First Iranian Gulf Waterway: Persian Gulf


M. Saadat Noury
by M. Saadat Noury


Originally Published Online in 2005
PERSIAN GULF: Location, History, Importance, Name Alteration & Ignorance
The Persian Gulf is a 600-mile-long body of water, which separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula, and one of the most strategic waterways in the world due to its importance in world oil transportation. At its narrowest point (the Strait of Hormuz), the Gulf narrows to only 34 miles wide.

 This inland sea of some 233,000 square km is connected to the Gulf of Oman in the east by the Strait of Hormuz, and its western end is marked by the major river delta of the Shatt al-Arab, called Arvand-Rood by Iranians, which carries the waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris.
In 325 BC, Macedonian Alexander sent a fleet from India to follow the eastern, or Persian coast of the area up to the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and sent other ships to explore the Arab side of the waterway. The temporary Greek presence in the area increased Western interest in the Persian Gulf during the next two centuries. Alexander's successors, however, did not control the area long enough to make it a part of the Greek world. By about 250 BC, the Greeks lost all territory east of Syria to the Parthians, a Persian dynasty in the East.
The Parthians brought the Persian Gulf under Persian control and extended their influence as far as Oman. The Parthian conquests demarcated the distinction between the Greek world of the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Empire in the East. The Greeks, and the Romans after them, depended on the Red Sea route, whereas the Parthians depended on the Persian Gulf route. Because they needed to keep the merchants who plied those routes under their control, the Parthians established garrisons as far south as Oman. In the third century AD, the Sassanians, another Persian dynasty, succeeded the Parthians and held the area until the rise of Islam four centuries later.
Under Sassanian rule, Persian control over the whole area of the Persian Gulf reached its height. Oman was no longer a threat, and the Sassanians were strong enough to establish agricultural colonies and to engage some of the nomadic tribes in the interior as a border guard to protect their western flank from the Romans.
This agricultural and military contact gave people in the Persian Gulf greater exposure to Persian culture, as reflected in certain irrigation techniques still used in Oman. The Persian Gulf continued to be a crossroads, however, and its people learned about Persian beliefs, such as Zoroastrianism, as well as about Semitic and Mediterranean ideas. Judaism and Christianity arrived in the Persian Gulf from a number of directions: from Jewish and Christian tribes in the Arabian Desert; from Ethiopian Christians to the south; and from Mesopotamia, where Jewish and Christian communities flourished under Sassanian rule.
Whereas Zoroastrianism seems to have been confined to Persian colonists, some Arabs adopted Christianity and Judaism. The popularity of these religions paled, however, when compared with the enthusiasm with which the Arabs greeted Islam.
In succeeding centuries Persians, Turks, Arabs, Brits and Western Europeans contested control of the region. British presence in the Gulf dated from the early 17th century, when the East India Company established an agency, which became a residency in
 1763  the region. But it was only after a major military intervention in 1820 that British influence really became dominant, the different local states signing, in the course of the years between 1820 and 1835, a serial of treaties limiting their sovereignty and bringing them at the end, under British protectorate.
In 1853, Britain and the Arab sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf signed the Perpetual Maritime Truce, formalizing the temporary truces of 1820 and 1835. The sheikhs agreed to stop harassing British shipping in the Arabian Sea and to recognize Britain as the dominant power in the Persian Gulf. An international agreement among the major powers in 1907 placed the Persian Gulf in the British sphere of influence. Although oil was discovered in the Persian Gulf in 1908, it was not until the 1930s, when major finds were made, that keen international interest in the region revived. Since World War II the Persian Gulf oil fields, among the most productive in the world, have been extensively developed, and modern port facilities have been constructed. Nearly 50% of the world's total oil reserves are estimated to be found in the Persian Gulf. In 2003, the Persian Gulf countries (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates) produced about 27% of the world's oil, while holding 57% (715 billion barrels) of the world's crude oil reserves. Besides oil, the Persian Gulf region also has huge reserves (2,462 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, accounting for 45% of total proven world gas reserves. The Persian Gulf is also a large fishing source and was once the chief center of the pearling industry.

