Currently Browsing

Posts Tagged ‘ US-Iran War ’

  • 18 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/18

Israel acknowledges Iran has yet to decide to pursue a nuclear weapon

Israeli officials will reportedly present an intelligence assessment next week that Iran has not yet decided to pursue a nuclear weapon. This comes as the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey visits Israel next week. Additionally, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel is “very far off” from making a decision about a military strike against Iran. (Haaretz 01/18).

Obama has followed Bush’s Iran policy says former top State official

Nicholas Burns, the United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs during the George W. Bush administration said that the Obama administration’s policy “has been very tough with Iran,” and “has essentially followed President Bush’s policy towards Iran in President Bush’s second term.” The statement comes amidst allegations by the GOP presidential candidates that president Obama’s Iran policy has been weak (Think Progress 01/17).

  • 17 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/17

U.S.-Israel missile defense drill cancelled as concerns grow over Israeli attack against Iran

Senior military officials announced that the largest joint US-Israel missile defense drill has been postponed (Reuters 01/15).  Israel officially claimed this was due to budget cuts, but some U.S. and Israeli officials said the exercise was mutually postponed to not inflame tensions with Iran (Yahoo 01/16).  Still other U.S. officials expressed concerns privately that Israel had postponed the Spring exercise to clear the way for a strike on Iran, while others speculated that the exercise was cancelled by the U.S. to send a signal to Israel and Iran (IPS 01/16).

U.S. defense leaders have become increasingly concerned that Israel is preparing an attack against Iran, stepping up plans to protect U.S. facilities in the region in case. U.S. officials have been sending Israel private messages warning about the disastrous consequences of a conflict with Iran (WSJ 01/14) Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff will be visiting Israel on Thursday amidst the United States’ increasing concerns of a possible Israeli military strike on Iran (Haaretz 01/15). Additionally, Sen. George Mitchell said a case has not been made for attacking Iran (Think Progress 01/13).

UK foreign minister William Hague said that all options remain on the table regarding Iran, but said, “we are clearly not calling for or advocating military action. We are advocating meaningful negotiations, if Iran will enter into them, and the increasing pressure of sanctions to try to get some flexibility from Iran” (The Guardian 01/15).

John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman downplayed reports that the U.S. is increasing military presence in the Middle East is solely because of Iran (Reuters 01/13).

U.N. Secretary-General condemns assassination of Iranian scientists

On Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was quoted as saying that “Any terrorist action or assassination of any people, whether scientist or civilian, is to be condemned. It is not acceptable. Human rights must be protected” (Reuters 01/13).

Iran’s foreign minister sent a letter to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, which represents U.S. interests, saying Iran has evidence of U.S. involvement in the assassination of Iranian scientist Mostafa Roshan.  “We have reliable documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned, guided and supported by the CIA,” the letter stated (Reuters 01/14).

Meanwhile, nearly a 100 scholars, academicians, and journalists have signed a petition condemning the murder of Iranian scientists.

  • 13 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/13

CIA memos uncover Mossad “false flag” operations

A series of CIA memos, written during the George W. Bush’s administration, describes how Mossad agents, pretending to be American agents and carrying US passports, reportedly recruited the terrorist group Jundallah to carry out a covert war against Iran (Foreign Policy  01/13).

U.S. sends warning to Iran’s Supreme Leader 

According to government officials, the U.S. has warned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, via a secret channel of communication, that closing the Strait of Hormuz would constitute a “red-line” which would provoke a U.S. response. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also stated on Thursday that the closure of the Strait would not be tolerated (NY Times 01/12).

Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei responded to Wednesday’s assassination of an Iranian scientist by saying that those behind the killing would be punished. “We will continue our path with strong will … and certainly we will not neglect punishing those responsible for this act and those behind it,” said Khamenei (Reuters 01/12). The Iranian scientist, Mostafa Roshan, was buried yesterday in Tehran (BBC 01/13).

U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta echoed strong denials by other top U.S. officials of American involvement in the assassination (The Guardian 01/13).

Russia considers Iran war a threat to security

Russia’s departing ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin told reporters that Russia considers Iranian involvement in any military action as a direct threat to Russia’s security. He also said that Israel is pushing the U.S. towards a war with Iran (Reuters 01/13).

