Mr. President Obama: It’s the Persian Gulf. Please don’t step on a nation’s dreams – an open letter to President Obama

October 11, 2009

Your Excellency,

President Obama,

First of all, I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate you for your Noble Peace Prize. I really hope this prize can get your message through to the hearts and minds that are sealed with hatred and lust for power.

I am Arash Hejazi. You might have heard my name before, as I am the doctor who tried to save Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot during the peaceful demonstration against the frauds in the Iranian elections, the same woman you have mentioned twice in your speeches in the last four months.

I am the one who left his country to bear witness to the absolute cruelty and injustice that ended up in the death of that innocent girl who was shot in the chest by an Iranian pro-government militiaman and bled to death under my eyes.

Mr. President,

I was there when Neda died. I made sure that the world saw the look in her eyes just before she died. I testified about the circumstances of her death, so that every tyrant in the world would know that there is always someone watching.

She died for a reason there; she died for a dream at a time when all dreams were shattered. She died to bring back dignity to a country that was becoming one of the most hated states in the world. She tried to show the world that Iran was not about nuclear activities, terrorism and fundamentalism, but about believing in dreams, courage, dignity, unconditional love, and paying any price necessary to get one step closer to freedom.  Her death introduced anew the purity of a three thousand year old nation to the world.

I have lost everything since I bore witness to this crime, I have lost my career, my decent life in Iran, my family security, my safety, my country, and now I am on my own in this large world, without money, without a job, and with a family to support.

But I don’t regret what I have done and I would have done it again if the clock turned back; although the world watched that innocent look in Neda’s eyes and did nothing. Millions of people shed tears, but no one did anything. As usual, everybody watched, they cursed the tyrant, they blessed the martyr, but no one took a step to support a nation that has been the homeland to the first declaration of human rights.

Nevertheless, I am not writing this letter because I want you to do something. No, the people of Iran will fight and gain their freedom without asking for the help of any authority in the world. What makes me compelled to write to you is that although we don’t need anyone’s support, we appreciate if the world does not try to distort the truth.

Neda did not die for a country, but for a dream called Iran. One of the major symbols of Iran in the hearts of the Iranians is the Persian Gulf, a beautiful gulf in the Middle East that in your speech, you have referred to as ‘The Gulf’.

Mr. President, the Persian Gulf has been called the Persian Gulf BC by Daryus the Great and Herodotus in the fifth century; by Claudius Ptolemaues in the second century BC and by Quintus Curticus Rufus in the first century AD, and its official name is still the ‘Persian Gulf’. The United Nations has issued two editorial directives in which the states have been asked to only use “Persian Gulf” as the official and standard geographical designation for the body of water.

The implication of Neda in your speech was heart-warming for the Iranian Nation; however, when you omit the word ‘Persian’ from the Persian Gulf, you are stepping on the dreams of Neda and a nation that have nothing left but their dignity and their dreams. I am sure that you have no intention of stripping a nation from what is rightfully theirs.

I have lost everything for a dream, and I believe that you Mr. President are one of the few politicians left in the world who still believe in dreams.

I salute you and I wish you the very best in the long journey ahead of you. I hope you too wish the best for a nation that is struggling towards its dream for freedom and prosperity amidst the blood of its loved ones.

Sincerely yours,

Arash Hejazi

60 Responses

  1. iraj says:

    Thank you Arash. You are a messenger from 70 million iranian. iraj

  2. Brian Carlson says:

    I applaud this letter and the man who wrote it. Westerners need to understand the difference between Persians in general and the current adminstration…an aberration that, unfortunately, gets the limelight for now. The Persian people have a long and amazing history. They are a proud and generous people with a remarkable culture and much to offer the world. Westerners need to divide between their dislike for the administration and the respect that is due this people and their culture. Of course it is the Persian Gulf.

  3. Abbas says:

    درود بر تو فرزند دلاور ایران زمین!

