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Persian Gulf

The Persian Gulf (Arabic الخليج الفارسي, Farsi خليج فارس, sometimes Arabian Gulf, sometimes shortened to just the Gulf to avoid debate) is an extension of the Arabian Sea in between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. This inland sea of some 233,000 km² is connected to the Arabian Sea in the east by the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, and its western end is marked by the major river delta of the Shatt al-Arab, called Arvand-Rood by Iranians, which carries the waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris.

The Greek name for this body of water - the "Persian Gulf" - has been in use since ancient times, for it signifies the first major nation-state in that area, namely the Persian Empire (now Iran). In the 1960s, with the rise of Arab nationalism, Arab countries began to call The Gulf the "Arabian Gulf". However, the Iranian government led two resolutions in the United Nations to officially recognize that body of water as the "Persian Gulf". The first announcement was made through the document UNAD, 311/Qen on March 5, 1971 and the second was UNLA 45.8.2 (C) on August 10, 1984. Most countries and organizations use the name "Persian Gulf". Arab countries tend to use the term "Arabian Gulf", while others stay neutral and say "the Gulf".

Countries with a coastline on the Persian Gulf are (clockwise, from the southeast): United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar on a peninsula off the Saudi coast, Bahrain on an island, Kuwait and Iraq in the northwest, and Iran in the north. The Persian Gulf and its coastal areas are the largest single source of crude oil and related industries dominates the region. Various small islands lie within the Gulf and some are contested between neighbouring states.

The Persian Gulf was among the scenes of the Iran-Iraq War that lasted from 1980 to 1988, as with each side attacking the other's oil tankers. In 1991 the Persian Gulf again was the background for a "Gulf War" as Iraq invaded Kuwait and was subsequently pushed back during what is now predominantly known as the (Persian) Gulf War, despite the fact that this conflict did not focus primarily on the Persian Gulf.

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