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  • 9 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Sunday News Roundup

Washington Post: With Iran Blaming West, Dual Citizens Are Targets

Among the more than 100 people on trial after Iran’s disputed presidential election are two dual citizens: Kian Tajbakhsh, 47, an American Iranian urban planner, and Maziar Bahari, 42, a Canadian Iranian filmmaker and Newsweek reporter.


New York Times: Iran Prosecutor General Acknowledges Torture

A top judiciary official acknowledged Saturday that some detainees arrested after post-election protests had been tortured in Iranian prisons, the first such acknowledgment by a senior Iranian official. […]


Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Qorbanali Dori-Najafabadi, the prosecutor general, said “mistakes” had led to a few “painful accidents which cannot be defended, and those who were involved should be punished.”


Such mistakes, he said, included “the Kahrizak incident,” a reference to the deaths of several detainees at Kahrizak detention center in southwestern Tehran.


His comments came after weeks of reports that detainees had been tortured, and they fell somewhere between an admission and an accusation, as most of the arrests were made by the Revolutionary Guards and the paramilitary Basij militia, groups that are not under the control of the judiciary.


Even so, the statement was likely to be incendiary in Iran, where allegations of torture by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi became a central justification of the 1979 revolution that brought the hard-line clerics to power.


Detainees’ accusations of torture have already prompted a parliamentary investigation of abuses at Kahrizak, which was closed last month by order of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


Mr. Dori-Najafabadi said his team had tried to change the situation after taking control of the arrests last month, the ILNA news agency reported, and he encouraged people to come forward with complaints.


“Maybe there were cases of torture in the early days after the election,” he was quoted as saying, “but we are willing to follow up any complaints or irregularities that have taken place.”


In another indication of dissension, he said a special judiciary committee had recommended the release of Saeed Hajjarian, a prominent reformist. Mr. Hajjarian’s family said he had been tortured, and has expressed concern about his health. Last week, the Iranian authorities said Mr. Hajjarian had been moved to a site with access to doctors.


Mr. Dori-Najafabadi also said that about 100 people had been arrested every day after the post-election demonstrations began, and that there were efforts to release about the same number daily. There are nearly 200 detainees today, he said.



Iran’s Police Chief admits election demonstrators were tortured

Iran’s police chief admitted today that protesters arrested after June’s disputed presidential election had been tortured while in custody in a notorious prison in south-west Tehran. But he denied any of the detainees died as a result of their mistreatment.


In remarks reported by state-run media, General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said the chief of the Kahrizak detention centre had been dismissed and punished.


“The head of the centre has been sacked and jailed. Three policemen who beat detainees have been jailed as well,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Moghaddam as saying.

IRGC Commander: Arrest Mousavi, Karroubi, & Khatami

“If Mousavi, (defeated candidate Mehdi) Karoubi and (former president Mohammad) Khatami are main suspects behind the soft revolution in Iran, which they are, we expect the judiciary … to go after them, arrest them, put them on trial and punish them,” said Yadollah Javan, a senior Guards commander, the official IRNA news agency reported.

U.S. National Security Advisor Calls for Release of Americans in Iran

The United States has sent strong messages to Iran urging the release of three American hikers who were detained there recently, U.S. national security adviser Jim Jones said on Sunday.


“We have sent strong messages that we would like these three young people released as soon as possible, and also others that they have in their custody as well,” Jones told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The Iranian government acknowledged on Sunday that it had the three Americans in its custody, he said.

Fars News: Ahmadinejad to introduce new cabinet next Monday.

Shirin Ebadi calls for release of detainees.

Press TV: Iran Police Chief blamed for Kahrizak prison deaths

Hamid-Reza Katouzian, a member of the Principlist faction that holds the majority of seats in the Parliament (Majlis), said Wednesday that Iran’s Police Chief, Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam, is responsible for the death and abuse of detained opposition demonstrators in Kahrizak.


