Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Google Earth Criticized for Renaming Persian Gulf

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini condemned Google's use of “Arabian Gulf” in lieu of “Persian Gulf” in their popular Google Earth software. Hossini called Google’s action a “desperate attempt to falsify historical facts.”

The controversial change has since evoked strong negative reactions across Iran and among the Iranian expatriate communities. In 2004, the National Geographic Society used Arabian Gulf in its World Atlas. Following huge protests by Iranians, it was changed back to Persian Gulf in later editions.


Mark Pyruz said...

Why Google would use a term not recognized by the United Nations is a mystery. Perhaps there are Arab nationalists on the staff? Recently the term seems to have caught on with certain elements of the US Military, too.

Nader Uskowi said...

US military forces in Persian Gulf, like NAVCENT, use the Arabian Gulf designation.

Google has many Iranian expats on the staff, including a senior VP. They are trying to change the naming back to Persian Gulf.

Joseph Sixpack said...

Iran's Arab population is concentrated in southern Iran, along the Gulf. When someone dares call it Arabian, the Persians step in and say, "no it's Persian, not Arab!" Maybe it's a small issue, but I wonder how well that is received by the Arabs in southern Iran.

Nader Uskowi said...

"Arabian Gulf" name was for the first time introduced by Nasser of Egypt in 1960s. There is the Gulf of Oman next to Persian Gulf, which could have been the Arabian Gulf. And there is the Arabian Sea not far.

I am not sure how Arab-Iranians view this issue. I hope we can get a comment from an Arab-Iranian or someone who is familiar with the issue.