 In the late 1960s, following British military withdrawal from the area, the United States and the Russia (USSR at the time) sought to fill the vacuum. In 1971 the first US military installation in the Persian Gulf was established at Bahrain. The Persian Gulf was among the scenes of the Iran-Iraq War that lasted from 1980 to 1988, as with each side attacking the other's oil tankers. In 1991 the Persian Gulf again was the background for a Persian Gulf War as Iraq invaded Kuwait and was subsequently pushed back during what is now predominantly known as the Persian Gulf War, despite the fact that this conflict did not focus primarily on the Persian Gulf.
As the Persian Cat, the Persian Lamb, and the Persian Rug, the name of the Persian Gulf is also a very distinc term. The Persian name for this body of water was borrowed by almost all the old languages (including Greek term of Persis) as, the Persian Gulf, and has been in use everywhere since ancient times, for it signifies the first major nation-state in that area, namely the Persian Empire (Contemporary Iran).
In the 1960s, with the rise of Arab nationalism, Arab countries began to call The Persian Gulf, the "Arabian Gulf". However, the Iranian government led two resolutions in the United Nations to officially recognize that body of water as the Persian Gulf. The first announcement was made through the document UNAD, 311/Qen on March 5, 1971 and the second was UNLA 45.8.2 (C) on August 10, 1984. Most countries and organizations use the name Persian Gulf. Shortly after Islamic Republic was established in Iran, Arab countries started to use the term "Arabian Gulf" in Arabic and English, while some other people tend to use "the Gulf".
Unfortunately, after August 10, 1984 the IR regime a avoided not only strongly protest the Arabs and others using the wrong and misleading terms, some Iranian clergies suggested to even name it as Islamic Gulf to overcome the dipute between Iranians and Arabs! The suggestion was so absurd that nobody could follow.
Recently, America's National Geographic Society (ANGS) has added the phrase of "the Arabic Gulf" to the term of Internationally recognized name of "the Persian Gulf" in the 2005 edition of its World Atlas. Upon a worldwide protest of the patriotic Iranians, ANGS has claimed that this alteration has been done after consulting official authorities of the UN and of the governments concerned. Whether ANGS is truthful or not, it remains to be seen. But one thing is clear. ANGS people are exactly facing the same problem of geographic ignorance as they surveyed 3000 young people in 2002. Here is a piece of news published by BBC two years ago on November 20, 2002:
 [If you are lost, don't ask a young person for directions, that is the message coming out of an international survey of 18-24 year olds conducted by America's National Geographic Society. More than 3000 young adults in nine countries were tested on their geographical knowledge, with some alarming results. The survey took place in June and July 2002 as a follow-up to a similar test carried out in 1988 by the National Geographic Society. The president of the National Geographic Society, John Fahey, bemoaned the results. "They highlight the urgency of the problem of geographic ignorance and the need to broaden our efforts beyond the classroom," he said. "If young people can't find places on a map and lack awareness of current events, how can they understand the world's cultural, economic and natural resource issues that confront us?? he added.]*
 That would be great if we all could remember Socrates who wisely said: "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance"!


1. The Persian text of poems composed by Ferdowsi, Mohammad Taghi Bahar, Nemat Azarm, Pirayeh Yaghmaii, and this author may be viewed Online here

2. A blog on the "Name of Persian Gulf" may be also viewed here 

3. National Persian Gulf Day is a very important day for the Iranians 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

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD


more from M. Saadat Noury
M. Saadat Noury

Thank you all

by M. Saadat Noury on

WHO visited this thread. Special thanks go to Mohammad Ala, Ali Mostofi, Aryo Barzan, Shazde, Maziar58, Friendly Notes, and Divaneh for for their very intersteng comments and links.

Friendly Notes

سروده های خلیج فارس

Friendly Notes

Friendly Notes

دفاع حقوقي ايرانيان از خليج فارس

Friendly Notes


Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman

by divaneh on

Thanks Dr Saadat Noury for educating us about this important waterway. I cannot understand the meanness of the Arabs on the other side of the Persian Gulf. There is a little made up sp called country called Oman with a sea to its name and Iranians have never challenged that. Then these Arab nationalists want to change the name of the Persian Gulf.

Perhaps we deserve it. Talking to the older people, I have been surprised that how many Iranians were supporting Jamal Abdel Nasir who was one of the first people who termed Persian Gulf, Arabic Gulf. Of course the idiot Iranians were more concerned with his stance against the Israel. The word moron comes to the mind.


Shazde Asdola Mirza

البته، آبادانی و اهوازی و بندری و خارکی همه پارسی‌ پارسی‌ هستند

Shazde Asdola Mirza

عربهای اون طرف خلیج هم که اصلا داخل آدم نیستند!

مهم نیست که با مملکت و مردم چیکار می‌کنن ... فقط کافیه بگن "خلیج فارس" و دوباره ملت رو خر کنن، واسه یه جنگ دیگه!

Friendly Notes

شازده یا ترسیده وغلاف کرده ویا خجالت می کشد

Friendly Notes

شازده ، یا ترسیده و غلاف کرده ، و یا خجالت می کشد بر گردد اینجا و جواب آدم های منطقی را بدهد

Mohammad Ala

با اجازه!!

