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  • 4 December 2009
  • Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo
  • 2 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iranian Youth

America Held Hostage (video)

In the BBC documentary, “America Held Hostage”, Bahman Kalbasi tells the story of the Iran Hostage Crisis with accounts by American officials held at the American embassy for the 444 day ordeal.

The documentary features footage from November 4, 1979 when students mobbed the embassy in about an hour’s time, by the account of former NIAC Advisory Board member and current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, John Limbert.

Out of the fourteen months he was held, Limbert spent nine in solitary confinement. Recounting some of his tense experience, he said

The most frightening was one night he just dragged us all out of where we were, middle of the night and lined us up against the wall and started cocking their weapons as though they were going to execute us.

Another hostage, Bill Daugherty, then CIA, recalls the frantic shredding of documents as the embassy was being stormed. He nervously offered an alibi, feigning ignorance as a recent foreign service hire, not knowing the hostage-takers had already infiltrated the safe of L. Bruce Laingen, senior American official at the embassy, which contained  a cable outing him as CIA. One young student, about 19 or 20, had an Uzi pointed at his stomach with the safety off.  Daugherty recalls, almost comically:

“…I thought, ‘all this kid had to do was sneeze’…”

Laingen spoke of his anger and frustration over the 444 days of the hostage crisis. He said at one point to the hostage takers that they had no right morally and legally to take these actions, especially to visitors to Iran. In response he was told: “You have no rights to complain. You took a whole country hostage in 1953.”

President Jimmy Carter had stopped all imports from Iran, froze Iranian assets, and tried all diplomatic channels to no avail; his administration was made to look impotent as the hostages remained captive. Their final release came the day Ronald Reagan became President to the great relief of the hostages and their families. It was to be the beginning of Iran’s isolation.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WugWIyNd8Dw]

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  • 4 November 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran Unrest Part Two

Relative calm has returned to Iran after a day of protests. Widespread pro- and anti-government protests, and the police forces’, Basij’s, and IRGC’s attempts to suppress the Green movement using force have come to an end.

Here is the second part of the Green Freedom Wave’s report on anti-government protests across Iran:

(Again, translation copyright New York Times Company – please give credit if you quote it)

Today’s demonstrations all across Iran were the scene of the widespread presence of Greens protesting the Coup d’etat of Khordad 1388. The scene of the protests in most of the cities across Iran today was the scene of complete aggression. An aggression without guise and naked, in which the main actors were plainclothes civilian forces using maces, Basij forces using weapons, and riot control police and people without any refuge, whose only crime was wanting to participate in demonstrations, were the innocent sacrifices of these forces. Green Freedom Wave’s reporters in Tehran and across Iran inform us about bullets being fired in the air and the irregular usage of pepper spray and tear gas, by the riot control police, in order to disperse the assemblies of the people. And in addition to this, as we reported before, Mehdi Karroubi and two of his bodyguards were subject to brutal attacks by uniformed Basij forces and were targeted by bullets. The condition of one of his bodyguards is serious and they have transferred him to a hospital. Likewise repressive forces opposite the Iranian Academy of Arts did not allow Mir Hossein Mousavi’s entourage to move towards the demonstrations. And they began attacks and beatings and creating fear amongst the people by spreading tear gas in the area.

Based on the reports that have come into the Green Freedom Wave, in addition to the injuring of a number of patiots resulting from baton beatings and the use of tear gas, a number of demonstrators today have been sent to the hostpitals and a minority have been arrested. Amongst the arrested are political activists such as Mohammad Hashemi [A leading hostage taker in 1979 and husband of Massoumeh Ebtekar their spokeswoman] central member of the Office of Unity, Fayyeseh Za’-Kohan a journalist, Hojjat Sharifi a member of the Bureau of Consolidating Unity (the leading student protest group), Vahideh Molavi a member of the group Women’s Square, Ali Mashmooli – member of the Islamic Students of Sharif University of Technology, Ali Malihi – member of the Bureau for Consolidating Unity, Hamad Sadeghi — member of the Bureau for Consolidating Unity, and Hassan Asadi-Zaydabadi — member of the Bureau for Consolidating Unity. A small number of the protesters were taken from the streets and transferred to strange, unmarked homes and we do not know what has happened to them.

The reports of the Green Freedom Wave from Neyshapur (near Mashhad) indicate that there was a widespread contingent of Green-wearing protesters in the streets there and they have recorded the people’s attempts to escape the from the hands of the coup d’etat government. In this city two girls who were being attacked by plain clothes forces were given a chance to escape by some people standing nearby and the Green Freedom Wave finds this report very interesting. Likewise the brave artists and teachers of this city were present at the Green demonstrations and they played an important role in guiding the people away from the hands of the repressive forces. Quoting from the Wave’s reporter in Neyshapur, teachers used their educational ID cards to protect people who were under threat of being arrested.