U.N. to discuss nuclear program in Tehran

A senior U.N. nuclear agency team will be visiting Tehran on Jan. 28 to discuss allegations over Iran’s nuclear program. Iranian officials have suggested that they are ready to talk about the issue, according to two diplomats (Reuters 01/12). Some in the West have expressed skepticism over Iran’s readiness to discuss its nuclear program (Reuters 01/13).

Will the Obama Administration Listen to Gates or Neo-Cons?

As a Bush Administration holdover, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has largely avoided Republican attacks.  A Republican working in a Democratic administration, Secretary Gates seems to enjoy broad support on both sides of the aisle, and his policy recommendations are generally approved of enthusiastically by both political parties.

His recent comments on Iran, however, have the potential to raise some neo-conservative hackles.  Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to convince Vice President Joe Biden, among others, to make the US military threat against Iran “credible.” Gates immediately responded, saying that “We are prepared to do what is necessary, but at this point we continue to believe that the political-economic approach that we are taking is in fact having an impact in Iran.”

Yesterday, Gates pushed back even further against callously wielding the military option:

A military solution, as far as I’m concerned … it will bring together a divided nation. It will make them absolutely committed to obtaining nuclear weapons. And they will just go deeper and more covert

The only long-term solution in avoiding an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is for the Iranians to decide it’s not in their interest. Everything else is a short-term solution.

  • 8 October 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Heffner
  • 1 Comments
  • Iran War related legislation, Israel, Nuclear file, US-Iran War

Israeli Official’s Call for Imminent Iran Blockade is Really a Call for War

Hyperbole reached new heights this week when Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations on Monday that a blockade will be necessary in two to six months to give “Iran a deadline to change its behavior.”  Steinitz, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and a former protégé of the Prime Minister, has always been known as hawkish; given his role as a government minister and his ties to Israel’s leaders, his latest remarks should not be ignored.  Never mind the absurd justification Steinitz offered, in which he likened such a blockade to that of  Cuba in 1962—Cuba, an island nation that, unlike Iran, actually possessed nuclear weapons in its territory at the time of the embargo.  And never mind that Steinitz demanded that Iran “become open for inspection,” when in fact the IAEA constantly has inspectors in Iran looking at the country’s nuclear facilities.  Instead, what is most concerning is that this call mirrors a Congressional resolution introduced in 2008, which suggests that a blockade may actually have support among US lawmakers.

Calls for a blockade are not new.  In the past it was seen as an option for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program by commentators who believed sanctions were not enough or would inevitably fail.  They claim that a blockade is simply the “next logical step.”  However, what these pundits fail to mention is that a blockade is an act of war.  Such an act against Iran by the United States or any state in the international community could likely lead to open violent conflict between US and Iranian forces as Iranian warships try to force their way through the blockading force.  Furthermore, such a blockade would seek to destroy Iran economically, punishing Iranians who have nothing to do with the nuclear program and destroying America’s image with the Iranian people.  Finally, a blockade would convince Iranian leaders they have nothing to gain from negotiating a deal with the West and provide an incentive to push for an actual nuclear device, ending all hopes for a compromise that would avoid a calamity in the region.

  • 29 September 2010
  • Posted By Setareh Tabatabaie
  • 3 Comments
  • US-Iran War

Military Attack on Iran: A Combination of Ignorance and Naivety

As always, those who talk about what US policy towards Iran should look like, are already prepared for failure of current US policy.

Now Senator Joe Lieberman is preparing to “up the rhetorical ante” on Iran and endorse military actions if sanctions fail

In an excerpt of what his staff has labeled a “major policy address” to be delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations later today, Lieberman states:

It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table. Our message to our friends and enemies in the region needs to become clearer: namely, that we will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability — by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must.

This comes after  Senator Lindsey Graham last week called for direct military intervention for the purpose of regime change in Iran.  “From my point of view,” Graham said, “if we engage in military operations as a last resort, the United States should have in mind the goal of changing the regime…not by invading (Iran), but by launching a military strike by air and sea.”

Obviously, many things come to mind at their proposal: the question of whether or not Iran is even developing nuclear weapons, the mess we have created and left behind in Iraq, and the chaos we find ourselves in in Afghanistan. Even leaving all this aside, however, I am still left confused and bewildered by the increasing call for military action against Iran by some of our nation’s so-called leaders and experts.

