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On 'Persian Gulf Day' Rouhani Takes Jab At Pompeo For Calling It 'Arabian Gulf'

Poster dedicated to "The Persian Gulf Day" celebrated in Iran on 28/29th of April.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday Iran's President Hassan Rouhani congratulated Iranians on the national Persian Gulf Day and while reacting to the recent U.S. military movements in the Persian Gulf, made a jab at the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for referring to the Persian Gulf as "Arabian Gulf".

"The United States must know this; this gulf is called the Persian Gulf, it's not the Gulf of New York or Washington," Rouhani said and added: "America should know from the name of this waterway, and the nation that has guarded it for thousands of years, not to conspire against the Iranian nation all the time".

The 10th day of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht (28 of April) marks the day Abbas the Great, the Safavid king of Iran, put an end to the 115-year Portuguese occupation of the Island of Hormuz in 1622.

The name of the strategic waterway separating Iran from Arab countries is a very controversial issue as Arab governments refer to it as the Arabian Gulf or The Gulf but it is referred to as the Persian Gulf in United Nations documents.

The dispute predates the Islamic Republic and the naming of the waterway is seen by a great majority of Iranians as an effort at the appropriation of the Persian Gulf. Many are outraged every time an American, European or other head of state or high-ranking official refers to the Persian Gulf by anything other than its official name.

The most recent incident -- reference to the Persian Gulf as "Arabian Gulf" by the U.S. Secretary of State mike Pompeo on April 22 – has triggered a new online petition calling on him to issue a statement to correct the error.

"With all due respect for you and your position, this historical body of water is and will always be the 'Persian Gulf'," the petition which has been signed by nearly 6,500 people says while adding that most Iranians do not support or approve of the Islamic Republic of Iran but are proud of their heritage and what rightfully belongs to them.

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    Maryam Sinaiee

    Maryam Sinaiee is a British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National, who contributes to Radio Farda.