A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Noted Belatedly: Obama Used "Persian Gulf" in Nowruz Greeting

I overlooked a subtle message in President Obama's Nowruz message to Iran the other day.

I've discussed on earlier occasions (here and here and here  and here and here) what I have called "the  [Insert Name Here] Gulf problem which has led to Iran protesting anyone referring to "the Arab Gulf,," or even, in the case of Google Maps, which tried to avoid the issue by labeling it "the Gulf," a form I sometimes use on this blog, complaining about that, as well as the airline Gulf Air. But one of the links above is to a case of a Saudi case which went the other way, in which a teacher got in trouble for using "Persian Gulf." In the Middle East Journal, I allow either, since I've learned Iranian authors will protest if you change it to just "the Gulf."

It got past me until now that in Obama's Nowruz message urging Iran to agree to a nuclear deal, he specifically appealed to Iranians "from the coasts of the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf."

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