The Iran National Council calls on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Recant Inaccurate Reference to Persian Gulf in June 9, 2017 statement

The Iran National Council calls on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Recant Inaccurate Reference to Persian Gulf in June 9, 2017 statement

Date: 9 June, 2017

No : 2057-17

The Iran National Council calls on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Recant Inaccurate Reference to Persian Gulf in June 9, 2017 statement.


Secretary Rex Tillerson

US Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Tillerson,

RE: The Persian Gulf

In your Middle East Remarks delivered in the Treaty Room of the White House on June 9, 2017, you referred to the Persian Gulf by an utterly inaccurate name. (1)

As Your Excellency is aware, geographic names are rooted in the cultural and environmental history of their surrounding civilizations. Any nominal evolution through the socio-economic, political and cultural experiences of their corresponding nations is affirmed by the United Nations. To this end, in 1959 (2), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations convened a meeting of experts to provide guidelines for standardizing geographical names at the national and international levels. (3) Giving rise to the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names (UNCSGN) and the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN), the meeting engendered an internationally accepted administrative framework responsible for affirming nominal geography.

By means of this international, deliberative process outlined above, the United Nations––on several occasions in official statements, legislative resolutions, amendments, and formal publication of official geographic maps––has affirmed that the “Persian Gulf” is the official name of said body of water. In 2006, to counter the emergence of inaccurate nominal recognition of the Persian Gulf, the United Nations requested that all international organizations and entities of reputation refer to this body of water by its full, unaltered name of the “Persian Gulf.” (4) Official UN cartography reflecting this long-standing nomenclature is attached. (5)

As Your Excellency most certainly appreciates, the policies of the theocratic Islamic regime of Iran have demonstrably instigated unprecedented turmoil, instability, and religious and ethnic strife in the Persian Gulf region and the Middle East more broadly. Emboldened by these perverse policies, many opportunists and malicious groups and movements have surfaced with a goal to defy the universally accepted and sanctioned United Nations directives regarding the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, in recent years, some media outlets have also begun to incorrectly refer to the Persian Gulf using wholly inaccurate, altered terminology.

The illegal and acrimonious policies of the current regime in Iran, however, should not be used as an excuse by the United Nations and its affiliated organizations and institutions to ignore the national rights and interests of the Iranian people, who unfortunately suffer at the governance of the Islamic regime. The people of Iran’s sovereignty and identity is sacrosanct and must be observed by the leading nation of the free world, the United States of America, alongside the virtual majority of the international community represented by the United Nations. The malicious infringement and alteration of a nation’s geographical name are no different from the infringement and violation of that country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

This 3000-year-old name––the Persian Gulf––is a universal heritage rooted in Iran and shared by the global community of nations. (6) A uniquely ancient and singular name, the “Persian Gulf” has withstood the test of time––historically and linguistically. From the ancient Persian Empire dynasties to Alexander of Macedonia, from the Islamic rule of the Salafist Saleh to the Mongolian Hulago Khan, and the Portuguese and British colonialism on the Persian Gulf, and in more than three thousand official maps, the body of water under discussion is unapologetically named the Persian Gulf.

To this end, the Iran National Council wishes to remind Your Excellency and the United States government more broadly to dutifully respect the naming conventions set forth by the international community. Specifically, the Council respectfully requests that a correction be issued and that its official name be used in all future communications and statements––not only as a sign of respect for the universally accepted international laws and norms but also as a safeguard for the territorial integrity and cultural sovereignty of the Iranian people. The Council appreciates any additional measures Your Excellency on behalf of your government may take to mitigate and condemn any and all violations of this right.

Our shared objective is international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region, and the Middle East more broadly.


Special Envoy for Human Rights

The Iran National Council for Free Elections

Council Boilerplate

The Iran National Council for Free Elections is active opposition organization calling for a transition to secular democratic governance in Iran, a nation which has, under this theocratic regime, become the world’s boldest state sponsor of terrorism.


  1. “Remarks on the Middle East”
  1. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN).
  1. United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  2. The twenty-third meeting of the 61st issue of the document of the United Nations in Vienna (28 March-4 April 2006) with the title of “historical, geographical and legal recognition of the name Persian Gulf
  1. Map No. 4102. Rev 5. Department of Field Support. United Nations
  1. The use of historical maps in the National Council of the Iranian Gulf