Persian Gulf and Kurdistan : Memmos Standards & Practices Editor Mark Memmott writes occasional notes about the issues journalists encounter and the way NPR handles them. They often expand on topics covered in the Ethics Handbook.
NPR logo Persian Gulf and Kurdistan

Persian Gulf and Kurdistan

Two questions came up over the weekend because of news events.

  1. What do we call that body of water between Iran and Saudi Arabia?
  2. What is Kurdistan?

Our Wiki has style guides for radio and digital (there are some variations) and a note that "for general style questions not addressed here, NPR.org follows the AP Stylebook."

I don't see any indication that we've issued any rulings of our own. So after a quick consult with the Hub, AP's guidance applies:

"Persian Gulf – Use this long-established name for the body of water off the southern coast of Iran.

"Some Arab nations call it the Arabian Gulf. Use Arabian Gulf only in direct quotations and explain in the text that the body of water is more commonly known as the Persian Gulf."

Kurdistan – (Source: Webster's New World College Dictionary: kʉr ´ di stan , stän place region in SW Asia inhabited chiefly by Kurds, occupying SE Turkey, N Iraq, & NW Iran."