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  • 8 August 2013
  • Posted By Caroline Cohn
  • 2 Comments
  • discrimination, Sanctions

Want to book a flight to Iran on Kayak? Sorry. But North Korea’s nice this time of year.

When Iranian Americans started reaching out to us a few weeks ago asking why websites like Kayak and Priceline were no longer allowing users to book flights to Iran, NIAC contacted the top executives of seven online travel agencies currently engaging in the practice to attempt to fix the problem. We told these companies – Orbitz, Priceline, Expedia, Tripadvisor, Cheaptickets, Hotwire, and Kayak – that, while sanctions are broad and confusing, they do not prohibit travel or the booking of travel to Iran. Since then, we’ve been contacted by Orbitz’s VP for Corporate Affairs who told us that the reason they block these sales is indeed sanctions. Or rather, the over-enforcement of sanctions that are so broad and ambiguous, private companies have been scared out of doing any business related to Iran even if it means booking flights for Iranian Americans to visit family.

Travel hurdles and restrictions aren’t a foreign concept in the U.S. You can’t simply book a flight to Cuba, either. In fact, all travel to Cuba by Americans traveling as individuals is expressly prohibited. Though, as of 2012, you can go to Cuba in a group – so long as you travel with an organization that has an official license from the U.S. State Department. In any case, given the stringent travel restrictions on Cuba, it makes sense that if you search for a flight to Havana on Tripadvisor, your attempt fails and the same error message – “we cannot complete your request…” – appears.

In the case of Iran, however, U.S. federal regulations explicitly do not restrict travel, and they certainly do not prohibit online travel agencies from facilitating Iran-related travel. And yet, as is the case with most other goods and services that are technically exempted from the sanctions, it appears that many companies are simply unaware of or unwilling to take advantage.

But what about North Korea, the country threatening war with the U.S. and our allies, and with a much more extensive nuclear war capability than Iran? Interestingly, we noticed yesterday that you actually can book flight tickets to Pyongyang, North Korea, through one of the websites, Kayak.com. Type in “Pyongyang” as your destination on Kayak, and you can find flights with no problem; although, some of the other online travel sites won’t process your request.

So why can’t you book flights to Iran? De jure technicalities aside, the de facto consequences of broad sanctions on Iran is clear. The Iran sanctions are the harshest sanctions regime ever imposed on a country during peacetime, according to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Many businesses, like many of these online travel agencies, have been convinced that zero association with Iran is a better business decision than the potential costs associated with any sort of business association. This has actually been the unofficial U.S. policy with regard to Iran sanctions for some time, to convince private actors that any business involving Iran, even if it’s perfectly legal, is simply not worth the risk. And this has also been the mission of organizations like United Against Nuclear Iran who name and shame any company doing any business with Iran, even if its legitimate.

  • 24 October 2012
  • Posted By Brett Cox
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Sanctions

Obama & Romney Agree on Sanctions As Medicine Grows Scarce in Iran

When it came to sanctions, the third presidential debate resembled an argument over which candidate could punish Iranians more with the “most crippling sanctions ever.”

Meanwhile, the number of unavailable medicines in Iran jumped from 30 to 90 in the last five months according to tejaratnews.com. There has been a gradual slide towards crisis for Iran’s sick, as sanctions cut off more than just Iran’s oil exports. Indeed, this report just confirms multiple other reports that the sanctions are depriving the sick and dying of much needed medicine.

At NIAC’s leadership conference earlier this month, Erich Ferrari, a Washington-based sanctions expert, explained how medical exports to Iran are being blocked, even though these items are technically exempt from sanctions. The U.S. government has sanctioned Iran’s entire banking system, and imposed massive penalties on foreign banks for dealing with Iranian financial institutions.  As a result, foreign banks are ceasing all trade with Iran, including food and medicine.

Tejarat reports that a growing number of sick are turning to alternative, and more dangerous, means of treatment such as faulty generics from India and China, untested indigenous prototypes, and herbalists.

