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The Persian Gulf is part of an asymmetric foreland basin related to the Zagros Orogen. Few published studies of this basin and associated onshore areas include seismic reflection data. We present a seismic-stratigraphic interpretation based on marine 2D seismic data, which reveals the presence of two types of compressional structures within the basin: (1) faulted domes related to salt movement and the offshore trace of a NNE–SSW-trending dextral basement fault (the Kazerun Fault); (2) long-wavelength (16 km), low-amplitude (60 ms two-way travel time) folds relating to the advancing deformation front associated with the orogen. Thinning of age-constrained stratal units across structures related to the offshore trace of the Kazerun Fault implies a distinct pulse of uplift on this fault during the Maastrichtian. The geometry of growth strata across other intra-basin structures suggests a second, later stage of deformation, which began in the Middle Miocene. Thickening and folding of post-Middle Miocene stratal units towards the NE (i.e. towards the Zagros Orogen) is interpreted to reflect rapid loading, subsidence and compression related to southwestwards advance of the orogen. The results of this study have implications for the interaction between pre-existing structures and later compressional events both within the Persian Gulf and elsewhere.