Perhaps most dangerous is the effect military strikes would have inside Iran on the prospects for change. Those who advocate a military attack argue that it will lead to a revolution and possible regime change. These idealistic hopes could not be farther from the truth. As Shawn Amoei wrote, “To believe this is to seriously misunderstand nationalism, the Iranian people, and Iranian history.” See the Iran-Iraq War as the perfect example of how the Iranian people will come together, even under an undesirable regime, in the face of foreign invasion.

A military attack will have a detrimental effect on those within the opposition and civil rights movements within Iran, who already fear being tainted by the US. As insideIran.org researcher Shayan Ghajar eloquently explained:

“Foreign attack on Iran would lead to further marginalization of internal opposition movements by the central government, or would cause a surge of nationalism that temporarily erases domestic disputes. O’Hanlon and Riedel agree, saying, “Nor is a strike by an outside power likely to help the cause of Iranian reformists.” … Mir Hossein Moussavi, the most prominent politician in the Green Movement, has repeatedly argued against… “foreign domination.” …Human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, too, opposes any form of military action. Politician Ataollah Mohajerani, who has ties to numerous opposition leaders, said that any attack on Iran would serve only to strengthen the Iranian military and distract the public from their internal divisions.

In other words, rather than fomenting change, a military attack on Iran would do just the opposite.

In the aftermath of the June 2009 presidential elections in Iran, Joe Lieberman said, “We have to do everything we can… to support the people of Iran.” Now, just a little over a year later, he is explicitly endorsing bombing Iran. I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.  But  it sounds like Lieberman will be joining his friend Lindsey Graham and assert that they know what’s best for the Iranian people, that Iran’s opposition leaders and human rights defenders are wrong, and that the people of Iran will greet us as liberators.

  • 7 April 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 2 Comments
  • Persian Gulf, US-Iran War

Iran’s Bond-Villain Plan for Naval Superiority

Iran has purchased a super-advanced speedboat and is going to use it to sink an American warship in the Persian Gulf!

Well, we don’t know for sure that they’re using it to sink an American warship, but they’re definitely up to something. Actually, there’s not even any evidence that the boat is for military purposes; or that it was purchased by the Revolutionary Guards; or that it’s even all that much faster than other boats…

But still, someone in Iran bought a really fast boat, so everyone should be afraid; be very afraid!

That about sums up this tabloid-esque story that ran in the Financial Times Sunday, and then was reprinted in the Washington Post alongside a completely unrelated yet sufficiently eerie photo of a tanker ship that ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef of all places.

Has a record-breaking British powerboat become the “ultimate toy” for an Iranian playboy or – as US investigators fear – is it now equipped with the world’s fastest torpedoes aimed at sinking an aircraft carrier in the Gulf?

In spite of efforts by the Obama administration to stop it falling into the hands of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the Bradstone Challenger – a high-performance powerboat built with support from a US defence contractor – is believed to be under new and dangerous ownership.

Iran at a Crossroads – LIVESTREAMING Here

UPDATE: It’s confirmed, we’ll be Livestreaming our conference here at niacINsight tomorrow.  So tune in between 9:00 and 2:00 to see what’s happening!

Iran used to be a pretty black-and-white issue. You either wanted war, or not.  Diplomacy, or not.  Regime change, or not.

Those days of simple choices between two clear opposites–they’re long gone.

Now, the rise of an indigenous opposition movement has thrown a new set of variables into questions of “regime change,” diplomacy, and even human rights.  Iran-watchers are struggling with the cognitive dissonance of it all: how can you still oppose war but support the dismantling of the Islamic theocracy?  How can someone help the opposition but still oppose overt US government involvement? And don’t even get me started on the nuclear issue…

All of this confusion amid the new complex reality of post-June 12th Iran means it’s probably a good thing that people are still debating the issue as vigorously as ever.  Open any major newspaper in the US and chances are you’ll find at least one or two (often four or five) different articles about Iran.  From op-eds advocating a preemptive strike, to analysts who say the Green Movement is just a fad–there is a wider diversity of opinions now than ever before.  Even politicians and pundits who might otherwise have the luxury of ignoring the Iran issue are being forced to weigh in (see Palin, Sarah), and despite their often ludicrous claims, ultimately the best thing for US-Iran policy is a robust debate about substantive issues.  That’s the only way we’ll be able to think our way through this difficult challenge.

