Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Week lecture on Persian Gulf

Last night I attended another lecture on Persian Gulf at Khaneh-ye Honarmandan, The House of Iranian Artists (official site in Persian and English: ).

I enjoyed the first part on history of Persian Gulf in Movies and Documentaries. The second part, lecture of Dr Mojtahed-zadeh was not held...!!!

Outside the hall, hundreds of people, young and old, packed two floors and stairways for memorial of Morteza Momayez the "Father of Iranian Graphics" who died 40 days ago.

In the hall though, the majority of audience for Persian Gulf were well over 60 or 70 years old. Seemingly still the older generation in Iran knows more and is more sensitive about Persian Gulf Issues and history.

Inside Iran the new generation is not confronted with everyday use of "Arabian Gulf" and is less informed than the ones outside Iran.

There is a lot to do for informing friends and family members in Iran about what is happening on the international scene about part of their heritage.

(here is the list of monthly programs of House of Iranian Artists )

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Persian Gulf Environment III
UNEP described
The Destruction of Iraqi Marshlands
One of the Worst Environmental Disasters in History,

ranking it with the desiccation of the Aral Sea
and the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforests.

A report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2001 alerted the world that
only about 7 percent of the once-extensive Iraqi marshlands remained.

Training for Iraq's wetland managers

Canada-Iraq Marshlands Initiative

Satellite evidence showed the wetland complex UNEP called
"a biodiversity center of global importance,"
that had once covered an area of 5,800 to 7,700 square miles (15,000 to 20,000 square kilometers), had shrunk to a 386-square-mile (1,000-square-kilometer) marsh straddling the Iran-Iraq border.

UNEP described it as one of the worst environmental disasters in history, ranking it with the desiccation of the Aral Sea and the deforestation of the Amazon rainforests. The marshlands are a breeding ground and stop-over point for migratory birds. The environmental degradation put an estimated 40 species of birds and untold species of fish at risk, and led to the extinction of at least seven species. Two other species—the Sacred Ibis and African Darter—are near extinction.

Destruction of the wetlands was also devastating to agriculture and water quality, and many of the Marsh Arabs were forced to move to Iran or became internally displaced people in Iraq. In the long term, the drying of the marshes could contribute to climate change in the region.

Canada-Iraq Marshlands Initiative

Training for Iraq's wetland managers

Iraq is not yet a Ramsar Convention Contracting Party but its Government has indicated strong interest in accession in the near future.

The first Iraqi National Marshland Managers Training Course was held June 26-July 6, 2005 in the city of Basrah, Iraq -- designed as the first in a series of annual courses, this year's edition covered 12 days including a field trip to the Central Marsh.

The course was exclusively for Iraqis, and is presented in Arabic. A course manual was published, and will be updated and added to in future courses (see

Iraq partners include the Iraq Foundation, Nature Iraq, the University of Basrah, and government ministries. Assistance for the development of this new national course was provided by the University of Waterloo in Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency, and Environment Canada.

It included 30 participants nominated by their institutions, including middle managers and graduate students. They represent a cross-section of the institutions engaged in the study and management of the marshes of Iraq.

Participants included six from the Iraq Ministry of the Environment, six from the Iraq Ministry of Water Resources, three from Thi Qar University, two from Babylon University, one from the University of Technology, one from Kufa University, and five from the Faculty of Science, five from the Marine Science Center, two from the Faculty of Agriculture, and one from Faculty of Education - all at Basrah University.

Lecturers in this course included 17 of Iraq's top university scientists in their respective fields. The lectures provided a cross-section of information on the ecology, biology, management and importance of the southern marshlands of Iraq.

The lectures included: Geographical Setting, Geochemistry and Sedimentology, Hydrology, Marsh Destruction and Impacts, Wetland Ecosystems, Aquatic Plants, Phytoplankton and Primary Productivity, Zooplankton and Secondary Production, Insects, Benthic Fauna, Fish, Socio-Economic Values, Mammals, Birds, Water Quality and Pollution, and Restoration Efforts.

Japan Helps the marshlands
National Geography
Reviving Eden

Canada Iraq Marshlands Initiative
People of the Marshlands

Saturday, August 13, 2005

In 1765, There Were Over 800 Ships In Kwait .........

History of
and Craftsmanship
in Kuwait

The European Travelers who visited Kuwait and the Arabian Peninsula praised the skills of the Kuwaitis and their superiority in shipbuilding. When the Danish traveler Carsten Niebuhr visited Kuwait

In 1765, he praised the maritime skills of the Kuwaitis who owned eight hundred ships
and lived on
commerce, fishing and pearl diving. .

