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Persian Gulf is not only a name
Sat, 31 Jul 2010 08:47:04 GMT
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The Persian Gulf is a body of water situated south of Iran, separating the Persian Plateau from the Arabian Peninsula; to the Iranian nation, however, the story is dramatically different.

To the people of Iran, the Persian Gulf does not just signify a name or a geographical phenomenon - they consider the Persian Gulf to be representative of their ancient civilization and a manifestation of their ancestors' supremacy in the region.

Historically, the Persian Gulf was a cradle of ancient civilizations and a strategic passageway that connected the Far East to Europe. It has perpetually been at the center of global attention - of both merchants and rulers.

The earliest civilizations which were recorded on the peripheries of the Persian Gulf are from 5,000 years ago, when the kingdoms of Elam and Sumer emerged. There is evidence to indicate that Elamites, Sumerians, Assyrians and Babylonians traded with the maritime principalities along the southern coasts of the Persian Gulf. The result was a trade in precious commodities such as pearls, gold and silver.

According to Azizollah Bayat, an Iranian scholar and researcher, the history of sailing on the Persian Gulf can be dated to 700 BCE. The Assyrian king Sennacherib who ruled from 705 to 681 BCE was the first emperor to stage marine expeditions in the Persian Gulf.

During the Achaemenid dynasty, all of the coastlines and islands of the Persian Gulf were controlled by Iran. Persian sailors, under the powerful Achaemenids, cruised the Gulf without impediment.

The Persian Gulf is an important area geographically, so foreign powers always attempt to dominate it, whether culturally, financially or strategically. Due to a growing pan-Arabic sentiment over the past decades, the most recent efforts made to distort the identity of the Persian Gulf are relentless (yet futile) attempts to bring about a new name for the Persian Gulf, namely, the Arabian Gulf.

Those who intentionally or inadvertently employ the term "Arabian Gulf" instead of the historically accurate Persian Gulf are absolutely unable to cite any evidence. It is clear that the name which they've devised is a political device as opposed to a geographical name.

According to the 2007 United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, "Persian Gulf" is the only valid or credible name to refer to the body of water separating Iran from the Arabian Peninsula.

There are thousands, even millions of pages of hard evidence which reveal the historic veracity of the name Persian Gulf; however, those who have invented the term "Arabian Gulf" to replace the Persian Gulf are unable to put forward even a single page of evidence. On the other hand, however, there is strong evidence to show that the ultra-nationalist schemers in certain Arab countries are resorting to almost anything to achieve their goal, to damage the Iranian identity of the Persian Gulf.

Some scholars and researchers suggest that there is a growing identity crisis in the Arab world which leads their politicians to contemplate a new name for the world's third largest gulf. Perhaps such a geographic entity would help to provide their citizens with a sense of honor and superiority which cannot be achieved politically. Others, however, believe that the name-manufacturing project emanates from a desire for an implicit confrontation with Iran, the country which now is the regional superpower.

It is perceived that some Arab states can not tolerate such a status. By any method of measurement, however, this project has brought them nothing, and merely underscores their inability to honor their people through scientific, diplomatic, cultural or social achievement.

A brief look at historic documents, maps and atlases makes it obvious that the name Persian Gulf is one of the most verifiable, demonstrable and undeniable geographic designations one may encounter.

In his work Anabasis, the Greek historian-soldier Xenophon referred to the Persian Gulf as "Sinus Persicus" some 2430 years ago. The second century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and poet Ptolemy also refers to the Persian Gulf as "Sinus Persicus" in his Geography.

In his 1580 map, the Belgian cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortels refers to Persian Gulf as "Sinus Persicus." Another Belgian cartographer, Gerardus Mercator, also refers to the Persian Gulf as "Sinus Persicus" in his 1595 map.

The 15th century German cartographer and cosmographer, Sebastian Munster uses the same Latin term to refer to Persian Gulf: "Sinus Persicus." In David Rumsey's online collection of ancient world maps, there's a map by the French cartographer Philippe Vandermaelen which portrays the Persian Gulf as "Golfe Persique."

In his splendid 1657 map, cartographer and geographer Nicholas Visscher uses the term "Sinus Persicus" to refer to the Persian Gulf.

A leading French mapmaker of the 17th century, Sir Gilles Robert de Vaugondy referred to the body of water as the Persian Gulf in his 1752 map of Arabia.

Even the Arab cartographers have sporadically used the term Persian Gulf to refer to the body of water separating Iran from the Arabian Peninsula. In a 1952 map, the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (ARAMCO) used the term "Persian Gulf." In his 1935 book in the Arabic language, Political History of Islam published by Hejazi Printing House, Cairo, the Egyptian scholar Dr Hassan Ibrahim Hassan refers to the Persian Gulf as the "Sea of Fars."

The documents and authenticated evidence demonstrate that the Persian Gulf is a name which has roots extending deep into the annals of history. Such a title cannot be replaced or falsified by politicians who have not even investigated a single topic of geography or history. To the nation of Iran, the Persian Gulf is something beyond a simple geographical name. For them, the Persian Gulf is identity, personality, honor and splendor.
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