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Iran Criticizes Google for Renaming Persian Gulf in Google Earth

After discovering that Google had taken the initiative to change what has been historically known as the “Persian Gulf” to the “Arabian Gulf” in their popular Google Earth software, the country of Iran had some harsh words for the search giant. Iran makes the claim that Google has attempted to “distort” historical facts, and refers to their action as a “political ambition” and a “plot”.

The controversial change has since evoked very strong reactions across Iran.  The Islamic Iran Participation Party has said that it raises suspicions that Google Earth managers are “knowingly or unknowingly” following the lead of external powers who aim to provoke conflict in the region.  Iranians both living within the country and abroad have flooded Google with complaints.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that someone has attempted to change the name of the Persian Gulf.  In 2004, the National Geographic Society made mention of the Arabian Gulf in its World Atlas, instead of the Persian Gulf. However, following huge protests by Iranians, it was corrected in the book’s eighth edition.

Google, it seems, has not yet publicly addressed the issue.

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39 thoughts on “Iran Criticizes Google for Renaming Persian Gulf in Google Earth

  1. Google didn’t change one with the other. It has always shown both labels, as both names are used by the Gulf states. That’s not enough to appease Iran, however. It insists the Gulf may not be called Arabian alongside Persian.

  2. Stefan Geens says:
    “It has always shown both labels”

    Your comment doesn’t come as a surprise to me as I am not sure if we are communicating the same language. The word “always” you are mentioning has a life span of less than 40 years versus 3000+ years of the name, “Persian Gulf”.

    You know, humans had some conventions before you were born.

  3. Persians have a long history and take pride in it. It is NOT a matter of appeasing Iran to call a body of water by its historical name, but may be appeasing the Arabs at a time when we feel we need them on our side AGAINST the Persian-Iranians. This sets a very dangerous example!

  4. Google converted in Arab Lobby group and helping to distort geographical facts?

    This is for sue not the Google known for its “TOP” “SEARCH” engine…

    What a shame!!!

    1. man, don't blame google, blame your retarded government, if they keep doing what they're doing Iran's history and identity will end up smothered by the global society. Get it together and do some fucking thing about your government

  5. Actually by always I am referring to the few years — the lifespan of Google Earth. Mainly, I want to correct the post’s mistake in assuming that Google had replaced “Persian” with “Arabian” when that didn’t happen.

  6. For the information of Mr. Geens et at.: PERSIAN GULF was, is and will be always PERSIAN GULF wether Mr. psycopath G.W.BUSH and his ugly secretary of state CONDO MONDO like it or not. Wether americans and the Britons need arabs on their side or not!!! If persian gulf has to be Arabian gulf, and if our three Islands belong to UAE, which we exchanged them with Bahrain…. I think it will be a better deal to give the three Islands back to UAE but take back our Bahrain province (it is even closer to the shores of the arabic peninsula :-) Also we cordially ask the central asian republics to join Iran because we sold those teritories in two pacts Turkemechay and Golestan under the rule of a dynasty that Persians mostly do not like, to russia s Tsar. So….

    And something else….someone can talk about names and terms and history who first of all knows something about it or comes from a country with long years of culture, civilization and history :-) well U.S. does not belong to any of them with :-)

  7. They cant change history, everyone know PERSIAN GULF aboute more than 200 years .
    its vey low classly for google earth to change history, they must go to museums of the world to find out true…

  8. Mother of fletcher, people, PLEASE, take 5 minutes and think about something for me. The fact that ANYONE is freaking out (as evidenced by the somewhat hilarious debate happening here) about what a SEARCH ENGINE names a location is a disturbing sign about the state of the internet. There are days that I wish I wasn’t involved in this hilariously flexible medium that is the internet :)

  9. Now comes Ms. Elizabeth on the soapbox!
    You guys sure don’t get it. Aside from your patronizing contempt, Google is not a simple “SEARCH ENGINE” anymore, did you just wake up after 8 years?!
    How would you feel if someone prepares you family tree (ancestry), publicly advertise it, and then change your name (and I am not saying your parents’ names), from Elizabeth, to “Sakineh”. (Don’t worry! it doesn’t have a bad connotation, but it is not your name, was not your name, was not even your pet-name and has never been used throughout your life!).
    We cannot compare individual name-change with what Google has done in view of the historic name of the Persian Gulf. It is a matter of principle….history 101, for God’s sake.

  10. The only thing Google seems to be achieving, is that is pushing Iranians – who are hating the Islamic regime and are the only real pro-western people of the middle east except Israel- in the arms of the mad mullahs.