After nearly one hundred years, in 1862,
William Palgrave confirmed what Niebuhr said before, by mentioning that the Kuwait harbor was considered the largest, since it attracts hundreds of ships. He praised the skills of the Kuwaitis and their courage. He also referred to the high position that they occupied among the sailors of the Gulf. Additionally, the British Political Agent in Kuwait, Dixon, referred to Kuwait’s maritime renown confirming that the best ships in the Gulf area were built in Kuwait. Eissa Al-Qattami also praised the Kuwaitis’ superiority in shipbuilding when he said that they mastered this craft due to their experience, until they became the most skilful shipbuilders. Their ships were known for their strength and their fitness for navigation.

Types of Ships

Among the types of diving ships are: (Al-Batteel, Baqaara, Sanbouk, Boom, Jalboot and Shoui).

The largest submarine in Kuwait was the boom of the late Abdullah bin Nasser Bourseli, which was named Naif and built in 1921.

The largest sailboat made in Kuwait was a large boom named (Fateh Al-Khair). It was called the Big Dhow, built in 1914 by the late Abdullah bin Rashed for the late Hamad Abdullah Al-Saqr, one of the well known merchants and owner of large ships: traveling ships (maritime transport).

The largest modern ship was built in 1940 by the late Hajj Ahmad Salman Al-Ustadh for the late Ahmad Al-Ghanem, and was named (Mushref). It was larger than the Dhow, and had an engine beside the sail to move it. Fateh Al-Khair Sailing Boom The only Kuwaiti ship kept by the government was a large boom (called Al-Muhalab) built in 1936 for the late Thanian Al-Ghanem.


1. Ship Caulking

Ship building in Kuwait was known as “Ship Caulking”, and to “Caulk” a ship is to pierce its boards with fibers, and to fill the openings with tar. The word “caulking” is derived from the word “Caulker” (Qalaf) -plural “Caulkers” (Qalaleef)-, which means the persons who build large ships and sailboats, and who undertakes the smoothing, caulking and preparation of wood.

This was considered a very difficult activity that necessitated that the workers spend the whole day, from sunrise to sunset, working under difficult conditions.

They also built various types of large and small ships, traveling ships (maritime transport), pearl diving ships and fishing ships. They also built modern ships and commercial yachts.

The Kuwaiti caulkers were among the most skilful and famous caulkers in the Gulf area. Due to their experience and exercise, they built large ships in a relatively short time, with the best style.

The chief caulker was called “Al-Ustadh” , and had a number of caulkers working with him.

The chief caulker of the ship (Al-Ustadh) had a number of workers joined the craft of ship caulking and worked under the leadership of a “Chief Caulker” or “Al-Ustadh”. He was responsible for directing the workers on account of his experience in shipbuilding.

He was like the Engineer Of The Ship as he designed it congenitally and through practice.

Besides building of ships, Al-Ustadh undertook the reparation of ships as well. He was also asked to accompany the ship during its long journeys as his presence made the crew of the ship feel secure against any dangers that might hit the ship.

This was the reason why the shipmasters (Nawakhedha) competed to accompany the well-known chief caulkers, in return for shares of nearly 250 rupees for the chief caulker.

There were a number of prominent Kuwaiti chief caulkers, not only in Kuwait, but in the whole Persian Gulf area as well.

A person called “Al-Mjaddemi” helped the chief of the ship (Al-Ustadh) in supervising the workers, and took his place if he was absent.

The Caulkers (“Qalaleef”), or the Ship Carpenters, on the other hand, were responsible for building the wooden boards of ships. While the Qalaleef performed their jobs, the nailers ("Al-Daraboun" or "Al-Darareeb") hammer the iron nails into the wood.

There was also “Al-Mazouri” who worked in carrying the wooden boards. In addition, a young boy called “Al-Waleed” was responsible for collecting “Al-Qashbar”, the small pieces of wood that were used as firewood in houses.

He also helped the workers by handing them their tools during work, and observed them to learn the craft.

Materials Used in Shipbuilding

1. Wood

Kuwaitis depended on building ships using different types of wood brought from India and East Africa. Teak was considered the most important kind of wood used for this purpose. This was due to its flexibility and outstanding durability. It was brought from Nagpur in India, and was used for building the walls, decks and ribs of the ship. Sometimes, “Al-Shalameen” or the ribs of the ship were made of a kind of wood called “Sobeit”, which was brought from Somalia. “Beess” or the base of the ship was made of a kind of wood called “Al-Jankari”, which was known for its solidity and strength and was brought from Nagpur.