Ferarri described two such instances with harmful, even deadly, consequences. In one case, an Iranian importer turned to China for pain medication and ended up empty handed. “They spent about five million dollars and, when it got to Iran, they tested it, and about 85% of it was just pure chalk, with no medicinal value.” He spoke of one of his clients whose aunt in an Iranian hospital was unable to obtain basic IV fluids. “The hospitals in Iran substituted what’s in the IV with just water. And because of that, her condition continued to worsen and worsen. She died, in the hospital, because they couldn’t get the products they needed.”

The Tejarat article recalled the days before punitive sanctions were put in place, when 94% of the substances needed to domestically produce most medicines were imported from mostly Western Europe and North America. However, a 30 to 40% price increase of medicines in just the last few months has served only to impoverish regular Iranians while empowering the government.

In the grander scheme of things, all are being affected by the sanctions, from management and officials, pharmaceutical manufacturers, distribution companies, hospitals and even pharmacies.

Such circumstances have forced Aban 13 Pharmacy, Iran’s most important for filling special medications, to implement a quota system. And, as is the norm in a time of shortage, many patients and their families have resorted to hoarding and buying in bulk, even smuggling needed medications across the border as if they were contraband.

Some Iranians simply cannot cope with the hardship imposed by the sanctions and Iran’s struggling economy. Golnaz Esfandiari, reporting to Radio Free Europe, cited one cancer patient’s struggle, “Before, some foreign made drugs were available for 2,000,000 rials. But currently the price of an injection needed for cancer patients after chemotherapy is 50,000,000 rials.” Her source continued, “As a patient, I’d rather die than impose such cost on my family.”

  • 10 September 2012
  • Posted By Joseph Chmielewski
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Iranian pastor accused of apostasy is released

Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor who was sentenced to death after being found guilty of apostasy, has been released from prison after tireless work by his lawyers and an international outcry regarding his situation.

Early in his life, Nadarkhani abandoned his Islamic faith and by age 19  officially converted to Christianity and shortly thereafter began his work as a pastor. In 2006, Nadarkhani began to protest the mandatory enrollment of his children in Quran classes at school. He was immediately imprisoned on charges of protesting. A few months into his sentence, his charge was changed to apostasy, the abandonment of one’s religion.

Nadarkhani was brought before a court in 2010 and given the death penalty. He was to be executed by hanging. His lawyers appealed the verdict, but a court in the city of Qom upheld the original sentence. But September 8, 2012, the apostasy charge was downgraded to evangelizing Muslims, the penalty for which was three years. Given that Nadarkhani had already served about six years in prison, he was released from a facility in Lakan, Iran.

Reaction from the international community regarding Nadarkhani’s plight had been strong, outspoken and unrelenting. Iran’s constitution allows for the free practice of one’s own religion, and yet the courts were still permitted to convict Nadarkhani of apostasy. Such a clear violation of basic human rights garnered reaction from many groups, including NIAC.

  • 18 August 2011
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 0 Comments
  • Let's Talk Iran

Use and Misuse of the Word “Terrorism” – Let’s Talk Iran

Discussing the use and misuse of the word “terrorism” with commentator, activist, attorney and author of her award-winning book War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims, Melody Moezzi. Melody addresses the media’s role in politicizing the term and what the likely implications are for the Iranian-American community and U.S. policy.

  • 19 May 2011
  • Posted By David Shams
  • 1 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran

Dorothy Parvaz is released, but will Iran open up on human rights abuses?

In welcome news, Dorothy Parvaz–the Al Jazeera English correspondent who was detained in Syria two weeks ago and later deported to Iran–was released yesterday.  She arrived in Doha, Qatar on a flight from Iran and detailed her ordeal in an interview with Al Jazeera here.