“Unfortunately, the gross misconduct of Kahrizak officials have resulted in the murder of scores of young people,” said Katouzian. “The Iranian Police Chief is duty bound to provide a clear explanation in this regard.”


Robin Wright: In Iran, a Hostage-Taker Is Now Hostage

This new purge may be more profound politically than the campaign against the followers of Mir Hossein Mousavi: The Iranian revolution is eating its children.


Mohsen Mirdamadi saw it all coming. He warned me about it five years ago. The only thing he didn’t foresee was his own role. Last week, he sat in a revolutionary court, dressed in gray prison pajamas, as one of its victims. 

  • 6 April 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. US may cede to Iran’s nuclear ambition, Financial Times
  2. Gordon G. Chang: A Missile Shot for Iran, Wall Street Journal
  3. Editorial: Warnings on Iran, Wall Street Journal
  4. UN Ambassador Rice Defends Sanctions on Iran, ABC News
  5. Editorial: Diplomacy on the Sidelines, New York Times
  6. IRAN: Will Obama meet Khatami at Turkey confab?, Los Angeles Times
  7. Iran’s Mousavi vows to push nuclear drive, AFP
  8. Asma Afsaruddin: A stark question for Iran: What would the Prophet do?, Christian Science Monitor
  9. Iran criticizes Obama, calls on U.S. to scrap nuclear arms, Reuters
  10. Khamenei hails Venezuela’s ‘courageous’ cut in Israel ties, AFP
  11. Iran’s president may deliver ‘good’ nuclear plant news, CNN
  12. US reporter’s father visits her in Iran prison, AFP
  • 23 March 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. Khamenei stamps authority on US relations, AFP
  2. Iran’s response to US shows mind-set of leadership, AP
  3. Editorial: Obama strikes new tone with Tehran, Financial Times
  4. Roger Cohen: From Tehran to Tel Aviv¸ International Herald Tribune
  5. Rami G. Khouri: Dialogue or Dictating to Iran?, Middle East Times
  6. Despite Iran’s tepid response, experts hail Obama approach, McClatchy
  7. Iran sets terms for U.S. ties, AP
  8. ‘No proof’ Iran seeks atom bomb: Russian minister, AFP
  9. John Bolton: Iran’s Axis of Nuclear Evil, Wall Street Journal
  10. Amir Taheri: Iran Has Started a Mideast Arms Race, Wall Street Journal
  11. Wife of founder of Iran’s Islamic republic dies, AP
  • 10 March 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. Visit raises speculation over Turkish-mediated U.S.-Iran talks, Los Angeles Times
  2. Karzai trip may push Iran to join US-led Afghan talks, AFP
  3. Iran faces shift in strategy from moderate Arabs, Jerusalem Post
  4. Iran seen as target of Saudi overtures to Syria, Reuters
  5. Iran says nuclear plant to start operating by Aug 22, AFP
  6. Arab role needed to solve Iran nuclear issue: ElBaradei, Reuters
  7. Iran: Hostile drones disrupted our satellite launch, Haaretz
  8. Father: Lawyer meets with U.S. journalist detained in Iran, CNN
  9. After 2 years, no word on American missing in Iran, AP
  10. Iranian sentenced in Florida for night-vision deal, Reuters
  • 19 February 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. John Hughes: A Russian answer to Iran’s threat, Christian Science Monitor
  2. Kim Holmes: U.S. backtracks on missile shield, Washington Times
  3. Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed as Israel PM, The Telegraph
  4. Ari Shavit: The president’s day, Haaretz
  5. US senator urges Syria to break with Hamas, Iran, AFP
  6. Iran’s security concerns weigh heavy, Asia Times
  7. Bahrain halts gas talks with Iran over insult, AP
  8. Cyprus: Iran ship can leave without suspect cargo, AP
  9. Iran, Afghanistan pledge to boost bilateral trade, AP
  10. New route links Afghanistan to sea, via Iran, SF Chronicle
  11. One third of world drugs transited through Iran: police chief, Tehran Times
