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  • 22 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: June 22, 2012

Clinton: Iranian Hardliners Believe An Attack Would Boost Regime

In an interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that although  hardliners in Iran are split between two schools of thought, there are those who think, “‘The best thing that could happen to us is be attacked by somebody. Just bring it on because that would unify us. It would legitimize the regime’” (ThinkProgress 6/21).

Chinese Imports of Iranian Oil Rebound

New data indicates Chinese imports of Iranian products increased by 39% in May, as compared to the previous month. Crude imports had been down 25% between the beginning of January and the end of May due to a pricing dispute, but have recovered sharply. However, import levels are still 2.3% lower than last year (WSJ 6/21).

Illegal Exportation to Iran Means 92 Months for NYC Resident

Richard Phillips, 54, of New York, was sentenced to 92 months in prison for agreeing to illegally ship a spool of aerospace-grade carbon fiber to Iran without obtaining an export license (Bloomberg 6/21).

Allegations of Planned Cyber Attack on Iranian Nuclear Facilities

Iranian news sources claimed on Thursday to have discovered a planned “massive cyber attack” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi blamed the US, Israel, and Britain for the planned attack (Reuters 6/21).

Notable Insight: “Iran talks – across the table, a wary stalemate”

Justyna Pawlak and William Maclean of Reuters reflect on first-hand impressions of the mood and culture during the P5+1 talks with Iran in Moscow:

At one time the Iran talks were friendlier, says Peter Jenkins, Britain’s representative to the IAEA from 2001-06, now a partner in a negotiation consultancy, ADRg Ambassadors.

“The E3 political directors got to know them as human beings…We ate together on some occasions and mingled during breaks he said, referring to an EU trio of Germany, France and Britain then leading the talks.

He told Reuters the atmosphere in the talks cooled when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. “The chemistry was awful, like dealing with a Soviet official in the worst days of the Cold War, with no give and take,” he said.

These days, the teams eat separately – a reality that produce the occasional attempt at humor.

In Bagdhad, the Iranian side ran out of main course plates during lunch. An Iranian delegate came over to the area where the teams from the six powers were eating to get some of their plates, and was greeted with a quip that ran along the lines of “you can have them, in return for some movement on 20 percent”.

Read the full article at Reuters

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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