But while it is an immense relief that Parvaz has been freed, politically motivated detentions and executions continue in Iran.  Hundreds of political prisoners and journalists continue to languish in Iranian jails–such as Kurdish activist Habibollah Latifi, who faces imminent execution, and student leader Majid Tavakkoli, who will soon be celebrating his 25th birthday behind bars.

What is Iran doing about these cases?

Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran’s Human Rights Council, announced that Iran has no objection to allowing the recently mandated UN human rights monitor on Iran to visit the country.

This too is welcome news.  However, while Larijani said Iran accepts the basic framework of the UN investigative process, he questioned the “professionalism” of some of the UN investigators—a tact that has been used in the past to deny access to or impose prohibitively stringent conditions on investigators to prevent them from doing their jobs.

Moreover, last week Larijani announced plans for Iran to create its own “Islamic Charter of Human Rights” and framed this as a way to impose counter pressure on human rights.

It is beyond me why Iranian government would need to create yet another human rights charter given that it ignores the numerous international human rights statutes it has already signed.  Perhaps the first action that could be taken under the new charter will be an investigation of the brutal treatment of prisoners that Dorothy Parvaz says she witnessed during her detention in Syria.

  • 17 March 2011
  • Posted By Todd Ruffner
  • 1 Comments
  • Congress, Human Rights in Iran

Watch: Answering the Iranian People’s Call for Human Rights

On March 15, NIAC hosted a conference, Answering the Iranian People’s Call for Human Rights, featuring US and Swedish government officials, human rights experts, and Iran specialists.  The conference, which was held in the US Senate, was convened to discuss productive approaches to supporting human rights in Iran, including efforts now underway at the UN Human Rights Council to establish a human rights monitor on Iran.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VJr92VA6Jw&w]

Suzanne Nossel, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCmsGTESrp4]

Jonas Hafström, Swedish Ambassador to the U.S.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkUgvjOk4Ug&w]

Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), House Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQyT_HS2LCE]

Nazila Fathi, former Tehran-based New York Times correspondent


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71YP0dOwOjY&w]

Panel Discussion

Nader Hashemi, co-editor of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future

Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch

Alireza Nader, RAND Corporation

  • 15 February 2011
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 4 Comments
  • Congress, Human Rights in Iran, Legislative Agenda, UN

NIAC Applauds Senate Call for Human Rights Monitor

NIAC applauds Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and 23 other Senators who today called for the Obama Administration to work with the international community to establish an independent U.N. human rights monitor on Iran when the U.N. Human Rights Council convenes this March. The action taken by the Senators in support of greater international scrutiny of Iran’s human rights abuses comes just one day after thousands of Iranians defied threats from the Iranian government by taking to the streets in solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia and expressing their own aspirations for democracy and rule of law.

The Senators endorsed this action in a letter to Secretary Clinton that was strongly supported by NIAC.

“The establishment of a U.N. human rights monitor is an important, overdue step to address the Iranian government’s abuses,” said Jamal Abdi, NIAC Policy Director. “Iran’s destiny can only be decided by the Iranian people, but as human rights violations continue in Iran, the international community must be loud and clear that universal rights must be respected.”

The Senate letter is critical of the Human Rights Council’s failure to take any concrete measures to address Iran’s human rights situation in the time that has followed Iran’s disputed June 2009 elections. The letter states, “Establishing an independent U.N. human rights monitor charged with monitoring and reporting on Iran’s human rights violations is an important effort to provide some protection for Iran’s human rights and democracy movement.”

NIAC has joined Iranian human rights defenders like Shirin Ebadi and international human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch in calling for the UN to establish an independent human rights monitor on Iran.

“The United Nations has appointed human rights monitors to address human rights crises in other countries, but not in Iran,” said Abdi. “The Iranian people deserve better.”

The following senators signed the letter to Secretary Clinton: Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Penn.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M).

