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  • 14 September 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Karroubi: “What have we become?”

An Iranian activist has translated Karroubi’s latest letter, on Twitter no less. (h/t Enduring America)

The end is particularly evocative when Karroubi asks, “Do they not know that at the end people will [make] their own judgement and will decide who is telling the truth?”

As you know, I as your servant have written several letters to the authorities about the post-election events. I could have never predicted that in the Islamic Republic, they would answer people’s peaceful demonstrations with batons and bullets. I witnessed the unthinkable on the streets and alleyways. I saw scenes that reminded me of my younger years.

As time passed, I heard the news of torture in the prisons and unthinkable acts in unnamed and unknown detention centres and unknown buildings and by unknown people. Detainees were treated with shameful and indecent acts, from making prisoners sit naked across each other, urinating on their faces, to releasing young girls and boys handcufffed in outskirts of the city. As though these were not enough, I started hearing reports of rapes. Three decades after the Revolution and two decades after Imam [Khomeini]’s passing, what have we become?

  • 12 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 0 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Larijani’s Politics and the Rape Allegations

Yesterday,  Raja News (pro-Ahmadinejad) reported that Larijani called and congratulated Mousavi on the night of the election:

What he did on the afternoon of the Election Day by calling Mousavi and congratulating him on the finalization of his presidency cannot be overlooked. As the head of a branch of power, he is considered to have access to firsthand and classified information and news. When he congratulated Mousvai at a time when voting hours had not even ended yet, it made him delusional and encouraged him to take the seditious and provocative positions and behaviours which disturbed people’s security and calm and significantly harmed the might and honor of the system.

The article is an attack against Larijani and even attempts to cast doubt on his doctoral degree. However, it is inadvertently very damaging to Ahmadinejad and other newspapers are now picking up the story.

Today, Ali Larijani says detainees were not raped:

A day after vowing to investigate allegations that election protesters were sexually abused in Iran’s prisons, the parliament speaker dismissed the charges as false.

Ali Larijani said today that a commission set up to look into allegations of prisoner abuse amid the unrest over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection had already concluded that none were raped.

Not so, says the L.A. Times:

Nearly a month later, she can’t erase images of the dying young man from her mind.

All but two of his upper teeth had been knocked out. His nails had been pulled out. His head had been bashed in. His kidneys had stopped working. But what most disturbed her, she said, were the stitches around his anus — a sign, the nurses told her, that he had been raped.

Iranian reformist websites and activists in recent days had identified 19-year-old Mohammad K. as one of the protesters arrested during Iran’s postelection unrest, locked up in the Kahrizak detention facility and severely beaten.

He died in the late hours of July 16 or the early hours of July 17 at a hospital in Tehran, according to the websites.

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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