    Our thirst of money is playing against us and portraying, all of us, as bunch of westerners deluded of principles.

    Of course, Google and some idiots of Wall Street are for a while happy with money dumped by Arabs and sending Google’s stock high, but I feel that the wake up call would be dramatic.

    That’s sad!

  11. For the information of Mr. Geens et at.: PERSIAN GULF was, is and will be always PERSIAN GULF wether Mr. psycopath G.W.BUSH and his ugly secretary of state CONDO MONDO like it or not. Wether americans and the Britons need arabs on their side or not!!! If persian gulf has to be Arabian gulf, and if our three Islands belong to UAE, which we exchanged them with Bahrain…. I think it will be a better deal to give the three Islands back to UAE but take back our Bahrain province (it is even closer to the shores of the arabic peninsula :-) Also we cordially ask the central asian republics to join Iran because we sold those teritories in two pacts Turkemechay and Golestan under the rule of a dynasty that Persians mostly do not like, to russia s Tsar. So….

    And something else….someone can talk about names and terms and history who first of all knows something about it or comes from a country with long years of culture, civilization and history :-) well U.S. does not belong to any of them with :-)

  12. I suggest to Stefan Geens to better educate himself, and understand what’s the correct and decent position in this issue. They cant change history, everyone know PERSIAN GULF more than 2500 years.

  13. Generally, Iranians have no problem with Arabs, and the issue only can be a plot. have predicted the reaction of Iranians, Google wants to send this message to Arabs that “Iranians always are your enemy, just like THE IRAQ ISSUE”!!!

  14. All those tiny Arabic countries were part of Iran, and the Majority of their population is Persian. Since they have never made anything significant they think they can buy Historical achievements. what would they feel if we started a name dispute over the Arabian sea? Persian gulf stands for 2500 years of civilization and culture, money can’t change that…

  15. The Name Of That Gulf is PERSIAN GULF . Please Don`t Speak About arabian gulf .
    gulf just ******PERSIAN GULF******

  16. i think arab people want to buy a gulf by money$$
    just and always, Persian gulf No gulf No arabian gulf.

  17. let me please move from my ‘soapbox’ to a freaking tanker truck of Dawn ultra strength.

    silly me, i thought this was a website dedicated to SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION…not insanely critical, highly melodramatic, DRAMA SEEKING alarmists.

    you just lost a reader.

  18. Elizabeth,

    Can’t you stand a different opinion, when posting yours on a public forum? and why blaming Search Engine Journal for others reaction to your comment?

    “melodramatic, DRAMA…” you said?

  19. THEY CAN’T EVER change the PERSIAN GULF to THE ARABIC GULF!!!!!!!!!

    from centries it was called persian gulf.google cant change a gulfs name for goodness sakes!
    maybe in google earth they have changed the name but it will never be arabic gulf.iran wouldn’t accept it and the whole world know it as FOREVER …PERSIAN GULF….
    no matter google changes the name or not!!!!!

  20. The historical name of the Persian Gulf is a familiar name for all the countries in the world, particularly the countries of Middle East. Commenting on the issue, Egyptian Dr. Mostafa Alfaqi said, “In the decade of the 1950s, the cabinet of Iran’s then prime minister Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq was overthrown and his foreign minister Dr Hossein Fatemi was killed. The Shah, with his tense relations with Iraq on the Arvand-Roud (Shatt-ul-Arab) assumed the role of the region’s gendarme in opposition to the government of Jamal Abdel Nasser. Therefore, the Arabs asked for the change of the name of the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Gulf when they saw that the Shah of Iran was supporting Israel and was against Arab nationalism.”

    It seems natural that some low-minded and prejudiced persons would want to change the authentic and historical name of the Persian Gulf, but it is not expected from intellectuals who should be clarifying public opinion with historical truths. Considering this fact, the prejudiced reaction of a person such as Jamal Abdel Nasser to a historical truth thousands of years old is regrettable.
    According to another narration, the forged name for Persian Gulf was fabricated and presented by a Jewish Syrian, Eli Cohen, who was one of the members of the Iraqi Baath Party in Damascus. As Iran and Egypt did not have friendly relations then, and as the Shahanshah of Iran was supporting Israel, the suggestion was welcomed by Cairo. Cohen was later accused of espionage, arrested for spying for Israel and executed in Damascus.

