Friday, August 26, 2005

Anglo-Arab claims on Iranian territory

http://www.baztab.com/news/27992.php

Yes, I am quite aware that Baztab is playing the nationalist card. But our awareness of that fact alone will not make the threats against our sovereignty, which have existed all along, go away.

The introductory part is perhaps the greatest piece of tragi-comedy in existence. One is literally at a loss whether to laugh or to cry. Nevertheless, do not take the warning lightly, even as it’s being issued by those who could not RAPE our territorial integrity further if they tried. Through them, and thanks to the absolute apathy of 95% of “Iranians” living abroad---with the rest either serving the interests of foreign governments (visited “Iranian.com” lately?) or too powerless to make an immediate change--- their masters, I feel, have already laid the grounds for the disintegration of Iran.

Do you remember, dear compatriot, how our “intellectuals” aped their western counterparts in calling our Shah “Jandarme Mantagheh!”?


Arrogance of Arab Governments, Abuse of Iran’s Good Will

Baztab
August 21, 2005

Recent fateful events in Iraq, particularly the drafting of a constitution that is sure to affect every nation in the region, and also maneuvers by the enemies of Iran for the past few months against Iran’s territorial integrity, especially in the Persian Gulf, are illustrative of the need by our policymakers, media and the people of Iran to be more than ever before attentive to the history of Iran’s relations with the Arab states.

August 14 marked an important dual anniversary in this history: The unfortunate separation of Bahrain from Iran on August 14, 1971 and Saddam Hussein’s declaration of Iraq’s commitment to the 1975 Algiers Accord on borders on August 14, 1990.

In a year that’s been named “the year of national unity”, although Arab states have intensified their attacks against the national interests and the territorial integrity of Iran, unfortunately this matter has not induced the necessary sensitivity of the Iranian media and other forms of mass communication in return.

The role of Al-Jazeera TV---operating under the auspices of Qatar---during the recent incidents in Khuzestan was so blatantly obvious that it led to a strong reaction by the Iranian authorities. Concurrent with these disturbances, the government of United Arab Emirates too, by setting up a website aggressively titled www.3Emirates-Islands.org.ae/maps.htm, had displayed a few pictures as historical documents to prove its claim to the islands. UAE’s latest claim, incidentally, concerns the “occupied” Siri Island in the Persian Gulf!

An evaluation of the ventures by Arab countries expanding decades, and even after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, are proof that the racist Arab spirit has played a far greater role in their dealings with Iran than their governments’ Islamic leanings.

The Islamic Republic, from its inception, viewed the biggest Arab problem, meaning Palestine, as one of the most fundamental concerns of the Iranian people, and demonstrated its sympathy to such extent that supporting Palestine and Palestinian rebellions were numbered among its foreign policy objectives. During the years that followed the victory of the revolution, this support, in the form of annual payments from the Iranian national budget, has continuously demonstrated the good will and humanist feelings of Iranian officials. Little attention has been paid, until now, to the reaction by the Arab governments, particularly those supposedly allied with Iran, toward the national interests and the territorial integrity of Iran.

Sadly, and contrary to what one would expect, we see that in every single Arab proclamation and declaration signed over the years against Iran’s territorial integrity in the Persian Gulf, concerning, to name but few, the three islands, the name Persian Gulf, or “Iranian-occupied” territories, our “allies” Syria, Lebanon and Palestine also appear as signatories! These are wrongful conducts that have never received admonitions from Iran. The neglectfulness of Iran’s state and private media in addressing Iranian people’s concerns, and the needs of the younger generation, calls for a brief examination of Arab claims regarding the territorial integrity of Iran.

Arab claims can generally be divided into five parts:

1. Claim regarding the Arabness and the name of Persian Gulf.
2. Claim regarding Bahrain (which was unfortunately realized)
3. Claim regarding the Islands Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tunbs
4. Claim regarding Iraq’s total sovereignty over Arvandrood (lit. Arvand River)
5. Claim regarding the detachment of Khuzestan (because some Khuzestanis are of Arab descent)

The Persian Gulf

One of the oldest and most recognizable locations in world geography, the Persian Gulf has been recognized by this name not by Iranians alone, but by such ancient civilizations as the Greek and Roman. Even after Islam, in all documents, books and historic texts written in Arabic, the terms “Al-Khalij Farsi” or “Bahr Fars” were used by Arabs themselves in reference to the body of water in southern Iran. Arab governments indeed used the name until the 1950s. There is even a line in Egypt’s national anthem stating: “Our borders extend from the PERSIAN Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea!”

