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  • 22 November 2011
  • Posted By Loren White
  • Election 2012, NIAC round-up, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Iran News Roundup 11/22

New Iran Sanctions
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced new sanctions against Iran’s petrochemical industry and classified Iran and its Central Bank as a “primary money laundering concern” (To read the full transcripts click here).  The U.K. announced their own sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), cutting off all financial ties with the country, and France called for the EU in its upcoming meeting on December 1 to freeze CBI assets and stop importing Iranian oil (Reuters 11/21).  Russia, however, warned the sanctions undermine efforts to negotiate with Iran , and Iran has called them “psychological warfare” (Christian Science Monitor 11/22).

Meanwhile, fears that the new sanctions may disrupt oil supplies led to a rise in oil prices (Businessweek 11/22).

Barbara Slavin writes that the primary motivation for the sanctions yesterday was domestic politics. She quotes Brookings’ Suzanne Maloney, a former State Department policy advisor, who says, “The administration is trying to buy off Congress, buy off pressure from Israel and make sure nothing will further erode the president’s chances for re-election.”  Maloney also expresses concern that the Administration “lacks adult supervision” on its Iran policy (Inter Press Service 11/22).

GOP’s continues to saber rattle on Iran
Think Progress posted a video of Republican primary candidate Rick Santorum saying that Iranian nuclear scientists should be considered enemy combatants and should be treated like “garden variety terrorists.” (Think Progress 11/21).  According to the Huffington Post, fellow Republican primary candidate Mitt Romney has decided that Obama is vulnerable on Iran, and that by highlighting Romney’s willingness to use military force against Iran, the Romney campaign hopes to make Obama look weak (Huffington Post 11/22).

More signs of political infighting in Iran
A melee broke out yesterday at the office of an Iranian newspaper when security officials attempted to arrest Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s media advisor and managing editor of IRNA, Ali Akbar Javenfekr. The Washington Post reported that security forces stormed office of the building using tear gas and electric batons as they arrested 33 people. Javenfekr sustained bruises to his face during the process, and was only freed after a personal call from Ahmadinejad (Washington Post 11/21).

Additional Notable Articles:

UN passed a Canadian sponsored resolution requiring Iran to allow the Special Rapporteur into the country to investigate alleged human rights abuses by the regime.

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam editorializes in the Guardian that contrary to the narrative often expressed in the West, Iran is not on the verge of political or economic collapse, and currently appears to be relatively stable.

U.S. asks the Iraqi government to make greater effort to fight Iranian backed militias as the U.S. continues its force draw down, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Washington is currently considering selling bunker busting bombs to the UAE, according to a Telegraph article.

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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