    Considering all this, it seems improper that some news and official circles of Arab countries prefer prejudice to wisdom and use a false name for the Persian Gulf. The Persian Gulf was called by this name even before the advent of Islam. If there was any need to change the real and historical name of the Persian Gulf, the Prophet Mohammad would definitely have changed it. So, what is the reason that some Arab countries chauvinistically call for the change of this real and historical name, merely because it bears a Persian name?

    How is that some Arab countries, neglecting all the historical truths, insist on using the false name, but expect Iranians not to inform those centres that use this false name? Iranians call those interested parties to use the real name of the Persian Gulf is not the result of racial prejudice, but it is a logical measure that is accepted by any wise and fair person, as it is accepted in international circles, including the United Nations, and all are suggested to observe it.

  21. I suggest to some uneducated people to go and do some search and do not talk without thinking.
    We all are discussing abut the reallity that was existed (even before the Arabs knew that they are exist too) and is and will be. Must be idiot who deny the PERSIAN GULF. We are talking about a region and this part of the world as a Persian Gulf, not gulf costs of each countries. In the costs anyone can name anything they like. It just be limited to that part of the world and just could be listened by a few people… but when you are talking about the Gulf region, it is just only the PERSIAN GULF and no one can change the HISTORY!!!
    Please go and do some search and do not waste the others time by writing such foolish comments!

  22. I'm not insecure about my Arab history, but I don't like seeing lies spewed everywhere. NO!! Bahrain or any other Arab country do not belong to Iran, and do not have any significant Persian populations. Should I remind you about Arabstan and the fact that 20% of Iranians are Arabs? And, what 2500 year old history are you talking about?Iran has been an Arab colony for over a 1000 years now(Irans highest point in history,in terms of science,etc), and even before Arabs lived on the other side of the Gulf. Iranians are just insecure, all their great scientists,most of their writers were educated in Arab schools,practiced the religion of Muhamed and paid taxes and legion to Arab leaders,and enjoyed it. So they feel the need to bash Arabs any time they can,even by lying.

  23. arab history!!? please just talk about what u really own! the best and easiest way for u, specially those located in the southern costs of PERSIAN gulf is to Steal or Buy the respect, civilization, attention, and culture by Oil money. even when we r muslim, we always ready to die for our IRAN (PARS – PERSIA) with honor. hope the war between iran n iraq teaches some lessons to u. damn the present governor, but Long Live IRAN, Long Live Persian Gulf.

  24. Like I said, you feel the need to bash Arabs any time you can, and your comment is stupid. We have a 2000 year old year old history. We conquered Persia and brought about a new golden age to your country. The greatest Iranian scientists lived during the Islamic caliphates. Persia has a great history,not denying that, but saying “Arabs have no acheivements” or saying that the Arab gulf is a 40 year old term is stupid. Arabs have been on the gulf for 2000 years. Even the Iranian coast of the gulf is populated by Arabs. The Iraq Iran war just proved how people can kill eachother for America. Iran is just as guilty for the war as Iraq. They could have stopped in 1982, but they continued the war for another 6 bloody years.

  25. Just to show you how Arabs don't give a damn about the name of the Persian gulf, all the comments here are from Iranians. I only replied because of the stupidity of some of the people here. Don't want any one influenced from these idiots.

    1. You are right Sam, The Iranian are just full of themselves and foolishly thinking they are better than us. I never liked to stereotype people but when I visited Iran last year I was shocked of the amount of backwardness , rascim, and prejudice that I got from most people being an Arab. I went there for tourism and to explore bussiness prospects. Before my visit to Iran I was kind of pro-Iran and with love for the Iranians but after the trip I came back full of disgust of them. The majority of Arabs are neutral towards Iranians but it looks like many if not most Iranians are anti-arab and this can't be good for the Arab-Iranian relations.

  26. Take the Gulf, it's a water space, whatever you name it, we're still dumping our waste in it! plus the Arabian/Persian gulf is a pathetic water space, and Iran will not do well in the waters for decades to come because of their Stupid government. in addition to all that, Iranians are stuck up for nothing, yeah they have history, but so does all humans, get a life people.

  27. Take the Gulf, it's a water space, whatever you name it, we're still dumping our waste in it! plus the Arabian/Persian gulf is a pathetic water space, and Iran will not do well in the waters for decades to come because of their Stupid government. in addition to all that, Iranians are stuck up for nothing, yeah they have history, but so does all humans, get a life people.

  28. man, don't blame google, blame your retarded government, if they keep doing what they're doing Iran's history and identity will end up smothered by the global society. Get it together and do some fucking thing about your government