Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Anchored by Melissa Bell  |  About  |  Get Updates:  Twitter  |   Facebook  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed
Posted at 2:07 PM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Arabian vs. Persian: Iranians take to U.S. Navy's Facebook to protest 'Arabian Gulf'

By Melissa Bell
height
Was the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf or in the Arabian Gulf? (Max Ortiz/AP)

Quick quiz: The large body of water that lies between Saudi Arabia and Iran, what's it called?

If you answered the Arabian Gulf, you might work for the U.S. Navy.

If you answered the Persian Gulf, you may have spent some time in Iran.

Either way, someone is not going to like what you called it.

"It belabors the obvious to say Arab-Iranian relations are complicated," John Limbert wrote Wednesday in Foreign Policy in an essay discussing the outcome of cables leaked by WikiLeaks that paint a frosty picture of relations between the leaders of Arab states and their Iranian neighbor:

If we believe the recently leaked U.S. State Department messages, some leaders of Arab states harbor unkind thoughts about their Iranian neighbors. In addition to describing them in terms like "liar" and "snake," they have expressed a wish to American visitors that this troublesome neighbor would somehow go away. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stung by these harsh epithets, claims that the entire WikiLeaks affair is a foreign conspiracy to sow discord between Iranians and Arabs and to strengthen the Americans' claim that Iran has become a diplomatic polecat in its own region.

How this all relates to that big body of water is this: the U.S. Navy's Web site says its personnel, in an undated directive, should use "Arabian Gulf" and not "Persian Gulf."

On Wednesday, Tehran summoned the Swiss diplomat to protest the "use of the false name for Persian Gulf."

"Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday that the U.S. Navy's use of a false name for the Persian Gulf will put the credibility of the United States and the international community into question," Tehran Times reported.

Iranians have taken to Facebook to show their displeasure, writing messages of support for "Persian Gulf" on the U.S. Navy's Facebook page. All day, messages such as: "It's not A.R.A.B.I.A.N gulf. It was PERSIAN gulf. It is PERSIAN gulf and It will be PERSIAN gulf... mistakes like these are not expected from the Army name itself the most powerful one in the world. There is no name except PERSIAN gulf accepted by United Nations for the Gulf located right in the middle of the old PERSIAN empire."

On Friday morning the U.S. Navy started erasing some of the comments, posting a statement:

usnavy.jpg

Users have continued to post protest messages and some complain about their messages being deleted, asking why freedom of speech is not being honored on the page.

(Thanks, Liz!)

By Melissa Bell  | December 3, 2010; 2:07 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Conan in jeggings. 'Nuff said.
Next: Disney town hit with second death

Comments

Actually it's quite surprising why US Navy decided to use a fake term for the Persian Gulf. Is it just the matter of Arabs' petro-dollars? or something else.

According to all historical/geographical documents, also United Nations' directives, the name of this waterway which separates Iran (Persia) from Arabian Peninsula is the PERSIAN GULF :
UN Links
http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/maplib/docs/escwa.pdf

PERSIAN GULF is also the only term used by the U.S. Department of State:
http://www.state.gov/p/nea/ci/qa/
http://www.state.gov/p/nea/ci/sa/

Same to the National Geographic Society ;
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0303/feature4/images/mp_download.4.pdf

You can visit this page for some maps & documents and see even Arab scholars until 1960s used "Al-Khalij Al-Farsi"(Arabic name of the "PersianGulf");
http://www.persiangulfonline.org/maps.htm

"Arabian Gulf" in fact is the ancient name of the present-day "Red Sea" (located between Arabia and Africa). Usage of "Arabian Gulf" for Persian Gulf was mostlt promoted by Egyption president Nasser and later Iraqi president Saddam Hussain. I do not think US Navy wants to act like him!

Imagine that all nations start to rename the historical and legal names of seas and oceans: African people try to change the name of Indian Ocean to African Ocean, American people rename Gulf of Mexico to Gulf of America or Pakistani people try to use Pakistani Sea instead of the Arabian Sea !....

Also please be aware that Persian (Iranian) people never tried to use "Gulf of Iran"/"Gulf of Persia" instead of "Gulf of Oman" and never tried to change the name of "Arabian Sea" into "Persian Sea".

I hope US Nacy revise this very unprofessional and unrealistic desicsion.

Sincerely,
Pejman Akbarzadeh, Amsterdam
www.PejmanAkbarzadeh.com


Posted by: pejmanakbarzadeh | December 4, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

ONLY PERSIAN GOLF IS LEGAL, All know this name,There are no legal document for a r a b i a n golf, please consider JUSTICE.

Posted by: washwash1 | December 4, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Ok I don't know why US is crediting Arabs who carried 9/11 attacks and celebrated that event in Arab cities. I like to refer you to President Obama's speech that in that time, in the streets of Tehran people hold candles wearing black cloths in the memory of the victims. Is this how you deal with your only friends in Middle East? Iranian government is not what we want. So if you don't like our government like us, do not insult us. We never ever expected such a thing from the US! We thought US is a hope, we thought americans always stand on the side of truth. And the truth is Persian Gulf, the offcial name recognized by the UN, and the historical maps.