2. Ship nails

Shipbuilding depended on the nails as well as wood. Blacksmiths in Kuwait made these nails. They were also brought from Abadan and India in different sizes and lengths according to the place in which they were to be placed. Their lengths also varied from one cubit or more, to the length of the normal nail.

3. Al-Fatail

They were cotton threads used to fill the gaps between wooden boards after being immersed in “Sull”, or fat. This was done to stick the wooden boards to each other and prevent the leakage of water inside the ship. These threads were brought from Dubai and India.

4. Al-Sull and Al-Shawna

Putting twines between the wood boards to prevent water from entering the shipFat (or “Al-Sull”) was extracted from fish. It was brought from Southern Arabian Peninsula and Nagpur in India. It was used to embrocate the wood of the ships after making them because it helped to make them more durable and long lasting. Al-Shawna, on the other hand, is a mixture of fat and lime. It was used to paint the lower part of the ship to resist the salinity of water. The lower part of the ship might be painted with copper so as to prevent the erosion of wood.

5. The texture used for making sails (Al-Ghazl)

Kuwaitis used to bring the texture from Bahrain, India and Karachi in the form of “Durriyat” or cloth whose length varied from forty to fifty meters. Then, they cut the cloth into rectangular pieces called “Al-Shuqaq”, which formed the sail according to its size and type.

6. The ship ropes

The ropes made of coir or palm fiber which were brought from Calcutta in the form of small or large bundles were necessary. Those ropes were tied in different ways, and defined according to their length, thickness, usage and kind. The thick rope was called “Al-Ammar” while the best kind of rope was called “Al-Sarkali”. There were other kinds of ropes as well, such as cotton ropes, alpi and hairless ropes.There were some kinds of rope that were tied to the mast and the sail of the ship.

For example, there were “leziar”, the rope tied to the mast, “Al-Ammareen”, the two ropes tied to the right and left sides in the middle of the mast, “Al-Baiaweer” in the front part of the mast and “Al-Khamari” at its top, which were used to strengthen the sail. Each of them had its particular usage.

Tools Used in Shipbuilding

The tools used in shipbuilding were very simple. It is also worth mentioning that the various kinds of ships that used to fill the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean no longer exist, despite their solidity and perfection. The most important tools used for building ships were:

Al-Manqar: ...a tool used for the boring and cleaning of wood.

Manqar Kalafat: iron tool, which was divided at the end into two parts, used to insert threads between wooden logs in order to prevent the leakage of water into it.
Adze: ....a tool used for carving wood.
The Saw: ....a tool used for cutting wood, having teeth in different sizes, either large or small, each of which was used for a specific purpose.
Fastener: ....a tool used by the workers to hold pieces of wood together.
The knife: ....a tool used to hold pieces of wood together.
The hammer: ....a tool used to drive nails in the wood of the ships.
Al-Majdah: .....a tool used to bore wood by using the bow in order to facilitate the hammering of nails in it.
The bow: .....a rectangular cylindrical wood with a thin strip attached to its ends used to operate the “Al-Majdah” to bore wood of ships.
Al-Randa: .....(the plane), used for smoothing wood.
The cubit: ....a triangular, scaled metal piece, having a hole from which a thin rope hangs, at he end of which there was a small metal weight attached. This tool was used to measure the angle of inclination and the balance of the ship.
The thread: .....used to measure the length of the wooden pieces used to build the ship.
Al-Shaka: .....the piece of chalk used by Al-Ustadh to mark the pieces of wood used to build the ship.
Al-Maibar: .....a large needle used for sewing the sails of the ship.
Al-Bald: .....a block of lead having a hole in which a scaled rope is fastened, used to measure the depth of water.

The Outer Body Of The Ship

It was the base of the ship and its backbone; the principal part by which the shipbuilding begins, and from which all ribs extend.
Mil Sadr: the front part of the ship.
Mil Tafr: the back of the ship.
Al-Malek: the wooden board extending on the Bees.
Al-Khad: the wooden board extending beneath the Bees.
Al-Berimel: placed above the “mil” to keep the balance.

