04/03/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Madam Secretary, the Name is Persian Gulf

The State Department statement was relatively brief: "The Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham Clinton] is pleased to announce the appointment of Dennis B. Ross to the position of Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for The Gulf and Southeast Asia." Which "Gulf?" Gulf of Mexico? Gulf of Aqaba? Gulf of Tonkin? Gulf of Aden? Gulf of Carpenteria? There are so many of them!

We read on. "This is a region in which America is fighting two wars and facing challenges of ongoing conflict, terror, proliferation, access to energy, economic development and strengthening democracy and the rule of law." Oh! That Gulf.

Well, Madam Secretary, you need first and foremost an advisor on history because, given his long history of bias toward Iran, in addition to be totally unfit for the job, your advisor and "expert," Dennis Ross, does not know the history of that region. The name of that Gulf is Persian Gulf, nothing less, nothing more. It has been that way since at least 330 B.C., when the Achaemenid Empire established the first Persian Empire in Pars (or Persis, the region which is called Fars in the present Iran) in southwestern region of Iran. After that historical event, Greek - not Iranian - sources started calling the body of water that bordered this region the Persian Gulf. It has stayed that way ever since.

In his 1928 book, A Periplus of the Persian Gulf, Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson, the British civil commissioner in Iraq from 1918-1920, stated that,

No water channel has been so significant as Persian Gulf to the geologists, archaeologists, geographer, merchants, politicians, excursionists, and scholars whether in past or in present. This water channel which separates the Iran Plateau from the Arabia Plate has enjoyed an Iranian identity since at least 2200 years ago.

Madam Secretary, I know that the United States and its allies import significant amount of oil from the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. I know that the U.S. supports the corrupt and dictatorial Arab regimes there, because they protect what is perceived as the vital interests of the U.S. (although those regimes are the main culprit in the rise of al-Qaeda). I also know that these nations are spending tens of billions of dollars to buy weapons from the U. S. - weapons that they neither need, nor will they ever be able to use - and that the U.S. nuclear industry is going to make billions more by selling nuclear reactors to Bahrain and other Arab nations in that region (but not, of course, Iran). Therefore, the new and changed State Department - just like the old ones - wants to appease these regimes, and avoid doing anything that would offend their rulers. I know all of that.

But, Madam Secretary, all such considerations do not, and cannot, change the history of that region. The 990 km long body of water that starts from Arvand Rud that carries the waters of Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and ends at Strait of Hormuz - another Iranian name, recognized internationally - that connects it to the Oman Sea, has always been, and will always be, the Persian Gulf. This has been recognized internationally. Nothing, and least of all the billions and trillions of the corrupt Arab rulers, can change that. If your advisors do not know that, or are not willing to tell you that, then, you need new advisors. To be successful in your efforts that region, the first thing you need to know is the region's history.

Madam Secretary, President Obama has said that the U.S. talks with Iran must be built on mutual respect. One good place to start showing this respect toward Iran and Iranians is calling that historical body of water what it has always been called, the Persian Gulf.