Mohammad Ala

شازده جان از کجا این رقم 90% را آوردی؟  لفطأ رفرنس بده.  آیا هرچه صدام حسین و یارانش در میان شیوخ قطر و ابوظبی  گفته و نوشته اند باید صحیح قلمداد شود؟

بعنوان یک آذری که چهارصد سال ریشه خانواده پدری دارم، من اول یک ایرانی هستم.  مردم جنوب ایران که بیشتر خلیج فارس را شامل میشود خود را مثل من اول ایرانی حساب میکنند بعد عرب و یا بلوچ. اگر شما به دوبی مسافرت بکنید و با افراد مسن صحبت بکنید همه اسم صحیح خلیج فارس را بکار میبرند.  پس ریشه مسله در چیز دیگر است که تا حدی در مقاله ام بان اشاره کردم.

  شاد باشید.   

Friendly Notes

Shazde Asdola Mirza

by Friendly Notes on

Where did you get that magic number of 90% ? Perhaps, Charles Belgriou was your source

چارلز بلگریو نماینده و کارگذار دولت بریتانیا در خلیج فارس، در سال ۱۹۳۵ نامه‌ای به دولت متبوعش می‌نویسد و در آن ذکر می‌کند: «اکنون که تمام صفحات جنوبی خلیج فارس را عربی کرده‌ایم، خوب است نامش را هم عوض کنیم» ولی انگلستان که آن زمان بر سر نفت با ایران اختلاف داشت، این پیشنهاد را برای جلوگیری از تیره‌تر شدن روابط با تهران، نپذیرفت

areyo barzan

Shazdeh jaan

by areyo barzan on

if you want to sell your identity to the highestt bidder just ot be a "diplomatic sucker"

then be my guest mate.

As for the rest of us there is such thing as history, national identity and Persian pride and that is not for sale.

Furthermore the fact that Arab rapist accopiers stole our land, does not give them the right to deprive us of our identity as well. Also all the sucking up performed by BBc and Goozgle is only for the oil, otherwise even if all the Arabs were on fire these people would not even piss on them in order to put the fire off

So my advice to you mate is to smell the coffee and get the hell up and if you had time and you brain was able to handle the presure look up the subjects called national identity and history 

maziar 58

SAM khan

by maziar 58 on

the popolation of Iran from Gospeh (near Abadan) all the way to Gamberon(Bandar Aabas) Are all persian (Iranian) and they sure out number the Arabs on the south side of the Persian gulf.


Shazde Asdola Mirza

دکتر جان: پس چرا ۹۰ درصد ساکنین سواحلش عرب هستند؟

Shazde Asdola Mirza

M. Saadat Noury


by M. Saadat Noury on

Dear MA Thank you for your kind comment and for the link to your great article that I enjoyed it very much.

Dear AM Thank you for your historic reminder. I am glad that you brought it up.

Dear AB Thank you for your notes and for your recommendations.

areyo barzan

Our Identity

by areyo barzan on

Persian Gulf is and has always been our identity. It has been Persian Gulf for the past 3000 years and will always remain Persian Gulf for the next 10000.

That's in spite of all the disingenuous efforts by opportunist war mongering countries of the West lead by the UK who are maliciously attempting to balkanise the area in order to maximise their profit by bringing down the price of oil, not to mention the fraudulent efforts the Arab Stooges in the dump hole called Emanate, a British made artificial state who have no history or identity of their own and hence are attempting to compensate for what they never had by stealing ours. 

Let alone the distortions attempted by the Stooges running a joke fraud engine called Goozgle, who decided to sell out the truth and facts of history as old and absolute as the old Testament itself and with it what ever little integrity they might have had left to the highest bidder and.

But most evil of all, The British Bastards Coalition (i.e. BBC), who started all this BS in the first place.

So my advice to you is to boycott Google and BBC and most of all do not go to Dubai or any other country to the south of Persian Gulf (neither for holiday nor for business) and boycott all the Arabic Airlines


Long live Iran and Persian Gulf for ever



You forgot about the

by alimostofi on

You forgot about the Portuguese. But more importantly you need to look at the role it played in being the crossing point of humans from Africa to Asia some 20000 years ago. Study the Genome Project National Geograohic.

FB: astrologer.alimostofi

Mohammad Ala

Persian Gulf, not just a name.

by Mohammad Ala on

THANK YOU for this blog which is close to my heart.  My latest article about Persian Gulf can be read here.

Ba sepas.