TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has protested Iraq over using the name “Arabian Gulf” for a regional soccer competition held in the neighboring country, state media said Wednesda
The Islamic Republic insists that the body of water should be called the “Persian Gulf” and has repeatedly raised the issue with countries and organizations that refer to it differently.
Iraq welcomed Arab national teams from across the region to its southern city of Basra on Friday for the 25th edition of the competition, officially known as the Arabian Gulf Cup.
It is the first time Iraq has hosted the biennial competition – commonly referred to as the ‘Gulf Cup’ – since its inception in 1979.
“We summoned the Iraqi ambassador on Sunday over this matter,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA. “Although we have strategic, brotherly and deep relations with Iraq, we have clearly expressed our protest against this issue,” he said.
“We reflected the sensitivity of the great nation of Iran to use the precise and complete term Persian Gulf on the Iraqi side.” The name of the vital oil shipping route has been a bone of contention between Iran and its Arab neighbors for years.
The 2010 edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games, scheduled to be held in Tehran, was postponed and later canceled due to the dispute.
In the same year, Iran warned that airlines using the term Arabian Gulf on their in-flight maps would be banned from entering its airspace.
In 2016, Oman Air switched off a map that identified the waterway as the Persian Gulf after a wave of criticism on social media.
In 2012, Iran criticized internet giant Google for leaving the waterway unnamed on its online mapping services, which now refer to it as the “Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf).