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  • 17 May 2010
  • Posted By Setareh Tabatabaie
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, UN

White House Statement on the TRR Nuclear Swap

The White House has released a statement on the nuclear fuel swap agreement Brazil and Turkey just reached with Iran:

We acknowledge the efforts that have been made by Turkey and Brazil.  The proposal announced in Tehran must now be conveyed clearly and authoritatively to the IAEA before it can be considered by the international community. Given Iran’s repeated failure to live up to its own commitments, and the need to address fundamental issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and international community continue to have serious concerns.  While it would be a positive step for Iran to transfer low-enriched uranium off of its soil as it agreed to do last October, Iran said today that it would continue its 20% enrichment, which is a direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions and which the Iranian government originally justified by pointing to the need for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. Furthermore, the Joint Declaration issued in Tehran is vague about Iran’s willingness to meet with the P5+1 countries to address international concerns about its nuclear program, as it also agreed to do last October.

The United States will continue to work with our international partners, and through the United Nations Security Council, to make it clear to the Iranian government that it must demonstrate through deeds – and not simply words – its willingness to live up to international obligations or face consequences, including sanctions. Iran must take the steps necessary to assure the international community that its nuclear program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes, including by complying with U.N. Security Council resolutions and cooperating fully with the IAEA.  We remain committed to a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear program, as part of the P5+1 dual track approach, and will be consulting closely with our partners on these developments going forward.

  • 28 December 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Obama’s Statement on Iran

From President Obama’s press statement today:

Before I leave, let me also briefly address the events that have taken place over the last few days in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in detentions, injuries, and even death.

For months, the Iranian people have sought nothing more than to exercise their universal rights. Each time they have done so, they have been met with the iron fist of brutality, even on solemn occasions and holy days. And each time that has happened, the world has watched with deep admiration for the courage and the conviction of the Iranian people who are part of Iran’s great and enduring civilization.

What’s taking place within Iran is not about the United States or any other country. It’s about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice and a better life for themselves. And the decision of Iran’s leaders to govern through fear and tyranny will not succeed in making those aspirations go away.

As I said in Oslo, it’s telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation. Along with all free nations, the United States stands with those who seek their universal rights. We call upon the Iranian government to abide by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people.

We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within Iran. We will continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there. And I’m confident that history will be on the side of those who seek justice.

Thank you very much, everybody. And Happy New Year.

  • 12 November 2009
  • Posted By Bardia Mehrabian
  • Diplomacy, Human Rights in Iran

A Proxy War in Yemen?

The protracted conflict in Northern Yemen has become “a bit” more complicated – sarcasm intended – with Saudi Arabia joining the fray in attempting to destroy the Houthi rebels. However, what has become the source of serious debate is not so much the heavy fighting that is most likely taking and displacing so many lives, but whether Iran – according to both the Saudi and Yemeni government – is actually supporting the Houthi rebellion.

A recent article by Scott Peterson suggests that an Iranian-Houthi connection is more fiction than fact, and posits that such hyperbole distracts from the Houthis’ actual claims of mistreatment by the Yemeni government. As the article points out:

“Iran’s influence may be marginal. ‘There is probably next to no Iranian involvement. I have seen no evidence for it [and] it’s really a bit too far afield,’ says Joost Hiltermann, the deputy Middle East program director for the International Crisis Group (ICG) in Washington.

A Saudi source…told Agence France-Presse that there was no evidence of active Iranian involvement in the Yemen conflict.

This gets played off as Sunni-Shia, and it’s wrong,” says Hiltermann of ICG. ‘The Shia of Yemen are more Sunni than any other Shia in the world. And the Sunni of Yemen are more Shia than any Sunni in the world.’”

The US & Iran: Between Human Rights, Diplomacy & Sanctions

The National Iranian American Council is pleased to announce we will be having a policy conference on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 in Dirksen Senate Office Building G-50.

The conference will run from 9 AM to 12.30 PM and will feature two panels; the first will assess the human rights and political situation in Iran and the second will assess President Obama’s diplomacy.