(Incidentally, some major steps have already been taken in formulating a coherent policy proposal: see here and here for one approach that’s coming clearer into view).

Our goal here at NIAC is to contribute some wisdom and clarity to the debate on Iran — both among the Iranian-American community and inside the Washington DC beltway.  Toward that end, we are pleased to announce our upcoming conference on Capitol Hill: “Iran at a Crossroads: Assessing a Changing Landscape.” We’re bringing together the top Iran experts in the world, alongside members of Congress and their staffs, to explore the most important questions facing US-Iran policy today.

We’ll look into the current state of the Green Movement as the latest chapter in Iran’s 100-year democratic evolution.  We’ll examine the prospects for US-Iran relations one year after President Obama began his engagement strategy, and we’ll try to determine if there is a US-Iran war looming on the horizon.  (And we’ll also celebrate the upcoming Norooz holiday with some excellent food and our very own haft-seen table).

The video will be streamed live on this site, niacINsight, so check back here next Wednesday morning (March 10) at 9am for the feed.  Or feel free to RSVP and show up in person.

We are grateful to our special guests Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with all of our excellent panelists (including our friends at EA).

Full info available below the jump, or at niacouncil.org/march10.  Hope to see you there!

  • 15 January 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 1 Comments
  • Nuclear file, US-Iran War

Neocon Think Tank: US Should Prepare for Nuke War with Iran

Most people outside of Washington DC probably don’t hear about the neoconservative Heritage Foundation very often.  It’s true that the “golden age” of neoconservatism is long gone, so groups like theirs sometimes have to resort to extraordinary and often spectacular measures for their work even to get noticed.

I would like to believe that the two Iran-related reports they released today fall into that category.

The first, by Jim Phillips, talks about the implications for the US of an Israeli strike against Iran.  He argues that, since we’ll be blamed for an Israeli attack anyway, the US might as well get in on the fun from the beginning:

Given that the United States is likely to be attacked by Iran in the aftermath of an Israeli strike anyway, it may be logical to consider joining Israel in a preven­tive war against Iran.

But since that isn’t likely to happen as long as the White House values peace and stability over war and chaos, Phillips’ fall-back plan is for the US to just wait until Israel attacks, and then go ahead with a plan to bring about WWIII in the MidEast…

In the event of a conflict, Iran’s nuclear facilities should be relentlessly targeted until all known nuclear weapon-related sites are destroyed completely. Perhaps the preparations for such a war, combined with the knowledge that Washington will not restrain Israel, would enable cooler heads to prevail in Tehran before Israel is forced to take action to defend itself.

The second report, which looks at how Russia complicates the Iran issue for the US, also employs the think-tank equivalent of an angst-y teen’s cry for attention:

The U.S. should deploy a visible deterrent, including overwhelming nuclear forces near Iran, on surface ships, aircraft, or permanent bases.  These offensive forces should be designed to hold at risk the facilities that Iran would need to launch a strategic attack, thereby making any such attack by Iran likely to fail.

Just to clarify: this author is talking about brandishing US nuclear warheads in the Persian Gulf, on US bases (likely in Qatar or Kuwait), and on aircraft flying overhead one of the world’s most volatile regions.  He is suggesting that we wave these missiles in front of Iran’s face, knowing full well that Tehran and its proxy allies will not sit idly by as the US makes such a thoroughly provocative move.  And he makes the ludicrous suggestion that the thing the Middle East needs more than anything else right now is more Weapons of Mass Destruction.

This report insinuates nothing less than a preemptive nuclear attack on Iran.

As Matt Duss would say: “these are the Iran war drumbeats that liberals are just making up in their heads.”

  • 24 December 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 2 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Nuclear file, Sanctions, UN, US-Iran War

Merry Christmas. Bomb Iran.

Stunning.  That’s the only word to describe what was printed in the once-respected op-ed page of the New York Times today. 

Alan Kuperman argues in his op-ed titled There’s Only One Way to Stop Iran, that

In the face of failed diplomacy, eschewing force is tantamount to appeasement. We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Strange that the author could arrive at this conclusion a week before the Dec. 31 deadline for Iran to accept the West’s nuclear proposal.  It’s almost as if he had made up his mind already.  

