Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Gulf: Persian or Arab? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The latest Iranian joke aimed at &#34the improvement&#34 of its relations with neighboring countries, is the decision by the Iranian customs not to allow any goods or commodities into Iran that are labeled &#34Made in the Arabian Gulf.&#34 Iran now insists that the &#34Arabian Gulf&#34 be replaced with the &#34Persian Gulf.&#34

Such an attitude indicates narrow mindedness and a stressed and emotional mentality on the part of the Iranians. It also indicates ignorance concerning the real value of regional and international relations in a dynamic and pragmatic world. What would happen if the Gulf Cooperation Council”s states (GCC) decided to reciprocate and act with the same extremist mentality? What would happen if the Gulf States decided to refuse all Iranian goods that bore the label &#34made in the Persian Gulf,&#34 into their countries? In that case, Iran would be harmed the most because it needs the rich and dynamic Gulf market more than the Gulf countries need Iranian exports. What kind of extreme rationale in Tehran calls for punishing Iranian farmers and manufacturers in such a way?

Is the Gulf Persian, or is it Arab? A silly question indeed. The fact is simply that the coast overlooking Iran is Persian while that the coast overlooking the GCC states is Arab. The very fact that the question is still being raised reminds me of the attitude of national pride and haughtiness practiced by the Shah of Iran towards the Gulf”s Arab states under the pretense of the &#34correct name for the Gulf.&#34

If we acknowledge that it is the &#34Persian Gulf,&#34 would the Arab Gulf states then become Persian? This is equal to saying that the Sultanate of Oman may rightfully demand to annex part of the Indian lands because they overlook the &#34Sea of Oman.&#34 India in turn may then seek parts of the lands of the states overlooking the Indian Ocean, and Mexico may demand parts of the countries around the Gulf of Mexico.

It is nothing but the extremist mentality that excels in making enemies and sabotaging relations with all the regional and international parties. The fact is Iran wages war against all with an extremist theocratic mentality that thinks that they are the &#34Saved Ones.&#34 They act like Don Quixote by getting involved directly in Iraq, waging a campaign against the GCC countries, and increasing the hostility of the world against them through fiery statements that only suits them on a national level, yet destroys Iran”s international reputation. Iran and its leadership perfectly embody the Arab proverb: &#34the fool who wants to help you harms you.&#34