A point of Arab and Persian contention: By insisting on the term

'Persian Gulf' for the above body of water, is the Tehran regime

demonstrating its adherence to the policies of the former Shah?



Al Seyassah, Kuwait

Iran and Israel: 'Two Sides of the Same Coin'


"How is this regime an enemy of Israel, which is working to erase the identity of Al Quds [Jerusalem] and Palestine, if it exhibits the same behavior with its attempt to undermine the identity of the Arabian Gulf? Aren’t Iran and Israel two sides of the same coin?"


By Ahmad Abdal Aziz Al Jarallah*



Translated By Nicolas Dagher


February 25, 2010


Kuwait - Al Seyassah - Original Article (Arabic)


Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, 1919-1980. He dreamed of a resurgent Persian empire, and according to some Arab accounts, after a CIA coup put him on the throne, the U.S. removed him for these ambitions. Gulf Arabs suspect that his dream is shared by the present Iranian regime.


AL JAZEERA NEWS VIDEO: The best of enemies?: Iran and the United States, March 31, 00:47:33RealVideo

Does the Gulf have a Persian identity? That old/new question came to mind while I listened to news of how Iranian authorities fired a Greek airline steward for using the term "Arabian Gulf" aboard an Iranian aircraft. It seems that the authorities require the airline to use the term “Persian Gulf.” So let us delve into this: Should it be called the "Islamic Gulf," in an effort to avoid the nettlesome issue?


In our search for a realistic, historically accurate geographic name for the Gulf, we shouldn’t focus on racial issues, nor should we favor passion over reason or political conflict over facts.


And it is a fact that the Gulf was "Arabic" prior to the advent of Islam. It was Arabic before the Imperial Persianization movement began in the nineteenth century, and before the coveting of the Shah that was bequeathed to Tehran, despite the current regime's attempts to disprove these facts.



If the British Empire, for which the sun has set, made an issue of Iranian expansion into the Arabian Gulf coast in the 19th century, which was followed by Iran's occupation of the Arab Ahwaz in 1925 [now part of Iran's Khuzestan Province] and then the occupation of three Emirati islands at the beginning of the 1970s, then no occupier should try to impose its identity on these occupied lands. This runs counter to all treaties and international rules, and in addition, runs counter to the very Islam that the Tehran regime hides behind to achieve its expansionary ambitions.


Yes, the Gulf has an Arab identity. Not because we want it to be so or because we want to face down Tehran’s dictatorship, but because all of these historic truths deny that the Gulf is Persian. Even in Iran, the Persian language isn't the most widely spoken. The term “Persia” was used in ancient times to describe all Persian-speaking regions, none of which were ever considered part of today's Arab lands. Even during the invasions of old, Arab areas maintained an Arabic identity. So how can an occupier impose his identity? And isn’t that what Iranian authorities are trying to do by parading their disguised occupation as part of the status quo?


[Editor's Note: According to Wikipedia, on almost all maps printed before 1960, and in most modern international treaties, documents and maps, this body of water is known by the name "Persian Gulf." This reflects traditional usage since the Greek geographers Strabo and Ptolemy, the geopolitical reality of the past and was referred to as such by Arabic Christian writer Agapius in the 10th century. It is historically and most commonly known as the Persian Gulf after the land of Persia (now called Iran). The name Arabian Gulf become predominant in most Arab countries only since the 1960s, due to the rivalry between Persians and Arabs and the emergence of pan-Arabism and Arab nationalism.]


What's most dangerous of all about this Iranian "occupation" effort is that the term "Persian Gulf" has entered into use within scientific circles in Tehran, and that even some Arab voices have been drawn into using it without an understanding of the grave long term impact.




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So let us put the record straight: Arabs in their natural environment are not a minority to be designated "Gulf Arabs.” That is a term which applies more to Iranians than Arabs, because Iranians are the natural minority in the region surrounding the Arabian Gulf. We can therefore hit the nail on the head without any distortion of the facts by saying, “Gulf Persians.” We want to tell the Iranian school of ambitious expansionism: Between you and us, there is history, geography, and social and economic realities - and even religious realities if you like.


No power, however great, can impose on us an identity different from our own. Created with the ugly tools of repression, we cannot accept such an open forgery, abandon our identity and submit to a greed that is the satanic result of a mentality based on the suppression of the other.


The Arabian Gulf isn't like a lake; and the coast overlooking it a land without a people. This is a people that have existed since ancient times and in terms of civilization, it is a cultural, political, economic and social movement that consequently wasn't Persian and will never be Persian just because the Tehran regime wants to complete the Shah's plans. 



That leads us reconsider everything leaders of the Tehran regime have said about "good brotherly relations among neighbors!" This also raises more suspicion about Iran's nuclear project, which is a continuation of the program of the Shah’s regime - to say nothing of that country's state of permanent militarization. These are nothing more than tools for achieving the occupation of the entire region. Therefore, it is the duty of all Arabs to openly reflect their Arabian-Gulf identity.


Finally, would the leaders of the Tehran regime answer the following question?: How is this regime an enemy of Israel, which is working to erase the identity of Al Quds [Jerusalem] and Palestine, if it exhibits the same behavior with its attempt to undermine the identity of the Arabian Gulf? Aren’t Iran and Israel two sides of the same coin?


*Ahmad Abdal Aziz Al Jarallah is the editor-in-chief of Kuwait's Arab Times and Al-Seyassah



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