The 2011 AFC Asian Football Cup will be hosted by Qatar in January 2011. It is possible that sports officials there will refer to the Persian Gulf by another name. If this occurs, Iranian athletes, administrators, and football fans should boycott the event.
The use of a name other than Persian Gulf occurred at the 2010 Asian games by the Chinese this past month. Many Iranians were surprised and dismayed by this action, but it should not be surprising that China and Western countries would place their economic self-interest in business relationships with Arab countries above any concerns about historical accuracy.
Some observers of international affairs have noted that there are financial incentives for Western countries and China to use another term instead of the Persian Gulf. However, this is not a situation where there can be a choice: only Persian Gulf is accurate. To call it anything else is a betrayal of the heritage of millions of Iranians.
When an organization and/or country intentionally use an incorrect name, its integrity comes into question. Perhaps the current wave of USA anti-Iran sanctions has encouraged some organizations and countries to compromise accuracy and respect for international law. If so, these organizations and countries must be held accountable for their use of anything other than the proper name.
The historical record cannot be altered; attempts to change history is dishonest and results in profound injustice for those whose history has been distorted. People make history, but they cannot change history. "Persian Gulf" reflects Persian contributions to the whole world and the sacrifices Persians made to keep the gulf open for the benefit of all who wished to travel on it.
Using "A. Gulf" or "The Gulf" instead of "Persian Gulf" may appear humorous similar to the renaming of French fries to Freedom fries after France failed to support the American and British invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. We have seen how attempts to promote political points of view in the international community were mocked when the United States and British officers used the wrong term instead of Persian Gulf.
Regardless of the reasons for the mistake, it is in the best interest of international community to use the correct term of Persian Gulf. In the end, it is immaterial what is the reason for the incorrect usage; the important thing is to emphasize that the international mass media must be committed to objectivity and honesty.
Although I have been invited to attend the Asian Football games in Qatar, I will not travel to Qatar because I suspect it will not use the proper term. Looking over at the table of participating countries, I contacted the Syrian and Uzbekistan Football Associations. Syria has received a great deal of financial support from Iran, but it indicated that it will participate in the Asian games. However, Uzbekistan Football Associations indicated that it stands with Iran. If a term other than Persian Gulf is used, and if Iran walks out, so will Uzbekistan.