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  • 21 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: June 21, 2012

Clinton Hints China May Receive Sanctions Waiver

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has said that China appears to be complying with US sanctions on Iranian oil, and decreasing Iranian imports  (Reuters 6/20). Clinton said Iran was “very much with us in the international arena [on Iran]”, and that China was moving in a similar direction to India, Japan, and South Korea, all of whom have already received waivers (RealClearPolitics 6/20).

Israel “Relieved” Following Talks in Moscow

Ephraim Kam, a fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Israel, said, “’My feeling is there’s a kind of relief on part of the Government of Israel’” over the P5+1’s unwillingness to compromise (WSJ 6/20).

Iranian Economic Woes Cause Rial to Falter

Omid Karimian, a member of the Iranian parliament’s economic committee, said recent fluctuations in the value of the Iranian rial “‘are testimonies to the lack of solidity of our economy,’” in a statement to the Tehran-based newspaper, Shargh (Bloomberg 6/21). The dollar was worth 18,300 rials yesterday, up 270 rials from the day before, although Iran’s central bank only realizes an “official” exchange rate of 12,260 rials per dollar (Bloomberg 6/21).

ISIS Suspicious of Further Activity at Parchin

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) published new satellite images, which it says depicts further removal of earth and clean up at the Iranian Parchin military site, which ISIS claimed had been “sanitized” last month (Reuters 6/20). The International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said gaining access to the Parchin military complex “remains a ‘matter of priority’” (Bloomberg 6/21).

However, Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and former IAEA director of inspections, disputes ISIS’s claims, stating Iran’s alleged sanitation activities have occurred “outside and adjacent to the site in question” and that traces of uranium could be found by the IAEA even if the area was “sanitized” (Arms Control Wonk 6/15; SIPRI 5/23).

Notable Opinion: “The Perils of Tough Talk”

Shibley Telhami of The American Interest explains Democratic and Republican framing of Iran’s threat to the U.S. is important in an election year:

Part of the problem for this Administration and the next is a proposition that has been adopted by large majorities of both Democrats and Republicans: that Iran’s nuclear program is essentially the greatest strategic threat the United States faces today. Because both parties have concluded that it is too risky for the United States to live with an Iran that has nuclear weapons capability, Washington finds itself on a slippery slope toward war, barring a major diplomatic breakthrough that takes the issue off the front burner if not off the agenda altogether.

There is of course a big difference between a stated willingness to use force against Iran if all other options fail and an actual decision to wage war. That difference opens up space for conflicting judgments about, for example, what constitutes a final failure of diplomatic options, or how much time there is before various levels of attack degrade in effectiveness. Into this space, too, politics will inevitably stride.

Read the full article at The American Interest

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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