other than “standing with those who yearn to live free.”

As for the standing invitation, and what it will mean for the future of US-Iran relations…I think we have bigger things to worry about right now.

5:10 pm: (UPDATED) BREAKING

The newspaper Kayhan, which is closely affiliated with the Supreme Leader, has an article in Thursday’s paper laying the groundwork for Mousavi’s arrest.

This is a strong indication that either the government will attempt to arrest Mr. Mousavi soon or that they want Mousavi to fear that they will do so.

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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