Likewise Green Freedom Wave’s reporting from Rasht (in the north of Iran) records that there was a large presence of Green-wearing protesters in this city, and they were subject to violence by coup d’etat government officials. According to the Wave’s report, news media report that Green supporting youth were marching from Toshiba Square towards Culture Square when, after having marched half of their path, a group of plainclothes security forces and men on motorcycles attacked them wildly. But the green youth changed their patht o move towards the University of Sciences of Gilan and they moved in that direction. A number of students were trying to enter the main area of the University when plainclothes security forces suddenly showed up and prevented them from entering the University. Students linked up with the people standing opposite the University gates and shouted the slogans “Death to the dictator!” “Down with Russia and the eyeless government!” Likewise in the Government’s office square in Rasht which was on the official demonstration’s path, reports indicate many confrontations occurred. This happened while the champion of Gilan’s local government, alongside Ayatollah Ghorbani (the Supreme Leader’s Representative in Gilan), and Bijan Nowbaveh an MP from Tehran, who had a special presence as the main speaker at the government’s ceremony, were all present at a special location. While the Basijis and government-supporting teachers were shouting slogans from loudspeakers, a number of young boys and girls suddenly began chanting in response: “Our nation says Death to Russia!” and their numbers quietly increased – shocking the audience. Plainclothes security forces first looked at this scene with surprise but then they suddenly attacked these protesters using batons. Police forces entered the scene after the Basij attack, as they usually have in recent months, and instead of helping the people they arrested a number of protesters. There still is no accurate information on the number of arrested in Rasht but eyewitnesses inform the Wave’s reporter in Rasht that about 15 people were arrested in the government office’s square. It is still unclear where these people were transferred to.

Green Freedom Wave’s reporter in Mashhad also report a self-organized movement of students at the Ferdowsi University in Mashhad, who began marching in front of the Engineering University in Mashhad and moved towards the Engineering department, the Mathematics department, the administrative sciences department, and continued towards the Dentistry department, and later moved out of the University towards Freedom Square. At about 1 in the afternoon they were on Vakilabad street towards Freedom Square – near Ali al-Khosoos across from Ferdowsi University – when they met with heavy traffic. They could see Special Forces police units across from the main gate of Ferdowsi University. At the same time, at the start of the protests, the Basij forces received help from University teachers in using loudspeakers and other tools to create disorder in the protests, to which students responded with slogans like “Basiji, be Ashamed! Free the University [from your terror]!” Green students at Ferdowsi University who were increasing by the minute, were being filmed by forces covering their faces, to which they responded “Turn off your cameras! Listen to what we say!” They also shouted “Ahmadinejad, show us where you got your 63% from!”

Likewise eye witness reports in Mashhad indicate that many students carried signs saying “Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic” (as opposed to Khomeini’s slogan, “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic”), and they shouted the slogan “The Embassy of Russia is the Den of Spies” (Iran calls the ex-US Embassy the Den of Spies). It is said that the students living on campus were preparing to continue their protests into the night.

Allameh Tabatabaie University was also the site of a widespread Green protest. According to Green Freedom Wave’s reporter in Tehran, today in the Econmoics department at Allameh, located at AbbasAbad street on the intersection with Bucharest street, nearly 200 students assembled near the south door of the University and shouted anti-government slogans, and they were met by support from the people living on AbbasAbad street. Nearly 2000 students assembled outside the university on AbbasAbad. After nearly 30 minutes of the students’ assembly, IRGC forces (wearing IRGC uniforms!) broke down the doors to enter the University and they proceeded to beat a number of male and female students severely – which resulted in one of the students getting a fractured skull. Likewise many tear gas canisters were fired into the University and 3 students were hit directly by these canisters. These IRGC forces who had violated the privacy of the University were confronted by even the university’s Basij student contingent – and they physically confronted the Basij students and intimidated them. All of the classes at Allameh were cancelled for the day.

Likewise thousands of students at Qazvin Free University (in the north of Iran) organized pro-Green assemblies there. These students shouted slogans supporting Mousavi and Karroubi.

Scattered reports across Tehran and from universities across the nation indicate that people are going to shout “Allah Akbar” tonight from 9pm to 10pm.

  • 4 November 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 1 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Latest report on Iran Protests

This just in from the Green Freedom Wave:

(Translation copyright New York Times Company. Please do not repost without giving credit)

Based on the latest reports from the earliest hours of today’s protests, Green-wearing protesters have flooded the streets in Tehran and the provinces once again renewed their commitment to the ideals of the martyrs of the Green movement and the political prisoners.

