In a tweet published on 24 January 2022 on the subject of recent escalations in the Middle East, Foreign Policy CAN (the official Twitter account for Global Affairs Canada) has used the false term “Arabian Gulf” in reference to the Persian Gulf.
“Persian Gulf” is the only historically accurate, legally valid and internationally recognized name for the body of water between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. This name has been widely and globally used for over two millennia, as evidenced by thousands of historical maps from across the world.
In its 2006 report, the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names acknowledged the legitimacy of the name Persian Gulf, citing “6000 maps and more than 200 historical and tourism books from Irastus to Herodotus to Estakhri and Ibn Houghal, who have all called the water body, Persian Gulf” and concluding that “any change, destruction, or alteration of the names registered in historical deeds and maps is like the destruction of ancient works and is considered as an improper action.”
The term “Arabian Gulf,” on the other hand, is a product of propaganda efforts of some politicians who used it for their political gains by exploiting ethnic tensions in the region and rallying political support for their territorial ambitions. The use of such a term by an official social media account of the Government of Canada is deeply regrettable. Not only is this language diplomatically inflammatory and risks stoking already heightened tensions in the region, but it is also highly offensive to the Iranian-Canadian community.
Altering significant geographical names that inform the identity of a community amounts to the erasure of that community’s culture and history, which goes against the Canadian Government’s official commitment to multiculturalism. Thus, the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) urges Global Affairs Canada to remove the divisive and misleading statement from its official channels and ensure that the historically accurate name, “Persian Gulf”, be used in all official statements and documents.
Today marks the second anniversary of the tragic downing of flight PS752 by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps missiles, and the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Air Disasters. We take this moment to recommit ourselves to transparency, accountability, and justice for the victims of Flight PS752 and their families.
On January 8, our community was shaken to its core; this day marks a time of mourning and remembering. The Iranian Canadian Congress extends our condolences to the loved ones and family members who are still feeling the loss of the victims every day. We also hold close our fellow members of the Iranian-Canadian community who were deeply impacted by this tragedy.
Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims who have been carrying the immense grief of this loss for the past two years. We encourage you to light a candle in remembrance of the brilliant people whose lives were taken that day.
We encourage our community to come together and support one another as we continue to navigate the pandemic and lockdowns. Please check in on your friends and family at this difficult time and consider donating to these memorial scholarships that are in honor of the victims.Read more
Positioning Principles at Iranian Canadian Congress
The mission of the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) is to advance the interests and well-being of Iranian-Canadians. Some have tried in the past to use ICC to pursue aggressive political goals that are inconsistent with this supportive role. Such past efforts were possibly the cause of hesitancy to join ICC for many Iranian-Canadians who do not intend to participate in aggressive political efforts.