Modern Name: The Broadcasting Corporation (the BC)
Old Name: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)


A Letter sent to BC Chairman in February 2003:

Dear Mr. Davies:

I am a British Citizen of Iranian origin and a BBC Licence Paying Viewer. I am an Executive Committee member of the Persian Gulf Task Force (UK section) and am writing to file a formal complaint about BBC’s continued abuse of the historic name of Persian Gulf. All previous complaints to BBC Editorial & Investigation Team (BBC Information) have been dismissed and ignored in what can only be described as an unprofessional and irresponsible act by BBC, I have therefore been left with no option but to bring the matter to your attention.

The broadcasting corporation’s deliberate policy of referring to the Persian Gulf as the gulf or even Arabian gulf at times is a deliberate act of insulting Iran’s heritage, culture and history and to create friction in the region using BBC’s powerful media resources worldwide. This can only be described as an old British Colonial habit, this is not worthy of a country that claims to be fighting terrorism since BBC’s deliberate actions to stir trouble in the Persian Gulf region is covert terrorism by itself.

Prime Minister Blair continually refers to the United Nations and highlights UN Mandates to justify his foreign policy, may I remind you Mr Davies that The United Nations with 22 Arab member States has on two occasions officially declared the unalterable name of the sea between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula as the Persian Gulf. The first announcement was made through the document UNAD, 311/Geneva on March 5, 1971 and the second was UNLA 45.8.2 (C) on August 10, 1984. It’s time Britain decided whether they respect UN mandates or not, that includes the BBC.

I have been in touch with the Foreign Office through my MP, the Foreign Office has confirmed to me in writing that Her Majesty’s Government accepts the advice of the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (PCGN) for Official British Use that the correct term for the body of water between Iran and Saudi Arabia is ‘The Persian Gulf”.

I now formally ask you, the Chairman of BBC, to ensure your corporation abides by the United Nations Mandates and honours the recommendation of PCGN by using the correct and full name of the Persian Gulf. The only impartial language is that of the United Nations, the BBC is in breach of UN Mandates and is ignoring United Kingdom’s PCGN.

I look forward to your reply confirming that the BBC will use the correct name of Persian Gulf in all literature, web pages as well as TV & Radio News and documentaries as endorsed by the UN and United Kingdom’s PCGN.

Yours sincerely

Mr Afshin Dastafshan
Persian Gulf Task Force Board (United Kingdom section)

Reply given to this letter by BC on March 04, 2003


Look at the BC’s map of Iran in their profile of Iran middle_east/

They bluntly refer to it as “The Gulf” as if the Persian Gulf can not be used.

England is primarily responsible for changing the name and causing problems in the Persian Gulf region for many years. The BC deliberately has been causing problems in the region.


Below are the replies received from the BC.


Thank you for your e-mail. Your comments have been read and noted. The BC receives many different views on the naming of this water and some time ago it was decided to use the Gulf. There are currently no plans to change it.

The BC News Online

BC’s reply August 21, 2001
BC’s reply Sept. 17, 2001
A reply to BC on August 29, 2001

A letter and another reply:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing this e-mail to complain about the BC’s abuse of the Persian Gulf name. Changing internationally recognized names arbitrarily disturbs me. Please correct this mistake. It is unprofessional to refer to the Persian Gulf by other names such as “The Gulf,” or “A. Gulf.” The Persian Gulf is the body of water separating Iran from Saudi Arabia, UAE, and several other Persian Gulf states. This body of water is internationally and formally recognized by the United Nations as the Persian Gulf.

Before politics comes responsible journalism. The BC’s creation was for the purpose of providing accurate information to people around the world who might not be able to obtain it regionally. The BC should not take sides among interest groups.

I hope the BC will strive to maintain a high standard of journalism throughout the world.


Mohammad Ala, President IIC (

From: “Letters Worldservice” <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2002 11:33 AM
Subject: RE: Persian Gulf


Thank you for your email.

The BC generally uses the term ‘The Gulf’ because this is the most widely-understood geographic term used among English speakers to describe the region. The addition of geographical adjective might imply a political judgment, which is why the BC does not use either ‘Persian Gulf’, which would cause offence to many of the Arab states bordering the Gulf, or ‘Arabian Gulf’, which would certainly offend Iranians.

On current world maps and atlases published in the UK, the area is also described simply as ‘The Gulf’.

This does not mean, of course, that you will never hear ‘Arabian Gulf’ on the BC, Non-BBC individuals invited for interview may use the term, and we do not censor such interviews.

We do, however, refer to the Arabian Sea, which has featured in many reports over the past few days. This is the area of ocean between Oman and India, which does not touch Iran.

If you believe that you have heard a BC journalist refer to the ‘Arabian Gulf’, please let us know the date and time (GMT or local) you heard the broadcast and we will forward your comments to the relevant programme editor for attention.


Audience Relations

The BC World Service



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