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National Geographic retreat victory for every Iranian: FM

Tehran, Jan 3, IRNA -- Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Monday said the retreat of the National Geographic Society in correcting the fictitious name used for the Persian Gulf and the Iranian islands was a victory for every Iranian.

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

The National Geographic Society made a mistake 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.

Talking to IRNA, Kharrazi added the solidarity of Iranian nation in this case manifested the great spirit of Iranians and showed Iranians will not remain silent in defending their legitimate rights.

"Following publication of the National Geographic Society's recent atlas, speedy measures were adopted including placing limitations on the activities of the society by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Foreign Ministry's official protest and holding the exhibition of 100 historical maps to correct the name of the Persian Gulf.

"Such measures besides massive protests by Iranians worldwide have led the officials of the society to officially apologize for their move after holding rounds of talks in Iran's mission to the United Nations in New York," he said.

The minister added National Geographic Society officials decided to correct their fictitious map on the Internet site and promised to perform such decision in next publications of the atlas.

Internet users were among the first and major opponents of 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 Iranian culture ministry, after detecting the error, forthwith banned National Geographic magazine reporters from operating in the country and sales of the magazine.

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.

Although the society's measure relieved Iranians but every Iranian should maintain vigilance to delete any point to the fictitious name from all maps, Kharrazi further stressed.

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 - 1/3/05 ... --

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