It was Arab humiliation in the Six Day War with Israel, and ultra-nationalist claims by Egypt’s Nasser and the Iraqi Ba’ath Party, that created the right atmosphere for Nasser to refer to the Persian Gulf as the “Arabian Gulf” for the first time. (Before Nasser, the anti-Iranian British colonialist, Sir Charles Belgrave, had used the term in a book; a gesture which to many signifies British animosity towards Iran, a sort of revenge against the people of Iran, who earlier, under the leadership of Mossadegh, had managed for a short time to cut off the hands of Britain from Iran.

Such unbecoming diplomatic conduct was met with such severe protests from Iran that in 1971 the United Nations was obliged to issue a directive to all member states demanding the name Persian Gulf be used fully and unabbreviated (“the Gulf”/”Arabian Gulf”) in all documents, correspondence, media, etc. Threats from Iran combined with this directive in fact prevented the founding of a certain “Arabian Gulf News Agency” by the Arab governments.

In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein decided to follow the footsteps of Nasser, in the context of a war in which he, according to himself, was the leader of Arab world’s eastern frontiers. At the time, the insistence of Arab governments on adopting the counterfeit name was so great that in 1984 the UN, for the second time, condemned the use of the forged name, insisting once more on the use of Persian Gulf in all documents, correspondence, etc. Interestingly enough, Arab insistence over this matter was occurring at a time when they themselves were justifying the name of the Gulf of Aqaba, against a proposal to change it to the “Gulf of Eilat” (which is a port in Israel), based on the HISTORIC nature of the name!

Recently, with Arab boldness towards Iran’s national interests on the rise, the journal “National Geographic” placed a counterfeit name, no doubt by the suggestion of Arab states, next to the name Persian Gulf in one of its maps. Iranians inside and abroad, and all Iranian groups and parties regardless of their political inclinations reacted so strongly that the journal was forced to back down and issue an official apology, demonstrating that sensitivity towards national values can be very advantageous to the Iranian people.

The conduct of Arab governments, and of course dealings behind closed doors, has caused some news agencies such as the BBC, ABC, and Reuters to warn all other news agencies, websites, etc., that either deliberately or inadvertently use counterfeit names to use the correct name.

Bahrain

An island in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain had been a part of Iran since ancient times. The island was governed by Iran from the second millennium BC, and according to many its name is derived from the Iranian “Bahram”.

In the era after the advent of Islam too Bahrain had remained Iranian territory and was considered the center of Shiite Islam in the Persian Gulf area. With the coming to power of the Safavids and the contemporaneous arrival of Portugal in the Persian Gulf, the Safavid leader Emamgholikhan, son of Allahverdikhan, managed, with the help of courageous Iranians, to liberate Bahrain, Qeshm, Kish, port of Gameron (Bandar Abbas), and other ports and islands in the Persian Gulf of their Portuguese occupiers.

Later, during the Afsharid period, Nader Shah Afshar would appoint Latifkhan Dashtestani as the Governor General of all southern provinces of Iran and the Captain of all ports and shores along the Persian Gulf. In 1736 Dashtestani presented Nader Shah with the key to the fortress of Bahrain.

Karim Khan Zand too, in 1765, rules over all ports and islands in the Persian Gulf, and it is even said that what are today the shores of Dubai, were then used as a place to banish hardened criminals. Only later, taking advantage of the impotence of the Qajar government and under the pretext of safeguarding the Persian Gulf, Britain was able to gradually strengthen its foothold in the area, and by bribing the Sheikdoms to the south of Persian Gulf, in a deal signed by Britain and Arab mercenaries in 1853, encouraged their disobedience towards Iran. From that year on Britain gradually increased its presence in Bahrain and the other islands, a presence that for years led to various protests from Iran. The extent of these protests was so great that in the late 1950s the Iranian parliament declared Bahrain as the 14th province of Iran.

Colonialism’s power over the previous government led to the consideration by the Iranian parliament of a proposal regarding the ultimate fate of Bahrain, sadly leading to its separation from Iran in 1970, after a fake poll was put to a number of Sheiks in Bahrain. Given the extreme provocation by the Arab governments towards Iran, it needs to be said that as no plan or bill regarding Bahrain’s separation has been ratified by the Iranian parliament, from the legal point of view this separation is null, and that whenever Iranians demonstrate a will, they can do whatever is necessary to regain the island.

The Three Islands

From the beginning of history and during the entire periods when Medes, Achamenids, Sassanids, (and after Islam) Al-Buyeh, Safavids, Afsharids, Zands and Qajars ruled Iran, the three islands of the Persian Gulf were part of Iran. The 6th paragraph in the first column of the Bitistun inscription states that the islands, along with other islands in the Persian Gulf, belong to the province of Pars, while during the Parthian and Sassanid periods they were considered part of the province of “Seistan” (Sistan). Iranians governed the islands also in the Al-Buyeh period, and after coming to power of the Seljuks, they were ruled by the Chancellors of Pars. The Timurids too regarded the tributes from the Persian Gulf islands as tributes from the province of Pars. The islands would come under Portuguese occupation later, and we’ve already discussed their liberation above.