Caulkers Building a Ship
placed on the front part of the Beess at “Mil Sadr” to protect it in case of collision.
Al-Kamar (the belt):
a thick wooden board placed around the middle of the ship in order to fasten it.
a wooden board placed above al-kamar (the belt) that surrounded the ship.
a wooden board placed between Al-Kamar (the belt) and Al-Qubtan.
the last wooden board in the body of the ship placed at the edge.
one of the boards of the ship placed at the sides of the tafr.
the front part of the back of the ship.
the front part of the ship.
the lower part of the front and the back of the ship.
a vertical board at the back of the ship.
a wooden rib at the front of the ship.
Al-Khesa and Al-Tearada:
protruding, wooden ribs at the back of the ship, used to fasten the flag, the sail ropes and the large and the small stake supporting Al-Farman.
a protruding piece of wood at the front of the ship.Al-Falki: a barrier for protection at the back of the ship.

The Inner Parts Of The Ship And Its Deck

Sour Al-Daqal:
The points on which the large mast was based.
The masts:
a number of wooden pieces in different sizes that extended from the front to the back of the ship to support the deck boards.
openings in which the masts of the ship were fixed, and were also used for loading different commodities.Al-Ubaidar: a fixed wooden reel used to raise the sail.
The deck boards:
wooden boards that constituted the deck of the ship.
the internal belt of the ship, which was placed in the middle.
The masts of Al-Neem and its boards:
the part at the back of the ship consisting of a storeroom to store victuals. It was called “Al-Dabbousa”.
Kashteel Sadr:
a place at the front of the ship to protect it from waves.
a wooden board placed at the front, above Kashteel Sadr, to prevent the leakage of water.
a cover for the opening of the cargo deck “Al-Jamra”.
wooden ribs that support the outer boards of the ship.
curved, wooden ribs which took the form of the ship to support the wooden ribs.
wooden ribs which took the form of angles, fixed in the middle of the ship.
thick, rectangular wooden boards extending all over the ship to support it.
the wooden base on which the mast was based.
wooden blocks supporting the fils, also serving as a support for carrying the bier.
wooden ribs for supporting the body of the ship.
wooden ribs that fastened the right and the left sides of the ship taking the form of the belt.
the back part of the ship.
a small opening in the right side of the ship for draining water, and is closed by a piece of wood (Esjaja).
The helm:
used for changing the direction of the ship and reducing its speed.
a wooden rib vertically attached to the helm.
The flag stick:
the flagstaff on which the flag of the ship was raised.
The mast:
a long piece of wood stretched in the middle of the ship, on which the sail was fastened.
The ship had more than one mast:
a big mast (“al-daqal al-aud”) and a small one (“al-daqal al-qalami”).
a wooden rib to support the mast and fasten it using a rope (“leziar”).
Drinking water’s tanks:
large containers in which water was kept for the sailors to drink during their journeys or their work.
The anchor:
a heavy object dropped by a chain, cable or rope and cast overboard to the vessel in place.
one of the ship anchors, consisting of a rectangular piece of stone with a hole in its tip to which a short iron chain was attached. The base of the rectangular piece was also pierced so as to attach the iron piece of the anchor to it in order to hold the rocky seabed. Al-Karrab was attached with a long rope known as “Al-Kharab” to hold the ship in case it reached the depth.
an iron tool having different shapes and weights, used as an anchor for the ship in the sandy and muddy seabed.
a rectangular piece of wood attached to the mast, curved at the middle as it touched the mast.
a thin rectangular piece of wood used for raising the big mast.
a piece of wood placed between the middle of the ship and its mast, and acted as the base that supported the sail.
the front rib of the sail.
one piece of the sailcloth.
the rope of the sail, called “al-kar”.
the short ropes that fastened the upper part of the sail to the “Farman”.
the back part of the sail to which the bottom of “al-joush” was fastened.
the rope placed inside the sail to support it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Persian Gulf Environment II

Hope for Young Residents of Iraqi Marshlands;
.................................. "Venice" of Iraq

The Ramsar Convention is a "lucky" organization. Just because it was founded in Iran, we pay more attention to it. I use this occasion to introduce the active enviromental organizations in Persian Gulf Region. --Siamak D. Ahi

R a m s a r
C o n v e n t i o n
o n
W e t l a n d s

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
(left: Ramsar Convention logo)

There are presently 144 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1428 wetland sites, totaling 124 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. (left: Young Residents of Iraqi Marshlands)


"The Convention's mission is the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world" . (left: Iraqi Marshlands)

Wetlands of Iran:

With this link it is easy to locate wetlands (Daryache or Taalaab) in Iran: “Click on Select Sites using Web Mapper” t is easy to locate wetlands in Iran. You can choose the country or just click on the world map to zoom in. Here is the list of wetlands in Iran:

Neiriz Lakes and
Kamjan Marshes,
Lake Oroomiyeh,
Shadegan Marshes and
tideal mud flats of Khor Musa and Khor-al Amaya,
Khran Straits,
Hamoun-e Saberi,
Gavkhouni Lake and
Marshes of Lower Zayandeh Rud,
Miankaleh Peninsula,
Gorgan Bay,
Lapoo-Zaghmarz Ab-bandans.