  • 12 February 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. U.S. now sees Iran as pursuing nuclear bomb, Los Angeles Times
  2. Iran to America: Make your intentions clear, Christian Science Monitor
  3. France’s Sarkozy wants “firmness” in U.S.-Iran talks, Reuters
  4. U.S. Offers Europe Goodwill, and Expects Something in Return, New York Times
  5. Obama faces double dilemmas in Mideast, AP
  6. Reform candidate slams Iran’s hardline president, AP
  7. An eye on the voters in Tehran, The Guardian
  8. Iran may be running out of yellowcake, AFP
  9. Security Talks About Iraq Not Needed, Iran Signals, New York Times
  10. Iran building seven more satellites, Reuters
  11. Iran gas interest seen rekindled by Russia crisis, Reuters
  12. Iran to try Bahais for spying for Israel, AP
  • 27 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. Obama plan to negotiate buys Iran time to complete nuclear program, Haaretz
  2. Obama Signals New Tone in Relations With Islamic World, New York Times
  3. US to have ‘vigorous’ Iran talks, BBC
  4. Iran expecting ‘concrete’ changes under Obama, AFP
  5. NATO leader urges engagement with Iran, AP
  6. Gerecht: The CIA Vs. the Mullahs
  7. Kinzer: Iran is the key, The Guardian
  8. Iran condemns EU for delisting terror group, CNN
  9. Iran Group to Stay on U.S. Terror List, Wall Street Journal
  10. Iran Nukes: Nuclear Weapons Material This Year, US News & World Report
  11. Guilty Plea in Iran Exporting Case, New York Times
  • 22 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. Obama and the Middle East, The Nation
  2. Does Barack Obama have Iran’s number?, Telegraph
  3. Iran’s Ahmadinejad sceptical about Barack Obama’s ability to change America, Telegraph
  4. Barack Obama greeted with hatred and quiet hope in Iran, Telegraph
  5. Iran: Obama must seek ‘new’ Mideast foreign policy, AP
  6. World powers to meet to discuss Iran next month, Reuters
  7. Clinton confirmed as new US chief diplomat, AFP
  8. In the Wake of Gaza, Arab Hard-Liners Gain Upper Hand, Time
  9. Questions on Iran president’s health, International Herald Tribune
  10. Iran warns BBC Tehran staff not to help Farsi service, AFP
  11. Iran calls for more OPEC meetings, UPI
  • 14 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. Obama’s new approach on Iran, Christian Science Monitor
  2. At Confirmation Hearing, Clinton Talks of Engagement With Iran, Washington Post
  3. Oil is weapon against Israel, U.S., says Iranian aide, Reuters
  4. Senator: Missing American in secret prison in Iran, AP
  5. Iran to seek influence through Iraq elections: Pentagon, AFP
  6. Iran: BBC Persian TV threat to Iran ‘security’, AP
  7. Netanyahu: Hamas must be toppled, AP
  8. Israel Halts Ship to Gaza, Iran Says, New York Times
  • 12 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • NIAC round-up

NIAC round-up

  1. U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site, New York Times
  2. In Interview, Obama Talks of ‘New Approach’ to Iran, New York Times
  3. Iran to consider Obama’s remarks, AP
  4. Kristol: Continuity We Can Believe In, The New York Times
  5. Cohen: Mideast Dream Team? Not Quite, New York Times
  6. Iranians’ hope for U.S. policy shift dims, Washington Times
  7. Ross Super-Envoy Post May Not be Done Deal, Inter Press Service
  8. Iran Moved Billions via U.S. Banks, New York Times
  9. Probe widened on US banking violation, Financial Times
  10. Editorial: Tehran’s Strip Club, The Wall Street Journal
  11. Irani: What Tehran Fears Most, Radio Liberty
  12. Iran warns Hamas not to accept truce, Jerusalem Post
  13. Some Iranians Resent Gaza Appeals In Light Of Domestic Hardships, Radio Liberty

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.



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