First Published: 2004-12-28

Iran threatens to boycott 2006 Doha Asian Games

2006 Asian Games organisers’ use of Arabian Gulf instead of Persian Gulf in brochures angers Iranian officials.


Middle East Online

TEHRAN - Iran is threatening to boycott the 2006 Asian Games if the organisers persist in referring to the "Arabian Gulf" instead of the "Persian Gulf", which Tehran insists is the only name for the stretch of water, state television reported Tuesday.

"If the historical name of the Persian Gulf is falsified during the Asian Doha games in 2006, Iran will certainly boycott the games," said Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh, head of Iran's physical education organisation.

He said that brochures prepared by the organisers of the games to be held in the Qatari capital Doha have used the term "Arabian Gulf instead of the Persian Gulf."

"If Arab countries fall for the traps and tricks of Zionists, who aim to create discord among the region's Muslims... it might also negatively affect political relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Persian Gulf's states," he said.

The looming dispute is the latest in a series of spats over what the sea between Iran and the Arabian peninsula should be called, with Tehran saying use of the term Arabian Gulf was a "Zionist plot".

Iranian officials have expressed anger that the latest issue of National Geographic's atlas that refers to the stretch of water between them and the Arabian peninsula as the "The Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf)".

In November, Iran also withdrew an invitation to the prestigious US magazine's picture editor, Susan Welchman, to join the jury for an art exhibition competition.

National Geographic magazine has already been banned from going on sale in Iran, pending a "correction" of the atlas.

And Iranians have also taken the battle to cyberspace, with their site appearing first whenever anyone use the popular Google search engine to find information on the "Arabian Gulf".

The site, a parody of Internet error messages, tells surfers that "The Gulf you are looking for does not exist. Try Persian."


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