World Wetlands Day

February 2nd each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.

From 1997 to 2004, there are reports of more than 80 countries of WWD activities of all sizes and shapes, from lectures and seminars, nature walks, children’s art contests, sampan races, and community clean-up days, to radio and television interviews and letters to newspapers, to the launch of new wetland policies, new Ramsar Sites, and new programs at the national level.For the location of all wetlands in the world see: “Click on Select Sites using Web Mapper”

Ramsar Small Grants Fund (SGF) for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use
Current challenges to revitalize the "Venice of Iraq". International organzations went to Iraq .
helping new Iraqi government and NGOs to train people and discuss the issues.

The Ramsar Small Grants Fund, established in 1990, to assist developing countries and those with economies in transition in implementing the Convention and to enable the conservation and wise use of wetland resources.

Since then some 165 projects totaling about 6 million francs were funded or co-funded.

Home of the Ramsar Secretariat,
Gland, Switzerland

The Ramsar Secretariat staff housed by IUCN - The World Conservation Union in its headquarters building in Gland, Switzerland, includes at present 14 permanent positions and four internship positions. In addition, there are five staff members at the Coordination Unit of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative in Athens, Greece, all of them funded by the Government of Greece.

Cooperation between Ramsar and IUCN staff is extraordinarily close. The Convention on Wetlands is not part of the UN or UNEP system of environmental treaties, with many of the secretariats of which, however, Ramsar has established collaborative agreements.

at the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands

The Ramsar Internship Programme supports four regionally-oriented positions, one each for Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe; all are normally one-year positions and the Secretariat posts announcements in advance of each new vacancy. Candidates should be nationals of countries from the region being applied for. See:

Will Continue

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Persian Gulf environment, Iraqi Marshlands and Ramsar Convention

p a r t . o n e: I n t r o d u c t i o n
S i a m a k . D. A h i
P e r s i a n . G u l f . E n v i r o n m e n t
I r a q i . M a r s h l a n d s
and R a m s a r . C o n v e n t i o n
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty for national action and international cooperation for the conservation of wetlands.

Pollution of Persian Gulf is a very complex issue. A less discussed and researched one. In the Persian Gulf region, the Environmental Consiousness was low and there was no comprehensive enviromenal policy. The need for such policies was also not as pressing as in Europe. Environmental problems were not present in people's every day life, as it was the case in many industrial countries. Particularly the pollution of sea waters, which was happening far from their city, home and their daily life.

International organizations though, on occasions expressed their concerns about Persian Gulf pollution and even called it "The Most Polluted Body of Water". But the international community didn't pay much attention to it. The media didn't care about it. The companies in oil industry involved in this region, which come from all over the world, were of course, not interested in this particular issue. It could cost them hugely. In fact they were interested in covering up any environmental failure or disaster.

High Traffic of vessels for oil transport, made Persian Gulf the Most Polluted Body of Water.

Persian Gulf Wars, created black clouds, black rains and spread Radioactive Dust all over Persian Gulf Region...! These Gifts of Civilized World to Persian Gulf to be studied on one hand, and on the other hand, the water and lif in and around Persian Gulf, independent from oil or war, to be studied and monitored in much greater sense.
The basin is what we should know all about. We should know about all the rivers that run to Persian Gulf, About the ports and cities that dump their waste in it,… about birds, fishes,… and all form of wild life in and around it. A search that never ends, … as long as Persian Gulf exist.
Here, on this page, we will see more and more on this issue, and we will become familiar with organizations, people, laws and regulations, conventions and treaties, news, documents, projects, employments … and whatever can have any influence on the destiny of Persian Gulf Life. Iraqi Marshlands are one of them.

Iraqi Marshlands and Ramsar

What has Ramsar to do with Iraqi Wetlands: one on Caspian sea, and the other at the tail of Persian Gulf?

