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

Iran News Roundup: June 15, 2012

Tightening Oil Trade

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badry has announced oil prices could elevate to $110 without putting the global economy in jeopardy (AP 6/15). He said, “$110 is not a threat to the world economic growth,” after OPEC leader agreed yesterday to keep OPEC’s total output ceiling at 30 million barrels a day (AP 6/15).

India has said that it will need extra oil from OPEC, after stopping imports from Iran, raising additional concerns that oil prices will rise as the effects of sanctions on Iran compound (International Business Times 6/15).

Five major Asian IPOs were cancelled or postponed in recent weeks ahead on increased sanctions on Iran (Reuters 6/15). Among them, Hyundai Oilbank has postponed its $2 billion initial offering due to the euro zone crisis and pending Western sanctions on Iranian crude exports, which account for approximately 20 percent of its total imports from Iran (Reuters 6/15).

Barring an unexpected last-minute deal to relax EU sanctions before they go into effect July 1, the Europe-based Protection and Indemnity clubs that cover 95 percent of the world’s oil tankers will be unable to insure vessels carrying Iranian crude (Reuters 6/14). Analysts say this could cut Iran oil shipments beyond the 25 percent fall they have already sustained due to sanctions (Reuters 6/14).

Japan’s lower legislative house has approved a bill to provide government guarantees on insurance for Iranian crude cargoes, making it the first country to take action to mitigate EU sanctions on Iranian oil shipments (Reuters 6/15). Together Japan, South Korea, China, and India buy two-thirds of Iran’s oil exports, relying under normal circumstances on European firms to insure them (Reuters 6/15).

Iranian Enrichment

William Broad writes that Iran may have cover to enrich uranium above current 20% levels: “Iran’s justification could be the same as that of Belgium, France and the Netherlands. The countries, all signers of the nonproliferation treaty and subject to regular atomic inspections, use highly enriched uranium to make the radioactive isotope molybdenum-99, which is widely used in medicine for diagnostic scans and cancer treatments.” (NYT 6/14)

Notable Opinion – “Obama’s Drift Toward War With Iran”

Robin Wright writes at The Atlantic that Obama is overestimating his political exposure from Iran negotiations and underestimating his maneuverability to strike a deal to prevent war:

The most undercovered story in Washington is how President Obama, under the influence of election-year politics, is letting America drift toward war with Iran. This story is the unseen but ominous backdrop to next week’s Moscow round of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

The basic story line, pretty well known inside the beltway, is simple: There are things Obama could do to greatly increase the chances of a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, but he seems to have decided that doing them would bring political blowback that would reduce his chances of re-election.

The good news is that Obama’s calculation may be wrong. The blowback he fears–largely from Bibi Netanyahu, AIPAC, and other “pro-Israel” voices–is probably less forbidding than he assumes. And the political upside of successful statesmanship may be greater than he realizes.

Read more at The Atlantic.

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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