Persian or
Arabian Gulf

which is correct?




Persian vs. Arabian Gulf
is a thorny issue

Iranians call the body of water the "Persian Gulf" while a growing number of Arabs call it the "Arabian Gulf" (or "Arabic Gulf" or "Arab Gulf"). I've been criticized by some members of each side for using the "wrong" name.

My choice

After much deliberation and with my sincere apologies to my Arab friends, I use "Persian Gulf" in my website. I do it because it's the official United Nations geographic designation. Moreover, historical maps add validity.

Compromise names

Two are advocated by various sources:

"Persian/Arabian Gulf
or "Arabian/Persian Gulf"

The problem with either of these solutions is it makes matters worse. Rather than having one side criticize you, both sides will do it.

"The Gulf"

It's vague on a global scale. Most travelers beyond the Mideast won't know which gulf you are referring to (hundreds exist).

When in doubt

If you're not sure how your listener will react, use the "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" approach. Say "Arabian Gulf" while talking in an Arab country and "Persian Gulf" while elsewhere.

Arabian Sea

What's not disputed is the name "Arabian Sea". It defines the sizable body of water lying between India and the Arabian Peninsula.



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