  4. ali says:

    I have an idea .
    this is better if we email to obama .
    I mean all of us .
    Everyone who care for Iran .

    its easy

  5. Hamidreza says:

    Thank you arash thank you

  6. hamoon says:

    میتوانید مانند همیشه باج بدهید و کلمه فارس را به خلیج اضافه کنید.ولی بدانید،جه اوباما بگوید فارس و چه نگوید ،این خلیج،خلیج عربی بوده،هست و خواهد ماند.

  7. Kaveh says:

    Thanks Arash. We’d never give up our dreams, no matter how hard it is to achieve them. Thanks for taking another valuable step in protecting our dreams, our history and the truth.

  8. Shahrzad says:

    Just to say Thank You and good luck in your way.

  9. Mariam says:

    To Mr Hamoon
    It would be a great opportunity for you to read about history and get some experience in this world.You probably did not have a chance to learn about it, so do it now or never come to a sunbject which makes you fool.

    I am sorry to be so harsh but sometimes it could lead you to a better knowlegeof your past maybeeeeeeeeee.

  10. Emad says:

    Proud of you!

  11. Nastassia Ikasovic says:

    The irrevocable facts of history cannot be eradicated by a slight of speech or the flourish of a pen. Those who do so, with irreverent disregard, will not have earned the right to a Nobel Prize.

  12. vasudevan veerasamy says:

    wishing you and my prayer for you to have your dreams to come true.

  13. zolqarnain says:

    I it with sadness that I respond that No One in the World should expect support from Pres. Obama in their request for Democracy, Freedom, Equality.

    Pres. Obama follows a philosophy of those Progressives before him that feel countries should be able to have their own form of governments and the US should not force our ideals or values on them. This was made clear when he said he did not want to appear meddling. MEDDLING in Human Rights Abuses?

    People like John Kerry who said that the Viet Cong North might execute a few hundred that were supporters of the South government or US, (formally US friends and allies) and instead the estimate was 500,000. To this day Mr. Kerry has no remorse.

    Like former Pres. Jimmy Carter who is responsible est. of 20,000 to 30,000 executions since 1979, and Iran’s plight today, the destruction of Zimbabwe by insisting including Mugabe as p-art of government. For giving away the Panama canal w/o pre-conditions which is now a transport point for illegal arms to South and Central American Drug Lords and terrorists, which now threatens the sovereignty of the US.

    The winning of the Nobel Peace Price is not un-expected since the committee seems to be populated with Fascist and Communist remnants of WWII. People that are against the freedoms of the worlds people, who statements through their award in support of the Oppressors, the Murders of the World.

    Freedom will have to be through the actions of the Iranian people because the Leader of the Free World, Pres. Obama is too busy praising himself to be bothered.

    With my solemn prayers,

  14. sahar says:

    Arash jan
    drood bar to farzand Iran zamin,
    in ra bedan ke to baes eftekhar har irani vatan parast hasti
    iran ba vojod dashtan farzandani dalir mesl shoma hamishe payande khahad mand!!!
    be omid payan shab sia, nor v roshanai bar felat Iran zamin

  15. Ramin says:

    Dear Arash, Bravo, you are indeed a brilliant child of our motherland. Wish you all the best, I am pretty sure you will overcome all your problems with prosperity.

  16. Tom says:

    Thank you.

  17. Azadeh A says:

    Can’t say anything but a simple thank you.

  18. Saman says:

    Many thanks and greetings.

  19. emad says:

    regardless of what a burden of hardship you have had. I do very appreciate for your attention to our mother land. it is a proud and feeling of pride we have such a nice guy these days when the hope is meaningless

  20. SHAHRZAD says:

    Thank you Arash. You are a messenger from 70 million iranian,I HOPE THE BEST FOR YOU AND HOPE TO OUR COUNTRY COMEING VERY SOON FREE<VIVA IRAN

  21. Zohre says:

    Dear Arash, just to let you know that you are not alone. There are millions of Iranians who think and feel like you. That is true that we have lose everything except our pride. We are a respectful Nation. The World very well knows that! We, as truly Iranians are on one side and the world of “politics” is on the other side. Don`t take me wrong, we two are on to different sides but we are not against the other side. We are numerous and are together. We are very stong, although very tired, but never disappointed. I am really proud of you. Go on dooste man, we are together and never lose hope because we exist and shall over come. See you a day when our people are celebrating freedom.