For more information, please visit To RSVP, please send an email with your name, title and organization (if any) to rsvp at

  • 22 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran

Ahmadinejad on his way to NY

Fars News Agency reported on Tuesday that the Iranian President left Iran to attend a UN General Assembly meeting on Wednesday.

Ahmadinejad left Tehran Tuesday morning (local time) to attend the 64th UN General Assembly meeting in New York. A number of high-ranking Iranian officials, including eight lawmakers, are accompanying Ahmadinejad on his 3-day visit to New York. He is due to address the UN General Assembly meeting on its inauguration day along with US President Barack Obama and Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi.

You can find more news of Ahmadinejad’s presence at UN here.

Meanwhile, FNA also reported that:

On Tuesday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili once again underlined Tehran’s preparedness to sit at the negotiating table with the six world powers for just and fair talks. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has voiced its preparedness for fair talks based on collective undertakings and commitment to the reinvigoration of global peace, justice and progress,” Jalili said, addressing a formal session of Iran’s Experts Assembly – a top clerical, vetting body selecting the country’s Supreme Leader and supervising his policies and course of action. He further pointed to Tehran’s updated package of proposals for talks with the Group p-5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), and added, “Iran presented its package of proposals, which is aimed at constructive interaction and cooperation” for strengthening world peace, justice and progress. Jalili further stated that the October talks will be conducted based on Iran’s proposed package. Elsewhere, Jalili recalled the Islamic Republic of Iran’s undeniable capacities in national, regional and international levels, noting that the world has recognized realities about Iran.

  • 21 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Iran Election 2009

A cool reception awaits Ahmadinejad delegation at UN

According to Fars News Agency eight MPs will accompany Ahmadinejad to the UN’s General Assembly this week:

“All the five representatives of (Iran’s) religious minorities along with three other lawmakers will accompany the president in his trip to New York,” member of the parliament’s Presiding Board Hojjatoleslam Seyed Mohammad-Reza Mirtajeddini told FNA. Ahmadinejad will leave Tehran on Tuesday and is due to address the UN General Assembly meeting on its inauguration day along with US President Barack Obama and Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi.

Earlier this month, Ahmadinejad’s office announced that it was working on the president’s itinerary for the visit to New York, mentioning that the office had received a number of requests and proposals in the same regard. Meeting Iranian expatriates in the US, conferring with the participating heads of state, attending interviews with US media, meeting different religious leaders and addressing American students are among the same requests which might have been included in Ahmadinejad’s agenda for the trip.

Speaking from our own experience here in Washington, DC, it has become clear that the majority of groups and individuals who have met with Ahmadinejad on his past visits to New York are now organizing a campaign to boycott such events.  In previous years, progressive leaders, religious organizations, and Iran scholars have often met with the Iranian delegation to the UNGA.  However, in light of this year’s disputed presidential election and the violent crackdown on dissent in Iran, nearly all of these would-be guests of the President’s have declined any and all invitations to meet.

Press TV is also reporting that Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has arrived in New York on Monday to take part in the general debates of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly.

  • 21 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Diplomacy, UN

Mottaki in New York

This morning from Press TV:

Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has arrived in New York to take part in the general debates of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly. Mottaki’s arrival comes a day before President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s scheduled arrival, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Monday.

Other than President Ahmadinejad, the US President Barack Obama and the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are among other heads of states that will address the General Assembly with quite different perspectives. While President Ahmadinejad’s speech is expected to focus on the need for establishment of a global peace, a world without nuclear weapons, and security in the Middle East, it is widely expected that Netanyahu’s address will focus on blaming Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to its security and ‘global peace’. According to the American UN Ambassador Susan Rice, Obama’s speech will address topics such as terrorism, genocide, mass atrocities, cyber attacks, nuclear activities in Iran and North Korea, pandemic diseases and international criminal networks.

  • 18 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Nuclear file, UN

Ahmadinejad Crisis Not Over Yet

The Economist has published a very provocative piece on how, three months after his disputed re-election, Ahmadinejad is still failing to reassert his grip on power.  This view is only underscored by today’s mass demonstrations in cities all across Iran, in direct defiance of a government ban on opposition activities.

