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Iraq Ignores Iran's Objection to Using 'Arabian Gulf' Name

Iraq Ignores Iran's Objection to Using 'Arabian Gulf' Name

Tuesday, 10 January, 2023 - 08:00
A building draped with giant flags of the Gulf states in Basra (File photo: AFP)

Iraq ignored the Iranian protest against using the "Arabian Gulf" name and did not comment on Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Naser Kanaani's complaint, saying that authorities should take necessary measures.

Earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani opened the Gulf Cup 25, referring to it as the "Arabian Gulf Cup" to welcome the delegations.

The "Arabian Gulf" is a common phrase in Iraq and through all official correspondence.

Leader of the al-Sadr movement Muqtada al-Sadr also used the term "Arabian Gulf" in his tweet to welcome the Arab guests to Basra.

Meanwhile, an expert on Iraqi international and maritime borders, Jamal al-Halbousi, asserted that each country has its history within the region, referring to Iraq and Iran.

Halbousi explained to Asharq Al-Awsat that the first map devised in the eighteenth century was French and referred to the area as the "Arabian Gulf", adding that history referred to Khosraw within Mesopotamia and did not reach the banks of the Gulf.

He noted that the Gulf bore multiple names, such as the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Sea of Oman, the Gulf, or the Sea of Basra for the area confined between the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Sea.

Halbousi explained that the Shatt al-Arab is an area in an Arab region, adding that there was an Iraqi area in the Iranian side, but it was Arabian.

He asserted that the designation for a specific time does not mean that it was binding for another country.

Media professor at Ahl al-Bayt University Ghalib al-Daami believed the Iranian objection is unjustified and incorrect because the Gulf has been referred to as the Arabian Gulf. It was also known as the Gulf of Basra.

People residing on the banks of the waterway are Arabs, whether from Iranian regions or Gulf states.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Daami wondered why Iran did not object previously when the tournament was organized in Kuwait, Qatar, and other countries and only objected when it was organized in Iraq.

He also questioned why Tehran did not object to the former regime, which referred to the Arabian Gulf in all its political statements.

The expert believed the issue is more significant than just naming the Gulf but rather related to the public interaction in Basra in receiving Arabs from the Gulf countries and the unparalleled support for the Gulf teams or audience.

Daami believed the Iraqi government should reject the Iranian protest and deepen its Arab-Gulf relations while maintaining good relations with Iran, based on Iraq's ultimate interest.

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