Once again, the Coup detat supporters have proven that in order to quench the widespread wave of Green protesters, they are willing to use any weapon/tactic. At the intersection of Haft Tir square & Tehran University and likewise on Vali Asr street (the main avenue in Tehran), police/riot control forces fired bullets in the crowd, and multiple times eyewitnesses heard the sound of their bullets firing during the demonstrations. (It is not clear if bullets were fired AT the protesters or just into the air.)

Plain-clothes security forces attacked and went after students using batons and maces, and used tear gas to separate the people from each other. But a few minutes was enough before the Green Wave was once again they regrouped/steeped (?) themselves on Far’ei Street near the main avenue. Likewise on the outskirts of Kargar Shomali-Amirabadi street, plainclothes civilian forces attacked the people. At about 11 in the morning, Sheykh Mehdi Karroubi joined the lines of demonstrators received an outstanding welcome to chants of “Karroubi, Karroubi, we support you!” After a few minutes of walking alongside the people, the brave leader of the movement was subjected to attacks and violence from Coup d’etat-supporting forces and was forced to leave the scene of the protests.

On the outskirts of Mefteh (“key”) street, Pol-e Karim Khan (“Karim Khan’s bridge”) street, opposite the main entrance of Tehran University, and also on Vali Asr avenue, to this very minute the conflicts continue. The people are active on the path of the demonstrations with slogans like “Death to the Dictator,” “Ahmadinejad is their exemplar, he’s so unsophisticated.” In the moments when they were firing tear gas toward the people, the people were still chanting the slogans “Do not fear, do not fear, we are all together!” and keeping each others’ spirits high. According to the reports of Green Freedom Wave’s reporters on the front lines of the demonstrations, the plainclothes civilian forces have used naked force to disperse the people. Like always, the plainclothes forces are using tear gas and batons for repressing the people. A number of patriots have been arrested in today’s demonstrations. There are still no accurate/confirmed reports about the state of the arrested.

It is worth mentioning that most of the streets leading to the American Embassy and the the Russian Embassy and likewise Ferdowsi Square have been blocked off, and a large number of Basij forces from a few hours ago were standing outside the Embassy [of America] wearing “special uniforms.” [Gholam Ali] Haddad-Adel (former Speaker of Parliament and conservative MP) gave a 40 minute speech at the today’s ceremony, which was broadcast over the radio, and during the broadcast the chanting of “Death to the dictator!” could clearly be heard from the audience.

Around 11:40 in the morning today, it was announced that the cellphone systems along the paths of the demonstrations were disabled by radio interference/disturbance. Despite this, the people recorded movies and took pictures of the scene of the demonstrations using their cellphones and many of these reports have been published on this site and for the next few hours we will continue to publish these independent reports on this very news website.

The Green Wave was not only present in Tehran demonstrations. In the provincial cities there are also reports indicating that demonstrators wearing green clothes and wristbands were present at demonstrations. From Shiraz news arrives that there was a very large-scale presence of people wearing green at the Shah Cheragh (“King of Light”) Shrine (one of the most beautiful religious sites in Shiraz), and there was an assembly at the student square of this city, where they shouted slogans like “Death to the dictator!” and “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein.” Reports that have come into Green Freedom Wave from the town of Arak report that there was a widespread presence of demonstrators wearing green who shouted the slogan “Death to the dictator!” From Tabriz, also, news reaches us that during the first minutes of the protests in this city, plainclothes civilian forces and a Special Police Unit attacked the people like wild animals.

In this wild animal attack, people were arrested and taken en masse to Hotel Tabriz, and then were moved towards Fellekeh University, where plainclothes security forces attacked them using pepper spray, and people around the square of Fellekeh University in Tabriz were able to breath only with great difficulty. Likewise scattered confrontations continue in Tabriz. There is no accurate information on the number of injured or arrested in the provincial cities.

Universities across the nation were the scene of a blossoming presence of Green students. According to news that we have obtained from the city of Kerman, students began demonstrations around 9am, and until 12 noon the assembly of Green students opposite Vahdat (“unity”) Hall continued, and these students shouted slogans like “Mousavi, Karroubi, we support you!” and “Coup de’tat government, Resign, resign!”

The Greens in Tehran and the provincial cities holding up placards and shouting slogans in support of the leaders of the Green movement to this very moment on November 4 has been unforgettable, and this Green legacy will continue.

Iranian-American Artists Urge You to Vote November 4!

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Remember: Election Day is November 4!

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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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