Persian Gulf

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Image:Persian Gulf map.png
Map of the Persian Gulf. The Gulf of Oman leads to the Arabian Sea. Detail from larger map of the Middle East.

The Persian Gulf (Persian: خليج فارس khalīj-e-Fārs; in Arabic: الخليج الفارسي al-khalīj al-fārisī), in the Southwest Asian region, is an extension of the Gulf of Oman located between Iran (Persia) and the Arabian Peninsula.

The Persian Gulf was the focus of the Iraq-Iran War that lasted from 1980 to 1988, with each side attacking the other's oil tankers. In 1991, the Persian Gulf again was the background for what was called the "Persian Gulf War" or "The Gulf War" when Iraq invaded Kuwait and was subsequently pushed back, despite the fact that this conflict was primarily a land conflict.

The natural environment of the Persian Gulf is very rich with good fishing grounds, extensive coral reefs, and abundant pearl oysters, but its ecology has become increasingly under pressure from the heavy industrialisation and in particular the repeated major petroleum spillages associated with recent wars fought in the region.

Contents

Geography

Image:NSATHorizontal.jpg
Satellite image showing the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz is the dramatic constriction on the right third.

This inland sea of some 233,000 km² is connected to the Gulf of Oman in the east by the Strait of Hormuz; and its western end is marked by the major river delta of Shatt al-Arab, which carries the waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Its length is 989 kilometres, separating mainly Iran from Saudi Arabia with the shortest divide of about 56 kilometres in the Strait of Hormuz. The waters are overall very shallow and have a maximum depth of 90 metres and an average depth of 50 metres.

Countries with a coastline on the Persian Gulf are (clockwise, from the north): Iran, Oman (exclave of Musandam), United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar on a peninsula off the Saudi coast, Bahrain on an island, Kuwait and Iraq in the northwest. Various small islands lie within the Persian Gulf.

Oil and gas

The Persian Gulf and its coastal areas are the world's largest single source of crude oil and related industries dominate the region. Al-Safaniya, the world's largest offshore oilfield, is located in the gulf. Large gas finds have also been made with Qatar and Iran sharing a giant field across the territorial median line (North Field in the Qatari sector; South Pars Field in the Iranian sector). Using this gas, Qatar has built up a substantial liquified natural gas (LNG) and petrochemical industry.

The oil-rich countries (excluding Iraq) that have a coastline on the Persian Gulf are referred to as the Persian Gulf States. Iraq's egress to the gulf is narrow and easily blockaded consisting of the marshy river delta of Arvandrud/Shatt al-Arab, which carries the waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers, where the left (East) bank is held by Iran.

Naming dispute

Image:Istakhri map 2.jpg
Regional map showing the word Bahr Fars, ("Sea of Persia") in Arabic, from the 9th century text Al-aqalim by Persian geographer Istakhri.

Since the 1960s, starting with Gamal Abdel Nasser, some of the Persian Gulf's Arabs and their states have often used the name Arabian Gulf [1] (in Arabic: الخلیج العربي al-khalīj al-ʿarabī) for the body. This is controversial and not commonly used outside of the Arab world, nor is it recognized by the United Nations [2][3][4] and other international organizations as historically the name is "Persian Gulf". "Arabian Gulf" is also an ancient name for the Red Sea. The term Arabian Gulf is slowly beginning to fade away when Kuwait and Iraq, who both have ports on the Persian Gulf, took sides with Iran's argument to keep the name of the sea as the Persian Gulf.[citation needed]

British residency

From 1763 until 1971, the United Kingdom maintained varying degrees of political control over some Persian Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates (originally called the "Trucial Coast States") and at various times Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.

See also

Look up Persian Gulf in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

External links

bg:Персийски залив ca:Golf Pèrsic cs:Perský záliv da:Persiske Bugt de:Persischer Golf et:Pärsia laht el:Περσικός Κόλπος es:Golfo Pérsico eo:Persa Golfo eu:Pertsiar Golkoa fa:خلیج فارس fr:Golfe Persique gl:Golfo Pérsico ko:페르시아 만 hr:Perzijski zaljev id:Teluk Persia is:Persaflói it:Golfo Persico he:המפרץ הפרסי ku:Kendawa fars lt:Persijos įlanka nl:Perzische Golf ja:ペルシア湾 no:Persiabukten nn:Persiabukta pl:Zatoka Perska pt:Golfo Pérsico ro:Golful Persic ru:Персидский залив simple:Persian Gulf sk:Perzský záliv sl:Perzijski zaliv sr:Персијски залив sh:Perzijski zaljev fi:Persianlahti sv:Persiska viken ta:பாரசீக வளைகுடா vi:Vịnh Péc-xích tr:Basra Körfezi ur:خلیج فارس zh:波斯湾

Persian Gulf

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