Kuwaiti MP seeks action against college dean for “endorsing” Persian Gulf tag

June 23, 2010

A Kuwaiti lawmaker has put pressure on the education minister after a college dean took part in a forum that referred to the waterway between Iran and Arab countries as the Persian Gulf.

“The participation of the dean in the forum under this name means that he supports referring to the Gulf as the Persian Gulf, and this is a challenge to Kuwait,” MP Waleed Al Tabtabai said. “I would like to know the content of the paper he presented and whether his participation was officially endorsed. I am also keen on knowing the disciplinary measures against him in case he accepted the invitation from the Iranian ambassador in Kuwait without consulting with the university,” the MP said in the question to Moudhi Al Hmood, the education minister.

The forum “The Persian Gulf … Challenges and Regional Mechanisms” was held in Tehran in January.

Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have often been at odds over the name of the waterway that separates them.

Tehran has vehemently insisted on calling it Persian Gulf and has taken action against publications that refer to it as Arabian Gulf.

Arabs refer to the body of water west of Iran and east of Arab countries the “Arabian Gulf”, explaining that its gentle waters lap off the shores of numerous Arab countries (the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq) bedside Iran.

Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, in December said that the issue should not be overplayed and that it was only about a body of water.

“I have heard a variety of names, such as Arabian Gulf, Gulf of the Arabs, Persian Gulf, etc. It is just a body of water,” he said at the Manama Dialogue.

The Gulf has an area of 233,100 square kilometres and extends 970 kilometres from the Shatt al Arab delta to the Strait of Hormuz, which links it with the Gulf of Oman.

Iran in 2004 reacted angrily to a map of the Gulf in an issue of National Geographic that printed the name ‘Arabian Gulf’ next to “Persian Gulf” in reference to the body of water. Tehran said that it was banning the new edition of the atlas, as well as National Geographic journalists, until the map for the Gulf region was changed.

In January, the Saudi-based Islamic Solidarity Games Federation cancelled the Islamic Solidarity Games planned to be held in Tehran in the 2010 spring after Iran put ‘Persian Gulf’ on the logo. The games, meant to strengthen unity among the 57 member states, were originally scheduled for October 2009 but were postponed in an attempt to reach a compromise.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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