  22. mostafa says:

    Arash Aziz,

    I am 100 % agree with you and I admire you for your dedication and your knowledge.

  23. R says:

    So let me get this straight, you don’t caree about executions or basiji, all you care about is a point of grammar? This letter is fake, fake, fake! If it were real the author would be demanding justice for Neda and all who suffer under this tyranical regime, not arguing a point of naming. This is a trick of the dictator who stole the election and murdered thousands of people to deflect criticism of his crimes into a harmless discussion of names. The real naming crime is the Islamic Repubic of Iran, it should just be Iran.

  24. Zoya says:

    Thank you Arash for the letter , Now that he Is winnere of the Nobel of peace we should insist on this matter to him, with your letter with our signatures .

  25. homayon says:

    arash. you are pulling big name with yourself.(ARASH). thanks to your strong conscien.

  26. shahrokh says:

    Dear Arash;
    thank you for sending a letter with such a profund message to Mr. Obama. We all are very proud to have such a generation who can shake the world with their valiant up raising agaist such Un-Iranian Regime.

  27. Shideh says:

    First thank you to Dr. Hejazi for his letter.You are the true carrier of your name.A True child of Iran.,

    Second I wanted to let Mr.Hamoon know , he needs some history refreshment. Persian gulf was named persian gulf since it was found by The Greeks.(This is the time that Arabs still lived as tibes which and did not know how to read and write) Please Read , all knowledge does is make you know yourself better, and won’t let you say tings that will embarrass you.

  28. Dina says:

    This is a very powerful message!
    1. You are talking on behalf of 70 million of iranian.
    2. Thank you very much!
    3. Let’s us know how we can support you in the hardship you and your family are facing now? You have done this for your dream.. and when we support you, we can do something for our dream? Please let us know.

  29. shahnaz says:

    Thank you so much, you have a real Iranian heart.

  30. Nichol Brummer says:

    If Iran can get rid of this nasty government, and be more friendly to its neighbours.. then those people that now don’t like to use the name ‘Persian Gulf’ will loose all their arguments. So don’t worry about the name: once Persia will again have an acceptable government friendly to its own people and its neighboring countries: at that point in time, ‘Persian Gulf’ will again be an acceptable name in all countries around it.

  31. Mehr says:

    “Our destiny is to reside in the realm of silence;
    shout and shake the dome of the universe while you can”

  32. shahram says:

    Arash, you did great my friend.

  33. redheart says:

    آقای دکتر آرش حجازی
    من با نثر فارسی شما کاملا آشنایی دارم
    من کلیه کتابهای ترجمه شده شمارا خوانده ام

    من هم با شما کاملا موافقم
    پایدار باشید

  34. Tara says:

    from all my hart Thank you so much you are really Iranian .

  35. مهدی says:

    آقای هامون, بقیه هموطنان جوابی به شما ندادند که کار درستی هم کردند چون حرف شما بدلیل اینکه از نظر علمی تاریخی و بین المللی اشتباه است اهمیتی ندارد… اما بدانید پولهایی که شیوخ ثروتمند عرب به کشورهای بزرگ جهان داده اند تا نام فارس را از خلیج حذف کنند به نتیجه نخواهد رسید، کما اینکه نام ایران و پارس را نتوانستند با وجود 1400 سال ستم از ما بگیرند. مصری ها با ان تمدن عظیم در مقابل شما سر فرو آورده و خود را عرب میدانند و عربی حرف میزنند. سوریه، عراق، لبنان… هم همینطور..اما ایران را نتوانستید..چون تمدن ما ریشه بسیار عمیقی دارد که حتی اگر 4 شاخ و برگش را بزنند باز سبز میشود..ثبت است بر جریده عالم دوام ما…راستی از اینکه فارسی را خوب بلدی خوشحالم..شاید بدین وسیله بر فرهنگ و درک و دانشت افزوده شود…ا

  36. Goli says:

    To ‘R’:
    Th author of the letter has left everything he had behind to ‘Demand justice for Neda’!
    May I ask what have you done???
    The least you can do is to close your mouth!

