Iran is ruthlessly criticizing Google for what Iran feels is a disrespectful omission in Google Maps.
Iranian government is angry because Google Maps does not label the water body known in Iran as the Persian Gulf, while other refers to it as the Arabian Gulf.
A senior Iranian official blasted Google in a statement on Saturday, threatening that the company risks losing credibility in the Middle East.
“Google fabricating lies… will not have any outcome but for its users to lose trust in the data the company provides,” Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Bahman Dorri said according to Iranian news reports.
Iran insists on calling the waterway the “Persian Gulf,” while the Arab countries of the oil-rich region insist on the term “Arabian Gulf” or simply “the Gulf.”
Iranians say historical evidence shows the water has always been “Persian,” and that the Gulf’s identity is part of Iran’s territorial integrity.
“The enemies cannot hide facts and evidence about the Persian Gulf,” Dorri said. “Documents in the UN and the UNESCO show the name of this body of water has always been ‘Persian Gulf’ since a long time ago.”
“The efforts of (global) arrogance and its Arab allies to remove the name of Persian Gulf will result in its name becoming more durable,” he added in a reference to the United States.
Before Dorri made that official statement on behalf of the Iranian government, resentment about the omission had been brewing among many of the country’s citizens, the BBC reported last week. Upset Iranians say that, up until a few days ago, Google Maps labeled the area as the Persian Gulf.
The large body of water in question is connected to the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea. It separates Iran, to the north, from Saudia Arabia, the U.A.E. and other Arab countries to the south. It has long been known as the Persian Gulf, but in recent years some Arab states have sought to rebrand the waterway as the Arabian Gulf.