Following is the text of the letter:

  • 20 January 2011
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Human Rights in Iran, US-Iran War

Leading Diplomats, Experts and Organizations Call on Obama to Reinvigorate Diplomacy with Iran

For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Elwood
Phone: 202-423-7957
Email: phile@brownlloydjames.com

Washington, DC – On the eve of talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Istanbul, a diverse group of diplomats, arms control experts, Iran experts, democracy and human rights defenders, and leading Iranian-American, Jewish-American, and pro-peace organizations issued a statement urging the Obama Administration to reinvigorate diplomacy with Iran.

The experts include Ambassador John Limbert, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran; Sir Richard Dalton, the former British Ambassador to Iran; Bruno Pellaud, the former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Gary Sick, who served at the NSC as the principal White House adviser on Iran; and Chas Freeman, the former American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Full text of the statement:

January 20, 2011

As the United States prepares for the upcoming round of multilateral talks with Iran, it is imperative that the Obama Administration reinvigorate its diplomacy by pursuing engagement with Tehran more persistently, setting realistic objectives, and broadening the US-Iranian dialogue.  Diplomacy is the only sustainable means of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, avoiding the dangerous folly of military confrontation in the Middle East, and enabling progress in other critical areas of US interest, such as Afghanistan and the human rights situation within Iran.

Reinvigorating diplomacy means seeking to engage Iran more persistently.  The upcoming Istanbul meeting is only the fourth meeting on the nuclear issue involving both the United States and Iran, and no breakthrough can be expected without additional talks. Fortunately, time exists to pursue a diplomatic solution.  Both US and Israeli officials have made public statements recently acknowledging that Iran remains years away from having the capability to construct a nuclear weapon.

Reinvigorating diplomacy also means pursuing realistic objectives. Unrealistic outcomes, such as insisting that Iran cease uranium enrichment entirely, however desirable, must be set aside.  Focus should instead be placed on establishing monitoring and verification mechanisms that can ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is, indeed, used solely for peaceful purposes.  Secretary Clinton stated in December that the United States would be prepared to recognize a peaceful enrichment program on Iranian soil.  This is a productive step to achieve a satisfactory compromise for which the Administration should be commended.

Finally, reinvigorating diplomacy means addressing issues with Iran beyond the nuclear file. Tehran presents challenges and opportunities in many other areas of importance to US national security, including the stability of Afghanistan and Iraq, drug trafficking, and the human rights situation in Iran itself.  The US should seek common ground in all areas of interest and not hold progress in one area hostage to resolution of others.  Indeed, progress on human rights or Afghanistan may create a better climate for progress on the nuclear issue. The US engagement agenda must be expanded to reflect this.

Diplomacy with Iran will not be easy and no quick fixes should be expected. Iran must also negotiate in earnest and make the serious compromises necessary for resolution of the nuclear issue.  The concerns of the IAEA, the P5+1, and the international community more broadly must be addressed by Iran on the basis of transparency and cooperation.  Resolving decades of enmity between the US and Iran will require that both sides work to create openings for successful engagement.

Only reinvigorated diplomacy holds the promise of bridging the many divides between the US and Iran and achieving a sustainable solution that prevents a disastrous military confrontation, prevents an Iranian bomb and the additional proliferation that would follow, and protects the human rights of the Iranian people.

Signed,

Barry Blechman, co-founder, the Stimson Center
Professor Juan Cole, University of Michigan
Sir Richard Dalton, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Royal Institute of International Affairs, London; Former British Ambassador to Iran
Debra DeLee, President and CEO, Americans for Peace Now
Jonathan W. Evans, Legislative Representative for Foreign Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Professor Farideh Farhi, University of Hawaii
Chas W. Freeman, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and President, Middle East Policy Council
Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard, Jr., (USA, Ret.) Chairman, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
Col. Sam Gardiner, United States Air Force, Retired
Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
Amb. John Limbert, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director, United4Iran
Paul Kawika Martin, Policy Director, Peace Action
Stephen McInerney, Executive Director, Project on Middle East Democracy
Robert Naiman, Executive Director, Just Foreign Policy
Trita Parsi, President, National Iranian American Council
Bruno Pellaud, Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency
Professor Paul Pillar, Georgetown University
John Rainwater, Executive Director, Peace Action West
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Director, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Professor Gary Sick, Columbia University
Professor John Tirman, Executive Director and Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for International Studies

