Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanded on Wednesday that the United States should respect and understand the history of the Persian Gulf, local media have reported. Rouhani said that the waterway and the Gulf of Oman which connects the Islamic Republic to international waters via the Strait of Hormuz have significant importance to Tehran.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting to mark Iran’s “Persian Gulf Day”, Rouhani said: “The United States must know this; this gulf is called the Persian Gulf, it’s not the Gulf of New York or Washington. America should know from the name of this waterway, and the nation that has guarded it for thousands of years, not to conspire against the Iranian nation all the time.”
The Commander of the Navy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Commodore Alireza Tangsiri, warned “foreigners” stationed in the region about this distinction. He also said that he regretted the decision of some neighbouring countries to allow foreigners to be in the region.
“The presence of foreigners in the region has destabilised it,” said Commodore Tangsiri. “The illegal presence of the Americans in the region could endanger our security. Of course, we do not allow any foreign warship to be present in our territorial waters.”
Over the past few days, the US Navy and the Navy of the IRGC have exchanged allegations that each is harassing the other’s ships in the Gulf.
On 22 April, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to the Persian Gulf as the “Arabian Gulf”. This prompted a chain of angry responses from Iranian politicians and individuals.