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  • 10 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 0 Comments
  • Nuclear file

Iran to discuss “new nuclear proposal,” though questions remain

This morning from PressTV:

Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has elaborated on the new package of proposals to the 5+1 group but noted that Tehran would not negotiate its nuclear program. Speaking at the UN nuclear watchdog’s board of governors meeting in Vienna Wednesday, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, explained the general content of Iran’s new package.

This proposal encompasses all the main issues such as economic and security cooperation, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, energy supply and demand, energy supply security, and peaceful applications of atomic technology,” said Soltaniyeh. In a later interview with the Alalam Arabic-language news network, however, Soltaniyeh pointed out that Iran would conduct no further talks with the West over its nuclear program. “The package has been presented to end the disputes over Iran’s nuclear program,” he told the network. “Tehran is ready for logical talks on various issues such as enabling all states to benefit from nuclear energy and preventing the spread of atomic weapons, but these talks can not include discussions on Iran’s legal nuclear activities,” he added.

  • 2 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran

ElBaradei: “No concrete evidence of Tehran’s ongoing nuclear weapons program”

Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said “there was no concrete evidence that Tehran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program.” Reuters reports from Vienna:

Iran is not going to produce a nuclear weapon any time soon and the threat posed by its atomic program has been exaggerated, the U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said in a published interview.

The West suspects Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of a declared civilian atomic energy program. Tehran rejects the charge, saying its uranium enrichment program is a peaceful way to generate electricity.

Mohamed ElBaradei  said there was no concrete evidence that Tehran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program.

“But somehow, many people are talking about how Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest threat to the world. In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped,” he told the specialist Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

ElBaradei said there was concern about Iran’s future nuclear intentions and that the Islamic Republic needs to be more transparent with the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog.

But the idea that we’ll wake up tomorrow and Iran will have a nuclear weapon is an idea that isn’t supported by the facts as we have seen them so far,” said ElBaradei, 67, who will step down in November after 12 years in office.

The interview was conducted in July but released late on Tuesday.

Last week, an IAEA report lent some weight to Western intelligence reports that Iran had studied ways to make atom bombs although the agency has repeatedly said it does not have concrete proof of a weapons agenda.

Iran has refused to provide documentation, access to sites or to nuclear officials for interviews which the IAEA has requested to reach conclusions about the intelligence materials.

In the interview, ElBaradei said there was an urgent need to follow up on U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposal for a dialogue between Washington and Tehran, but that resorting to harsher sanctions against Iran if it does not engage would achieve little.

ElBaradei said he had gleaned from experiences dealing with North Korea and Iraq that dialogue was a more effective tool than sanctions. He was not talking about a specific country.

Another lesson is to use sanctions only as a last resort and to avoid sanctions that hurt innocent civilians. As we saw in Iraq, sanctions only denied vulnerable, innocent civilians food and medicine,” he said.

Iran chief nuclear negotiator was quoted as saying on Tuesday that Tehran has prepared an “updated nuclear proposal” and is ready to talk to world powers. The West has said it is still waiting for details.

Germany is to host high-level talks on Iran’s nuclear program on Wednesday with the United States, China, France, Britain and Russia. Western powers are expected to push China and Russia to back a fourth round of U.N. sanctions which could target Iran’s vital energy sector.

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,

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