  • 11 January 2011
  • Posted By Todd Ruffner
  • 3 Comments
  • Congress, Events in Iran, Sanctions

Humanitarian Tragedy in Iran Yet Another Wakeup Call

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6mbkCLGbZg]

This past weekend an Iranian Boeing 727 crashed in northwestern Iran while attempting an emergency landing, taking at least 77 lives.

Headlines regarding fatal plane crashes in Iran have become all too common in recent years, and the increasing number of innocent people killed in these incidents draws attention to the worst effects of US sanctions against Iran.

Thanks in large part to the US embargo on Iran, Iran is unable to maintain their aging commercial airliners, most of which have been operating since before the Islamic Revolution in 1979.  Since then, Iran has relied on spare parts garnered from international smuggling, the cannibalization of their own aircraft, and risky reverse engineering to piece together functional planes.

The White House has the authority to waive the embargo on civilian aircraft parts on humanitarian grounds on a case-by-case basis, though it almost never does so. (The last such instance was a Sept. 2006 decision to allow the export of several Airbus engine spare parts by the Bush administration.) This contradicts the principles of the Chicago Convention, to which both the United States and Iran are signatories, which requires that states “meet the needs of the peoples of the world for safe, regular, efficient and economical air transport”.

However, even the possibility of complying with the Chicago Convention and allowing the export of civilian aircraft parts to ensure safety of flight is too much for some Iran hawks in Congress to countenance.  As NIAC first reported, legislation introduced by Rep. Sherman (D-CA) last Congress would eliminate the President’s authority to license civilian aircraft parts. Sherman has previously expressed his desire to make US sanctions “hurt the Iranian people,” so his disregard for the consequences of this measure is clear, but he apparently does not realize that cutting off all accessibility to aircraft parts also endangers the lives the thousands of his Iranian-American constituents that visit Iran every year.

Rep. Sherman is now looking to reintroduce his legislation, though he’s looking for a Republican to act as the lead sponsor to improve the bill’s chances of being passed in the hyper-partisan House of Representatives.  Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced a companion to Sherman’s bill in the Senate but, perhaps in response to the opposition by NIAC and Iranian-American community, he had the good sense to strip the provisions that would put all passengers of Iranian civilian aircraft at even greater risk.

Before he reintroduces his bill, let’s hope that Congressman Sherman takes the opportunity to reconsider whether putting civilian aircraft passengers in Iran in even further danger is a good idea.

  • 20 October 2010
  • Posted By Setareh Tabatabaie
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in DC, Events in Iran, Sanctions

Paying for the US-Iran Feud With Blood

In the summer of 2009, in the aftermath of the elections, there was obviously a lot going on in Iran. But one of the things that I remember made everyone hold their breaths in those months is probably not what you’re assuming right now.

On July 15 2009, an Iranian passenger jet – a Russian-made Tupolev – crashed, killing all 168 people on board. Nine days later, another plane – a Russian-made Ilyushin – crashed in a local airport, killing over 20 people. The close succession of crashes frightened us all, and made us realize how vulnerable Iranians really are to sanctions.

At the time, I, along with many other Iranian Americans, was in Iran, and to get between cities and provinces I had to fly. I remember praying that nothing would go wrong as I entered each plane, before takeoff, and before landing. And I remember holding on for dear life when I heard the plane rattle the slightest bit. And I’m not scared of flying.

I remember asking my family why the crashes had occurred. Were Iranian planes just not up to par to American ones? “Sanctions,” they responded, surprised at my ignorance.

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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