Though it has crushed street protests, jailed dissidents, mounted show trials and hardened censorship, Iran’s ultraconservative, military-backed government remains shaky as it faces a string of testing challenges, including a looming diplomatic showdown over its nuclear ambitions. For sure, it has a physical hold on the Islamic Republic. Its increasingly militarized look, its uninhibited resort to coercion, its domination of parliament and the state-controlled press, and the tacit approval all this gets from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, show its determination to prevail at any cost. But opposition has not faded. Not only do the two defeated reformist presidential candidates still insist they were cheated, but other powerful figures, including top clerics, persist in decrying the abuse of human rights.

A lot of ordinary Iranians, including many who used to back the conservatives, scorn Mr Ahmadinejad’s claim to have foiled a foreign plot. Instead, they have added charges of the rape, murder and slander of its opponents to the regime’s alleged initial sin of massive voting fraud in the June election. Some argue that the scale and brutality of the regime’s crackdown reflect not strength but desperation. Such worries have already prompted Mr Ahmadinejad to cancel several public observances, an unusual step in the anniversary-obsessed Islamic Republic.

This could hurt Mr Ahmadinejad as he embarks on the first important foreign tour of his second term. Next week he is to join a host of leaders in New York, where he will address the UN General Assembly shortly after America’s president, Barack Obama. Mr Ahmadinejad may eschew the inflammatory talk that prompted a walkout at a UN gathering last year in Geneva. But Iran’s diplomatic isolation will be exposed on September 24th, when Mr Obama is to chair a Security Council summit on nuclear proliferation. American diplomats, keen to help Mr Obama in his stated intention to engage Iran, have been careful to portray the Security Council’s agenda as broad—and targeted at no particular country. Security Council members, such as Russia and China, behind a stiffening of the economic sanctions imposed on Iran in 2006, after it refused to obey a demand by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, to suspend the enrichment of uranium. The aim is to make Iran more co-operative at multilateral talks due to start on October 1st, probably in Turkey.

That much-anticipated meeting will confront Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator with representatives of the UN Security Council’s five permanent members plus Germany. Earlier this month Iran countered the so-called P5+1 group’s longstanding demand for talks with a flowery proposal for broad strategic negotiations that would bury the nuclear issue. But since Mr Obama dropped his predecessor’s more-stick-than-carrot approach, the big-power enforcers may let the Islamic Republic pose as having won respect for its nuclear rights. Such diplomatic forbearance may not endure for long, if Mr Ahmadinejad shows the same disregard for world opinion as he does for his own voters.

  • 17 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in DC, Events in Iran

Mottaki: no direct talk with the US

From Fars News Agency this morning:

[On Wednesday Foreign Minister Manouchehr] Mottaki, [who was] speaking on the sidelines of [a] ceremony to unveil a stamp on the occasion of this year’s International Qods Day, [responded] to a reporter’s question [on] whether [Under Secretary of State] William Burns is scheduled to attend the session on behalf of the United States [by saying] “There will be no direct talks there and it would be 6+1 this time.”  The Iranian top diplomat [responded] to another question [on] whether Iran and the United States might [engage] in direct talks on the sidelines of the negotiations, was quoted by the Islamic republic news agency as saying, “The Americans would be present at the negotiation table and there would be talks this round on various topics.” Mottaki added, “On the part of Iran the discussion would be pursued over reaching a framework based on our proposed package and we hope reaching that framework would be possible.”

  • 9 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran

Iran army chief: Obama ‘a realist’ on nuclear case

Today from PressTV:

Iran’s chief of Joint Armed Forces says US President Barack Obama is more of a “realist” than his predecessor, George W. Bush, in handling the country’s nuclear case. “Iran is only seeking to develop a peaceful nuclear program, to produce energy,” Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said Wednesday. “And it seems that Mr. Obama has a more realist view of things.” “The two messages sent by him over the past six months could be a sign of this,” he added.

In March, Obama sent a letter to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in a historic direct appeal to the leadership of White House’s 30-year arch-rival. Following Ayatollah Khamenei’s response to Obama, the US president sent a new conciliatory message to Iran, details of which have not been revealed by Washington or Tehran.

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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.



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