April 30th: National Persian Gulf Day

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

Iran has designated April 30th as the National Persian Gulf Day.

The date coincides with the anniversary of Shah Abbas' successful military campaign against the Portuguese navy in the Persian Gulf, driving the Portuguese colonial forces out of the Strait of Hormuz in the Capture of Ormuz (1622).

National Persian Gulf Day is a very important day for the Iranian people and it is celebrated annually on April 30th. It has taken place every year since 2004, and is marked with various ceremonies all over Iran, especially in the coastal cities of the Persian Gulf.

The Persian Gulf is a crescent-shaped groove is 900 km long and 240 km wide. It demonstrates the encroachment of Indian Ocean waters in the folds of the southern Zagros mountain range.

The Persian Gulf has been a valuable waterway since the beginning of history and as the crossroad of great civilizations of the ancient East, it has a background of several millennia.

Since centuries, the Elamites used the Bushehr Port and Kharg Island for dwelling, shipping and ruling over the Persian Gulf coasts as well as conducting trade with the West Indies and the Nile Valley.

The Latin term “Sinus Persicus” is equivalent to “Persischer Golf” in German, ‘Golf Persique’, in French, ‘Golfo Persico’ in Italian, all of which mean the same.

Prior to the coming of the Aryan Iranians to the Iranian Plateau around 1000 to 1500 BCE, the Assyrians named the sea in their inscriptions as the “bitter sea” and this is the oldest name used for Persian Gulf.

An inscription of Darius the Great found in Suez Canal mentioned ‘Sea of Pars’ that points to the same Persian Gulf.

Greek historian Herodotus in his book has repeatedly referred to the Red Sea as the “Arabian Gulf”, and Straben, the Greek historian of the second half of the first century BCE and the first half of the first century CE, wrote: “Arabs are living between the Arabian Gulf and the Persian Gulf.”

Today, the most common Arabic works refer to the sea in southern Iran as the Persian Gulf, including the world famous Arabic encyclopedia ‘Al-Monjad’, which is the most reliable source in this respect.

Apparently, this change was not accepted by some Arab countries. After the Iran-Iraq war, the decision was realised. The act angered Iran/Iranians, especially when the Arabs tried to use the name Arabian Gulf in the English mass media. While historical documents show that the waterway has always been referred to as the 'Persian Gulf,' certain Arab states have mounted efforts to remove 'Persian' from the name of the waterway.

After many gatherings and seminars by the NGOs and the geographers of Iran asking the government to preserve the heritage name of the Persian gulf, finally The Islamic Republic of Iran, in 2004 officially designated April 30 as the "National Persian Gulf Day".

There are undeniable legal evidences and documents in confirmation of the genuineness of Persian Gulf.

From 1507 to 1560 in all the agreements that Portuguese, Spanish, British, Dutch, French and Germans concluded with the Iranian government or in any other political event everywhere there is a mention of Persian Gulf.

Even in agreements with Arabs, there is a mention of “Al-Khalij Al-Farsi” in the Arabic texts and “Persian Gulf” in English texts, such as the document for the independence of Kuwait, which was signed between the emir of Kuwait and representatives of the British government in the Persian Gulf.

Applications of the Name PERSIAN GULF by International Organizations

Organizations and affiliated foundations have applied the correct name of PERSIAN GULF since they have been incorporated, excluding one case, which corrected it through Note No. 6 AD311/1GEN dated March 5, 1971. In confirmation and response to the correspondence of the government of Iran for application of the complete name of PERSIAN GULF in the publications and deeds of United Nations and affiliated organizations, 14 notes and correspondences can be mentioned containing the aforementioned note of Secretariat of United Nations, containing the amendment of Deed IPPD14/UNIDB. From among the other instructions of United Nations, the following samples can be named:

• Note No. LA45.82 dated Aug. 10, 1984 (New York)
• Circular No. CAB/1/87/63 dated 16.02.1987 of Managing Director of UNESCO.
• ST/CSSER/29 dated Jan. 10, 1990.
• AD/311/1/GEN dated March 5, 1991.
• ST/CS/SER.A/29/Add.1 dated Jan. 24, 1992.
• ST/CS/SER.A/29/Add.2 dated Aug. 18, 1994.
• ST/CS/SER.A/29/Rev.1 dated May 14, 1999.

In all the above mentioned notes and circulars, it has been requested that the water body existing at the south side of Iran be stated: PERSIAN GULF. The Specialized Group for Experts on Standardization of Geographical Names, active in the United Nations Social Economical Council also emphasizes the correct use of historical names for features, and is active in dispute settlement related to geographical names. "Naphtali Cadman" the head of Work Group for Toponymy Information has stated that the motivation to change the name of PERSIAN GULF is purely political.

Source: Persian Gulf Studies Center, Cais-Soas, Iran Daily

*Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Mehr News