Hundreds of old documents and texts testify to Iran’s sovereignty over the islands, such as a book by M.K. Bandarabbasi, مقاس اليالي و منارال ميالي, which contains a document showing that the shepherds who were the ancestors of the present rulers of Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah (emirates in the UAE) would lease the islands from Iranian rulers to graze their cattle. Additionally, docks from the Nader Shah and Bazaars from the Karim Khan periods also demonstrate Iran’s dominance over the islands.

With the arrival of British colonialism during the reign of the incompetent Qajars, these islands, along with Bahrain, came under British occupation, one that until the recovery of our territory was accompanied by many protests by all Iranian governments, from official letters of protest to periodic visits to the islands. The British occupation, begun in 1891, lasted until November 30, 1971, when the Islands were returned to Iran.

During the years of occupation, the colonialists had awarded the islands as gifts to their devoted Arab servants: Abu Musa Island to the Emir of Sharjah, and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs to the Emir of Ras al-Khaimah. Thus, all claims by the Arab governments rest wholly on this 80-year period during which the islands were under British occupation; otherwise, there exists no document or proof showing the ownership of the islands by the Arab governments and the UAE. In light of the fact that United Arab Emirates was itself founded AFTER the return of the islands to Iran, these claims become even more interesting!

Arvandrood (The Arvand River)

This some 1500-meter wide frontier waterway between Iran and Iraq is one of the biggest channels in the world, formed by the merging of rivers Dajla (Tigris), Farat (Euphrates) and Karoon. More than 4/5 of its water comes from Karoon, as Turkey, Syria, and Iraq’s use of Dajla and Farat leaves little water from these rivers to form Arvandrood.

In the past, and for centuries, there were skirmishes between Iran and the Ottomans over the rights to this river, and these skirmishes continued after the founding of Iraq along our western front. Finally with the 1975 Algiers Accord, it was divided along the “al-gharar” or “Thalweg” line between the two countries, an agreement that Arab governments would later regard as to have been to their disadvantage, using it as one of their excuses to start an 8-year war with Iran. Interestingly, even two years after the fall of Saddam, the new Iraqi government is shirking its obligation to adhere to the 1975 agreement so that it may find other ways to claim full sovereignty over the Arvand River.

Khuzestan

Throughout history, the province of Khuzestan has been a part of Iran. In the rock relief of Darius the Great Khuzestan is remembered by the name “Suziana”. This province was the residence of the ancient Elamites who were a part of the Achamenid Empire. After the coming of Islam and the arrival of the Arab tribe, the province became the center of Shiism in Iran. During the 1400 years since the advent of Islam, all tribes residing in this province, be they Arabs, Lors, Bakhtiaris, Dezfulis… have guarded Iran’s bordered through peace and unity.

Using racist views to strengthen the claims regarding the three islands, Arvandrood and Khuzestan, Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government, with overwhelming Arab support and the backed by the great powers, imposed an 8-year war on Iran. That war provided ample proof of the unity among all Iranian tribes.

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To conclude, negligence on the part of our politicians and the Iranian media to address the question of national unity and the importance of historic pride and historic values have resulted in a situation where, every once in a while, new claims regarding the territorial integrity of Iran are issued from Arab governments. After distorting the name of the Persian Gulf, after separating Bahrain from Iran, and after the preposterous claim by the UAE regarding the eternally Iranian three islands, the latest claim is a barefaced lie by the racist Al-Jazeera that Khuzestan is not a part of Iran and that it is being “occupied” by Iranians. Then there is the latest claim by the UAE concerning the Siri Island… If we’re at all concerned about our national interests and the fate of future generations these threats suffice for sounding the alarm. While Iranians politicians have kept silent, in addition to the above, Arab governments have made claims regarding Kish, Qeshm, Lavan and Bandar Lengeh as well. (Let’s not forget the renaming of these areas, which, along with the renaming of the Persian Gulf by the National Geographic, had been approved by Arab governments.) And so, it is important for the government of Iran and Iranian patriots to utilize textbooks, radio and television, printed press, websites and other means of mass communication to provide incontrovertible proof of Iran’s borders for all Iranians, particularly the younger generation and all the fair-minded people in the world. Our apathy will only encourage our enemies in their boldness in realizing their plan for a Greater Middle East and a Lesser Iran.

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