Posted by: Persiansarenotyourenemy | December 5, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

By the way, the article is misleading. we don't think if you use the fake name, it means you are working for the US Nave. The writer should have wrote if you us the @r@ bi@an Gulf, it means that you are changing a Fact, it means you are lying, it means you are ignoring all the history and it means you are changing the history. It means you have no respect for the truth

Posted by: Persiansarenotyourenemy | December 5, 2010 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Arabian Golf forever

Posted by: hamoonx | December 5, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse

I think its all about money and oil.nothing else is there.just a small review of PERSIAN HISTORY will fully lighten them up.
by the way does any one know of any arab nation would have had any kind of navy throughout the history.

Posted by: morysham | December 5, 2010 5:49 AM | Report abuse

US has the most popularity in Middle east, between Iranian people.
Why don't you care about our history?!

Posted by: xamyn | December 5, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

what usnavy does or anybody does in this case, is a crime and it should stop it at once.
i'm orginally an iranian, but it is everybodys responsible to aware about these changing and everybody's responsiblity to protest please look at this site:
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Geography/persian.gulf/false_name_for_the_persian_gulf_.htm
and i'm sorry to tell you when i put these line on usnavy-facebook they delete my massege and they banned me too.
and i will see how your democracy working in the washingtonpost.

Posted by: martin_m_nad | December 5, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Hello dear American

if it is a legitimate habbit to change the historiacl/geographical names, and as the Arabs are your partners, then the new US map would be:

http://gigairani.blogspot.com/2010/12/new-us-map-based-on-navys-fleet-areas.html

shall all people round the world live in peace and friendship, and respect other nations.

Posted by: gigairani | December 5, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Hi dear amercian friends

if it is a legitimate habbit to change the historiacl/geographical names, and as the Arabs are your partners, then the new US map would be:

http://gigairani.blogspot.com/2010/12/new-us-map-based-on-navys-fleet-areas.html

shall all people round the world live in peace , love, and friendship, and respect other nations.

Posted by: gigairani | December 5, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I have just felt the indian-americans feelings when Americans invaded their land 100 years ago and created your country on their blood. You are making Iranian hearts bleed by using a fake name for Iran boarder which have been used for many years. Persian Gulf is the name of this part of the world and you have to look at historical documents and UN documents before using a wrong word.

Posted by: amireit1 | December 5, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

take a look at this, in memory of a US martyr (Persian Gulf 1998) :

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5_ea24P4Npo/TPvWNyiazrI/AAAAAAAAAAQ/UH6BgcRSQ0U/s1600/156618_172091202812835_171987662823189_428376_6180327_n.jpg

shall he (they) rest in peace

Posted by: gigairani | December 5, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

some of your regional Arab partner celebrated Septamaber 11 so why don't you do that
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WptpG_yVUI&feature=related
but Iranian came to street and did support you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCIDTo2C5YU
If you don't change your policy Iranian governmrnt gain more suport, on the other hand all of your regional partner don't recognize Jerusalem and call it al-Quds. If you try to make them happy you would loss peace in that region
If you believe Jerusalem is Jerusalem, so "Persian Gulf" must be "Persian Gulf" too.

Posted by: dafchai | December 5, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the others which have written above , plus this point that foreign countries don't know this truth that Iranian are so sensitive in front of these works and know it as a kind of unbearable humiliation that would not being forgiven.These things doesn't have fruitful consequences for anyone and just increase animosity between the ancient super power of Iran and and one of the modern ones . At the end I admit that Arabs money is somehow ominous even for themselves ;so, it's better not offend the others for such a thing !!! Persian gulf remains for ever though what ever happens .

Posted by: negin730 | December 5, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the others which have written above , plus this point that foreign countries don't know this truth that Iranian are so sensitive in front of these works and know it as a kind of unbearable humiliation that would not being forgiven.These things doesn't have fruitful consequences for anyone and just increase animosity between the ancient super power of Iran and and one of the modern ones . At the end I admit that Arabs money is somehow ominous even for themselves ;so, it's better not offend the others for such a thing !!! Persian gulf remains for ever though what ever happens .

Posted by: negin730 | December 5, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I created the "US Navy has no legal rights to rename Persian Gulf " Petition.
Please read it and I hope you will be able to sign the petition with confidence.
The link is:
http://www.petitiononline.com/pgusnavy/petition.html

Posted by: irani | December 7, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

US Navy, or whoever ordered US NAVY, has no right to use unlawful name for PERSIAN GULF. The name 'Persian Gulf' has been in all international maps since few Thousand years ago and was approved twice by the UN. PLEASE STOP HUMILIATING IRANIAN PEOPLE and stop this injustice that has roots in British hostile policies. Iranian people have no hostility with US but this act is a shame and American people should protest this act. Thanks.

Posted by: afara2000 | December 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

So now that we think it's ok to insult whole ethnic groups, I still don't understand why it has to be the Arabian Gulf.

To be fair, there hasn't been a single Persian terrorist attacking Westerners If you're going to go out of your way to make sure the armed forces use a different name just to be insulting, why not just go all the way and call it the American Gulf? As of now, it can sounds like we are paying homage to the Arabs that presided over the deaths of 3k American civilians.

Wouldn't it make the most sense to call it the American Gulf or something?

Or better yet, maybe we should stop showing Iran and their political hardliners (who probably benefit most from all this) that we're letting them get to us?

Posted by: BeachJuicetice | December 10, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company