Document Type : Research Paper

Author

Assistant Professor of West Asian and African Studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

This analysis delves into the contentious issue of naming the Persian Gulf, asserting that the distinction between Arabian and Persian nomenclature extends beyond a simple dichotomy between two neighbouring Middle Eastern countries, Arabs and Persians. Instead, it represents a significant dispute that resonates throughout the entire Middle East. This study addresses two key questions: ‘Why is the Persian Gulf naming dispute considered a problem rather than a mere disagreement between the two sides of the Gulf?’ and ‘How can this problem be resolved?’ The research employs two qualitative methods: a descriptive analytical approach to answer the primary question and a policy-oriented approach to propose practical solutions for the secondary question. By going beyond analysis and contributing to policy formulation, the study seeks to inform public opinion and enable official stakeholders to effectively address the issue. The push to rename it the 'Arabian Gulf', led by Arabists, not only negatively impacts Arab-Iranian relations but also presents an unexpected opportunity for Israel to forge connections with the Arab world while advancing its de-Arabization agenda, particularly regarding Palestine. To address this problem, a novel solution is proposed, taking into account the historical, geographical, political, and strategic context of the issue. The solution advocates recognizing a distinct 'Arabian Gulf' in the Gulf of Aqaba, off the coast of Palestine, by reverting to its historical origin.

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