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Posts Tagged ‘ republican primary ’

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

Iran News Roundup 11/23

Iran highlighted at Republican debate

At last night’s Republican primary debate the candidates discussed Iran at some length. Here are some of the notable positions they talked about:

Herman Cain suggested he would support an Israeli attack, and if their plan was strong enough he would “join with Israel” for the strike.

Ron Paul rejected aiding an Israeli attack, saying Israel can handle themselves and paraphrasing the former head of Mossad Meir Dagan said that an attack against Iran would be the stupidest thing to do in the world.”

Rick Perry advocated Central Bank of Iran sanctions, saying that they “will shut down that economy.”  He also tied the idea of a no-fly zone on Syria as a way to demonstrate U.S. resolve regarding Iran.

Newt Gingrich said that a strategy of energy independence could “break the Iranian regime” within a year, and that we should be “sabotaging the only refinery they have.”

Michelle Bachmann again repeated her false claim about Ahmadinejad, saying,  “he has said that if he has a nuclear weapon he will use it to wipe Israel of the face of the earth.  He will use it against the United States of America.”

Mitt Romney acknowledged that sanctioning Iran will negatively impact the U.S. economy by increasing gas prices, but said it is a necessary cost cost to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

(Click here for the complete transcripts)

Responses to the latest round of sanctions

Following the announcement of new sanctions against Iran experts have begun questing their effectiveness.  Robert Dreyfuss writes in The Nation, the new untargeted sanctions are “dumb” and will not change Iran’s decision making process.  He says that they are only being introduced to “buy more time for the Obama administration” politically (Dreyfuss The Nation 11/22).  A Washington Post editorial argues that the sanctions are “half-measures” and will increase the likelihood that military action will be required later (Washington Post 11/22).  Iran responded to the sanctions claiming they will “be in vain” and will not affect their ability to do business with other countries (Reuters 11/22).  While many are questioning the impact that these latest sanctions will have on Iran, the Christian Science Monitor and others have reported that they already have increased the price of oil (Christian Science Monitor 11/22).

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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