Well, in fact it does. In 1971, because of high number of wetlands in Iran, an International Convention on Wetlands was held in this country…. And now, the Iraqi Marshlands in neighboring country, are being helped by people who started caring about wetlands over three decades ago in Ramsar.

A convention of some 35 years ago in Iran, on Caspian Sea, in the city of Ramsar, was held on Wetlands worldwide. This connection of wetland history to Iran, and the today’s Iraqi Marshland Crisis, might be the best occasion to know more about Iraqi Marshland, its relation to Persian Gulf Pollution and wetlands in general.

Iraqi marshlands are located in the heart of waters flowing to Persian Gulf. The waters of vast basin of Mesopotamia (see the map), is carried by rivers of Tigris and Euphrates to Persian Gulf. Therefore, whatever pollution in this vast basin, mainly in Iraq, will add to the Persian Gulf pollution. But before reaching persian Gulf, it will affect the life of marshlands, its people and natural resources. The pollution carried by Tigris and Euphrates can involve also Turkey and Syria which don't have any direct connection or access to Persian Gulf.

Will Continue.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Radioactive Dust Over Persian Gulf Region

Experts believe that anyone who has been in the Middle East and Afghanistan will be contaminated for life and many will have serious medical problems.

Object to
Depleted Uranium Weapons

Depleted uranium weapons are pyroforic metal - bullets and shells ignite when fired and 70 percent becomes a metal vapor, a radioactive gas which contaminates the atmosphere and terrain. Radioactive particles are blown about and ingested by all who come in contact with them.

Solar winds transport the radioactive dust around the world, falling to earth in rain, snow, fog and pollution. It takes just four days for DU radioactive pollution to travel from Iraq to the U.S.

Iraqis has been exposed to heavy doses of DU radiation; many have died, the rest will have an unimaginable future in their contaminated country. Iraqi children are being born with terrible birth defects - missing or deformed limbs, organs, partial faces, no eyes, horrible blood diseases and mental retardation. Life magazine has an online photo essay of these children.

American soldiers are returning with equally tragic contamination - there is a rise in severe birth defects in children born to those exposed to DU weapons. The VA reported 518,739 vets on disability from the Persian Gulf wars. Recent reports show a large number of troops returning from Iraq who require extensive medical treatment, resulting in a $2 billion VA shortfall.

Experts believe that anyone who has been in the Middle East and Afghanistan will be contaminated for life and many will have serious medical problems. The World Health Organization expects global cancer rates to increase 50 percent by 2020.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Persian Gulf
Anniversary of Portuguese withdrawal from Persian Gulf
was labeled as the
"national day of Persian Gulf” on Iranian calendar.
Tehran, 16 July, 2005 (CHN)
Anniversary of Portuguese withdrawal from Persian Gulf was labeled as “the national day of Persian Gulf” by the supreme council of Cultural Revolution of Iran.
In Tuesday night session of the council which was presided by Mohammad Khatami, it was decided to call the anniversary of Portuguese withdrawal from Persian Gulf, which is September 29th, the national day of “Persian Gulf” to counter the attempts of some international institutes and Arabian countries to alter the name of “Persian Gulf”.
Portuguese navy invaded Iran through Persian Gulf in early 16th century and occupied the southern part of the country. During their colonial period in south of Iran, they left several monuments in the region which bear the characteristics of Portuguese architecture. The remains of Portuguese castle which is contemporary to Safavid dynasty and is an example of such architecture is still standing in Qeshm Island, south of Iran.
Same news in Persian:
سالروز اخراج پرتغالي ها از تنگه هرمز روز ملي خليج فارس
جزيره هرمز - قلعه پرتغالي ها

خبرگزاري دانشجويان ايران - تهران سرويس: سياسي
بنا به تصويب شوراي عالي انقلاب فرهنگي،
روز ملي خليج فارس
به تقويم ايران اضافه شد

در جلسه شب گذشته اين شورا كه به رياست حجت‌الاسلام‌والمسلمين سيدمحمدخاتمي تشكيل شد؛ شوراي عالي انقلاب فرهنگي با توجه به هدف قرار دادن هويت فرهنگي و تاريخي ملت ايران از سوي ايادي استكبار جهاني بخصوص برخي از كشورهاي همسايه و تلاش آنان جهت تحريم نام تاريخي خليج فارس، به پيشنهاد شوراي فرهنگ عمومي روز اخراج پرتغالي‌ها از تنگه هرمز را به عنوان روز ملي خليج فارس نامگذاري كرد