  37. IP says:

    We knows Paulo Coelho’s works by your accurate and beautiful translations. Paulo taught me how to live, but you tought me how to live as a brave man.I am proud of you ever.I love you ever. And don’t forget sometimes time is the only solution.
    My bro, You are not alone and thanks for this impressive letter.

  38. IP says:

    آقای هامون یادت نره که خودت داری پارسی حرف می زنی

  39. Mahmoud says:

    Arash, You did great. Thanks by all means. Iran loves you and we all support you. Your soul is with us. You are our pride and you made us proud.

  40. Jamshid says:


  41. naghi says:

    خطاب به هامون:
    “اى مگس عرصه ى سيمرغ نه جولانگه توست
    عرض خود مى برى و زحمت ما مى دارى”

  42. Malak says:

    Thank you and good luck.

  43. great green movement says:

    You are all bunch off Persian chauvinist pigs all the people who live on the south side of the golf are Arabs and so are most off the people who live on the Iranian side of the gulf

    Even our elected president who is not Persian (though his wife is) in
    One occasion called (the great Persian nation)

    perhaps until we are burned with this blind chauvinism examinee and admadenejad are all we deserve

    dear chauvinist pigs through out history you have a building which you are so proud to call it by its Greek name

    If the great green movement doesn’t over come its simple mind nest and chauvinism it will not get to any where

  44. siamak says:

    PERSIAN GULF! it’s been centuries that this gulf named persian gulf! whatever they want they can call it! its PERSIAN GULF! its like you see a cat and call it dog! cat is cat dog is dog! i’m saying this to mr obama and arab nation NO ONE CAN NOT CHANGE PERSIAN GULF TO arabian GULF! PERSIAN GULF forever!


  45. محمد says:

    ممنون آرش جان.

  46. Persian boy says:

    ابتدا تشکر از دکتر حجازی بخاطر این نامه زیبا…………….

    هامون اون کشور عریی یا اون صحرایی که تو توش هستی مگه اینترنتم داره ؟!تا چند بلدی بشمری؟!اگه ریشه عربی داری از ضریب هوشیت بیش از این انتظاری نیست!در ضمن میدونی تاریخ یعنی چی؟ما ایرانیا تمدن 2500 ساله که هیج تمدن 5000 ساله داریم و درک می کنیم تاریخ چی هست در ضمن در حدی نبودی که دوستان محترمانه جوابتو بدن ولی اگه ایرانی هستی و این حرف و میزنی میزاریم به حساب بی اطلاعی

  47. great green movement says:

    جناب حجازی حضوره شما و شهادتان در مورد چگونگی مرگ قهرمان جنبش ما (ندا) به شما اجازه نمید هد که برخلاف نام شریفی که پدره شریفتان بر شما نهاده است ان را خرج شوینیزم ( ٢زاری) فارسی کنید

    ای کاش قبل از نگاشتن این گونه اراجیفبا با پدر خود یا مادر ندایا و یا با بازماندگان صدها بل هزاران شید جنبشهای ملی خلقهای مختلف ایران زمین مشورتی میکردید

    شما بر حسب شرایت پیش امده و خون ندا از موقعیت ویژه ای برخوردارید ولی با ادامه این گونه ژلف بازی ها به ما نند نوری زاده از مردم فاصله و به اهل منقل نزدیک خواهید شد

  48. Alireza says:

    Great PERSIA…

  49. Atousa says:

    Hamoun kholeh vatan foroosh o adam foroosh,
    boro kashketo besab mardak e ablah o nadan !

  50. irani says:

    وای خـــــدا ! چه کردی ای مــرد ، پاینده باشی ان شا الله