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  • 2 November 2011
  • Posted By Loren White
  • Events in Iran, NIAC round-up, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Iran News Roundup 11/2

Abdi op-ed: On Iran, Obama faces wrath of congress and the pro-war lobby
War watch: Increased chatter in the UK and Israel over possible military actions in Iran
Nasr: Why contain Iran when its own aims will do just that?
Qatar Airways to ply domestic routes in sanctions-hit Iran
How sanctions held Iran’s government together
Iran, in “rant” to US, rebuts allegations
Saudi Arabia deports Iranian pilgrims
Friedman op-ed: A long list of suckers
Russia, China may blunt Western pressure on Iran
Iran: Ahmadinejad questioning fails to win majority

Huffington Post: On Iran, Obama faces wrath of congress and the pro-war lobby
NIAC’s policy director Jamal Abdi explains that the ‘Iran Threat Reduction Act’ going in front the House Foreign Affairs Committee today for markup is not placing “sanctions against the Iranian regime, in reality these are sanctions against the U.S. President.” This act eliminates the president’s humanitarian waiver on things like the sale of airplane parts to civilian airlines.  Additionally, this act codifies into law Iranian sanctions so that the president would no longer be able to unilaterally remove sanctions and would now require congressional approval, thus limiting his leverage in negotiations with Iran. (Huffington post 11/1)

War watch: Increased chatter in the UK and Israel over possible military actions in Iran
Articles appeared today that suggest that the U.K. and Israel might be readying for a military strike against Iran. Haaretz reports that Israeli foreign minister Lieberman, who formerly opposed military action strikes against Iran, is now on board with a future strike against Iran. For the U.K.’s part, the Guardian is reporting that the navy is currently preparing plans for how to best deploy naval assets in the case of a military strike against Iran. (Guardian 11/2) (Haaretz 11/2)

Nasr: Why contain Iran when its own aims will do just that?
In an op-ed by Vali Nasr, he discusses how Iran and its overly ambitious regional aspirations will effectively contain them.  Thus, launching military strikes against Iran is unnecessary, as Iran’s quest for increased regional influence will lead to them replacing the U.S. as the primary target of blame in the region.  For once the U.S. leaves Iraq and Afghanistan,” Iran may come to remember fondly the period when the U.S. military absorbed resentments in the region,” says Nasr.  “Iran is adept at causing security headaches in the region but is untested when it comes to resolving them.” (Bloomberg Business Week 11/1)

Qatar Airways to ply domestic routes in sanctions-hit Iran
Iran is going to allow Qatar Airways to supplement its domestic routes to increase the amount of flights offered and to improve the safety of flying in Iran.  Qatar Airways flights are expected to be as much as 25% more expensive than Iranian airlines, but would be significantly safer than flying on Iran’s aircrafts, which currently have an average of 22.5 years of service. (Iran Green Voice 11/1)

How sanctions held Iran’s government together
Ahmadinejad today was able to use current sanctions against Iran to scare the Iranian parliament in to not  impeaching the current economy minister.  Ahmadinejad’s suggestion that sanctions are having an effect on Iran’s economy were taken seriously enough to have enabled a temporary truce between speaker of parliament Larijani to ensure that the impeachment effort failed. (Middle East Progress 11/2)

Iran, in rant to US, rebuts plot allegations
In a letter delivered to the U.S. through Swiss diplomats, Iran formally rebuked the assassination allegations made by the U.S.  The seven page Iranian letter was called a “rant” by US officials familiar with it, calling U.S. allegations fabrications designed to inflame tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. (Reuters 11/1)

Saudi Arabia deports Iranian pilgrims
150 Iranian pilgrims, who Saudi Arabia claimed to have entered the country with forged visas, were deported.  There are conflicting claims as to whether or not their travel documents were in fact given by a legitimate visa source or from a “network that issues false visas.” (Radio Free Europe 11/2)

Friedman op-ed: A long list of suckers
Friedman opines in his op-ed that Obama’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Iraq was “the right thing and that Iran’s mullahs will not be the winners [in Iraq].”  Additionally, he points out that Iran’s approval rating is at 14% and that the removal of the authoritarian leaders in the region by the Arab Spring will only serve to further highlight the brutality and objectionable nature of the regime in Tehran.  (New York Times 11/1)

Russia, China may blunt Western pressure on Iran
In an expected upcoming push by the U.S. for new sanctions against Iran, it appears that China and Russia might prove unwilling to support such efforts as they fear “boxing Iran into a corner.”  Evidence for this appears in China and Russia’s reported attempt to delay an upcoming IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. (Reuters 11/2)

Iran: Ahmadinejad questioning fails to win majority
Ahmadinejad will no longer be required to face questioning from the Iranian parliament over the recent bank scandal.  This is due to the petition seeking his questioning in the Majles, which had sufficient support yesterday, lost three of its signers and now lacks the required amount of supporters for the petition to take effect. (Huffington Post 11/1)

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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