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Iranian Foreign ministry following up issue of distortion of Persian Gulf's name

Tehran, Dec 29, IRNA -- Iran has called on the National Geographic Society to rectify and compensate for a mistake it made in naming the southern waters off the Iranian coastline.

The error was contained in the 2005 atlas published by the society as a supplement to its magazine.

The US-based society, in the atlas, uses the name "Arabian Gulf" in parentheses beside the name "Persian Gulf" to refer to the historically grounded Iranian waters.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi on Wednesday said the ministry has been following up the issue through legal and diplomatic channels since it surfaced, and has sent a protest letter to the society.

"Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi also stressed that the society should apologize and compensate for its mistake," Asefi said.

"Iran's permanent representative to the UN Headquarters in New York has held several rounds of talks with officials of the National Geographic Society and Iran has placed limitations on the activities of the society in the country.

"Those measures have led the president of the society to acknowledge its mistake and he has also expressed readiness to compensate for it," he added.

Moreover, the spokesman said that "an official of the society last week accepted to give due recognition to the historical realities of the Persian Gulf and make the correction after certain political and legal measures are taken by Iran."

"There is no definite satisfactory result yet. Efforts will continue in the future."

Asefi also expressed appreciation for the support of Iranians inside and outside the country who strongly protested the mistake and did not allow the error to go unnoticed and who supported the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Internet users were among the first and major oppositors to the distortion of the Persian Gulf's name by the National Geographic Society.

Iranian and non-Iranian Internet users who are well-versed in the history of the Persian Gulf have been using different ways to express their protest and anger against the misnomer since it surfaced in the published atlas.

The distortion has provoked a storm of protests from both Iranian and non-Iranian intellectuals, archaeologists, historians and students.

The Iran Culture Ministry, after detecting the error, forthwith banned National Geographic magazine reporters from operating in the country and sales of the magazine.

"The Iranian government has always vigorously defended the Persian Gulf's identity as well as those of other historical places from any attempt at forgery, which, in any case, will never resolve anyone's problem," government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said recently.

"The government has issued appropriate warnings in this regard and the issue will be legally followed up," he said.

National Geographic's website has reportedly been flooded with strong letters from the Iranian diaspora in the United States objecting to the misnomer.

According to news reports, they have made independent demands on the organization to correct its mistake.

This is not the first time that certain outfits and individuals have tried to call the Persian Gulf by another name. But the fact that United Nations documents continue to use the name "Persian Gulf" shows it is a historical reality.

... Payvand News - 12/29/04 ... --

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