Let’s look at his reasoning, such as it is.  Kuperman argues that the West’s nuclear proposal to refuel the Tehran Research Reactor was not a clever idea with benefits for both parties, as most experts believe, but instead was a boondoggle that threatened the security of the US and would have given Iran “a head start” toward building a nuclear bomb.  It is good that the deal was not adopted, he argues, because it would have only postponed the really important and only remaining effective option for the US to pursue: multiple airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. 

Even worse, Kuperman fumes, the plan would have actually “fostered proliferation” by allowing Iran to continue operating the research reactor, which he says could provide valuable knowledge for a weapons program.  Of course, it is probably safe to assume that the IAEA was aware that the fuel could be used to operate the reactor…what with that being the whole idea of the deal and all.  But apparently, the UN’s atomic agency doesn’t share Kuperman’s definition of “fostering proliferation.”

He goes on:

While Iran permits international inspections at its declared enrichment plant at Natanz, it ignores United Nations demands that it close the plant, where it gains the expertise needed to produce weapons-grade uranium at other secret facilities like the nascent one recently uncovered near Qom.” 

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Kuperman seems to be one of the few remaining nonproliferation professionals who actually believe transparency is a bad thing.  Suspending enrichment does no good if Iran starts up a covert facility that can’t be inspected; on the other hand, inspections can virtually ensure enrichment activity is not used for a weapon, and if Tehran tries, they will be detected. 

Kuperman also says that Tehran rejected the deal because of domestic political turmoil.  But the truth is more complicated than the startlingly concise explanation –“Ahmadinejad reneged” — that Kuperman provides.  See Ray Takeyh’s explanation of how Iran’s internal national security apparatus scuttled the deal.  Also, how many times do we have to say this? Ahmadinejad does not control Iran’s nuclear program–the Supreme Leader does.

After all that, Kuperman finally gets to his real point.  Start the music…“bomb, bomb, bomb Iran…”

Since peaceful carrots and sticks cannot work, and an invasion would be foolhardy, the United States faces a stark choice: military air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities or acquiescence to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

The risks of the latter are obvious, he says: “Iran supplies Islamist terrorist groups in violation of international embargoes.”  Supplies them of what?  Ominously, he doesn’t say, suggesting that if Iran were to possess WMD, they would hand it over in a heartbeat.  Of course, this ignores the fact that Iran has had chemical and biological weapons for two decades and is yet to deliver them to terrorist proxies who most certainly want them.  “Even President Ahmadinejad’s domestic opponents support this weapons traffic.”  Huh?  You mean the Green Movement, whose chants say “Not Gaza, nor Lebanon; I give my life for Iran”? 

At last, Kuperman concedes that an aerial assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities might not work, and it might impose heavy costs.  But history suggests that it could work, and is therefore “worth a try.”  For evidence, he lists episodes such as the 1981 Israeli strike on Iraq and the subsequent Gulf War (the success of which Kuperman somehow manages to claim was only confirmed by the 2003 Iraq war, which apparently made the entire thing worth it).  “Analogously,” he says, “Iran’s atomic sites might need to be bombed more than once to persuade Tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”  Because the more times we bomb them, the more they’ll see things our way…

Kuperman’s rationale for bombing Iran is not new; it is just intellectually sloppier than most others.  But that doesn’t mean that it should be taken for granted.  If anything, the fact that the New York Times printed this column before the laughably short deadline for diplomacy is up just illustrates the sorry state of discourse in the US on how to deal with Iran.  And that is exactly the plan for those who wish to hasten a US-Iran war: drive the debate so far to the fringe that reasonable proposals are discounted and the irrational seems like the only option.

update: For the record, I penned this blog post on a plane between DC and Texas, long before I read Heather Hurlburt’s scathing piece about the same article.  Kudos, Heather.

update 2: Wow, nice to see I wasn’t alone with this.  See also Matt Duss, Joe Klein, Steve Saideman and Dan Drezner.   Marc Lynch says: “This kind of sustained pushback is exactly what is needed to prevent this dangerous idea from being mainstreamed.”

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,

[signature]

Share this with your friends: